A Classification of Banisteriopsis Species
Used in Ayahuasca Preparations
1. Banisteriopsis caapi
2. B. ceduciflora
3. B. cornifolia
4. B. cristata
5. B. heterostyla
6. B. inebrians
7. B. laevifolia
8. B. leiocarpa
9. B. leptocarpa
10. B. longialata
11. B.. lucida
12. B. martiniana
13. B. muricata
14. B. nigrescens
15. B. nutans
16. B. oxyclada
17. B. padifolia
18. B. peruviana
19. B. pubipetata
20. B. quitensis
21. B. rusbyana*
note: Banisteriopsis rusbyana* = Diplopterys cabrerana
Some of the shamanic varieties of Ayahuasca
recognized in the Peruvian Amazon
Numerous types of ayahuasca vine are recognized by shamans and curanderos in the Peruvian Amazon. Most of these shamanic "species" are botanically indistinguishable from Banisteriopsis caapi but may have many local names according the lineage and purpose of the shamanic practitioner.
See Ayahuasca and Her Companion Plants.
The following list of names those most commonly reported in scores of interviews and apprenticeships with traditional vegetalistas, ayahuasqueros, and curanderos in Loreto, Peru from 1995 to present.
ayahuasca cielo or ayahuasca amarilla
~ heaven (sky) ayahuasca or yellow ayahuasca ~
This is the type of ayahuasca most commonly used in contemporary mestizo curanderismo in Amazonian Perú where it is widely cultivated. It is a relatively gentle but powerful healing plant capable of vivid and highly transformative visions. Cielo Ayahuasca is considered to be the best type of ayahuasca for initiation.
ayahuasca trueno or ayahuasca negra
~ thunder ayahuasca or black ayahuasca ~
This type of ayahuasca provokes especially strong purge and physical shaking which can be overwhelming. Ayahuasca trueno is for those more experienced with the medicine.
ayahuasca india or ayahuasca negra
~ Indian ayahuasca or black ayahuasca ~
This type of ayahuasca is harvested exclusively from the 'monte'(old-growth unflooded white sand rainforest. It is not cultivated. It is a powerful variety widely used by pre-columbian indigenous people.
ayahuasca blanca – white ayahuasca
This type of ayahuasca is used primarily in magic, both white (benevolent) and red ( = black or harmful)
ayahuasca colorada – red ayahuasca
This is a very strong shamanic medicine taken almost exclusively by shamans themselves to facilitate healing of others.
The use of colors to describe these types of ayahuasca is based on the character of the visionary experiences as well as the color of the plant.