What Is Yopo? Experience, Benefits & Side Effects

By Frédéric Cherri

Summary

Yopo or Anadenanthera Peregrina, is a tree native to South America and the Caribbean. The seeds of the tree have been used in healing rituals for thousands of years. They contain DMT, 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin, among other compounds, one of the strongest entheogen on earth.

Yopo is a natural substance extracted from the seeds of an Acacia tree from the jungle. Inhaling it through the nose produces expansion of consciousness and a surprising therapeutic-spiritual effect.

For the connoisseurs of plants and entheogenic substances or ancestral remedies, the effect of Yopo is like the fusion of Ayahuasca and Bufo Alvarius. That is to say that it produces organic cleansing and spiritual connection. On the one hand it is a tough confrontation with the ego, and on the other it offers consciousness of unity. Expansion of consciousness is assured but in the process different things move and you arrive at a very particular space from where you can appreciate reality. Each ancestral medicine has the particularity of taking us to a different place from where we can see ourselves.

What is Yopo?

For example, unlike ayahuasca or Bufo Alvarius, Yopo takes us to a point beyond love, and allows us to look at unconditionality on the one hand and limitations on the other, as if we were in a room with two windows. This space is just before the experience of unity and after the struggle of the ego, it is a border from which duality can be appreciated. Like all entheogenic experiences, Yopo opens us to the comprehension of the other, and allows us to establish deep dialogues with people who are in the same process (ideal for couples or friends) and at the same moment of the experience.

Yopo is a natural entheogenic remedy whose origin and first uses are found in the Venezuelan and Brazilian Amazon. It is prepared with the ground seed of the Ananthethera Peregrina plant, which by means of a process of mixing with other ashes and seeds of plants is configured in small plates or cakes of black, brown or white, which are later ground into a fine powder before inhaling.

The original way to consume this medicine is to inhale it with a Yopera that is a tube-shaped instrument that bifurcates into two small tubes that fit with each hole in the nose. But we project it to give it greater strength of penetration and depth of arrival. (A practice that some yopo masters also perform).

As a preparation, it is essential to drink another liquid substance containing caapi that acts as a natural relaxant and prepares the body chemically for the visionary experience. One of these substances may be Ayahuasca (but there are others), which when given in small quantities produces the preparation effect.

The experience begins after 5 minutes of inhaling yopo. The body begins to warm up and you begin to feel a tingling pleasure throughout the body. You feel a body awareness and discomfort that invites you to purify the body through vomiting, which has the goal of detoxifying the body and unblocking all energy channels.

It is then when the visions that have the purpose of mismatching the mechanisms that sustain the structure of thought in order to produce confusion begin. An indispensable aspect to open new perceptive spaces. One of the fantastic effects of Yopo is that it momentarily crushes the masks and characters that we interpret in everyday life in order to see the true face of who we are.

Yopo ceremony and experience

The experience with Yopo also immerses us in an immeasurable feeling of gratitude and comprehension. It supports us in the process of discovering oneself, others and life from the eyes of love. Only from pure, not erotic, love, can we really know ourselves. Unconditional love is what we are, where we come from and where we are going. But in this material life which is full of conditioning, we forget about it. In this sense these plants come to help us recover memory, so in principle you need a discharge of energy in the mind, as if thunder broke into normalcy. According to a participant “when I tried yopo for the first time it was as if they had put a grenade in my brain and as it exploded all the characters that we interpret disappear to access the mystery of what we are”.  According to Yopo experts, it is very rare that this moment of rupture is remembered after the experience. It usually happens but it is not remembered, and it is the moment where the break, surrender or rupture of the enslaving schemes occurs.

The experience is lived with eyes closed at the start and in a suitable position that favours the experience, indicated by the facilitators. According to those who have experienced this process, the hard and confronting part lasts approximately 15 minutes, but then the experience begins to raise consciousness until reaching a state of fullness that can last up to 3 hours.

At a chemical level, Yopo is the possessor of n’n’dmt, which is the main active principle of the Ayahuasca brew, and also contains 5-meo-dmt, the main active principle of Bufo Alvarius, (although it is in a lower concentration in the Yopo). Yopo also possesses bufotenin.

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