About Hapé


Hapé (pronounced ha-PAY and also known as rapé, rapeh, or hapeh) is a blend of powdered medicinal herbs that the Indigenous of the Amazon basin have been consuming through the nose since pre-Columbian times.

Sharing hapé, or “passando rapé,” takes place in all aspects of Amazonian life. Hapé is used in formal rituals, including rites of puberty, initiation, and festivals; but it is also taken simply while hanging out with friends.

Medicinal hapé is traditionally consumed in a ritualistic way. This is because it is believed that the act of sharing hapé connects you with the forces of Nature and allows you to receive the healing and blessings of sacred, medicinal plants.

Depending on the specific combination medicinal plants used in the hapé blend, the experience can range from fragrant, to stimulating, to completely psychoactive.

The Art of Making Sacred Hapé

It’s a laborious process to make hapé, and hapé production is typically done in a ceremonial context, from gathering the sacred plants to cooking and processing the medicine. Traditionally, the person making the hapé blend needs to be an experienced shaman with thorough knowledge about the medicinal plants of the forest.

In addition to having broad knowledge of the medicinal plants of the Amazon rainforest – one of the most biodiverse regions in the world – the shaman also needs to know precisely which part of each plant can be used. For example, the root bark of a plant can have a different purpose and effect than the leaves or the seeds of the same plant.

This sacred preparation of medicinal hapé is a process that may take weeks. Usually, the shaman of the tribe – the Pajé – works under a strict diet and in a trance-state when endlessly pounding and mixing the hapé herbs.

The other members of the tribe are responsible for the collection of hapé plants. The plants will either be sun-dried or roasted and are filtered several times through a fine cloth and then mixed with other ingredients to obtain the final batch.

The Healing Properties of Medicinal Hapé

Hapé can be mixed also with other mind altering plants, like coca, jurema, or yopo and can potentiate the healing capacity of other plants, like ayahuasca. Furthermore, hapé helps releasing emotional, physical, and spiritual illnesses and eases negativity and confusion, enabling a thorough grounding of the mind.

Likewise, shamans use hapé to re-align with their energy channels and with their higher self, and to intensify their connection with the world and the universe. In addition, hapé paves the way to detoxify the body and cleans out all excessive mucus, toxins and bacteria.

Medicinal hapé is also used as a cure for certain diseases, sores, wounds, and as a defense against insects and also as an analgesic and narcotic substance that eases fatigue, pain, hunger, and thirst. There are even special hapé blends that are made to counteract influenza and other diseases.

Most of the hapé blends increases the brain blood flow and affects the release of several stimulatory neurotransmitter leading to antidepressant and stimulatory effects – thereby heightening your focus, presence, and intuition and opening the body to higher communication and holistic thinking and understanding.

Determining Hapé Dosage

Aerodynamically, it’s considerably harder to overdose yourself with self-administered hapé via a kuripe. However, if you have a regular practice of consuming hapé on your own, it’s good to be mindful that it doesn’t turn into an addiction or personal vice. When you are receiving a soplada in a ritualistic way, it’s easier to treat the experience as a ceremony. Alone, it’s easier to treat the hapé as a substance.

For beginners, start with a pea-sized amount of hapé for each nostril. You can gradually increase the dose as you get more confident and experienced.

Ultimately, to fully experience the intensity of the hapé, it’s much better to have a friend blow you than to blow yourself. But if you don’t have a friend around who knows how to deliver a hapé soplada, here are step-by-step instructions on how you can self-administer medicinal hapé.


How to Self-Administer Hapé – Step-by-Step 

Here are the steps to self-administering hapé through a Kuripe:

Step 1: Find an appropriate place to take your hapé.

Step 2: Ground yourself into the present moment and focus on your intention for this prayer. What information are you hoping to receive from the plant medicine. What guidance are you seeking from the spirits of the Forest?

Step 3: Recite your hapé chant of prayer as you measure out the amount of hapé you want to consume on the palm of your hand.

Step 4: Load up the nose end of your hapé applicator with half the amount on your palm. Tap the V end on a hard surface to remove any stuck hapé or air pockets.

Step 5: Take a deep breath, place the mouth end of your Kuripe into your mouth and fit the nose end snugly into your nostril.

Step 6: Lean forward a little, close your eyes (so you don’t blow hapé into them) and forcibly blow the hapé into your nostril.

Step 7: Take a moment to experience the first dosage of hapé. Do you need more, do you need less?

Step 8: When you are ready, load up the nose end of your Kuripe with the rest of the hapé on your palm. Tap the V end on a hard surface to remove any stuck hapé or air pockets.

Step 9: Take a deep breath, place the mouth end of your Kuripe into your mouth and fit the nose end snugly into the opposite nostril.

Step 10: Lean forward a little, close your eyes (so you don’t blow hapé into them) and forcibly blow the hapé into your nostril.

Step 11: Take a moment to experience the hapé. You can move the force of the hapé through your channels with your fingers. Place your fingers on your middle fingers on the top of the bridge of your nose, move the energy of the hapé up your forehead and and run all your fingers along the top and sides of your heads. Brush the energy down the back of your head, along your shoulders and off into the air. You can snap your fingers to clear any old, stuck or negative energy that is being moved out of your field.

