What is Hapé?
Hapé is the preparation of powdered medicinal herbs which is administered through the nose as a snuff. The effects are experienced promptly and intensely and it elicits feelings of alertness and elevation. Hapé is typically made with mapacho (Aztec tobacco, which contains 9 times the nicotine of common tobacco) as a base, and other plant medicines mixed in for various effects.
This ancient practice of consuming powdered plant medicines through the nose dates back from the pre-Columbian days and was first observed among the indigenous tribes of Brazil. To these tribes, hapé is a sacred shamanic snuff medicine with extensive healing and other powers. Other uses include inducing visions, increasing energy, and heightening the senses with the aromatic fragrance of the plants used in the blend.
Hapé is made from different medicinal plants for different purposes. Several tribes traditionally use hape, and they each produce their own specific Hapé blends. These tribes include but are not limited to the Katukina, Yawanawa, Kaxinawa, Nukini, Kuntanawa, Apurinã, Ashaninka, and Matses.
In 1577 doctor and botanist Francisco Hernández de Boncalo introduced the herbal snuff in Europe and the elites of that time often took snuff as a headache treatment. During the 18th century, inhaling snuff became fashionable among the European aristocracy.
Today, indigenous tribes in the Amazon basin continue to use hapé in all aspects of life, from formal rituals, to social gatherings, to simply tuning into Nature and welcoming the healing power of sacred plant medicines.
The ritual use of hapé was introduced to the West by traveling shamans through ayahuasca ceremonies, as well as by visitors who have spent time in the jungle with indigenous communities. Ritual hapé use is making its way around the world.