Sananga is a famous plant from the Amazon jungle that is used for many uses and becoming famous in the modern world as eye drops.
This article aims to give the most comprehensive information about the Sananga plant and its traditional usage in indigenous contexts.
What is the Sananga Plant?
“Sananga” colloquially can be a generic name for juices in the format of eye drops from different plants, particularly from the two plants “Tabernaemontana Sananho” and “Tabernaemontana Undulata” which are in the “milkwood” “dogbane” family.
Traditionally, Sananga was used in its pure form, with the juice extracted from the root and applied directly into the eyes. Nowadays, it is commonly diluted with water, making it much weaker in potency.
“Sananho” may also be known as “uchu sanango” “lobo sanango” and nicknamed as the “wolf plant“. There are many names in many Amazonian languages for the plant such as “Shane Dataika” and “Buna Dau” (by the Huni Kuin), “Deku Dau”, “Mana heins” (by the Kaxinawa), “kanapa vetxeshekete”, and “Bechette” (b’-chew-teh) (by the Mati and Matses).
“Uchu” means “chili” or “spicy” and refers to the hot and firey aspects of the plant. When sananga eye drops are put in the eyes, they burn like fire and when someone drinks sananga, their stomach will burn. “Sanango” means healer. The name literally means that Uchu Sanango is like the “fire healer”, that those who use the plant will feel burning spiciness as they are being healed.
There are other “sanango” plants that are actually unrelated taxonomically to Uchu Sanango / Sananga and one example of this is the “Chiric Sanango“. “Chiric” means “chills” like when you are cold and feel chills in your body, which is what happens when it is consumed. This means that Chiric Sanango is like the “ice healer”. The two plants might not be similar in their biology to a taxonomist, but for the natives they represent two different “intense ways” to practice herbal medicine in the jungle.
Uchu Sanango is sometimes referred to as the “King of the Sanangos”.
Sananga History, Etymology, and Taxonomy
Amazonian Indigenous Usage
We have no method of determining exactly for how long the indigineous peoples of the Amazon jungle have been using Sananga. Considering that the plant is so pungent with big beautiful white flowers, and it can be found in many countries with many different tribes knowing of its knowledge, we can only assume a rich widespread historical use.
It is believed that humans first reached south America greater than 10,000 years ago, so sometime likely between 200 and 10,000 years ago is when it was first used.
Sananga is not a indigineous word from an Amazonian language, it is the word that is used by Spanish and Portuguese speaking contact groups who have spread it into the modern world. As a result, Sananga would be pronounced with an accent that would match that of the local purpose who was saying it.
This would mean that a local Portuguese pronounciation would be “suh-nuhn-guh” with nasal sounds.
English speaking people who do not speak Peruvian/Ecuadorian Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese might say “san-an-ga”, but this sounds very different. I am sure a local person down in South America still might know what you are talking about, though.
Starting in the 1990s, the plant started to spread into urban centers of South America as other Amazonian Shamanic plants became popular. In most major cities across Brazil there are communities of people dedicated to learning how to continue the shamanic traditions that began in the Amazon, and this has been rapidly growing and expanding since about the year 2000. Peru is home to many markets, especially in major cities that border the Amazon such as Iquitos, where Indigineous products are sold such as Sananga. The total interest for Sananga in South America in 2020 is about 5x what it was in 2010, and the knowledge of these plants is only spreading.
Sananga began to become known in North America and Europe starting around 2010, once again as it is brought to these new countries as part of shamanic ceremonies and activities alongside Amazonian products such as the incredibly popularized “ayahuasca”. It is not unusual to find cities in North America and Europe where there are “rapéh ceremonies” or “kambô practicitioners”, and sananga is also generally used by these groups.
The above photo is the first ever time that someone in the west published a record of a man using Sananga. The photo was taken in the Brazilian Amazon. The expedition was led by Scott Wallace of National Geographic and the photo was taken by Nicolas Reynard and published in 2003. We share the photo under fair usage and are happy to work the original copyright owners in any situation of a copyright claim, do not hesitate to contact us and we can resolve it.
The original caption of this photo read:
Keep in mind that by the time that this photo was published and an American man would be seeing it for the first time in 2003, hundreds if not thousands of middle-upper class people of European descent in major Brazilian cities such as São Paulo are likely to have used Sananga.
Additionally, a man named Dan James Pantone who is one of the founder of “Movement in the Amazon for Tribal Subsistence and Economic Sustainability (MATSES)” highlighted the Matsés tribe’s usage of “becchete” (sananga). He collected plant samples along the Yaquerana River, and identified the plant used by the Matsés tribe to be T. Undulata. You can purchase and watch the documentaries produced by Pantone on his travels here.
