To prepare the snuff, the leaves of an entheogenic plant are mixed with an alkaline powder, which, in the proper amount, improves the absorption of the medicine while lessening the nasal irritation. One of two alkalizers is used: either shell of a river bivalve or ashes of burned tree bark. The leaves and alkalizing agent are ground into a very fine powder and mixed.
A Matsés man administers the prepared snuff by blowing the powder through a bamboo tube into the recipient's nostril. Under the effects of the medicine, the recipient has visions of the location of game (such as peccary) in the surrounding rainforest. A Matsés man may receive as many as four doses of nu-nu in each nostril.
Alternatively, nu-nu is also taken sublingually, to much milder effect.
- Anadenanthera peregrina, a plant whose seeds are also used to prepare a psychotropic snuff
- Insufflation (medicine)
- Peruvian Amazon