More and more people keep asking me what is rapé. They see the shamans administering it during their rapé ceremony. They watch the expression of the ones who receive it. They are curious and for a good reason.
Rapé is becoming one of the most popular practices in endless spiritual communities worldwide.
So, what is rapé after all? Is it a drug? Is it addictive? Is it legal? How can you use it, and why should you? I’ll try to best answer these questions by using my first-hand experience, but also with the knowledge of some people I know who have gone even deeper into the world of this powerful shamanic snuff.
Table of Contents
What is rapé?
Also known as Hape, Rapeh, or Hapé (you can choose the rapé pronunciation of your choice), Rapé is a very fine, dry, and usually greenish powder. The shamans from South America have been using it for centuries as a medicine. Its main ingredient is a special kind of tobacco.
Recently, rapé is becoming increasingly popular among the spiritual community in many countries. Click here if you want to know the effects of rapé. In short, it is used as a tool to delve into meditation, or as a way to prepare for spiritual ceremonies, like ayahuasca and kambo. A growing amount of conscious people are also attending pure rapé ceremonies, where the shamanic snuff is used as a tool to raise to a higher state of consciousness.
Rapé has been traditionally produced in South America. But the growing demand for this powder has extended the production to other places. It is more and more common, unfortunately, to bump into rapé powders which are sold as South American but are actually produced elsewhere with an industrial process.
An alternative is Goa rapé. A potent snuff made in Goa with Ayurvedic ingredients. But the production method is strictly manual and inspired by the South American tradition.
So, what is rapè? Is it merely a kind of snuff tobacco? Technically, yes. But this is a very reductive definition. In fact, this shamanic snuff has been produced for centuries by several South American tribes, mostly located in Peru and Brazil, through a long and tedious process, which involves mixing tobacco with a wide range of Amazonian medicinal plants. The indigenous people who prepare rapé included Katukina, Kaxinawa, and Nu-nu tribes.
Every tribe follows a different preparation recipe, which is handed down through generations and kept secret. So, there are several kinds of shamanic snuff, each of which has a different taste and effect.
Try to google rapé tobacco Wikipedia. You will not find a lot of information yet. This is because this shamanic medicine is still an underground phenomenon. This is the main reason for this post.
Here is what I learned about it.
Which are the most common rapé blends in the world?
There are dozens of rapé blends in the world. Most are produced in South America. Some in Goa. Others are produced elsewhere, but (sadly) sold as they were produced elsewhere. Here is a list of the most common rapé blends you can find.
Where does rapé come from?
Rapé comes from South America. It’s been used for centuries by many indigenous tribes of the Amazon, especially in Brazil and Peru.
However, in recent years this powder is becoming part of the common shamanic practice of many spiritual communities around the world.
What are the shamanic snuff ingredients?
In short, the ingredients of rapé are tobacco, wood ash, and medicinal herbs.
The main ingredient of rapé (aka Hapé, Rapeh) is a special blend of tobacco called Nicotiana Rustica, which contains up to 20 times the amount of nicotine usually found in common tobacco.
The indigenous tribes from South America usually make their rapé with a very strong tobacco called Nicotiana Rustica (also known as mapacho), and they mix it with various medicinal plants, such as mint, clover, tonka beans, banana peels, and cinnamon. To produce the ash they burn the bark of local trees.
Goa Rapé is produced with the same process but with different ingredients. The ask is obtained by burning the cork of Banyan tree, which is the most sacred tree in India. The tobacco is a special blend of nicotiana grown in Afghanistan. The herbs are selected among the most beneficial Ayurvedic medicines.
Some rapé recipes also include more powerful ingredients such as anadenanthera, jurema, and coca. One day I also, on one occasion tried a blend of snuff with a tiny percentage of datura, which is a very powerful psychotropic plant.
There are therefore many varieties of rapé. Some very mild, others very strong. I have personally tried many of them and I can guarantee that the range of experiences you can have is really wide.
I will elaborate more about this further.
How many people do rapé in the world?
Wow, that’s a big question! I don’t think that the number of rapé doers has been measured. But judging by the number of people who visit this page, they are definitely growing at a high pace. More and more people already know what is rapé and how to use it.
Especially now, with this Covid pandemic going on for so long, people are searching for alternative ways of meeting their consciousness. And rapé fits perfectly.
Most of my clients are from the U.S. This makes me conclude that the rapé market in America is booming.
How to use rapé
As I mentioned earlier, taking rapé is a ceremony. Amazon people administer it to each other using a pipe called Tepi as a main rapé tool. They insert a certain amount of shamanic snuff into the pipe, apply the pipe to the nostril of the other person and blow the rapé into his or her nose.
