Traditional Shipibo Plant Dietas
An ancient system of Amazonian plant-spirit healing, a master plant dieta is the next step for people who have previously attended an ayahuasca retreat. This profoundly deep healing work combines ayahuasca ceremonies also with a master plant or tree, reaching into and cleaning the taproots of traumas and self-limiting programs, that affect us on physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual levels.
The Shipibo healing system moves significantly outside of the box of the western, biomedical understanding of healthcare, working on the blockages, imbalances, and misalignments in the energetic matrix, reaching into the roots of personal and ancestral traumas, offering lasting and ongoing deep healing. Within this system, there are two general types of dietas; healing and learning dietas.
A master plant dieta is a traditional process of meeting and connecting with the spirits of the plants, enabling the specific plant spirit to directly share its teachings and wisdom, and imbue and embed its healing medicine within you. By creating a respectful bond with a plant spirit you ensure their guidance and assistance during your healing journey.
Each master plant has a living spirit within, with its own unique gifts. They are healers and teachers who become alive inside of you through the dieta process, called sama in Shipibo. Initially, when you are new to traditional medicine, all dietas are for healing until your body, mind, and soul are sufficiently prepared and purified. The dieta process is very personal and different for everyone, taking you through many challenges yet ultimately resulting in an experience of wholeness and alignment.
By dieting a master plant or tree, you build a relationship with the spirit (ibo in Shipibo) that analyses the biography of your life then helps you to recognize the errors of your ways, blindspots, judgements, projections, the roots of your pain, where your life is out of balance, and the source of your psycho-emotional struggles. Deep awareness of who and what you really are flowers from within during and after the process of a dieta.
Through showing commitment, devotion, and respect to the plant, coupled with trusting and surrendering to the process, a profound shift in your relationship with yourself arises. When you have established a connection with the plant, it then becomes an inner guide and ally that supports you for the rest of your life.
Dieta Centers: Niwe Rao Xobo & Shipibo Rao
We have been blessed with the presence and expertise of one of the most recognized and powerful lineages of Shipibo healers since 2009, the family of Maestra Ynes Sanchez Gonzales. Although we do not offer dietas at the Temple, if you are keen to learn and work with the plants on a deeper level than an ayahuasca retreat, we wholeheartedly recommend undertaking a dieta at one of the family’s two centers in the Pucallpa area.
Maestra Ynes and her family offer traditional plant dietas at their center Niwe Rao Xobo in San Francisco, near Pucallpa, on the Ucayali river. Ynes’s son, Maestro José Sanchez Lopez, has his own center in Pucallpa, Shipibo Rao, where he is offering different types of traditional dietas, also for much longer durations.
Please get in touch with the centers directly via their websites for more information and to schedule a dieta.
What is the Dieta process like?
A dieta consists of at least two weeks in the jungle in full or partial isolation drinking a master plant that the healer chooses for you. After your first ayahuasca ceremony, the plant will be administered to you throughout the dieta period along with ayahuasca ceremonies. You will have the support of a facilitator for translation purposes and will be attended by the healer in the administration of your designated plant.
It is a delicate and complex process that requires a strict system of discipline, including abstinence from certain energies before, during, and afterwards, including; sexual activity, alcohol, drugs, red meat, and pork. Food eaten during the dieta is minimal and bland, without salt and sugar. For certain periods, you will also be required to honor a dry fast (time with no food or drink).
During the diet, the dietero will be encouraged to be in silence and isolation as much as possible, which supports you in the opportunity to be fully present with your plant. The more you remain by yourself, the more your plant will be available to you. Its energy will blossom within you, deepening and accelerating your process in surprising ways. Social isolation and the highly restricted diet stimulate the oneiric state and enhance your dreams. It is through dreaming and visionary ayahuasca states that the healers have learned how to heal others, and are given certain songs (ikaros) by the spirit of the plant. These ikaros are fundamental tools in their healing work.
The work with the plants can be challenging – they mainly teach through daily tests and dreams. Your desire for healing and the depth of your commitment is the drive that will help you overcome the challenges that arise. The more that you practice trust, the more space you will open for the plant to work on you. As you encounter and pass through challenges that arise in the journey of the dieta, you open the door to precious teachings, gifts, and experiences. We often experience a profound freedom from what has been blocking us in our lives, and an opening to new dimensions and new possibilities for ourselves.
Master plant teacher, Bobinsana
Since 2009, the Temple has been gifted with the presence and expertise of one of the most recognized and powerful lineages of Shipibo healers from Pucallpa. In 2016, Maestra Ynes Sanchez and her family built their own family-run center in San Francisco, Peru, near Pucallpa, on the Ucayali river. Since Niwe Rao Xobo was established, we have been honored to support them raise visibility about their extraordinary healing programs.
