Ritualistic use of the holly Ilex guayusa by Amazonian Jívaro Indians.
In Amazonian Peru and Ecuador leaf decoctions of the rainforest holly Ilex guayusa with high caffeine concentrations are used as a morning stimulant. After daily ingestion, ritualistic vomiting by male Achuar Indians, better known as Jívaros, reduces excessive caffeine intake, so that blood levels of caffeine and biotransformed dimethylxanthines do not cause undesirable CNS and other effects. Emesis is learned and apparently not due to emetic compounds.
Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130., , , ,
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Chromatography, Thin Layer
Indians, South American
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.