Members of the family Convolvulaceae, they are all pretty vines with bell-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves. Some of them have seeds that contain a tryptamine called lysergic acid amide or LSA. LSA seems to be an effective treatment for cluster headache, usually having only a mild psychoactive effect, if any. As with many sources of tryptamine, many report a feeling of mild to moderate nausea. For most, it is little problem, but it can be unpleasant. (See response of cluster headache to LSA.)
The vines that make these seeds include the Rivea corymbosa (RC), Hawaiian baby woodrose (HBWR), and some strains of morning glory. Morning glory seeds are not recommended as they contain some unfriendly chemicals. Clusterbusters have used the Rivea corymbosa and Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds successfully to treat cluster headaches.
The Rivea corymbosa and Hawaiian baby woodrose plants are not illegal to grow. It’s legal to buy, sell and possess the seeds. It is LSA that is illegal, and it’s illegal to ingest the seeds or extract the LSA from them.
Obtaining the Seeds
RC and HBWR seeds are available through various Internet vendors and can be legally purchased and possessed– but only for gardening purposes. Both plants thrive in a semitropical environment and can be easily grown for their seeds in those climates. In the US, the growing area for RC includes Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. For HBWR, the growing area is limited to Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
LSA seeds seem to have a limited shelf life. Keeping them cool, dry and away from light and air should help maintain their potency. They can be kept in the freezer for longer storage.
The various natural sources of LSA may contain other related substances in the ergot family. Many have a severe vasoconstrictive effect – narrowing the blood vessels and reducing blood flow, sometimes dangerously – that can cause serious, even fatal medical consequences. There is evidence these substances can trigger miscarriage.
Rivea corymbosa is a vine, with large white bell-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves. It grows in Mexico and Central America and is sometimes called Mexican morning glory or Christmas vine. RC seeds, called ololiuqui, are a useful source of lysergic acid amide and have been a regionally well-known psychoactive for centuries.
Individual RC seeds can vary greatly in their LSA content; potency varies from seed to seed and harvest to harvest. Cautious dosing is recommended, starting with 8 to 10 seeds, and slowly increasing (or decreasing), until there is a noticeable but mild effect. Anecdotal reports indicate that, depending on potency, the number of seeds for effective treatments can be 40 or more.
The seeds should be ground to a rough powder, using pepper mill or spice grinder or mortar and pestle. The powder should then be soaked in a small amount of water for about an hour. This step is not to extract LSA from the seeds; it is necessary to hydrolize the LSA molecules – the water soak adds hydroxyl ions to make the LSA available to the body.
Some strain the seed particles out of the liquid before drinking it; others down the entire slurry, ground seeds and all, at once. The taste is unpalatable and a glass of water will be needed as a chaser. Citrus or cranberry juice will help to clear any residual flavor.
Hawaiian Baby Woodrose
The Hawaiian baby woodrose or HBWR for short, is also a flowering vine related to Rivea corymbosa and morning glory, and its seeds contain LSA. They are a popular ornamental and available for gardening purposes from many of the same suppliers of RC seeds.
HBWR seeds are a larger and more potent than RC seeds. The beginning dose might be one or two seeds, with increases (or decreases) later, one seed at a time, if indicated.
HBWR seeds have an outer hull that contains some unfriendly naturally occurring chemicals. The idea is to pick the soft seed interior out of the tough, outer hull. Discard the hulls and soak the seed interiors in water for about an hour.
As with RC seeds, some strain the seed particles out, others drink the entire slurry. This is not a beverage to be sipped, but swallowed quickly with water and juice chasers.
Psychoactive effects can be expected to be felt 20 minutes to two hours after ingestion. Some folks experience little or no effect, some experience an odd drowsiness, others may have a significant psychoactive experience from doses effective for cluster headaches. When considering dosing with any tryptamine, proceed cautiously and review warnings and interactions on our Alternative Treatments page.