An alternative way to take the shamanic snuff is by using the Kuripe, a small, v-shaped pipe that allows one to self-administer the mixture.
I personally own several pipes of both kinds. If you are alone and you feel like taking rapé, the Kuripe will do. But my advice is to use the Tepi in most situations.
Having rapé delivered by a skilled person you trust is by far the best way. In fact, the relation of trust with the shaman is a crucial part of the experience. It allows you to focus on the experience itself, without worrying about the process.
The shaman, who knows well what is rapé, is also responsible for choosing the amount of rapé to administer and the strength with which it is blown into your nose.
As a general rule, it is advisable not to ask a stranger to use the Tepi pipe on you. Use the Kuripe instead if you are not with somebody you trust who has some experience.
Rapé is often used as a key part of Ayahuasca ceremonies.
Rapé tobacco benefits
What are the benefits of this medicine? It gives a sense of clarity because this is how it feels to me. Among the effects of rapé, this is the one that matters the most.
Some shamanic snuff can also be used to intensify the connection during tantra and tao exercises and as a preparation for more intense shamanic ceremonies such as Kambo and ayahuasca, and other plant ceremonies.
Other blends are meant as a tool to increase the energy of the body, sharpen the focus of the mind, and for cleansing, release negative energy, and grounding.
So, the rapé tobacco benefits are clearly dependent on the composition of the snuff. However, it is important not only to understand what is rapé but also how you want to use it.
With lighter doses and mixtures, the benefits may include a pleasant feeling in your nose, the opening of the nostrils in case of colds, and a sense of light detachment.
Right after taking it, I close my eyes for a few minutes to focus on my inner feelings or sensations. When I am administering to somebody else, I usually give her or him a light head massage afterward and focus Reiki energy on the forehead, where the rapé effect is felt the most.
The psychedelic blends of rapé can induce much deeper effects. It is crucial then to know which kind of snuff you are about to take: You don’t want to start flying if this was not part of the plan!
The side effects of rapé
Understanding what is rapé cannot exclude the side effects of this medicine. Different people react in different ways while taking shamanic tobacco. The most common side effect of rapé is a runny nose. Every shaman I know always has tissues ready to use.
It is a good practice to firmly blow your nose after being administered, to expel the powder from your nose.
In rare cases, vomiting can be another side effect of rapé. It has never happened to me, though.
See also: What are the effects of rapé
How long does rapé last?
it is difficult to say precisely how long rapé last. The duration of the effects of rapé can vary from person to person and depends on various factors, including the individual’s sensitivity, the specific blend of rapé used, the dosage, and the method of administration. Generally, the effects of rapé are relatively short-lived compared to other substances.
When snorted or blown through the nose, the initial effects of rapé can be felt almost immediately, typically within seconds to a few minutes. These effects may include a sensation of warmth or coolness, a tingling or numbing sensation, and an increased sense of clarity and focus. Some individuals may also experience a mild psychoactive or altered state of consciousness, accompanied by heightened sensory perception.
The acute effects of rapé typically last for a relatively short duration, generally ranging from 10 minutes to an hour. However, the residual effects, such as a sense of grounding, increased energy, or enhanced spiritual connection, may continue for a longer period. It is important to note that individual experiences can vary, and some people may feel the effects for a shorter or longer duration.
It is worth mentioning that the intensity and duration of rapé’s effects are also influenced by the dosage. Different rapé blends may have varying potencies, and using larger amounts may result in stronger and more prolonged effects. Additionally, individual tolerance and sensitivity can play a role in how long the effects of rapé are felt.
It is advisable to approach rapé with caution and respect, starting with small doses and gradually increasing if desired. When you understand what is rapé, it is also important to be mindful of the intentions and set, and setting in which rapé is used, as these factors can influence the overall experience and the duration of its effects.
So, is the shamanic snuff a drug?
What is rapè? Is it a drug? The answer really depends on which kind of shamanic snuff (aka Hapé, Rapeh) and what you personally consider a drug.
If you consider tobacco a drug, well: the shamanic snuff tobacco is also a drug. If it contains psychotropic substances, it is, as a matter of fact, a psychedelic drug.
But if you are into shamanism and you believe that sacred medicine can help you to reach a higher state of consciousness, so rapé is not a drug: it is instead a powerful tool.
In the Amazon, people use rapé both for medical and recreational use. The shamans administer it to cure people from a variety of diseases and to make them reach a better state of mind.
But among the various tribes, people also consume rapé recreationally.
