What is Hapé (Rappeh)?
Hapé is a powdered mapacho snuff that is often mixed with alkaline ashes of other plants, seeds, leaves and tree barks. Hapé is blown into the nose with a blow pipe or an applicator. It comes from the Amazon rainforest, where many indigenous cultures do not only use it daily, but also revere it as a sacred medicine. It is pronounced “ha-pay” in Portuguese and “rah-pay” in Spanish. Both are correct. There are also many other names in other indigenous tongues from the Amazon region.
In order to serve this medicine to one’s self, one would use a blow pipe applicator known as a kuripe. It is more common to use a tepi, which is a larger blowpipe that is used to serve a partner or to receive the medicine from another person. Hapé is mainly made of cured mapacho and tree ash. In some cases, though, seeds, leaves, and plants may be added to the ingredients of hapé. Whether it is for the aroma itself or the energies of the hapé recipe, each ingredient is added with prayer and intention. Although this is rare, not all hapés contain mapacho or tree ash such as Yopo and Apurina versions. Since mapacho (Nicotiana Rustica) has 8-20 times higher amount of nicotine than regular smoking tobacco, medicine makers will create a hapé snuff that contains no mapacho for users. The tree ash is also intentionally used as an alkalizer to balance the mapacho. The ash also comes from sacred trees, plants and leaves that each carry a specific healing power or piece of wisdom. Seeds like yopo or wilka may be added to increase the visionary properties of the snuff. Flowers may also be added to instill a more feminine and nurturing energy.