There was a man born in Germany in 1525 named Jacob Diether, or Jacobus Theodorus. He was also called “Tabernaemontanus”. This man was a botanist and herbalist, and known as the father of German botany. His works were very influential and used as the source materials of other books that were written across Europe for the next few hundred years. He fathered 18 children and was a student of the famous German botanist Hieronymus Bock.
The nickname of Tabernaemontanus comes from the the words “Tabernae Montanus”, which has the meaning of “Tavern in the Mountains”. This is because his hometown was a Bergzabern, which is a city in southwest Germany. It is believed that this town was founded by the Romans under the name of “Tabernae Montanus” and then the name “Berg-zabern” is actually a direct German language translation of this name.
A French botanist named Charles Plumier was involved in taxonomical naming efforts about 100 years after the career of Mr Tabernaemonta, and as an ode to him he decided to name an entire genus of plants after him.
Illustration from Ruíz López, H., Pavon, J.A., Flora Peruviana, et Chilensis (1798-1802) Fl. Peruv.
Sanango/Sananho is a name that began to be used after contact with the Spanish and Portuguese speaking colonizers of South America. “Sanar” is a verb that means to heal in both Spanish and Portuguese, although the verb “Curar” is more common.
The root of Sanango and Sananho comes from “sanar”, where this plant is known as a healer. Many natives who began to mix their native language with Spanish or Portuguese also began to adopt the names Sanango and Sananho by which they are known today.
Tabernaemontana Sananho was first defined in the book Flora Peruviana, et Chilensis (1798-1802) by Hipólito Ruiz López and José Antonio Pavón Jiménez.
In this year 1777, King Carlos III of Spain became very interested in the plants of South America, so he sent Ruiz, Pavón and a French physician named Jospeh Dombey to South America on the “Botanical Expedition to the Viceroyalty of Peru“. Two prestigious botanical illustrators, Joseph Bonete and Isidro Gálvez, also accompanied the expedition.
On this expedition, these guys sent back to spain over 3000 different plants and made over 2500 botanical illustrations of all the plants they encountered. They were sent to the most biodiverse place on planet earth, think about how busy they must have been! Many of the plant samples sent back to Spain made a new home in the Madrid Royal Botanical Garden where their descendants still live today, unfortunately, a part of the collection consisting of 53 crates with 800 illustrations, dried plants, seeds, resins and minerals was lost when the ship transporting it was wrecked on the coast of Portugal.
Illustration from Vahl, M., Icones illustrationi plantarum americanarum (1798-1799)
Icon. Ill. Pl. Amer.
Undulata, the specific epithet, is taken from the Latin word undulatus, meaning ‘wavy’, a reference to the wavy margins of the plant’s leaves. There are many different plants also called Undulata, such as “Hesperocallis Undulata” which are completely unrelated to the Sananga plant.
There is an obscure English word “undulate” which has the same meaning, to move in a wavelike fashion. This must be a reference fo the wavy looking leaves or flowers of the plant. Interestingly enough, it is said that stringrays swim by a method of undulation in their fins and bodies, and T. Undulata can be used as a remedy for stingray stings.
Tabernaemontana Undulata was classified by a Danish-Norweigan botanist named Martin Henrichsen Vahl (October 10, 1749 – December 24, 1804) in 1799 in his book titled “Icones illustrationi plantarum americanarum”. We don’t know why he gave the name Undulata, also considering that the above illustration does not even look wavy.
We also have no account of him every actually going to South America, although he was able to compile books on the fauna of the continent. He worked with another botanist named Julius von Rohr in order to compile this book. von Rohr was a Prussian who traveled in South America and the west Indies. The only mysterious part of the story is that von Rohr died in 1793, and T.Undulata was not defined until 1799. Also, plants that were actually discovered by von Rhor are noted by “J.P.Rohr” so why wasn’t T.Undulata defined this way? We may never know. One possibility is that a plant sample was sent from von Rohr before his death and Vahl classified and illustrated it in the book years later.
Details about the Sananga Plant and its Flowers
Range and location
Tabernaemontana Undulata and Sananhos are found in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Guyana Francesa, Panamá, Perú, Surinam, Trinidad y Tobago, Venezuela (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute).
Growing the Uchu Sanango plant from seed
Here are a serious of images taken from the team at Heavenly Products of a little baby sprout of Uchu Sanango growing from seed. We have seeds for sale here.
The Sananga flowers and leaves
The Sananga flowers are very iconic and fragrant. The plant is related to the popular flowers called ‘Gardenias’, and it has a powerful fragnance that is many times stronger than that of the Gardenia! A single open flower can scent a large commercial greenhouse and overpower the fragnance of all other flowers around; according a plant nursery that grows the plant in the United States.
One single Sananga plant could be smelled from 100m away, according to this source too. The large, white glossy leaves can grow to be over 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. The sananga plant has a deep nectar tube with a nice white flower and extend into long stringy petals that look like ribbons.
