Published on November 30, 2012 by Casey
Capi (also spelled Caapi, Kaapi, or Kápi) is the common name of an Amazonian vine that is sacred to many indigenous South American tribes. Chewing the vines (which are psychedelic in nature) is considered to bring spiritual epiphany. Capi is the main ingredient in ayahuasca, a psychoactive drink used by South American Indians for healing, purifying, and visionary rituals. The name caapi may have originated in the Guahibo language. Arawakan names for the same plant include suipa, thuipa, and xuipa. The Panoan tribes call it nixi (also spelled nishi) or nixi pae, the Ashaninka call it kamarampi, and the Tucanoan tribes call it yagé (also spelled yajé.)
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Caapi vines play an important role in indigenous religions and are also seen in this aspect in South American legends, being chewed by shamans or medicine men before they enter a trance or bestowing supernatural powers on people who partake of them. In some Amazonian tribes, jaguars are said to have received their powers by chewing on caapi vines.