What is the Yopo ?
Yopo is a tree native to South America and the Caribbean, also known by its scientific name, Anadenanthera peregrina. (Yopo is straight-up a better name though.)
You might also see it called jopo, cohoba, parica, or calcium tree. The wood is pretty hard and gets used to make furniture, but you’re not here to read about the wood. You’re here to read about the beans, which are used for tripping balls.
Archaeological evidence of yopo beans being used as hallucinogens dates as far back as over 4,000 years ago. In 2130 BC, folk in Jujuy, Argentina, were loading up pipes made of puma bone with the DMT-rich crushed beans.
History buffs have also uncovered snuff trays and tubes in Peru that go back to 1200 BC, which may be the most popular means of ingestion. When Christopher Columbus stumbled across the Americas, he brought along a guy called Friar Ramon Pane, who observed this kind of yopo use among the Taino Indians in 1496.
What’s the difference between Yopo and Ayahuasca?
The yopo drug comes from one bit of one plant unlike ayahuasca, another popular Central and South American psychedelic. For ayahuasca to be effective, its vine needs to combine with another plant, a shrub called chacruna. Its users then drink it as a tea, rather than being smoked or snorted like yopo.
There are a great many similarities between the two experiences, both positive and negative. Native cultures have even been known to mix the two substances together to produce the desired effects at the right strength. Spirituali-tea, if you will.