Complete Guide to Virola & Dyooroxao (Cumala, Epená)

What is the Virola tree?

Alkaloid content of Virola

What are the various species of Virola?

Virola theiodora / Virola elongata

Virola calophylla

Virola callophylloidea

Virola rufula

Virola surinamensis

Virola sebifera

Traditional usage of Virola

Virola’s supposed mixture with Sananga leaves

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.

Virola / Cumala hallucinogenic snuffs of the Amazon jungle

Jonathan Ott’s book on this topic is good.

Preparation of the virola snuffs

Native Amazonian tribes which use Virola

The following content is cited from the “Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants” by Christian Rätsch:

The Yanomamo make a potent psychoactive snuff from the bark of Virola theiodora or Virola elongata and the leaves of Justicia pectoralis. The active constituent is the Virola; the Justicia leaves impart more pleasant aroma to the powder and also appear to make it easier for the snuff to be absorbed through the nose (Prance 1972, 234 f.). The ashes of the magnificent Elizabetha princeps tree are sometimes added to this blend (Brewer-Carias and Steyermark 1976, 60).

The Yanomamo (Waika) of northern Brazil use the bark of the Virola theidora tree (also known as epena) to make snuff and add ashes from the bark of Elizabetha princeps, which they call ama, ama-asita, or chopp (Brewer-Carias and Streyermark 1976, 63; Schultes and Raffauf 1990, 239*; cf. also Chagnon et al. 1970).

They also make a snuff from the ground, roasted seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina (Prance 1972, 234 f.).


We do a complete deep dive into Dyooroxao in our article titled “Dyooroxao: the Ocaina Tribe’s Mysterious Virola Entheogen“. There you can read all details about this entheogen which has only recently gained any western exposure. While virola has been known for its usage in snuffs for decades, the first reports and online presence about Dyooroxao only began to surface on the internet around the year 2020.

Dyooraxao is the entheogen of the Ocaina (Dyo’xaiya) tribe

Dyooroxao (Diooraxo) is the name of an “ayahuasca-like” entheogen that is made from the Virola / Cumala as a source for its tryptamine content. Traditionally ayahuasca is made from the caapi vine (MAOI) and chacruna/chaliponga (Tryptamines), but virola shares no common ingredients – they are alike only in the same format that they are brews/pastes and they have similar effects.

Photo of Dyooroxao as advertised on internet webshops.
dyooroxao container
A labeled container of Dyooroxao, likely sourced and purchased in Iquitos, Peru

It has only ever been reportedly sold or used in the format of a paste, however this could be a boiled down liquid brew for convenience. However, since everyone who has ever consumed it was advised to use a pea-sized amount as paste, it might always be used as a solid paste and never in a liquid form. This remains unknown.

Dyooraxao is made from two ingredients, cumala (Virola calophylla) and “pashaca”. There are many different plants in the Amazon jungle which have the name “pashaca”, so it is disputed as to which plant this could possibly be. Cumala (v. calophylla) contians both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, so it could be speculated that the pashaca plant would have to therefore be an MAOI.

However, this may not be the case because virola species also contain beta-carbolines which can allow for the oral consumption of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT with only one ingredient (cumala). That would mean that pashaca does not need to be an MAOI plant, and might actually be another plant containing tryptamines. It has been speculated that “pashaca” might actually be another name of “pashaco”, which could refer to either a species of Acacia (another tryptamine contianing tree); or “Macrolobium acaciifolium”; or to the non-psychoactive “Schizolobium parahyba” which is better known as the Brazilian firetree or ferntree and is a cousin of “paricá”.

It is believed to be an entheogenic tradition of the Ocaina tribe, which has diminished down to less than 100 remaining members and live along the Putumayo River. The ocaina tribe is also called the “Dyo’xaiya“, which is interesting because it resembles the name of the bew. The Ocaina tribe are part of the larger “Huitotos” ethnic group based in the border region between Colombia and Peru, and other Huitoto peoples also use dyooroxao.

Embrace of the Serpent” is a 2015 movie that tells a story of the Ocaina tribe. You can read more about them at this website.

Group photo of the Ocaina tribe, who apparently drink Dyooraxao
Photo of Ocaina jungle homes. Is this where they would be using dyooroxao?

