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Nu-nu is a psychoactive drug prepared and administered by Matsés people of the Amazon to prepare the men for a successful hunt.[1][2]


To prepare the snuff, the powdered roasted leaves of mapacho (N. rustica tobacco) are mixed with alkaline ashes of the inner bark of the mocambo tree (wild cacao, Theobroma bicolor), which, in the proper amount, improves the absorption of the drug while lessening the nasal irritation. The leaves and alkalizing ashes are ground into a very fine powder and mixed.


A Matsés man administers the prepared snuff by blowing the powder through a bamboo tube into the recipient's nostril. Under the effects of the drug, the recipient has visions of the location of game (such as peccary) in the surrounding rainforest. A Matsés man may receive as many as four doses of nu-nu in each nostril.[3]

Alternatively, nu-nu is also taken sublingually, to much milder effect.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clifton, Chas S. (1994). Shamanism and Witchcraft. St. Paul: Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 229. ISBN 9781567181500. OCLC 30027934.
  2. ^ Staff writer (14 June 1992). "Vision Quest". Newsweek. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  3. ^ Pérez, Javier (12 July 2008). "El turno del Nunu". Cocholate Viajero. Retrieved 8 June 2014.