The Sananga Fruit
What is a fruit? Fruit holds the seeds.
Notice the difference with the Tabernaemontana Undulata seeds. The seeds look very distinctly different. They are bright orange instead of brown and there is not a fleshy sweet interior to the plant.
The Sananga Root
The Sananga root is the part of the plant in which the liquid sananga extract is produced.
It is a big golden-brown root.
Depending on the recipe or format of the Sananga, the root is either scraped, blended, shredded, or milked. Soemtimes the product of the root can also be mixed in with wood from the stem or branches. The end goal is to use the “meaty” part of the inner root and bark to get a final milky substance that can be used directly or diluted into water to form a golden colored solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy Sananga in Canada?
Our webshop sells Sananga liquid extract. Our products originate with native communities in the Amazon.
Additionally, Sananga is a tropical plant so it cannot comfortably be grown in Canada. It will probably also be finnicky in a greenhouse so it is unlikely that any plant shops in Canada will carry it.
Sananga Liquid Extract (Tabernaemontana Sananho)$29.95 – $79.95
How long does Sananga last?
From the time that Sananga is harvested, Sananga drops are generally good for a period of 1-2 years if they are kept in a refridgerated environment.
As time passes and Sananga breaks down, it will become weaker and weaker. Between the 1-2 year mark you might notice that it begins to smell and that it has lost all of its strength. The fact that the drops break down to become less effective in the eyes is convenient because it helps you identify the age and effectiveness of Sananga very easily.
How often to use Sananga?
There is no official answer to this question, given that sananga use traditionally revolved around specific treatments and use before hunts or ceremonies. In the modern world, people use Sananga for “chronic illnesses” or general wellness.
Many sananga users will partake daily in using the plant eye drops for a set period of time, like sananga every night for one week, or one month and then observe the changes in themself. Some people take a few days in a row with sananga, and then a few days off for relief.
Sananga also can be taken twice in one day, or more. Sometimes,
How to make Sananga Eye Drops
This video shows the preparation of sananga.
Sananga is ideally always harvested from fresh root. And I mean particularly fresh. Commonly for those who harvest and make Sananga, they pull the root of the plant out of the Earth and then immeditely get to work on producing the liquid extraction. The plant root should not sit around for days or weeks out of the ground, even if it is refridgerated.
In theory, someone could also make Sananga at home by purchasing the raw root bark online and then blending and creaming the shredded roots into a liquid solution. There are a few reasons why this would be unadvisable, such as that the best liquid plant solutions are made when you are using fresh plant material, and we have no idea how long the roots would be sitting around and dehydrating. You really want to get the root into a liquid format as soon as you pluck it out of the earth.
Sananga Alkaloid Content Pharmacology
In this section we will highlight the pharmacological information about the alkaloids in the Sananga plants.
Sananga and Ibogaine / Iboga – False Rumors
There are many people and places on the internet that make the claim that somehow Sananga contains Iboga or Ibogaine, however his is completely unfounded and unproven. In-fact, every single study that has ever been done on either T. Undulata or T. Sananho species returns the results that neither of them contain any Ibogaine at all.
Some people try to sell Sananga in ceremonies or other spiritual settings with the claim that it contains Ibogaine because that is a familiar word that has a semi-legendary status and makes it seem like the Sananga is good because it would contain those alkaloids. In reality, actually Sananga can be a powerful and legendary plant on its own without any false associations! There is no need to spread this false information about a plant. It is likely that once Sananga becomes more popular, then these rumors will subside because sananga will be more popular on its own. Even media outlets like Vice have published videos of amateurs making these unfounded claims without fact-checking them.
It is quite possible that the study where this rumor originated from called “The Anti-Addiction Drug Ibogaine and the Heart: A Delicate Relation” by Xaver Koenig and Karlheinz Hilber in 2015. In this article, the two authors write about Ibogaine and Iboga, and reference how there are 80 different alkaloids that can be found in the family of plants called “Apocynacae”, or the “dogbanes” or “milkwoods”. The article makes reference that these 80 alkaloids could be known as the “Iboga Alkaloids”. However, these alkaloids are not all tryptamines, nor are they all psychoactive or even potentially dangerous!
This family of plants contains hundreds and hundreds of plants on all continents, as you can see on Wikipedia, and 99% of them are not psychoactive! To call all of the 80 alkaloids that are common in this family to be known as “iboga alkaloids” or “ibogaloids” is a bad idea, because then it will bring the false connotations that consuming them will give you iboga-like effects. It may also be bad because then people might make these plants illegal thinking that they are like iboga and lead to innocent plants being scheduled in many countries.
Ibogaine is a tryptamine with disassociative and visionary effects that will cause someone to trip out for potentially several days. Nobody has ever experienced that with Sananga. Even when drunk in large doses as “Uchu Sanango” in dietas, the effects never resemble that of a tryptamine and do not last for more than 8 hours. You can read more about those experiences in our article on the Uchu Sanango Dieta.
