Brunfelsia grandiflora is a tree-like shrub indigenous to the tropical regions of South America, ranging from Venezuela to Bolivia. It is especially abundant in Brazil and on the Caribbean Islands. In the wild this plant can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall, and produces many dark green long oval leaves that will grow up to 12 inches (30cm) long. This shrub produces many ornamental flowers and has long been cultivated for its aesthetic beauty. The flowers are thin, trumpet-like and will grow up to 4 inch long, producing five petals and varying in color from lavender, dark blue and violet to light purple and white (Ratsch 1998, 112).
TRADITIONAL USE: The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have used Manaca for ritual healing ceremonies, and in magical and religious observances. The shaman of the Kofan Indian tribe drink a tea made from the roots and root bark of the plant to see into the body of an ill patient. The plant allows them to understand the nature of the ailment and to help heal the patient. Many tribes throughout the Amazonian River basin add Brunfelsia grandiflora leaves, roots and root bark to their Ayahuasca brews, to produce a brew that is blessed by the plant and animal spirits. In Peru, the roots are sometimes taken as a plant teacher for a period of one month. It is said that the older, thick roots are toxic, whereas the young roots that are 1.5cm or under are safe for use. A dose generally consists of two or three roots (Plowman 1977).