Gaultheria Insipida: A Female Psychedelic Plant from the Andes

Leonardo Rodríguez Pérez

Abstract: Gaultheria insipida is a plant native to the Andes used traditionally by female indigenous Inga healers near the Colombian Amazon to prepare a brew currently known as chichaja. This brew is an element that allows distinguishing a very original type of Colombian shamanism, but Gaultheria insipida has not yet been studied by psychedelic researchers. In this presentation, we argue that gaultheria insipida tends to modify the consciousness of female and male drinkers in different ways. We present data collected during ethnological fieldwork started two years ago, conducted in different parts of Colombia, particularly the west Amazon forest. This data includes statistical observations, the drinker’s gender, the time they drank chichaja, and the doses ingested. We also use six testimonials from chichaja drinkers to complement this quantitative information with qualitative analysis. Finally, we will present the first results of the pharmacological study on Gaultheria insipida which is being conducted by Energy Control (Barcelona, Spain). The active components of Gaultheria insipida are so far unknown for science.

Leonardo Rodríguez Pérez is a graduate of the Universidad Industrial de Santander (Bucaramanga, Colombia). He earned a Masters in History at Limoges University (2007), and a Masters in Foreign Societies and International Relations in Paris I (2008). For his PhD at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva), he is conducting a research project on the Colombian Indian movement from 1970-2000. As part of his interest in indigenous cultures, he carries out a research on Amazonian shamanism and has presented lectures in Canterbury (2011), Cottbus (2011), and Amsterdam (2012) on the subject.

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