The only similarity that seems to occur between Iboga and Sananga is that there is one piece of anecdotal evidence that consuming Sananga will help you break habits, and Iboga is known for being used as a way for people to break serious addictions.
There is only one report on the entire internet that references Sananga’s usage as a way to reset drug tolerances and reset one’s habits, so that is not yet widespread or confirmed knowledge. No native peoples of the Amazon ever reference this, and these reports may be unfounded as they were not yet conducted on a large enough sample group.
Could the reason that Sananga was never mentioned by the native Amazonians be because they did not suffer from addictions and bad habits and those could be a problem of the modern world? That is more of a philosophical question, but it could be possible that usage of Sananga was not so much relevant to hunter gatherer tribes however it could be more relevant in the modern world.
In closing, it could be true that the alkaloids found in Sananga plants could share some of the same anti-addicitive properties that are found in the entire genus of the hundreds of non-psychoactive milkwood/dogbane plant family, however Sananga does not contain the same Ibogaine alkaloid that is the tryptamine and intense experience which is famous for its usage in the Iboga plant.
How is Sananga used?
Sananga is used traditionally by tribespeople of the Amazon, such as the Matses, Huni Kuin and Yawanawa. It is common to the jungles of east Peru and Northwest Brazil, particularly in the states of Acre and Amazonas.
Here is a written account from the Erowid experience vaults of Sananga used in conjunction with other rainforest plants in a ceremony with the Kaxinawa natives.
Indigineous (and modern) Ceremonial Usage
The indigineous peoples of the Amazon use Sananga both for herbal medicine and spiritual usage.
In this section, it is very important to note how natives have a different understanding of medicine and healing than the modern western world, so if we write here that sananga will help you energetically please understand that we are not trying to present any “new age” view of medicine, but rather highlighting an Amazonian person’s perspective of the world.
We source our content here from Michael Sung’s Plant Dieta web article, and you can read more there. Here is an excerpt from that article:
According to Davi Mukanawa (a Yawanawa married to a Katukina, and son of the elder Chief Antonio Luis who taught him), the sananga typically utilized in urban ceremonies is called kanapa vetxeshekete and used for headaches. According to Mukanawa, in addition to this type of “sananga,” there are others, each with a name and a specific purpose: one for heaviness in the head that causes pain; another for pain in the eyes; another to “take the cover off the eyes“; and another for recuperating the eyes and removing dirtiness. There are even more types of sananga, such as one to produce visions, which is rarely found nowadays. Despite all the differences, Mukanawa believes that all of the sanangas demand a dieta.
We also reference this information from the book “Rapé e Sananga: Medicina e Mediacões Entre Aldeias e Centros Urbanos” by Aline Ferreira Oliveira and Livro da Cura do Povo Huni Kuin do Rio Jordão. It was originally published in Brazilian Portuguese.
It is said that the nawa (foreigners) like to use sananga during ayahuasca rituals because it clarifies their visions, making it easier to see with more colors and briliance. It is in the urban centers that the natives learned that Sananga also has this purpose, since in the jungle this was not a popular use for it. Additionally, the improvement of eyesight (spiritually or physically) makes a qualitative improvement to make visions more beautiful.
Sananga has been reported to remove panema, which is like a spiritual sickness in the body. Kambo is usually used for removal of panema, however there might not always be kambo available for this purpose. It is believed by the natives that someone who drinks too much ayahuasca or consumes too much rapé will develop a sludge in their stomach, which must be vomited out with kambo removed in another way. Cannabis is also a culprit plant which puts this type of energy in the body. Nisun is another name for this type of spiritual sickness, and is emphasized for those who do not do proper dietas. Sananga is used by the natives as an effective way to remove these bad energies.
Sananga, when made from the scrapings of the trunk and root of T. Sananho is called “Shane Datalika” or “Deku Dau”, which means the remedy for happiness in the hunt. It is said to bring good luck, remove bad luck (called enrasco) and increase a hunter’s concentration.
The Huni Kuin also use T. Sananho for “Buna Dau”, which means the tocandira cure. The juice is applied topically to bites from bullet ants or from the stingray. As “Sheta Isi Dau” the plant is a remedy for tooth pain. Then, the latex of the bark is dripped into a cotton cloth and placed on the painful tooth.
According to “The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants” by Christian Rascht, he claims that the leaves of T. Sananho can be mixed together with Virola leaves to create an orally consumable hallucinogen. He does not provide a source for this, and it is otherwise unmentioned any any other source available on the entire internet. There is also no account of any person ever claiming that they actually consumed this type of entheogenic mixture, nor is there any other record of consuming T. Sananho leaves. He also mentions that the leaves of T. Sananho can be added into Ayahuasca brews for the purpose of one to better remember the visions they had while drinking the brew.
