Diplopterys cabrerana is one kind of hallucinogenic species from the huge plant family of Malpighiaceae. The plant organism is more widely known by the name “chaliponga”. Chaliponga also goes by other native names such as Chagroponga and Oco-yage as well as, in some pertinent areas of Ecuador, Chacruna. Chaliponga is a species of liana, or a rainforest vine, native to the countries of the South American continent. It is a tropical plant which possesses distinct and striking resemblance to Banisteriopsis caapi.
The plant is known to be the ayahuasca vine. In fact, its scientific name used to be Banisteriopsis rusbyana prior to its re-identification. A man named Henry Rusby is the eponym of the plant. He was an ethnobotanist by profession and thought to have been the first person to capture an ayahuasca ceremony on tape.
A sacred drink, the ayahuasca is an infusion ingested by shamans of the ancient people of the upper Amazon in South America to induce seeing of visions. The ayahuasca is a cocktail of two different plant extracts, both of which have psychotropic properties of varying degrees and potency. Because of the chaliponga’s resemblance to Banisteriopsis, the two are often and most commonly used together in ayahuasca infusions. Although chaliponga is already widely cultivated, the plant is still found in the wild in some specific areas of countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Colombia.
The psychoactive substance in chaliponga that induces the hallucinogenic effects to take place is called dimethyltryptamine (DMT). It is an alkaloid tryptamine that basically has the ability to affect brain functions and perceptions. It induces visions and gives shamans more focus necessary for meditation during rituals. DMT is a natural tryptamine occurring in a variety of plants, fungi, and animals. Ayahuasca infusions need to come in pairs because the DMT content of chaliponga is practically useless for oral ingestions.
For the substance to be active when meant for oral ingestion, presence of MAOI or monoamine oxidase inhibitor is required. MAOI is present in ayahuasca vine leaves and hence could activate the DMT content of chaliponga. The DMN content of chaliponga is estimated to be about 0.17% to1.74%.
Other than DMT, chaliponga also contains another psychotropic drug – 5-MeO-DMT. This substance is only found as a trace in ayahuasca infusions and not in large amounts or even in the amount percentage of DMT content in the chaliponga leaves. It is a very potent psychedelic drug which produces transient effects. Its effects are so short in extent. In fact, it is also called “Businessman’s Special”. Smaller amounts of bufotenine, another hallucinogen, is also found in the chaliponga leaves. The combination of the different psychotropic substances gives chaliponga its distinct effect although it is noted that it is not as strong as other hallucinogens.