The name Rapé comes from the Spanish, French word “raspar” and
means to grate or scrape. It’s a direct reference to the production of Rapé.
The pronunciation is “ ‘ha-peh”. but there are some variations. In English,
the word “snuff” comes the closest to Rapé. The key difference is that Rapé is
not sniffed but blown. Whenever Rapé is mentioned I am referring to different
forms of tobacco snuffs that have their roots in the Brazilian Indian tribal heritage.
The western world came in contact with Tobacco and thus Rapé because of the
conquerors who went to South America and the Caribe. There and more specifically in the
northern part of South America there is a long history of various forms of tobacco usage.
After the first introduction of snuff in the western world, where it primarily had a social
recreation function, we now have the possibility to reconnect with this medicine in a more ceremonial way.
Tepi & Kuripe
Tsunu bark being burned during the night
Traditionally Rapé is applied using a pipe made out of bamboo or bone. The person
who receives the Rapé gets it blown through both nostrils by the one who gives/applies it.
A different form is self-administration, using a V-shaped pipe which connects the user’s
mouth to the nostril. In this case, you have to blow yourself. The pipe that requires 2 people
for administration is called “Tepi” and the self-applicator is called “Kuripe” in Brazil.
The usage of Rapé for the Brazilian Indians has always been and always is about changing
energy. Rapé is a shamanic/ spiritual tool. Working with intention, asking internally
what you would like to change, what you need physically or spiritually.
Working with intention is the fundament of working with Rapé.
To the Indians, Rapé has various medicinal values. Rapé has antibacterial
effects and can help to combat the flu. Rapé can also help people who have problems with blocked sinuses.
Kaxinawa Indian making Rapé
The making of Rapé
The production of Rapé is always done in a ritualized form. Silence and internal focus is
the setting during various aspects of the work. The dried organic tobacco is ground to a
fine powder and sifted. Parts of various trees, like trunk or bark, are burned in a specific way.
The remaining ashes are carefully collected and sifted. After all impurities, like sand and
black unburned parts of the wood, are removed pristine white ash is what is left.
Depending on the type of Rapé, different parts of other dried medicinal plants are added.
These can be leaves, seeds, flowers, and roots. After preparing all the parts the maker decides
the ratio between tobacco, ash and other parts. After mixing all parts thoroughly the new Rapé is ready.
pristine white ash and tobacco moments before they get mixed
The last decennia rapé has developed a lot. Many Indians have visited other parts of Brazil,
travel around to teach people many aspects of their medicinal knowledge and also how to make Rapé.
Many varieties in Brazilian Tobacco snuffs shop come from various traditional tribes.
Others varieties come from knowledgeable and experienced Brazilians. Also, some specific tribe
varieties of Rapé are no longer exclusive to those tribes alone. Tribes and tribe members meet in
various places and share knowledge. Still, each Rapé has its own unique character even
if they have the same name and the same plants are used. There are many variables that
will determinate the Rapé’s energy, appearance, and flavor. The number of varieties/types of Rapé is growing.
More and more Rapé makers are experimenting with new combinations.
Some of these newer types you will find here at braziliantobaccosnuffs.com
Don’t underestimate the power of Rapé !
Rapé is a serious tool it can open profound internal processes. You require a lot of
humility and ability to surrender to receive the healing it can bring.
In all the Rapé variety’s, offered at Brazilian Tobacco Snuffs, tobacco strains with high nicotine content are used.
Stay careful and study slowly.
If you like to read a more in-depth about Rapé I recommend you to visit this link to katukina
Another nice a read “power of intention” can also be read at katunina