Alquimia – Centre of Healing Arts

kambo ceremony at Alquimia Portugal

Master Plants

In the Shamanic tradition there are several plants used as effective teachers during long periods of retreat in the forest. In ancient times this practice was exclusively performed by apprentices and shamans as an intensive part of a training in order to establish a strong dialogue with plants with healing properties.

The medicine men/women were asked to spend months in isolation (often risking his/her life) and to deeply comprehend the intention, properties and spiritual aspects of the master plant. As a completion of a challenging and personal process the shaman was then ready to perform his or her tasks in the community.

The removal of fears, the breaking of limits and the absolute surrendering to temporary madness and unknown boundaries led the shaman to develop a supreme vocation for recognizing the root of physical illnesses and mental/spiritual unbalances

In recent times, we can safely work with the same plants at a less drastic level and still access the authenticity of the experience through shorter periods of retreat at a moderate dosage.

Master Plants are one of the many doorways to disrupt our comfortable stasis and to access the marvels of our inner healing abilities


Brunfelsia grandiflora, also known as Manaka Chiricaspi in Ecuador, she is commonly found from Venezuela to Peru, with a strong presence in Brazil.

Chiric is recognized as one of the most effective master plants in treating the ‘cold diseases’ like arthitis and arthrosis, spiritual stiffness and emotional blockages. She literally removes the stagnancy and promotes openess of the heart.

Chiric is the perfect companion for a first retreat, since she exposes feelings and emotions with presenting psychosomatic effects on the body like fevers, shiverings and nausea.

The person undergoing a diet with Chiric will have the possibility to connect physical discomforts to mental and spiritual causes, so to unveil one’s personal situation.

The plant is considered mildly hallucinogenic with increasing dosages and can communicate through visions in dreams and waking states.

The plant is safe to use only under supervision, as the young roots have to be selected and recognized accordingly to shamanic knowledge.


Tabernaemontana sananho, Ushpa sanango in Peru.

A strong master plant with the essence of an ‘abuelo’, a grandfather. He is considered to infuse ancestral knowledge and spiritual clarity, along with strenghtening memory and brain functions.

Some shamans suggest to use the plant as an aid for cleansing past traumas and repetitive patterns in one’s life.

He has the ability to let one review events and circumstances with a different, novel perspective, so to regenerate the present without conflicts.  Uchu Sanango flowers are absolutely inhebriating and sometimes used in aromatherapy.

At a physical level, Uchu Sanango is used as a Panacea, an all-purpose medicinal plant still under investigation.

In between the many alkaloids he contains, there is Ibogaine. For this reason the plant should be used under supervision.


Petiveria alliacea also known as Anamu, a plant with a strong garlic scent and amazing medicinal properties.

Recently the plant has been studied for her anti-cancerogenic properties, otherwise she is commonly used for treating weakness, inflammation and pain. She is a powerful immune booster and diuretic.

Shamans in Peru and Colombia have connected to the plant ancestrally for increasing the lucidity and vividity of dreams. In fact, the plant is considered to be an oneirogen, a dream enhancer.

Mucura can help to sedate turmoils and inner pain while exposing one’s truth in the subcosncious language of dreams.

She is a gentle teacher, with very calming and grounding properties.


Tynnanthus panurensis, a very common vine in Peru, is mostly known as an aphrodisiac in many formulas to fight impotency or frigidity.

As a master plant serves the purpose of energizing the body and uplifting the mind.

He can be used to shake one’s condition and restablish the lost balance.

He has not hallucinogenic properties, but he can increase one’s abilities to clear thoughts and to grow self-confidence.

His strong clove aroma is due to an high content of eugenol a powerful analgesic and antiseptic essential oil.

Generally the plant can be used as a tonic and a energy booster.