This pretty purple-flowered plant, from the highlands of Ecuador, looks much like the common garden petunia, but has unique effects and historical use.
Petunias are nightshades, a family with an ancient lineage of use by witches and shamans, particularly for flight and astral travel. The nightshade alkaloids, the tropanes, create sensations of dizziness, vertigo, and rushing through the air (as on a broomstick), to varying degrees depending on the plant.
The more infamous nightshades such as belladonna and mandrake create this effect to an extreme degree, often accompanied by memory loss and complete disassociation during or even after the trip, along with intense physical symptoms of heat and distress.
Chemical analyses of Shanin have yielded no insights into its alkaloid content, but the plant’s effects are very much like others of its kin. Shanin gives a friendlier version of the tropane state, without the disorientation and potential for madness, but retaining the unmistakable sensation of flying.
Vertigo and a feeling of spinning are also created, and the ground stretches out far below, with even one’s own feet seeming far away. In meditation, Shanin helps the astral body separate and travel more easily.