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Table 7 Uses of San Pedro cactus in the Saraguro community

From: Traditional medicine applied by the Saraguro yachakkuna: a preliminary approach to the use of sacred and psychoactive plant species in the southern region of Ecuador




To induce visions (oral)

The cactus pulp is cooked for 7 h until a viscous consistency is obtained.

It is drunk (one or two glasses).

To induce visions (inhaled)

The cactus is cooked and extracted with trencillas, wuamingas (Lycopodiaceae spp.), tobacco leaves, and Agua Florida.

It is administered through the nose using small shells. The process is led by the yachak.

As a purgative

Fresh San Pedro juice is mixed with other plant preparations, known as cargados.

The beverage is drunk while the patient is in a fasting state before breakfast; the process is repeated for three days.

To treat shuka

The pulp juice is mixed with an extract of tobacco and cararango (Lobelia sp.).

The extract dose drunk by the patient is approximately 5 ml.

To treat anxiety

One San Pedro leaf is added to 1 liter of infusion prepared with plants that are used to treat anxiety.

The infusion is drunk for several days until the patient recovers.

As an anti-inflammatory or wound disinfectant.

The cooked pulp is used as bandage.

The affected part is washed, and the bandage is placed.