For generations, the family of Ynez Sanchez, with her daughters, Laura and Lila, and son, Jose (also the owner of his own dieta center, Shipibo Rao), have been transmitting and practising the wisdom and medicine of their ancestors. Through their deep and intimate connection with the plants and trees of the Peruvian Amazon, their sacred songs, and overwhelming care, they have been instrumental in the healing and transformational experiences of hundreds of guests of the Temple. Acknowledging the immense value that they have all added to our work through their expertise, love, and passion for plant medicine, we are privileged to support them as they offer their own programs at their center, Niwe Rao Xobo.
Niwe Rao Xobo, Shipibo Plant Dieta Healing Center
For thousands of years, traditional medicines and shamanic practices have been the only system for the protection and maintenance of individual and community health in the Amazon Rainforest. The Onanyabo (meaning those who have wisdom), traditional healers of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe, and their encyclopedic knowledge of medicinal plants, have played a fundamental role in the physical, mental, and spiritual health of their people. It is evident that the wide diversity of medicinal plants of the Amazon, with complex bioenergetic and spiritual properties that are unknown in the West, offer us highly effective treatments for a wide range of psycho-emotional conditions and physical diseases.
A fundamental aspect of Shipibo shamanic practice is learning how to live in complete harmony with the natural world. The healers at Niwe Rao Xobo want to inspire others to benefit from the practice of dieting the master plant teachers that nature so generously and lovingly offers. For the Shipibo people, the plants of the forest are conscious, sentient and filled with wisdom; they feel, communicate, and have the power to teach us. These are the spirits that Shipibo healers see and work with during ayahuasca ceremonies, which are the foundation and source of their sophisticated healing system.
This is a wisdom path; a journey of deep healing and self-discovery that offers us the opportunity to know who we truly are, beyond the pains and illusions of separation that have divided our species for many thousands of years.
What is Niwe Rao Xobo?
Niwe Rao Xobo is a Shipibo owned and run center of traditional spiritual healing. Their practice is based on the experience of the wise men and women of the Shipibo-Conibo culture of Peru. This family center gives people the opportunity to interact with authentic and highly experienced Shipibo healers, and to experience the benefits of traditional medicine and Shipibo shamanism.
People afflicted with diverse physical and mental health problems are offered the opportunity to deepen your healing and learning journey, to rediscover yourself, and your birthright to experience peace, tranquillity, and joy in life. Niwe Rao Xobo offers this through dieting powerful plant teachers in the traditional Shipibo tradition, following the teachings of the Shipibo spiritual masters and ancestors who have walked this path for countless generations. They also work with different rituals of energetic and spiritual cleansing such as flower baths and massages through the dieting process.
About Maestra Ynes’s Family
They are an indigenous Shipibo family with a wealth of knowledge about natural medicine and plant-spirit shamanism acquired through oral and energetic transmission from their ancestors. They are called to share the knowledge that was given to them so that people from the West also have the opportunity to live in a different way. Their medicine helps dissolve the illusion of separation and selfishness, promotes reconnection with nature, and helps in the restoration and preservation of a healthy inner and outer environment.
It is their intention to promote the revival and revaluation of their ancestral knowledge regarding the safe, effective, and responsible use of ayahuasca and medicinal plants. They believe this to be important for the development of intercultural health, healthy relationships amongst us all, and for the future of our species.
If you are curious if a dieta is right for you, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Niwe Rao Xobo. They offer a consultation as part of their application to ensure your safety, address any concerns, and help you to create the framework for your dieta process.
Maestra Ynes Sanchez Gonzales and her family
We are truly blessed to work very closely with Maestro José Sanchez Lopez (son of Maestra Ynes Sanchez), who offers dietas at his center, Shipibo Rao, in Pucallpa, Peru. Maestro José began dieting master plants at 10 years old and now carries 27 years of experience working with locals and foreigners, in-person and remotely.
From the experience we have gained over the last 15 years holding ayahuasca retreats at the Temple, we have consistently seen that José is blessed with an extraordinary gift of healing. If you already have experience working with ayahuasca and are looking to take a deeper dive into your healing process, we highly recommend a master plant dieta with Maestro José.
