balche anyone?

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balche anyone? -

Postby jacky » Wed Oct 26, 2005 10:32 am

has anyone here experimented with balche brews? I read somewhere that Mr Ratsch once sold a kit for balche production once, or that a company sold a kit following his recipe............
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Re: balche anyone? -

Postby Maslow » Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:41 am

Don't know much about balche...or Mr. Ratsch

I'm not much on kits...try to make the stuff for real by myself...never can quite duplicate others brews but come real close. I think it has something to do with the water where I live.
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Re: balche anyone? -

Postby junior_sound » Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:15 am

you likely know of this audio tape from a certain vendor?
032 Christian Ratsch:
Balché, Sacred Drink of the Lacandon Maya
Dr. Ratsch is cultural anthropologist from Hamburg, Germany specializing in sacred and secular uses of magical plants. He lived over three years with the last traditional Lacandon Maya. His description of becoming a trusted part of their community reveals the central role played by their one psychoactive potion, balché, which he learned to make so well that they always look forward to the potent inebriation when he prepares the community brew. 1 tape, $10

other than that, can you find the bark though?
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Re: balche anyone? -

Postby jacky » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:24 pm

well, I have heard of the tapes, but never ordered any of them.

I think the active compounds that we know of in the brew are the rotenone compounds, sedative like compounds that are also the component of the jamaican dogwood herb material sometimes sold by herbalists.

It would be nice to see a comprehensive alternative brewing company offer some of the components for balche and pulque brewing.

I am not a big drinker, my liver had enough in my early 30' was then I discovered the modern ethnobotanical movement and took time from the bars to start reading again and gardening.

but my liver is well enought to enjoy occasional beer/wine, and I wouldnt mind learning some more about alternative sources of mildly alchoholic drinks.
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Re: balche anyone? -

Postby WaxHorse » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:38 pm

Seems like that the catalog (Surely now defunct...) that Dr. Montgomery once put out...(You can start to tell how long a guy has been in the movement if you have a paper catalog from that vendor!) contained a balache report.

It sounded weakly alcoholic for sure. Interesting idea for sure...even along the lines of psychoactive honeys! (Which I think would probably be more fun!)


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Re: balche anyone? -

Postby jacky » Tue May 01, 2007 12:30 am

the rotenone compound found in some balche brews have sedative effects. early herbalism considered rotenone containing products as morphine substitutes.

some pulque brews are rumored to be made with different types of "sticks" that are stirred in the fermenting mixture, some acacia species are reportedly used in some areas. the author of the article suggested that these hometown, small batch pulque brews were quite different from the canned, processed pulque.
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Re: balche anyone?

Postby teeko » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:12 pm

Yes 11 years old, but I was about to make a new post and saw this first. So I shall add some info. I have seen this growing in my area, might have to check it out eh? May need to wait until they flower to verify though, so many plants in FL look the same.

Annotations throughout. Not my words.