The traditional method of use is to apply the liquid extraction from the Sananga root as eyedrops into the eye. This is the way that the tribespeople do it for a multitude of purposes, namely to prevent headaches.
Sananga is also used by natives as a topical ointment for parasitic infectious skin diseases. A scientific study was conducted and actually proved that yes, this is very effective to put Sananga on infected cuts!
Drinking Sananga – The Uchu Sanango Dieta
Yes, it is done. This method of Sananga intake is not yet frequent in the west, however indigineous people of the Amazon do drink preparations of Uchu Sanango / Sananho root. This is akin to a sananga tea.
The roots of the Sananga plant are scraped and then soaked in water for many hours. Sometimes some tobacco is added into the mix as well. This creates the sananga brew, which should be respected and follow a dieta.
Sananga is often drank in an isolation dieta, where someone under guidance of a native shamanic expert will become isolated and eat only bland foods (yuca, oatmeal) without contact to the outside world. They sit, journal, and meditate and then intermittently drink large doses of liquid Sananga.
Some people online in the west outside of the Amazon are reporting that they do drink Sananga in small quantities with good benefit, or placing a drop or two under the tongue. However, we cannot reccomend this at all and say that Sananga should be drunk only under the guidance of a shaman in a traditional context, even though it may not be a psychoactive plant.
The entity known as “Doctor Sanango” or “Abuelo Sanango” is never mentioned or referenced when one uses the plant in the format of eye drops, but he does become referenced when the plant is used as Uchu Sanango when drunk as part of a dieta.
Each plant has its own “personality”, and by doing dietas and leveling up your shamanic abilities you become more and more adept at communiticating with these plant personalities when you consume them.
Dr Sanango is the personified spirit of the Uchu Sanango plant who will appear in dreams and visions to those who undergo a dieta. He has masculine energy and is referred to as a grandfather spirit or “Abuelo Sanango”. We talk about working with Dr Sanango in more detail in the Uchu Sanango dieta article.
Drinking Sananga as an Oneirogen for Dream Potentiation
There is very limited research on this topic, however there are reports that people who drink small amounts of Sananga (1ml-2ml) and then take mid-day naps will experience very vivid dreams.
An oneirogen is the name for a substance that enhances dreams. There are many plants that exhibit oneirogenic properties which are not psychoactive at all.
Sananga influences dreams in a way that they reportedly become much more lifelike and narrative-based. They tend to contain longer elaborate plotlines which relate to the ideas of ghosts and hauntings and spirits. However, these reports are compiled from a single person so we cannot assign a total personality of examples of effects until the experiences have been replicated over a greater audience of people.
Here are some short excerpts from Sananga dreams:
Now I am alone in this room and I transfigure into a bat. I start flying around and in the same way that a bat catches flies, I am now hunting down a bunch of little ghosts/spirits that are taking form similar to flies in the air. It was obvious in my dream that these little spirits were bad spirits and I was defeating them and removing evil from the world my eating them. I fly around and eat up all these little ghosts and then I recieve a message in my dream that the alkaloids found inside the sananga plant are going to put an end to the global corruption in world-governments and international bodies and usher in a fair, hopeful and bright future for all of humanity.
I am the leader of our ghost-hunting party and now we have some type of obligation and task that we are supposed to hunt down ghosts in the spirit world just like how I did as a bat in the first dream. We walk around the interior of this stone building hunting down clues and then suddenly a ghost grabs me from behind and removes me from my “physical” body and sends me into a dream-state one level deeper than I am in where I have a third person view of myself in the dream world, then I am sucked back into my dream body with the message that these ghosts are in charge here. When I woke up from the dream I felt the pain and soreness in my body when I dreamt that I got into this car accident just a short period of time beforehand.
If you want to read the full accounts of these dreams, we have them posted in our article right here on Drinking Sananga as an Oneirogen for Dream Potentiation.
What is the legality of Sananga?
Is Sananga legal in the US?
Yes. Sananga is legal in the US. Sananga does not contain any akaloids which have been declared to be illegal in the United States, and itself as a plant has not been outrightly banned.
Is Sananga legal in Canada?
Yes. Sananga is legal in Canada. Sananga does not contain any akaloids which have been declared to be illegal in Canada, and itself as a plant has not been outrightly banned.
Is Sananga legal worldwide?
Yes. There seems to be no country in the world that has made any regulations or prohibitions about the Sananga plant. While some false rumors have been spread that Sananga contains ibogaine (which is a false and unsubstantiated claim), there could be an issue in that juristidiction if some examiner reads the false information about the plant and classifies it as something which contains ibogaine.
What are the effects or healing benefits of Sananga?
Sananga is not a psychoactive plant.