Reviving Ancient Healing Practices – Shipibo Rao, Traditional Plant Dieta Center
Shipibo Rao is a traditional Shipibo plant-spirit healing & apprenticeship center and an ecological reserve run by Maestro José Lòpez Sànchez, alongside his family and team. He offers profound healing work combining ayahuasca ceremonies with master plant dietas in the Peruvian Amazon. Jose’s work focuses both on shorter-term dietas of two weeks and also longer dietas from one to twelve months, offering the opportunity for serious seekers to take your journey of self-discovery and transformation to the very deepest levels possible.
For those who have carried out a sufficient amount of healing dietas, Maestro Jose also offers apprenticeships that last for many years, providing guidance and support to his students both on dieta at Shipibo Rao and afterwards via telephone as the process unfolds. Many of the Temple staff are honored and blessed to be guided by Maestro Jose, carrying out long term apprenticeships with him in order to deepen our relationship with the plant spirits of the Amazon, further our own healing processes, and constantly improve our ability to provide the deepest levels of care and knowledge for our guests. This is how we ‘walk our talk’ at the Temple!
Located far from the hustle and bustle of the city of Pucallpa, Shipibo Rao is located on forty hectares of land surrounded by some old-growth rainforest. This land was originally home to a group of high-level Shipibo healers who planted many medicinal plants and trees generations ago. Their spirits are still present on the land, supporting the sacred healing processes that take place in this very special location.
Shipibo Rao Offerings
We offer four types of traditional dietas, starting from two weeks, up to a year.
Group Healing Dieta:
From one week to a month, including the accompaniment of an experienced western facilitator, the daily care of Shipibo healers, a vomitivo tea, flower baths, steam baths, additional plant treatments, guided communion with one master plant, five ayahuasca ceremonies, individual consultations, traditional dieta food, integration, and post dieta follow up. Group size up to ten people.
Long Healing and Alignment Dieta:
From one to four months, these are powerful, highly effective, traditional dietas, only for people with a minimum of 14 days dieta experience who are willing to seriously take responsibility for their self-development and personal transformation. These will help resolve deeply rooted situations, on all levels.
The long healing and alignment dieta can lead to learning dietas, following a deep and sincere calling to heal others. They can last from one month up to a year, requiring many dietas to master the art of plant-spirit curanderismo.
Distance Healing Surrogate Dieta:
High-level Shipibo healers traditionally worked on their patients through surrogates before working with them directly. They were then able to work on the imbalances and misalignments in their patient’s energetic matrix, providing deep healing without the need for the patient to drink ayahuasca or be physically present in ceremony. As many are unable to travel at this time or are otherwise unable to make the journey to Peru, Maestro José and his team are now reviving this ancestral practice.
Maestro José is the driving force of Shipibo Rao, and the son of the legendary Shipibo Onanya (master plant-spirit healer) Maestra Ynes Sànchez Gonzales and Maestro David Lopèz, coming from a lineage of powerful and well-respected healers dating back hundreds of years.
Having apprenticed extensively first under his paternal grandfather, a Meraya (highest level Shipibo healer), his uncle, as well as his mother since the age of seven years old, he received the wisdom of his ancestors and sophisticated practices of Shipibo plant-spirit healing.
Maestro José assumes his role of service with benevolence and tender strength. His work is offered with love and gratitude for the medicine and plants that guide him. He respectfully bridges the modern world with traditional Amazonian medicine and has worked with hundreds of people in local rainforest communities and in ayahuasca centers throughout South America over the last 15 years.
If you are curious if a dieta is right for you, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Shipibo Rao. They offer a consultation as part of their application to ensure your safety, address any concerns, and help you to create the framework for your dieta process.
The maloka at Shipibo Rao
In the Amazon, many medicinal plants and trees are considered by traditional shamanic healers as Master Teachers. When properly guided through the ancient technology of plant dieta (sama in Shipibo), these plants offer spiritual knowledge through dreams, visions, perceptions and intuitions. They give us a deep introspective view of ourselves and of life in general.
Each plant has a different energy, offering healing, teaching, purification and cleansing. Master plants enable us to access an inner dimension where we are able to learn about ourselves in ways that are not available in day to day life, improving mental acuity, building inner strength and self-confidence, realigning our body, mind, heart and soul, and supporting the reclamation and remembrance our true nature.
Bobinsana (Pfaffia iresinoides)
Traditional Uses: Bobinsana is a woody shrub, 4 to 6 meters high, with small bipinnate leaves and colorful brush flowers. It grows on the banks of rivers and is resistant to floods and strong currents of water. The spirit of this plant comes from water.
In the Shipibo tradition, Bobinsana is a highly respected master plant teacher with diverse medicinal properties. Considered a very creative feminine plant, Bobinsana’s teachings are focused on healing wounds of the heart from past relationships to release trauma, intense grief, loss and sadness. Healing deep wounds from childhood, romantic relationships, or psychological/physical abuse, the participant experiences a greater capacity to feel love, empathy, and compassion for oneself and others.
