Ambil is tobacco syrup made by the Witoto of South America for medicinal use. The Witoto boil tobacco leaves down to a molasseslike consistency. In a separate step water is leeched through the alkaline ashes of various burned forest trees. The water is allowed to evaporate, leaving a “salt.” This salt is added to the syrup to release its bioactive compounds, making ambil, which is applied to the gums or tongue, licked, or used as an enema.

  • Schultes, R. E., and R. F. Raffauf. Vine of the Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia. Santa Fe, NM: Synergetic Press, 2004.


An Encyclopedia of Shamanism written by Christina Pratt – Copyright © 2007 by Christina Pratt