The Peruvian Torch cactus is of the San Pedro family and its botanical name is Trichocereus pachanoi. It is similar to the San Pedro Cactus but the spines are slightly darker and longer. This cactus is not as common as the San Pedro, but is faster growing and has a higher alkaloid level. Its specialness comes from its use by Shaman, spiritual leaders and witch doctors in Latin America, especially in Peru. It is used as a spiritual guide between this dimension and the next. The original Peruvian Torch comes from the high Andes in Peru, South America.
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In ancient times during the pre-Inca culture, the Chavin, or monks, made a special religious brew called "Huachuma," used in religious ceremonies. The Peruvian monks would make this drink to aid them in exploring their spiritual world and in their meditating and religious activities. It was made by slicing the cactus and boiling it in water for several hours. Afterwards it was mixed with a perennial plant (Coleus Blumei) and Angel Trumpet Tree (Brugmansia suaveolens) to finish the drink.
Modern Peruvian medicine men, or curandero, and Indian spiritual leaders still consume the Peruvian Torch for religious ceremonies but, the preparation method differs. Currently, they dry the Peruvian Torch slices and then use a mortar and pestle to create a powder from the cacti. They add a tablespoon or two of the powder to a half glass of lemon juice and drink it. The Peruvian Torch does not have a pleasant taste and is considered bitter. In its powdered form it is gritty and does not dissolve well in liquids. Immediately, after taking it most people experience some mild nausea and a general malaise, although users say this malaise is less intense as that experienced with other cacti drinks.
It is the mescaline contained in the Peruvian Torch that causes a heightened awareness, which is also contained in the San Pedro cactus but in less concentration. It is not considered illegal to grow these cacti species and the San Pedro and Peruvian Torch cacti can be owned for horticultural purposes, but should not be ingested.
The Peruvian Torch effects take two to three hours to experience. As noted by The Vaults of Erowid, those who experience the effects of this cactus say they are able to see their inner mind. They experience colourful visions, have a spiritual feeling of inner tranquillity and well-being. They experience a heightened awareness and thoughts flow through their mind quickly. Erowid states that a user experiences great visual and sensory perception, inner peace and a oneness with life. He enters a mind state where colours become more intense and he is able to see other people's aura.
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