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Tsunu Ash

$11.86$43.81

Dry Tsunu ash from the Amazon.

Tsunu ash is probably the best-known type of ash used for Rapé. Various Amazonian tribes use it for their snuff. The Yawanawa exclusively use tsunu ash for their rapé that they call Rume.

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About tsunu ash

Tsunu ash is probably the best-known type of ash used for Rapé. Various Amazonian tribes use it for their snuff. The Yawanawa exclusively use tsunu ash for their rapé that they call Rume.

The Tsunu tree

It is not possible to determine the name Tsunu to an identified tree or species with great certainty yet. Tsunu is an Amazonian name for a type of three, within the same family/genus. The Indians know what tree to look for and for us westerners, we have to accept we can’t have all the knowledge they have. Tsunu is common in the region where the Indians live. Tsunu growes almost exclusively in the Amazon. In different tribes, Tsunu bark ash may come from different trees but in the end, it is all called Tsunu.

Tsunu is not Pau Pereira

Even in Brasil, many people who work with Rapé don’t have the right information/knowledge. Tsunu is many times associated with or interchangeably called Pau Pereira. This is clearly a mistake. It took me 7 years and many conversations in Brazil to finally know that if you talk about Tsunu and Pau Pereira you talk about 2 completely different trees from different regions. (I still have to adjust some information regarding this subject in several places on my site.)

place in naurture with a fire in the foreground and tools in the background, burnig if bark for tsunu ash

The start of a long session at the fireplace producing ash for rapé

The burning fire

Three bark ashes are a fundamental part of the majority of the Brazilian types of Rapé. The bark comes from various medicinal trees. Many times found in the region where indigenous tribes live and other times bark types from other trees from other regions in Brazil.

The production of ash is a process I have witnessed and participated in. The way of burning the bark to obtain a good result requires experience. The fire that burns the bark should not burn to hard but also not too soft.  A wood bark fire can burn for many hours and needs some attention. In a good burning session, you want as much as possible reduced to ash. Leaving as little as possible charcoal in the pit.

man putting his fire stick in the fire pit where bark burn for the production of Tsunui ash for rapé

Sieving and cleaning

After collecting the ash the next day a series of sieving steps follow. In this process, several things will be removed from the ashes “mix”. Because the bark of a tree is exposed to the elements you will find sand, little stones. Also, the tiny bits of black unburned charcoaled wood are filtered out.  After the ash has completely been cleaned up its ready. Depending on humidity conditions the ashes are sometimes reheated on a hot fire until the ash is bone dry.

Reduction of mass

Burning bark to get ashes naturally brings a huge loss of mass. In general, with good knowledge of making ash, you can get around 500 grams of ash from 10 kilos of bark. So after the burning of 10 kilos of bark and processing the leftovers, 20% of the starting weight is clean and useable ash. This number may vary depending on the type of bark,  the style of burning, the humidity of the bark and other factors.

The alchemical body, salt

From an alchemical point of view, ashes represent the body of the bark in a concentrated form. These ashes contain the mineral salt of the bark. The use of medicinal ashes has a long history. Already in ancient Indian alchemical tradition working with ashes has been recorded. This dates back to at least 4000 BC. (source). It is interesting to know that during our earthly history the knowledge of working with ashes somehow found its way to the Amazon Indians. An interesting article about the use of ash by the Amazonian Witoto Indians can be read here. In the neo-alchemistic tradition of Spagyrics, alchemical salts also have an important function.

excerpt from the book. the alchemical body. it has referencen to ash that coonect to the Tsunu ash used for rapé

Excerpt from; The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India

How to use

You can use this ash to mix with a pulverized tobacco and or with other herbs to create your own Rapé variety. If you like to study and learn about the energy and power of only the ash then use it in the same way as you would with Rapé. Wetting your finger and putting a little bit of ash from your finger to your tongue you can feel a short prickly numbness sensation that lasts for a few seconds. Some ashes give you these sensations and others don’t (this does not mean one is less stronger than the other). It is just another simple way to learn more about the ash and connect to its energy. The alkaline ashes help to basify the tobacco mixture. In rapé the higher PH value frees the tobacco alkaloids and stimulates absorption. The ash potentiates the power of tobacco.

Storing

Ashes are hygroscopic. This means that they have the tendency to attract water from the air towards it. When you make your own Rapé blends, keep the time you expose it to the open air limited. After blending its advisable to put your newly made rapé in any type of airtight container. The rapé ashes you find here have all been dehumidified before storing.

About the Yawanawa

The Yawanawa call their Rapé “Rume”. It contains mostly the ash of the bark of the Tsunu tree. They add the ash of the bark of the Txunú tree and strong tobacco that resembles mapacho (Nicotiana rustica). This makes a special and very unique Rapé blend. The Amazonian tribes use the Tsunu tree bark often for healing and curing purposes. Rapé has a supportive role during ayahuasca ceremonies and often used before ayahuasca. It enhances the effects and the opening of the spirit for the ceremony.  But also during intense ceremonial experiences, it eases vomiting and cleaning.

“We mostly use rumê in our sacred ceremonies with UNI (our sacred drink, more commonly known as ayahuasca).
But, rumê is also taken in the afternoon, before washing. The water cleans our body and spirit; it’s our favorite part of the day”.

Would you like to know more about the Amazon indigenous tribes or other tribes cultures around the world? Have a look at this interesting website.

Tepi and Kuripe

Traditionally Rapé is administered through a pipe made out of bamboo or bone. The Tepi is a blowpipe that you can use to administer another person. When receiving Rapé the other blows it through both nostrils. In general, the shape of the Tepi is straight, curved or V-shaped. A different form is self-administration. For this, you use a Kuripe. The Kuripe has a V- shape and connects the mouth to the nostril. In this case, you blow the Rapé to yourself.

Tepis receiving blessings from their creators

I dehydrate this Tsunu ash and all other ashes coming from my shop. I then sieve the ash through a 35-micron high-grade stainless steel mesh. This makes an extremely fine powder. It’s labor-intensive but guarantees a consistent fineness, cleanness and optimal absorption of the ash. I store the ash stock dry and in vacuum containers to prolong freshness and quality.

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