Clavo Huasca

Clavo Huasca - Botany And History

As the name suggests, clavo huasca is an indigenous vine that grows and thrives in the Amazon rainforest. Capable of reaching up to 210 feet in length, this relatively obscure plant has a long-standing reputation in traditional Amazon medicine, and is now slowly being recognized the world over for its efficiency and potency. [1]

Clavo huasca is so named due to the fact that the roots and bark of the vine (two parts which are considered medicinally potent) carry a subtle scent reminiscent of cloves despite the fact that they are two unrelated species of plants. An uncanny feature in the plant itself can be found when the fine is cross-sectioned, whereby a distinctive feature reminiscent of a heraldic Maltese cross can be found. It is for this reason that the plant has long been revered by Catholic individuals who have been exposed to tribal medicinal practices, while the tribal peoples themselves value the plant as a highly powerful and useful medicine. In the native area of the Amazon, as well as in select areas of Peru and South America, clavo huasca plant has long been employed by master herbalists as a medicinal remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Despite its long-standing traditional use, it has nevertheless remained obscure from the roving eyes of the ever-hungry and curious masses, until once very distinct effect of the vine had been used to capitalize on its medicinal value.

Clavo Huasca - Herbal Uses

Despite traditionally being known as a near-cure-all, clavo huasca is far more notorious for a more 'rowdy' purpose. The plant is now slowly becoming notorious as a highly effective aphrodisiac, so much so that, all traditional uses aside, it is now chiefly known and market as a safe, non-synthetic aphrodisiac that is useful for sexual troubles that ail both males and females. [2]

Traditionally, clavo huasca severed a number of medicinal purposes – among them it's now coveted aphrodisiac nature – but more so that this, it was useful for a far wider assortment of cures than is ascribed to it today. Prior to its adaptation into the mainstream western herbal medicine market, clavo huasca was an obscure vine employed by South American natives to treat a wide variety of ailments. It was originally macerated in an alcoholic beverage, usually cane-derived (e. g. aguardiente), to extract its essences that were employed as a curative drink by itself, or diluted with fruit juices, or other beverages. This tincture was then taken not only for its now near world-famous aphrodisiac effects, but also to help alleviate less lusty troubles such as toothaches, fevers, and upset stomachs. [3] Because it is commonly employed as a tincture, it can be quite potent, especially if taken regularly. Long regarded by natives as a cure for impotence, it may be said that this only comes secondary to the true healing uses of the plant, as it was commonly drunk not simply to 'get the guns a-blazing', but as a general tonic that helped to boost the immune system against illnesses. [4]

A lighter remedy can be made creating a decoction of the roots and its external 'bark', which is then drunk as a tisane. As with the tincture, the tisane is also used to treat fevers and to help relieve muscular pains brought about by fatigue or arthritis and rheumatism. This tea is usually drunk after heavy meals, once again to benefit from its capacity to aid in the digestion of foodstuffs, as well as for its traditional property of being a 'soothing' drink that calms the stomach while helping the bowels and whetting the appetite. [5]

Aside from these basic remedial purposes, clavo huasca is now chiefly known for its aphrodisiac effects, as a consumption of either the tea or the tincture can have very 'pleasant' side-effects. It has long been used as a remedy for erectile dysfunction and frigidity and is sold either by itself or in conjunction with other aphrodisiacal herbs. While the active constituent compound that facilitates this aphrodisiac action is still vague, a phytochemical dubbed 'tinantina', along with other common plant compounds such as eugenol and tannic acids have been isolated in several studies. [6]

In the modern herbal medical market, clavo huasca is now chiefly marketed primarily as an aphrodisiac, most commonly in tincture-form, although a number of dried, grated and encapsulated examples have also been found. 'Loose' clavo huasca roots and bark are also available in the market, although these are typically marketed for their other medical uses (aphrodisiac purpose aside), or else are drunk by psychonauts and neo-shamans for much the same purpose as it is employed by the native shamans of the Amazon.

Clavo Huasca - Esoteric Uses

In the traditional magick of the Amazon, clavo huasca is also used by shamans (ayahuasceros) in tandem with, or as a constituent of the hallucinogenic drink called ayahuasca, which has been used by the native magicians of the area to enable their souls to travel to the Spirit World. Because the potent compounds found in the shamanic vision-granting drink usually results in very unpleasant side-effects such as vomiting, nausea, vertigo, and diarrhea, consuming clavo huasca or mixing it with the drink itself is done to help lessen, if not altogether counteract the unpleasant side-effects of ayahuasca, as it helps to settle the stomach and act as a revitalizing tonic that may assist in reducing the mental and physical exhaustion that follows after a Vision. [7]

Names of Clavo Huasca, Past and Present

Spanish / Quechua: clavohuasca / clavo huasca (lit. 'clove vine')
Brazilian: cipo cravo / cipo trindade / duru-duru
English: white clove / clove vine
Latin (scientific nomenclature): Schizopsis panurensis / Tynnanthus panurensis (to distinct species, with similar medicinal effects and appearance)


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Main article researched and created by Alexander Leonhardt,

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