Heimia salicifolia

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Heimia salicifolia
File:Heimia salicifolia flowers by Jules Jardinier.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Heimia
Species: H. salicifolia
Binomial name
Heimia salicifolia

Heimia salicifolia is a species of flowering plant in the Loosestrife family, Lythraceae. It is native to the Americas, ranging from the southwestern United States (Texas and New Mexico) through Mexico and Central America to Argentina.[1] Common names include Shrubby Yellowcrest, Sinicuichi, Sun Opener, Willow-leaf Heimia, Sini, and Elixir of the Sun. The plant has psychoactive and medicinal properties, and has been used for a variety of ailments by native peoples in Central America and Mexico.

Isolated alkaloids

  • Vertine, also known as cryogenine, is regarded as the primary psychoactive component and is also generally the most abundant constituent of alkaloidal extracts. Clinically demonstrated effects include anticholinergic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hyperglycemic, hypotensive, sedative, tranquilizer, and vasodilator activity.
  • Lythrine, the third most abundant alkaloid, has been found to have diuretic activity.
  • Heimidine, A minor alkaloid, has been found to have anti-inflammatory activity.
  • Lyfoline, the second most abundant alkaloid.

Spiritual Use

Use of Sinicuichi for shamanic purposes by native peoples of Central America and Mexico has been described. Some of the effects may include the experience of a deep sense of calmness and unity, and the ability to recall the past, even prenatal events, with great clarity.

In the method of preparation commonly used, fresh leaves are collected, and allowed to wilt. The leaves are put into a cup or jar, cool water added, and placed in the sun to brew and ferment for at least 24 hours. It is said that during the fermentation process, the knowledge of the sun is embedded into the potion, creating the "Elixir of the Sun."

Heimia salicifolia is not believed to be addictive. The psychoactive properties of the plant have led to its notoriety as a "legal high", though the muscle-relaxant effect may be very powerful and is reported by many users to be highly inconvenient.

Subjective Effects

  • Auditory hallucinations (sounds may seem distant)
  • Yellowed field of vision
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Mild intoxication; giddiness
  • Darkening of vision
  • Improved memory function

Physiological Effects

  • Slowing of heartbeat
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Dilation of coronary vessels
  • Inhibition of acetylcholine (Debated)[2]
  • Reduction of blood pressure


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Heimia salicifolia Link". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2002-09-17. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  2. http://www.erowid.org/plants/sinicuichi/sinicuichi_faq.shtml "v. What will Sinicuichi do to me?" Paragraph 2

External links

16x16px Data related to Heimia salicifolia at Wikispecies 16x16px Media related to Heimia salicifolia at Wikimedia Commons

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