By reinforcing the brain’s nervous system, Bobinsana helps relieve stress, tension, intense thoughts and worries accumulated from heavy workloads. She helps to strengthen and protect your energy field to create a resilient fortress around you when in challenging environments. This also supports any meditation practice or energy work, such as massage and reiki.
The Shipibo say that Bobinsana has a great love for beauty and the arts, and so helps to activate the participant’s creative channels for greater self-expression. She helps to open the voice and connect the participant with plant spirits to receive songs. Bobinsana is a unique spirit who showers you with love and affection, illuminating the path of beauty and grace.
On the physical level, Bobinsana heals bone pain and rheumatism, arthritis and colds. It also helps you to be more resistant to cold weather. A decoction of the roots is also used to treat uterine cancer and as a depurative. A decoction of the whole plant (leaves, stems, branches, and flowers) is prepared as a general energizing tonic.
Marosa (Pfaffia iresinoides)
Traditional Uses: Marosa is a small herbaceous stem plant, with tiny white flowers. In the Shipibo culture, Marosa is considered “onanyati rao,” or (roughly translated) a “plant to become a healer.” Marosa is also known as “Incaico,” or the sacred plant of the Incas. In traditional Shipibo medicine it is used to cleanse the astral body and develop powers of premonition.
This plant works in the realm of love. She is good at balancing masculine and feminine energies and restoring the nervous system to a state of rest. She helps you attract benevolent people with good intentions and helps you to set healthy boundaries with people in your life who create or possess chaotic or challenging energy for you.
Bobinsana helps you to love yourself, increase your self-esteem, and become more aware of the beauty in life. You learn to truly love yourself and others. She is also an expert in healing long-standing conditions of the female reproductive system.
Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica)
Traditional Uses: Tobacco is a magical and powerful plant. From tobacco, chopped “mapacho” is made to be smoked in pipes or wrapped in paper. Mapacho is one of the main tools of a plant-spirit shamanic healer, who uses it during ayahuasca ceremonies to clear and protect the ceremonial space and to enhance the strength of his healing work. After ikaros are sung, the patient is blown with mapacho in order to infuse and seal the astral body with the effects of the healing.
On the physical level, tobacco is a good medicine for people who are physically weak or chronically tired and helps resolve stress and migraines. On the mental and emotional level, tobacco makes one stronger and more decisive. It heals sorrow and releases and aligns blocked emotions. On the spiritual level, tobacco is also a powerful protector.
Mapacho also helps you to connect to the realm of the plant spirits. Like any other plant, but especially with mapacho – the more you connect with his spirit, the more he connects with you. Most people who work regularly with medicine, form a very close bond with mapacho, built on trust and a deep respect for his support.
Traditional Uses: The highly respected Niwe Rao, predominantly works with cerebral functioning and strengthening your energetic field.
The dieter must have previous dieting experience and have attained a strong alignment of heart and mind, as it gives much power to one’s word and volition. This is a highly effective plant to improve sensory perceptions, attention, concentration, cognition, memory, and intuition. The plant fortifies the dieter’s energetic field by charging your energetic channels.
This is an invaluable master plant teacher for healers and energy workers. Serving as a connector to the spiritual realm, Niwe Rao communicates through intuition to help diagnostics, how to work with medicine, and how to treat/eliminate illnesses. He has great power to connect you to receive songs from plant spirits.
Renaquilla (Clusia sp.)
Traditional Uses: Renaquilla is a large plant sometimes mistaken as a tree. It has diverse medicinal properties but perhaps the most well known is its ability to heal obstacles in relationships. In physical form, renaquilla grows by wrapping itself around a host tree over many years, eventually becoming one with its host. Its energetic medicine takes a similar approach helping to hold together, bind, unite, and strengthen issues that have become ‘broken’. It helps to regenerate bones when there are open fractures and its resin has healing properties when applied to wounds.
The Shipibo love to diet this plant because of its powerful teachings, specifically supporting the resolution of relationship issues between partners and family members, bringing unity and connection through its medicine. Renaquilla assists with conditions relating to the circulatory system, the reproductive system, hernias, bruises, prolapses, dislocations, and is prescribed for women as a strengthener.
Its bark is effective to cure issues caused by the cold as it gives corporal heat. Traditional Amazonian medicine often relates many physical diseases to too much cold or too much heat in the body. With people coming to the Amazon from cold climates, they recognize that many westerners suffer with excess cold within their system.