Is rapé carcinogenic?
The ingredients used in rapé preparations can vary, and it is important to note that tobacco is a common component in many rapé blends. Tobacco itself contains various substances, including nicotine and carcinogens.
When using rapé, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with tobacco use. Prolonged and excessive use of tobacco, including through the administration of rapé, can increase the risk of developing various types of cancers, including lung, throat, mouth, and esophageal cancers.
However, it’s worth noting that rapé is typically used in small amounts and not consumed on a regular basis like smoking tobacco. Many traditional indigenous communities have used rapé for centuries in ceremonial and healing contexts without experiencing the same health risks associated with long-term tobacco use.
Is rapé legal?
To my understanding, many law authorities around the world don’t even know what is rapé yet, and they don’t consider rapé a drug.
Although, because snuff shamanic tobacco can be made with different herbs, it may be technically treated as a drug when it includes substances that are not allowed by the local law.
For instance, if rapé contains a large number of coca leaves, it can be treated as a drug in most of the countries where cocaine is illegal. But in Perù and Colombia, where possession and cultivation of coca plants are legal in certain quantities and under certain regulations, it can be allowed.
Some people I know have also investigated how to transport rapé between countries. The limitations of carrying shamanic tobacco across borders are pretty much the same as the ones which apply to normal tobacco.
European legislation allows you to carry up to 1 kg of tobacco through immigration. Similar rules apply to the US.
Is it addictive?
Yes, it is. If you understand what is rapé, you know that the main ingredient of rapé is nicotiana Rustica, a kind of tobacco that contains a higher level of nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive substance. So, if you ask what is rapé and if is it addictive, I say yes: it technically is.
Rapé is not to be consumed frequently. Taking rapé is a ceremony, and as a ceremonial substance, it has to be treated with awareness and respect.
Further reading: Is rapé addictive? (scientific evidence, first-hand experiences)
Where to buy rapé?
Where to buy rapé online? Buying rapé is not the easiest thing. The best option is to get it from a trusted source you already know, because, as I mentioned earlier, more and more people are selling rapé which is supposed to be produced in South America, but it is actually made elsewhere.
Rapé that comes from South America travels around the world in different ways. I know several people that buy it there and sell it in Europe, Asia, the US, and Australia. To buy rapé directly from a traveler is better because he or she will probably know more about the tobacco and the price will be lower too.
In case you are traveling in my area, I might help you to point you in the right direction. But if you are not and you still want some top qualità rapé, the Internet could be your best option.
To sum up, if you are wondering where to buy rapé look first for personal contact. If you don’t find it, try to get it online.
What do people think about Rapé?
Since when I started to share this story I have received a huge amount of opinions that do not always match my point of view.
Many ask what is rapé and how to use it, but with time I started to get more detailed feedback. Here are some of the most interesting.
Travis: Been using rapé for 6 years and never once felt addicted or compelled to use it habitually. I have never seen anyone get addicted to ceremonial use. I have seen people get addicted when they treat it like a toy though – something to pass the time or get a rush from. Always good to be careful. But I find if you treat tobacco right, it will take care of you in return.
Nikki: Speaking from personal experience, I have been using rapé for over a year and I never once felt that I “need” rapé. I might feel that some of it would be nice, but it’s not the snuff itself, but the atmosphere and the ritual itself that I enjoy. I can go days or weeks without even thinking of it. As a substance, it’s not addictive. But of course, any habit can become a pattern, and patterns are difficult to break.
Danesh: It absolutely is addictive. The amount of research on the neurobiological effect of tobacco surpasses any other substance and is conclusive. Method of administration matters, smoking being most habit-forming, but any other form of administration stimulates the brain to want more and develop tolerance. Any nicotine-containing product is habit-forming.
Don: Have done shamanic snuff only three times. In two of those, I was tripping on ayahuasca at a ceremony. For me, the rape was very shocking. I found myself humbly thanking all existence for 20 minutes following. Overall I loved the experience and it is NOT something I would do every day.
Kevin: By using B3 ( niacin) the flushing variety several hours before rapé it reduces the addictive aspect somewhat. B3 and nicotine are taken up by the same receptors in the body. If those receptors are in need of B3 and rapé is used then the nicotine gets absorbed. This is not good, especially over a long period of time. I am willing to bet that at one time there was a requirement to load up on B3-containing foods before using it.
What is rapé? I hope I gave you enough information for now. I will try to update this story as much as possible to share with you what I will learn next.
In the meantime, I will be happy to hear about your experiences. Feel free to use the comment section below.