Mambe & Ambil
Mambé & Ambil are sacred plant medicines that are used together
in a ceremonial way, with intention,
to open the heart and bring sweetness to our words.
Ambil is the liquid form of tobacco that is placed on the tip of the pinky finger, the finger of humility, to be eaten in prayer.
It is prepared by taking fresh tobacco leaves and cooking them in fresh water over a wood fire for 12 to 20 hours. Finca Ambiwasi’s Tobacco healer, reader and elder, Florentino Caicedo, prepares the Ambil that guests consume.
Ambil is often used in the presence of coca leaf or mambe, and the union of these two plants clarifies and sweetens communications, and makes us more sincere in our dealings with one another. The combination of ambil and mambe represents the sacred union of the Father Creator, represented by tobacco, and the Mother Earth, represented by coca leaf. Ambil alone also realigns our chakras, grounds us emotionally, and encourages positive, insightful conversation.
In the picture above, Master Florentino is playing his Harmonica to the Ambil which he has been cooking for hours, and Diego has been helping him. During the cooking process there is a lot of prayer and healing given by the person preparing the Ambil. Whenever there is a request for guidance, advice, ceremony, or taking from the plant, animal, or spirit world, tobacco is always offered first.
Mambe- La Madre Sagrada - The Sacred Mother
Coca leaf (Erythroxylum coca) and mambe, or pulverized coca leaf, have been used ceremonially in the Andean and Amazonian regions of South America for millenia. The earliest record of ceremonial use of the plant can be traced to 2500 BC. Since then the plant has maintained a central importance in indigenous communities’ offerings to Pachamama, guardian spirits of the surrounding forests, trees and mountains.
This plant is also used as a tool for promoting productive conversations amongst community members, and for making decisions that affect the well-being of others. When taken along with ambil, or a tobacco paste, the two plants open our throat chakra, sweeten our words and lend transparency and directness to our speech. This tradition of conversing with coca is called to 'mambear'. These traditions which connect us to each other and to the land are what is considered by the abuelos, taitas, curanderos and healers of Colombia and South America to be master plants, along with Ayahuasca (Yagé) and tobacco. When used intentionally these plants connect us with the spiritual realm, open a space for self-reflection in our lives, and heal.
In addition to oxygenating the blood and mitigating altitude sickness, coca helps to overcome fatigue, hunger and thirst. It has also been used for centuries and an anesthetic to alleviate the pain from headaches, rheumatism and wounds. Its high calcium content explains why it was used for bone fractures, and because coca constricts blood vessels, it also serves to oppose bleeding. Coca has also been reported to treat malaria, ulcers, asthma, and indigestion, and it has been credited with improving longevity.