Step 12: Ground into the present moment and allow your consciousness to connect to Nature, to the healing plants in the medicine you just consumed. Lean forward to minimize hapé backdrip. Feel the ground with your hands.


Brazilian Tribes that Make Rapé

Most of the well-known rapé blends come from Brazil and are named after their tribe, regardless of what's in the blend. In other words, you may have several different rapé blends, each containing different plants (and thus having different effects) all named with the same name.

Imagine a winery that produces several types of red, white and rose wine every year and having all of this wine called by the name of the winery. It's both tragic and nonsensical, but this is where we are. Hopefully, as the international rapé market matures, we will begin to see more discernment among rapé enthusiasts as well as merchants, so that more attention is paid to naming the blends.

Another critical piece of information that is lost in the supply chain is the name of the rapé maker. Within a tribe, you have different people who make rapé, with different levels of skill and knowledge. Some are shamans, some are apprentices, others are enthusiasts. The primary difference between a tribal blend that was amazing and another of the same recipe that was so-so, is typically the skill of the person who made it.

Batches of rapé that are made following the same recipe by the same person might also turn out differently. This is because many different factors affect the potency of the plants used to make each blend - how old the plant was, when it was harvested, the quality of the soil, the amount of rain that year, etc - so that every batch is unique... just like wine. If you are a rapé enthusiast, here are some of the Brazilian tribes who make rapé and some of the plants you might find included in their blends.


The Apurinã tribe belong to the Aruak linguistic group and consists of approximately 2000 - 4000 members that live in over 27 indigenous territories along the Purus River and its tributaries in the Brazilian Amazon. They are a migratory tribe, which is what accounts for their wide distribution over a large region.

In the world of rapé, the Apurinã are best known for their signature, bright green, tobacco-free rapé, made from the powdered leaves of a plant that they call “Awiry”.

Awiry rapé has an eye-opening effect that elicits a wakefulness that is free of dizziness or purging that some of the stronger tobacco-based blends can bring.

Because Awiry grows close to the river, this rapé can only be made in the dry season when the river is low. Awiry is traditionally inhaled through a straight tube, a unique snuffing style that differs from other snuff varieties that are blown up the nose.

No other tribes make a rapé blend like this. It is a great rapé blend for a beginner.

Huni Kuin

The Huni Kuin, also known as the Kaxinawá, belong to the Pano linguistic group and inhabit a region that spans the tropical forest of eastern Peru, across the Andean foothills and into the states of Acre and southern Amazonas, covering the areas of the Upper Juruá and Purus, and in the Javari Valley. They share territory with three other tribes, the Ashaninka, the Shanenawa, and the Madija.

They place a high value on their extended family structures, while the shaman and the tribal leader share the guidance of the community. Rapé blends made by the Huni Kuin are strong.

Huni Kuin rapé blends may include ashes of the Murici tree (Byrsonima crassifolia), which is a plant used in traditional folk medicine to clear energies that accumulate in the lower abdomen. Another common rapé blend might include Cumaru de Cheiro (Amburana cearensis) seeds, and is used as medicine for respiratory problems.


The Kuntanawa tribe belong to the Pano linguistic family who live in Acre, Brazil, close to the Peruvian border. The Kuntanawa were assumed to have been exterminated owing to the expansion of rubber production in the upper reaches of Amazonian tributaries. However, in recent years, underwent a process of cultural re-invention and, with the help of a local anthropologist Mariana Pantoja, were able to achieve recognition as a tribal group.

Pedro, the chief, and his son Haru Kuntanawa make beautiful, aromatic rapé blends. Blends might include Chamba or Anador, which is is a traditional herbal medicine used to alleviate different pains, such as headaches and muscular pains. Alfavaca da Mata another herb that the Kuntanawa use in their rapé, which helps clear 'Panema,' a general negative energy that brings sickness, unease and bad luck in daily life.


The Nukini are a tribe of a little over 600 people that belong to the Pano linguistic group and are found in the Juruá Valley of Acre Brazil, close to the Serra do Divisor (Dividing Mountain) national park, in a region flanked by the Peruvian and Bolivian borders. Their small population is a result of a devastating history of dispossession, violence and exploitation since the mid-19th century at the hands of the rubber industry.

Nukini rapé is believed to contain feminine power, as the majority of the plants that are used for making medicines are gathered, and even formulated by the women of the tribe. The Nukini like to make their rapé with tobacco powder and Parika ashes, which adds strength, and blend in other herbs such as Mulatinha, used for relaxation, or Trevo Cumaru, used to treat respiratory issues.


The Yawanawá are a tribe of roughly 900 people from the Pano linguistic group, who occupy 8 villages along the Gregoria river, outside of Cruzeiro do Sol, Acre, between Peru and Bolivia. Its community is, in fact, a conjunction of people that includes members from other groups: Shawãdawa (Arara), Iskunawa, Rununawa, Sainawa, and Katukina.

This configuration is the result of a dynamic common to many Pano groups – alliances through marriage, women captured during warfare conflicts, the migration of families – and a series of historical events, like the arrival of non-Indians (including epidemics and demographic alterations).

The Yawanawá refer to their rapé as “Rume” and their most common rapé blend is made with ash from the bark of the Tsunú tree. Tsunú is uplifting and strong, and may make your eyes water or cause you to break out in sweat.



Text credit: https://entheonation.com