Ancient Shipibo Plant Medicine

Rapé Tobacco

Our remarkable curandero, Don Miguel will teach us about the significance of rapé tobacco that will be used throughout the sacred plant medicine ceremonies. This knowledge will be vital in helping us to access our greatest potential and realise deep healing and transformation. The next shipibo medicine introduced is often flower vapour baths.


Nu-Nu or Rapé is a sacred plant medicine used by traditional tribal cultures and healers of the Peruvian Amazon. It has been used by curanderos and tribes indigenous to South America for thousands of years, including the Matses, Kaxinawa, Yawanawa and Katukina peoples.

Rapé is a unique blend of carefully selected plants that are then pulverised and combined with a tobacco that is up to 20 times stronger than its Western equivalent. Cinnamon, Tonka bean, clover and mint are also occasionally added during the ritualistic preparation of the Rapé that involves drying the blend over a slow burning fire. It is common for the blend to be kept a secret by the curanderos whose task it is to craft it.

How is Rapé Used?

The sacred administration of Nu-Nu is one characterised by great courage, intention and authenticity sharing little in common with the irreverent use of tobacco in the West. Rapé has been used in indigenous tribes for over centuries in rites of passage and initiation, to cure disease and to obtain the mental clarity needed to undertake a vision quest or deep spiritual journey.

A Rapé or Nu-Nu ritual usually involves two people helping each another to administer the blend. The Rapé is blown high up into the nostrils traditionally with a pipe made form bone, wood or bamboo. The two people are intimately connected by nose, mouth and breath and therefore their heart need to remain open to giving and receiving healing intentions between each other. This ritual involves trust, courage and a deep commitment to giving and receiving. It is itself a vital component in the healing potential of the Rapé.

The intensity of the blow can help to clear the mind of any unnecessary mental chatter and help to clarify our intentions. Rapé also has the capacity to increase the healing potentiality of Ayahuasca and other sacred medicinal plants, thereby opening us up to experience profound spiritual transformation when taken together.

rape tobacco

The unique antibacterial effects of Rapé can help to rid the body of unwanted toxins and congestion. If the body is overrun with bacteria and excess mucus it is common to experience vomiting, sneezing and coughing this however can be an extremely relieving and positive experience that restores the body to excellent health.

In scientific studies, Rapé has also been shown to act as an anti-depressant and stimulant increasing blood flow to the brain and helping to ease negativity, confusion, sadness and psychological distress.

Tribespeople also use Rapé as a gateway to access their higher self, renew their strength and cultivate their healing potentialities.

Lattanzi, Giovanni. “Kambô: Scientific Research and Healing Treatments”
Bolshaw Gomes, Marcelo. “Kambo, The spirit of the Shaman”

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Improvements, Pricing Changes, and What’s On The Horizon For AYA Healing Retreats

While living mindfully in the present, we are always excited for the future and we have much in store for the coming year. Among other upgrades to better serve our guests, we will be:

  • adding new staff at the center that offer even better cleaning and laundry services
  • increasing the breadth and depth of training undertaken by our facilitators
  • offering more in-depth one-on-one preparation sessions to all of our guests, in addition to integration sessions
  • purchasing a Kangen machine for healthy, alkaline, antioxidant drinking water rich in minerals and purged of impurities.
  • purchasing additional medical equipment and continued medical training of staff for the safety of all, both here and in our community

Part of our improvement plans include raising our prices starting in 2024 to support our continuing efforts in improving everything that we do. With that said, we will always do our best to keep our prices attainable and within reach for as many people as possible, and we will also offer the possibility of discounts in a few different ways:

  • Earlybird discounts when you book your retreat in advance
  • Deep discounts for return attendees
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We will continue to provide payment plans for all of our retreats, please contact us at to discuss options.

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Don Miguel

Shipibo Curandero

AKA Senen Yoi - 'Speaking the Truth'

Don Miguel was born into a Shipibo community called Roaboya on the River Ucayali. When Don Miguel was a child, Angel Sanchez Vargas, his grandfather was the community’s curandero. Vargas was an expert in sacred plant medicines and was frequently called upon to heal and share his spiritual wisdom with members of Roaboya. The school built some years later was named after Vargas and Roaboya went on to be recognised as the first indigenous community 114 years ago. Don Miguel grew up surrounded by the Shipibo wisdom and possess intimate knowledge of the sacred plant medicines. At a very young age he began his apprenticeship as a curandero through plant dietas under the supportive guidance of his grandfather. Miguel is also a trained literature professor and thoroughly enjoys teaching the Shipibo language and culture. Since 2012, Don Miguel has spent the bulk of his time leading lectures, workshops, initiation courses and retreats. Don Miguel will lead our Ayahuasca ceremonies, circle discussions and be available for personal consultations whilst on retreat.


Our comprehensive screening questionnaire has been developed in partnership with the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS). Please take your time to answer it as honestly and with as much detail as possible. This information will remain strictly confidential and will only be used to assess your suitability for a place on retreat with AYA Healing Retreats and keep you safe

Please remember that the purpose of this screening questionnaire is to determine whether plant medicine healing is suitable for you…not whether you are suitable for plant medicine healing. Plant medicines are tools, like any other healing modality and like other tools for healing experiencing them entails certain risks. We need to make sure that our plant medicines will not compromise your wellbeing or harm you in any way before we allow you to begin your healing journey with us. In short, we care about your safety and we need to do what we can to ensure that during your time with us you are not at risk of harm. Plant medicines can be dangerous if the plants are not the right fit for the individual. Your answers to this questionnaire will help us to determine whether the plants we intend to use are going to help, rather than harm you

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