It is not a hallucinogen. It does not make you ‘trip’.
Absolutely nothing in this section is a medical recommendation. Sananga is always used at one’s own risk.
The most immediate effect that someone feels when they apply Sananga eyedrops to their eye is a burning sensation. It is most probably unlike anything a first-time user has ever felt in their life and may liken it to a “burn”. This burning sensation lasts a few short minutes and then subsides into a feeling which the user feels completley normal again.
Many reports on the internet from users may talk about energy or chakra opening, etc. This is unfortunate because it may give a bad name to the usage of Sananga and dismiss it as some form of alternative medicine with incredible health claims. This website does not endorse any of these claims, and will rather admit that no medical studies in the mainstream have been conducted, however we will tell you about what the natives use the plant for, which are several reasons.
To clear vision for hunts. The native peoples believe that usage of Sananga will bring clarity of sight to improve vision and contrast between many shades of green which is useful in the forest when you are hunting and being hunted at all times.
Sananga for Headaches
Headaches are one of the original uses of Sananga. It is the most universal remedy for headaches across many tribes. Native peoples of the Amazon will take Sananga in their eyes to treat their headaches.
Sananga for Eye Pain
Shepard’s 1999 study which is referenced below in the science section denotes that Sananga is used also universally in the tribes for eye pain.
Pain in the eyes or pain in the head can be caused by many different reasons. If the reason is related to inflammation or infection, then sananga seems like a potential solution for that according to the indigineous customs. However, eye pain and head pain can be caused by other, much more serious reasons (cluster headaches being an example), and as such Sananga may not be a cure for all headaches.
Sananga for Eye Floaters
Some people report that sananga is a solution for their eye floaters. People with excessive eye floaters notice that sananga will help clear out their eyes. There have been no formal studies on this topic and we cannot formal endorse sananga as a cure for floaters, but we plan in the future compile a series of reports that testify this.
Sananga for HPPD
Some people who suffer from HPPD report that their symptoms are reduced after using sananga!
HPPD stands for “hallucinogen persisting perception disorder”, this happens when people take synthetic drugs such as LSD or various psychedelic research chemicals and then they get permanent visual artifacts or static in their eyes that are similar to ‘floaters’ that simply do not go away. As of 2020, there are no confirmed treatments for how to cure HPPD, although a few testimonies by sananga users insist that it has cured them of it.
Sananga for Cataracts
Cataracts are the most common cause for blindness. The condition causes proteins in the lens of the eye to build up as a film in front of the eye which makes it difficult to focus and eventually can cause vision loss. Some people get surgery for cataracts where the lens of their eye is removed and replaced with an artificial one.
Sananga has not yet been tested or explored for anyone who has these lenses in their eye, although Sananga is noted to reduce the inflammation of the eye which could potentially be a root cause for the cataracts. We highlight in this article’s final section about the anti-inflammatory effects of sananga.
Some people seek out the usage of Sananga for their cataracts. While it is true that Sananga is used for many eye issues in the Amazon, these have never been approved or studied on a widespread basis with effectiveness for curing or treating cataracts. While some may find relief, others may have issues. While there are no accounts ever yet to be written on the internet in detail about someone dealing with cataracts with Sananga, this may surface in the future.
We cannot recommend Sananga as a treatment for cataracts, nor encourage anyone with cataracts to use it.
Sananga for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye condition that involves the optic nerve, someone with Glaucoma has optic nerve damage.
There is no evidence that Sananga is able to treat any optic nerve damage to this date, and as such we cannot substantiate any claim that Sananga would be useful in treating Glaucoma. We cannot recommend anyone with Glaucoma to take sananga and it could be potentially harmful to the optic nerve.
Sananga for Lyme Disease
There is an account of one man who wrote on Facebook that he treated his Lyme Disease with Sananga.
In the end, it appeared he still tested positive for Lyme disease, yet the symptoms which plagued him had gone away and years later he had a positive recovery.
We discuss this account in full in our article on drinking sananga.
We cannot recommend Sananga as a treatment for Lyme Disease and do not encourage you ever drink it, but considering that we are writing the most comprehensive Sananga document online we have a certain obligation to include this account for your reading.
Sananga for myopia: increasing visual perception
Sananga is known not just for healing ailments of the eye, but also to boost visual acuity and night vision. This is especially useful for hunting, which is why it is sometimes taken immediately before a hunt.
In Glenn Shepard’s 1999 study, we identify that the hunter who takes Sananga in the native tribe is thought to have improved vision and aim for several days after the eye drops are administered.
The subject we talk about in our “risks” section that sufferent from sananga to cause his previous symptoms remerging, he reported sananga to treat his myopia. We are working to compile a full report of his experience.
