Reflections: A Touch of Nightshade

Thursday, March 3, 2016 3:09 PM By Stephen J Christophers

In this article I would like to shed a little more light on Ayahuasca in combination with the alkaloid Scopolamine. By learning more about this shamanic medicine I have come to realize the often powerful synergy between its basic constituents and other teacher plants. The vine, Banisteriopsis caapi is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). From a human biochemical standpoint it is used to potentiate the effects of Psychotria viridis, a plant containing the natural hallucinogen N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). It can also potentiate other healing and teacher plants. The Datura is one such plant. Also known as the Devil's Trumpet; a nightshade rich in Scopolamine. The Datura is often added to B. Caapi and P. viridis to achieve a state beyond that of Ayahuasca visions alone. Echinopsis pachanoi the mescaline containing San Pedro cactus, Erythroxylum coca and many other herbs, plants and shrubs can be used in combination with these basic ingredients. Often added to induce variations in mood and visions during the Ayahuasca experience.

The active component of the Nightshade family is the chemical alkaloid Scopolamine. It carries a cautious advisory, with an oral LD50 in humans of 2650mg/kg and 1880mg/kg in mice. Nevertheless, it can be found in medications such as travel sickness pills. While being used as a dream suppressant during general anesthesia. It is often advised not to combine Datura with Ayahuasca. Although it is a common practice for shamanic healers in the New World. The Datura plant is of the Nightshade family; a branch of the Solanaceae family. My experience with these plants have been one of caution. However, I have found a happy medium - if one can call it that - a form of smoked flower extract from the Solandra longiflora, also known as the Chalice Vine.

Although I do not have a medical background, I do have a background in botany which has been flourishing for over twenty five years. I grow and use plants medicinally, and find a great deal of learned wisdom through their cultivation and use. With regards to Datura, Brugmansia and the Chalice Vine: the latter is a cleaner medicinal substitute, containing less pungent plant matter. It also provides a high concentration of the active chemical alkaloid Scopolamine. Known commonly as the Chalice Vine, it has a long history of medicinal uses by the Mexican Indians and Huichol, including its use as a punishment for badly behaved children. The Datura alone has a long and often dark history. It is a plant of Voodoo, black magic and witchcraft. For good reason, Datura is a plant to be feared by most and used by few.

Solandra longiflora (Scopolamine) and Ayahuasca:

My now preferred method of inducing an Ayahuasca experience is as follows: 300mg 10x B. caapi leaf extract smoked several mins. prior to three hits of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine; 50mg of DMT using the pipe method. This induces a full Ayahuasca type experience for a duration of 25 - 40 mins., which can be boosted further if required. With the introduction of a 3x Solandra longiflora flower extract, the experience becomes a whole new ball game.

To outline some of the different side-effects one might have when including a Scopolamine containing plant with a MAOI and N,N-Dimethyltryptamine: For those of you who are unfamiliar with the initial Ayahuasca experience: It is a common side-effect with oral Ayahuasca to undergo purging and other physical symptoms. This often takes place before the visionary onset occurs. In traditional medicine purging is a positive process which cleans the body of bad energy. However, when smoked, these symptoms are alleviated somewhat. An Ayahuasca trip is much like a downloaded movie from the internet. It is a vision, with a beginning, middle and an end. The hallucinatory experience of Ayahuasca is fully immersive as it plays out in you, around you, and out of you. The visions are content specific attributes that can help resolve problems or address deep seated issues. With the introduction of Scopolamine there seems to be a tendency towards a heavier and much more dramatic story-line. The visions also tend to last a lot longer, with visual and auditory hallucinations, such as, echos and faint voices. Furthermore, there is a state of mild confusion. With that in mind, the inclusion of Scopolamine seems to favor, what is referred to as, "The Hell Realms" visions that are far darker and foreboding in nature. Highlighting often mental and physical issues that might be troubling its participant. These are often shocking, and require a total dissolution of ego to occur. I've found that once one settles back into a relatively normal frame of mind, and sleeps, there's a vivid dream state that occurs. Much like those described by the users of Iboga, which tends to resolve issues with great clarity, while offering up a more loving and peaceful transition to normality. This in turn seems to contradict its use during general anesthesia, as previously mentioned.

In conclusion to my experiences with Scopolamine containing plants and Ayahuasca: It was during a time of physical fever, so this could also be a contributing factor to subsequent dream states. Nevertheless, the Ayahuasca highlighted my physical sickness, taking me on a trip to the source of that particular problem. Albeit on a somewhat hellish ride. The addition of Scopolamine tends to take you to a far deeper and darker place. However, the dream state that often follows is one of peace and beauty. It seemed to require you to undergo the nightmarish state to reach the beauty within. Unlike DMT alone, which has no hangover. The Scopolamine additive does leave one feeling a little disengaged the next day.