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 and often has a tobacco base.
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 effects such as to induce visions, to increase energy, and to heighten the senses with the aromatic fragrance of the plants used in the blend.
Hapé is made from different medicinal plants for different purposes. There are several tribes that traditionally used hapé who have different ways of preparing the herbal snuff and often produce their own specific kinds of Hapé blend. 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. This practice is making its way around the world.