Sun Opener, Sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia)

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Sun Opener, also known as Sinicuichi or the Shrubby cc Yellow-Crest plant is a perennial herb with a rich ethnobotanical history.  It is a member of the pomegranate family of plants, and is native to the American continents ranging from the southwestern United States to Central America.

Sun Opener is lean shrub that prefers to grow along wetlands in it's native habitat. This includes stream sides, river sides, and in moist brush lands. It has pointy, deep green leaves, and generally flowers March to June, becoming emblazoned with singular bright orange-yellow flowers. When propagating it's best to sow seeds in a moist well-shaded area, and to gradually introduce the plant to full sun as it grows.

For those of Aztec/Mayan/similar descent, who are looking to connect with their ancestors culture, this is a great plant tz xx o grow and care for. The plant spirit is very loving and tender. It's also a fun plant for anyone who likes to grow medicinal plants with unique effects. Learn more about Sun Opener's unique spiritual heritage below.

How to Grow Sun Opener

Plant Type: Perennial Herb (lean deciduous shrubby habit)

Harvest Season: Blooms Spring - early Summer and can be harvested year-round.

Mature Size: Up to 10 ft. tall.

Soil & Moisture: Well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Water on a daily basis in the Spring and Summer.

Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade, Light Shade

Zone Hardiness: 8-11

Spiritual Aztec History

Sinicuichi is a spiritually significant plant for many people of native descent in these areas, in fact, the plant was itself part of the entheogenic complex of psychoactive plants the Aztec utilized and worshiped for their political-religious ceremonies. It is one of the plants that is depicted on the famous 'Xochipili' deity, the Aztec Prince of Flowers.

This plant is intimately connected with the sun, which is part of it's namesake. This is in part due to the plant's psychoactive effects. Traditionally the plant was employed by Aztec and other indigenous shamans for use in divination- to access the knowledge of ancestors, to see past events unfold, to seek celestial and astronomical knowledge of the heavens for use in calculation, and so on. The Aztec priest, or tlamacazqui would generally prepare a sun tea from a heaping handful of the dried crushed leaves of the plant. This tea would have to be left out to bask in the sun for a day or two, the sun's UV light reacting with the chemical constituents of the plant and slightly altering them. 

The produced effects from drinking such an elixir included distinctly vivid and clear memories of the past, slight euphoria, bodily relaxation, an enhancing of visual acuity and color perception that often is described as 'seeing in gold', and a somewhat annoying auditory hallucination effect that resembles holding a seashell to your ear... but lasting hours. The plant's unique effects definitely contributed to the indigenous people's understanding of the plant as a spiritual tool to be respected and revered. 

Despite the rather psychedelic effects of the plant, there are no known reported negative side effects to using Sinicuichi, which has been utilized by native peoples for thousands of years. Sinicuichi is not a federally controlled substance, and growing it  for consumption is completely legal. However, it is advised that out of respect for the traditions of the indigenous peoples and the plant itself, that those who experiment with Sinicuichi do so under the guidance of a traditional native healer or shaman in a traditional manner.  It should be noted that smoking the dried leaves can induce a psychedelic state akin to Salvia Divinorum (another plant worshiped by the Aztec and surrounding peoples), but that once again these are powerful visionary states that are to be utilized in a ritualized and respectful manner, not for recreation!