Increasingly, there is a lot of unfounded anecdotal information by westerners about Sananga, that they insist it has improved their vision in both the short and long term. Many people report an increase in color saturation and ability to process visual information. They will be moore alert about things happening in their peripheral vision, or notice things such as small animals moving in trees and tall grass far away.
Human’s notably have amazing eyesight compared to other mammals. However, looking at screens all day seem to have distracted us and reduced our visual acuity.
Sananga for Anti-Addiction, Drug Tolerance Reset Properties
While Sananga was never known by native Amazonian usages for drug addition or tolerance or habit-breaking purposes, some reports online have surfaced that people consuming Sananga resin have noticed a total reset of drug tolerances on their body over a period of a few days after consumption. Additionally they noticed a habit reset.
Not enough evidence or studies yet have been compiled on this topic, however the 1984 study that we reference earlier on in this article highlights some of the alkaloids found in Sananga, which potentially could contain anti-addicitive properties in humans because studies showed those same anti-addictive properties in mice.
Could the reason that Sananga was never mentioned by the native Amazonians be because they did not suffer from addictions and bad habits and those could be a problem of the modern world? That is more of a philosophical question, but it could be possible that usage of Sananga was not so much relevant to hunter gatherer tribes however it could be more relevant in the modern world.
Sananga Risks – Negative and undesired effects
While Sananga is poised as a new innovative plant remedy in the west after its extensive usage in the Amazon jungle, there could be effects of the liquid extraction of the plant that may not be helpful for the user and even potentially harmful.
We re-iterate that when someone is seeking out natural “medicines” they should be considering complimentary medicine, and despite what a website may tell you, you should consult with a cerified health professional such as a doctor in order to treat your medical problems.
Sananga side effects
Irritation of the eyes and skin around the eyes can be an issue. For some people who take Sananga in the form of eye drops over a longer sustained period of time, irritation in the skin around the eye ducts may occur. Some people are fine at first, but after taking sananga on a regular interval many times in a row they may get really irritated tear ducts and they should immediately stop using the eye drops.
If someone has dry eyes, or dry skin around their eyes, or itchy eyes, then Sananga could provoke this itchiness and cause negative effects for the user in the situation that they do use it as eye drops.
However we must note, that the 1999 study conducted by Shepard in the following section, that Sananga eye drops were using as a cure for those who experience pain in their eyes and people did find relief. Also, those who have an eye infection also felt benefits from Sananga usage as eye drops. However, there are reports of those who do not have any eye pain and then take Sananga for no specific reason and then they do experience irritation in their eyes.
Possible allergy to Sananga
It is rumored that some people may be allergic to Sananga, although no widespread allergy testing has taken place. If someone who is allergic to Sananga uses them as drops or topically, they can experience inflammation which may last over one week.
Nobody who is allergic to sananga has ever reported a serious injury, or any irreversible negative effects. Every sananga-allergic person made a complete recovery after one week.
As of today, there is no evidence of any specific contraindications regarding sananga. However, if you are perscribed another eye drop for a specific purpose or are using sananga while suffering from an eye condition, the eye medicine that you are using could interact with the sananga in a positive or negative way. Additionally, if you are in preparation for or recovery from eye surgery, you are suggested to stay away from the plant in the form of eye drops.
Drinking Sananga risks
We do not recommend that anyone drinks Sananga in any substantial dose. Traditionally sananga is only drank as part of a ceremonial process that involves following a strict diet and meditation space to prepare under the guidance of a shaman who has experience working with the plant. Read more about that here.
Someone who drinks sananga in a substantial dose could feel burning sensations in their throat or stomach which could last for many hours. We highlight a story in our article about drinking sananga where a man …
Overusage of Sananga leads to re-emergence of prior symptoms
There is one known report of someone who started using Sananga as an alternative medicine to heal his eye when his vision was rapidly being lost. No medicine assigned to him from doctors was helping, so he began to use Sananga eyedrops 3 times per day every day for 6 months. He was persistent that the Sananga would help him. During the time that he was frequently using Sananga, he noticed an improvement in his eye health to a level he was satisfied with so he stopped taking Sananga.
He began taking Sananga again and then the original symptoms and health issues that he was experiencing before he ever took Sananga began to resurface! He immediately stopped, thanked Sananga for the benefits and did not continue to use it.
Sananga being mixed with disassociatives and anesthetics
This is really a section of the article we never would have imaged that we would have to write. Please, readers, do not ever recreationally take disassociative drugs and anesthetics for recreational purposes.
A reddit user posted in March 2021 about mixing sananga eye drops and combining them with disassociative research chemical drugs such as DCK, DMXE, 2-FDCK and Mxipr. Another person chimed in and said he combines it with ketamine. They like it because it enhances the “visuals” they see in these realms. These people are playing with fire.