Exposure to the outside world of Dyooroxao is very very limited, and there is zero evidence of use that it has ever been used outside of the Amazon jungle. Not much is known about Dyooraxao, and information about it on the internet did not really pop up until at least the mid 2010s. There do not seem to be any academic or ethnobotanical references to it from established sources, and no knowledge of specific traditions around it.

Dyooroxao is used in ritual ceremonies for visionary and healing purposes, to connect the users directly to the Earth Mother and cleanse the mind.

Dyooroxao is dark colored and consumed slowly in the mouth. It is believed to be used originally in its liquid form, and also sometimes boiled down into a solid paste for consumption and storage.

Dyooroxao Snuff / Rapé

Photo of supposed Dyooraxao snuff

There are also snuffs that are referred to as “dyooroxao”, however they are just blends of the dry cumala and pashaca plants. In the same way that sometimes “ayahuasca rapés” exist which are just the dry blending of the ayahuasca ingredients with ash, the “dyrooxao rapés” are the same way. However, people who have taken the dyooroxao rapé report that it was not psychoactive or visionary, which means it either contains very little virola or none at all and it is a totally false product.

Usage and Effects of Dyooroxao

Read full details in our deep dive article titled “Dyooroxao: the Ocaina Tribe’s Mysterious Virola Entheogen“. The following section provides only a summary which may be out of date with the full information we have collected.

A few people on internet forums have written about using Dyooroxao paste. Each one of them says that they were given some during retreats they were on, presumably in South America.

Almost universally, it was suggested by many people that one should take a “pea sized” amount of dyooroxao in paste format.

They are advised put it in their mouth once a day, under the tongue, or to mix it in with a tea. This assumes people are using it at home, or they are given it at bedtime during a dieta. Another person said that they were given a pea-sized amount of dyooroxao while under the influence of ayahuasca so they were unable to discern the actual effects.

Every person who has ever been given Dyooroxao had gotten it in or around the city of Iquitos, Peru.

Another person recommended that it should be taken before sleep, or in darkness with a blindfold, and that the substance is an oneirogen which enhances dreams. It was also administered during dietas as a dream potentiator where it would allow the plant which was being dieted to speak more loudly to the participant in their dreams.

There is believed to be a woman who runs a shop in Iquitos who sells it, and she may source it from the Ocaina tribe specifically or some other unknown place. Every single online website or shop that talks mentioned “dyooroxao” is based in Iquitos, meaning that they may source it from this mysterious woman.

The unsolved mystery of Dyooroxao

This article about dyooraxao requires citation and is written based on loose accounts posted to the internet, no single ethnobotanical researcher has published any work on this entheogen in depth and as a result we are open to this information being potentially incorrect.

We are collecting any new information about this entheogen in our new article on the topic, where we plan to do a deep investigation into the history and modern usage of dyooroxao.

We would love to hear more from anyone who works with the Ocaina tribe and can share more information. There are no videos or evidence of any member of the Ocaina tribe ever seen referencing or using Dyooroxao, only hearsay accounts of people who were given this entheogen around the Iquitos area.

Another interesting part of the Dyooraxao mystery is that it would be the only single instance of virola being consumed orally!

  • Why is it that out of all the tribes using virola snuffs prolifically who also drink ayahuasca, that they would never make a brew out of virola that would be prepared for oral consumption?
  • People started writing about virola snuffs on the internet in the late 1990s and books for decades prior back to the 1960s, why is it that the first mention of an orally consumed virola substance only surfaced on the internet around the year 2020?
  • Why is it that people are never advised to take more than a pea-sized amount for oneirogenic purposes and never a dosage akin to an ayahusaca visionary experience when that is also possible?
  • Who is this woman in Iquitos and where does she source her products from?

One possible explanation is that the Ocaina tribe has only less than 100 members left, so their influence and cultural influence is very small so not very many people have come into contact with them and the word of dyoorxao spread only through non-computer literate people until recent times.

The invitation is open for anyone who is interested to get to the bottom of this mystery to directly try to get in contact with the Ocaina tribe or any anthropological researcher who has worked with them to examine this matter.

Your efforts and research would be forever treasured in the ethnobotanical research history books. You can even fly over to South America and try to meet them yourself and drink the brew with them to find out first-hand if you are that curious.

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