The ‘balché’ tree has long been cultivated and held sacred by the Maya of Yucatan [Mexico], n. Guatemala, and British Honduras, who use it to prepare a ritual beverage of the same name. It is consumed communally in times of need, to re-establish links with the gods [who gave the balché ritual to the Mayan ancestors], or sometimes for almost any reason that can be thought of off-hand [as with the Lacandon Maya]. The brew was once taken rectally as an enema, but today is usually only consumed consumed orally. The beverage is prepared in a specially-made canoe, which
is sometimes made from the balché tree itself. Water is added to the canoe; wild honey [which usually may not be consumed for more trivial purposes] is then dissolved in the water to a ratio ranging from 1:1 to 2:1 [water: honey]. Old, used pieces of balché bark, probably harbouring yeast colonies, are crushed and added, along with fresh bark strips, and sometimes root, equivalent to 4 strips each c.33cm long per brew [it was not noted how many people this would serve]. This mixture is then fermented for 3-6 days, with a fi nal alcohol content of 1-5%. Incantations are uttered
throughout the early stages of preparation, calling in the spirits of toxic plants and creatures of the jungle, some of which may also be added to fortify the brew [see Methods of Ingestion].
Before group consumption in a ritual circle, the ‘soul’ of balché is offered to each of the gods in turn in a palm-leaf cup [or other appropriate vessel], held up to the heavens. A conch-shell is sounded, which invites everyone to attend the circle to drink. All are served an equal amount from a central pot, and all drink simultaneously. Over the next few hours, 17 litres or more may be consumed by each person, with frequent vomiting, urinating and defecating to make room for more. Effects, which manifest quickly, consist of euphoria, feelings of good-will, sharpened perceptions,
muscle relaxation, emesis, and purging, followed fi nally by a deep sleep. There is said to be little subsequent hangover. Apparently, even after drinking large quantities, one does not feel drunk, despite the alcohol content, due to a modifi cation of action from the balché bark. When made with ‘kava’ [see Piper 2] in place of L. violaceus, the effects are very similar (De Lima et al. 1977; Montgomery pers. comm.; Rätsch 1990, 1992; Rätsch pers. comm.). It should also be noted that in Yucatan, a stingless bee collects honey from Turbina corymbosa; this honey is said to be quite inebriating (Ott 1998a). It is not known whether the wild honeys used for preparing balché similarly bear psychoactive constituents from such a source. In Central and South America, the roots of some Lonchocarpus spp. [such as L. nicou (L. fl oribundus) and L. densifl orus] are thrown into water as a fi sh poison. In Brazil L. urucu is used for this purpose, but it is the leaves and stems which are valued, rather than the root. The use of these plants in stupefying fi sh is due to their rotenone content [up to 20% in L. nicou dry root]. Species high in rotenone have a thick, abundant
latex. Rotenone is a neurotoxin which is generally considered non-toxic to mammals (Allen & Allen 1981; Prance 1972; Usher 1974). However, recent animal studies have implicated rotenone [i.v.] in causing some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, with chronic exposure (Butcher 2000; Greenamyre et al. 1999). Canavanine [see Canavalia] has been found in some Lonchocarpus spp., such as L. bussei, L. capassa, L. cyanescens, L. eriocalyx, L. laxifl orus and L. neisii (Bell et al. 1978). L. violaceus root bark has yielded 16% of a raw extract, containing prenyl-stilbenes called longistylines [similar to kawain from kava – see Piper 2], and rotenone; the root has yielded 1.4% longistyline A, 0.3% longistyline B, 1.3% longistyline C and 0.7% longistyline D. All of the longistylines have antibacterial properties (De Lima et al. 1977; Monache et al. 1977; Rätsch 1992), but their potential psychoactive properties seem to be uninvestigated. Seeds have also yielded the peptide enduracididine and traces of 4-OH-arginine, as well as the alkaloids 2-amino-4,5-dihydro-1H-imidazole-4-acetic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxy-2,5-bis(OHmethyl)pyrrolidine (International… 1994).
Lonchocarpus violaceus is a small, glabrous tree. Leaves alternate, imparipinnate; leafl ets in 3-5 pairs, ovate, translucent-dotted, to 8.9cm long, dark green above. Flowers numerous in axillary racemes to c.25cm long; bracts small, caducous; bracteoles 2; calyx truncate, lobes short or obsolete, 2 uppermost ones longer and connate; petals whitish outside, pale purple or pinkish inside, standard orbicular-obovate, with 2 basal ears, wings oblique-oblong, clawed, eared, slightly adherent to the keel above the claw, keel obtuse, eared, clawed; stamens 10, 1 of them separated
at the base but united above with the other 9; anthers versatile. Ovary silky-pubescent, 2-many-ovuled; style incurved, fi liform; stigma small, terminal. Fruit a fl at, indehiscent leguminous pod, lanceolate, membranous or leathery, to 5.9cm long and half as wide, 1-seeded; seeds round, fl at or kidney-shaped. S.e. Mexico, Guatemala, British Honduras, West Indies, Colombia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe; cultivated as an ornamental (Allen & Allen 1981; Bailey & Bailey 1976).

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