The problem at hand here is not that sananga is being with these substances, but rather that these people are seeking out recreational “trips” with obscure research chemicals and they may conceive of using sananga as a mechanism to further this type of behavior. Sananga has a rich tradition of historical use amongst native peoples of the Amazon and should be treated with respect. It is not something meant to enhance playtime with white powders.
We love the sananga plant and the last thing we want is anyone to associate it with recreational drug use. However, as anything becomes popularized it can always fall into the wrong hands. Sananga is not a recreational drug and absolutely does not belong in that context at all.
Additionally, since these substances numb the body, they might not be able to feel if they are having an adverse reaction to the sananga being used as eyedrops because their bodies are numb.
They could be allergic to the sananga or irritating the eyes and skin around it and not know. They could easily put way too many drops of sananga inside their eyes and not feel the body’s response telling them to stop doing it.
Rather than attacking the people or insulting them, we can hopefully believe that using the sananga might inspire them to turn away from recreational drug use and rather explore the world of botany and learn to love plants.
What is the science behind Sananga?
There have been a few scientific studies that prove Sananga has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-parasitic properties. In this section we will link you to a few studies that cover these topics.
Sananga belongs to the genus of plants known as Tabernaemontana, and as such will carry the properties of similar other plants in its genus. Some of the studies here are not focused directly on Tabernaemontana Undulata or Sananho, although they will highlight the effects of these similar plants.
Sananga has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
According to this study it was found that Sananga was effective for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities.
The three studies (Thambi et al, 2006; Taesotikul et al, 2003; de las Heras et al, 1998) feature the effects of Sananga in mice. Solutions of the plants were injected into the paws of mice before the paws became injured. The mice that were injected with Sananga encountered only 50% of the inflammation that the other mice who were not injected had.
Additionally, two more studies show that Tabernaemontana plant extracts reduce the inflammation enzymes in lab experiments (Nicole et al, 2013; Rumzhum et all, 2012). These various plants that are close cousins of sananga all had antioxidant properties in lab conditions, promoting healthy tissues and reduced inflammation.
Anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties
Note that these studies do not cover the exact same sananga species that we sell as eye drops, but rather its close cousins known as T. pachysiphon, T. angulata, T. stapfiana, T. elegans. Sometimes these close cousins can be very very close in alkaloid content but sometimes different, so take that with a grain of salt.
This 1977 study shows the Tabernaemontana species T. elgans killing cancer cells.
This 2009 study shows T. stapfiana fighting against fundal species known as Candida albicans which cause thrush in the mouth and yeast infections in the vagina. The fungi can be very harmful to immunocompromised people.
Sananga is used to fight parasidic disease in the Amazon and proven effective!
According to this scientific paper, Sananga is used to fight against Leishmaniasis, which is a parasidic infectious disease that attacks the skin.
In the study, 27 different plants were used against the parasite, and 19 of the species used by the natives of the Peruvian Amazon as traditional medicine to heal the skin. The results of the study showed that out of all the plants used, Tabernaemontana Sanango was the most effective treatment of all against parasitic skin infections!
Here is the list of citations from which the above section references:
De las Heras et al (1998). Antiinflammatory and antioxidant activity of plants used in traditional medicine in Ecuador. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 61, p161-166
Marathe et al (2013). In vitro antibacterial activity of Tabernaemontana alternifolia (Roxb) stem bark aqueous extracts against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 12(26), p1-8
Nicola et al (2013). Chemical Constituents Antioxidant and Anticholinesterasic Activity of Tabernaemontana catharinensis. The Scientific World Journal, DOI:10.1155/2013/519858
Rumzhum et al (2012). Antioxidant and cytotoxic potential of methanol extract of Tabernaemontana divaricata leaves. International Current Pharmaceutical Journal 1(2), p27-31
Ruttoh et al (2009). Antifungal activity of Tabernaemontana stapfiana Britten (Apocynaceae) organic extracts. Pharmacognosy Res 1(6), p387–391
Sathishkumar et al (2012). In vitro antibacterial and antifungal activities of Tabernaemontana heyneana Wall leaves. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 2(8), p107-111
Shepard (1999). Pharmacognosy and the Senses in Two Amazonian Societies. PhD Thesis, University of California, Berkeley.
Shrikanth et al (2014). Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of methanolic root extract of tabernaemontana alternifolia. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 7(1), p66-69
Suffredini et al (2002). Antibacterial activity of Apocynaceae extracts and MIC of Tabernaemontana angulata stem organic extract. Braz J Pharm Sci 38(1), p89–94
Taesotikul et al (2003). Anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and antinociceptive activities of Tabernaemontana pandacaqui Poir. J Ethnopharmacol 84, p31–35
Thambi et al (2006). Antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities of the flowers of Tabernaemontana coronaria. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 68(3), p352-355
Van Beek et al (1984). Antimicrobially active alkaloids from Tabernaemontana pachysiphon. Phytochemistry 23(8), p1771–1778