Piñon Colorado (Jatropha gossypifolia)
Traditional Uses: Piñon Colorado is a small shrub with webbed leaves that are dark reddish in color. It is a medicinal plant used to cure many different diseases. It is also used to purify the body of negative and unwanted energies, often administered as a powerful ingredient in cleansing baths. It also helps to accelerate healing, while relieving physical and emotional pain by offering tranquillity and rest.
On the mental level, it brings peace of mind and empowers your word. On the emotional level, it relieves stress and depression by providing peace and relaxation. Piñon Colorado is a relatively easy plant to diet as it is not very demanding. The spirit of the plant is manageable, gentle yet with powerful healing qualities.
Tamamuri (Brosimum acutifolium)
Traditional Uses: Tamamuri is a large canopy tree of the Amazon rainforest that grows 15 to 25 m high. It produces a white to light pink latex when the smooth trunk bark is wounded or the leaf stems are broken from the branches.
The Shipibo use the bark medicinally (in decoctions) for gastro-intestinal disorders, to purify the blood and to regulate the nervous system. This medicinal tree is used most commonly to work on the digestive system. The digestive system is not only responsible for the digestion of food, but is connected to and plays a huge role in the “digestion of emotions” and carries an immense amount of energy from past experiences that have been “undigested.” Tamamuri has a profound effect on treating physical digestive disorders as well as clearing negative energies and emotional traumas trapped in the body.
Tamamuri will suit anyone who has trouble connecting to, expressing or processing their emotions. Tamamuri is particularly good at relieving deep-rooted fears and teaches a more mature approach to one’s emotional life. The earthy quality of tamamuri leaves the dieter feeling grounded with a deepened connection to the earth and the universe.
In herbal medicine systems in Peru, Tamamuri is considered a pain-reliever, anti-inflammatory, blood cleanser, aphrodisiac and tonic. It is used for arthritis and rheumatism (including rheumatoid arthritis), muscle pain and injuries, for intestinal worms, anemia, vertigo and loss of balance, to help regulate the nervous system, as a general tonic for debility, for fungal and yeast infections, gastric ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as for syphilis.
Credit for the majority of the above content on Tamamuri to Raintree.com’s page on Tamamuri.
Shihuahuaco (Dipteryx micranth)
Traditional Uses: Shihuahuaco is a large tree that reaches a height of about 40 meters and can measure 100cm in diameter. In mature trees, the trunk is cylindrical.
The spirit of shihuahuaco is one of the highest in the Shipibo tradition, with one of the most highly evolved plant consciousnesses. A participant normally needs to diet a few plants before dieting this more challenging tree, as the dieter is tested with their shadow aspects. This powerful spirit focuses more on the mind; cleansing undesirable habitual thoughts and calming mental activity. It helps anyone with a strong character, who may have experienced hardship, or who may carry heavy emotions like shame, guilt, remorse, anger or paranoia.
Shihuahuaco helps to protect against oppressive environments and strengthens the auric field to prevent dense energies from entering the body—great for sensitive people who are affected by other energies. This highly respected master teacher will support people working with yoga therapies, energy work, or anyone exposed to strong energies and is known to free a person from hatred and rage, making one mentally stronger.
Chiric Sanango (Brunfelsia grandiflora)
Traditional Uses: Chiric Sanango is a shrub that can reach up to 5 meters tall. In Amazonian cultures, Chiric Sanago is a plant that is taken to build physical strength and not feel cold during fishing activities and timber extraction. It is said that the man who takes Chiric Sanango is strong, sexually powerful, can carry heavy objects, can easily resist the inclemency of the weather, and combats laziness. Chiric Sanango also fights rheumatism, arthritis, Leishmaniasis, and prevents the flu.
Chiric Sanango’s spirit presents itself in the form of an elder wise-man, affectionately referred to as abuelo sanango. With his strict yet compassionate nature, he focuses on balancing and restoring the three brains—stomach, heart, brain connection. His unique medicine transforms our internal landscape by aligning us with our truth, strengthening our soul connection, increasing self-esteem and self-love. Through this healing, we experience a deeper sense of self, with renewed confidence to fully express our individuality.
Chiric’s unique medicinal properties help balance serotonin levels, helping those suffering from severe grief, depression, and anxiety. It will benefit anyone who feels lost or disconnected from themselves and others, as well as anyone suffering deep insecurities, or stuck in egoic patterns of thought, desires, and beliefs. A true heart-opener and warming energy, you will gain a greater understanding of the earth as your home, the connectedness between all living things, and the universal love that binds us all.