The San Pedro cactus has been documented for a minimum of around 3000 years. Engraved stone carvings, at Chavin, dates to1300 B.C. They portray a figure holding sections of the cactus. Representations of San Pedro also show up on Moche ceramics, Nazca urns and Chimu ceramics. Establishing continuity between pre-Columbian use of this cactus and present day use is challenging. When the European explorers first landed in South America, they brought over with them their religious texts, which dramatically changed the indigenous cultures. European Christianity colonised the original region where the use of Huachuma indigenously evolved. This introduction caused a change in practise for the indigenous people, and under such pressures, their spiritual practices involving the use of Huachuma was transformed, by the doctrine of the Orthodoxy. In fact, the name "San Pedro" refers to Saint Peter of The New Testament, who is considered to be the keeper of the gates to Heaven, it is an appropriate label, for it opens the ‘doors of perception’ and in the words of Huxley; ‘seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation-the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence”. Huachuma (Trichocereus Pachanoi, T.peruvianus and other species) has been used for over 3,000 years in Native S. American history, as a sacred, holistic healer and teacher plant. It is continually used throughout Peru, but has turned into a commodity for the perception of a lot of people, losing some of the archaic shamanic consciousness of the ancients. The earliest known depiction of Huachuma and its application as a mesa for exploration into spirit realms and universal consciousness is found at the circular plaza of the Old Temple at Charvin de Huantar in the northern highlands of Peru that dates back to circa 3500 b.c. The Huachuma of Southern American are moss green with slight blue wax in colour, they have very short, light yellow-brown needles that are evenly spaced along each rib.
The San Pedro Cactus or Huachuma (pronounced Huwa: chuma) is a member of the Cactaceae plant family that contains the psychedelic alkaloid Mescaline. Its close relative, Peyote, shares a similar history and an inter-related spiritual and medicinal usage.
Peyote, the sacred of the Huichols and the Kiowa Indians of New Mexico, grows throughout Mexico and the American Southwest, and has been consumed for thousands of years for spiritualistic ceremonies.
Huachuma is the sacred cactus of South America, known by many different names by the native peoples of the coast of the sierra of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Huachuma, is native to several places in South America. It is found in Southern Ecuador at the Chanchan valley ranging from 6,000-9,000 feet. In the Huancabamba valley and in Quebrada Santa Cruz, it grows at 10,800 ft. Huachuma grows naturally best at these conditions, but it is cultivated all over Peru and in other places in South America, you can grow it in your own garden without problem, if left in the shade it doesn’t grow quickly, but results in higher alkaloid concentration.
Huachuma has a barrel like body, 5”-20ft+ high until it collapses under its own weight, it has a Diameter up to more than 5”. It has a 1/2 inch of darker green flesh underneath the skin, which then fades into a pale green/white as it travels to the white inner core. The mescaline comprises 0.12% to 2% of the whole fresh plant material. Mescaline is also present in 10 other Trichocereus species which are used in the same way that Huachuma is. However, it is Huachuma and Peyote which hold significant weight in history and in the concentration of mescaline present.