Nan's San Pedro Syrup

Nan's Nook : Archives : Botanicals : Cactus : San Pedro :  Nan's San Pedro Syrup
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By Nanook of the North (Nanook) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 01:32 am:

Preparation of San Pedro Nanook Style:

I process my San Pedro prior to consumption, I have found the concentrated syrup much easier to down. Some may, if they wish, continue the process down to pure crystal mescaline via a fairly simple chemical extraction... But you have to start with the syrup.

San Pedro Syrup: Slice off the needles, then peel the skin off a couple of kilos of fresh cactus. Leave all of the green photosynthetic flesh. Slice as for cucumber salad, put in a pressure cooker, cover with _distilled_ water, bring to 15 lbs steam for 10 min. Decant the liquid, squeeze the pulp (I use a small grape press). Combine all liquid, strain, and set aside in a large container, return the pulp to the pressure cooker, cover with water... Repeat the process 3-4 times (three with a press, four times if you are squeezing by hand). Collect all the liquid and boil down to the consistancy of heavy cream. About 5 oz of concentrated syrup followed with a good chug of Ocean Spray Cran-Grape on an empty stomach... You are there...

Tip: Strain cactus juice in a 60% polyester 40% cotton dress shirt. This material filters cells fragments extremely well with an excellent pass through rate. You can dump pulp into a shirt and twist while pressing with a potato masher to squeeze out juice.

Peyote because of it's very complex pharmacology should never be processed. It is best eaten fresh, dried is pretty OK... Boiling this cactus destroys some of the less robust synergistic compounds... And it makes a noticable difference in the experience.

Tip: process your San Pedro, all the way down to crystal if you want... Get a dose of mescaline in you... Then eat one or two buttons for a full blown Peyote experience while conserving this most precious and slow growing cactus.

The reason I insist on a syrup concentrate, and large batches, of cactus syrup is for standardization reasons. In my experience you have to have a standard of reference from which to judge strength and dosages. People ask me: is 2-1/2 foot of San Pedro sufficient to blow my mind?
It's a damned good question, you have no idea how many times I have asked it. Me myself, no big deal. Party of four in controlled conditions?
You want to know your dose and concentrations. I have administered OD's before (I was there to control them and ease them through) by accident... The dose was fine for me... But I have nursed people who were seriously disorientated by one of my doses because I did not realize how hard my head is.

Water content in fresh cactus varies by as much as 70%. Cacti shrink and fatten depending on mositure levels. Stalks can grow 2 inches in diameter or 4 inches in diameter. Show me a point here to standarize. How can you measure a dose of Mescaline? How can you compare potency of various species/strain?

You can weigh out and eat a shitload of nasty bitter cactus (done it many times), there is no standard. The cells in the cactus fill and deplete with the available water. A well hydrated cactus is what, 50% less potent than a dehydrated one? Tell me, I _need_ to know. People want to know the grams of mescaline per kilo, or grams per foot, or grams per button.

The funny thing is, I have learned over many years to dose, compare, and enjoy cacti. San Pedro is your "bread & butter". I have raised them all from seed to maturity (letting you know my age guys), but mostly you will find good old Pedro fits the bill: it's a damned tough and relativily potent cactus.

Regardless of the species, mositure content, growing condtions... If the cacti is alive it maintains a homeostasis: too dry it withers, too moist it rots, if it is alive you can standarize it by boiling off the water.

A fat weak cacti, a potent skinny cacti, a button. If you extract them down through a series of boilings with distilled water, you can derive a syrup of constant viscosity. Pancake syrup viscosity, a light paint.

Viscosity can be measured exactly. I have not done so, I learned by eye... But this is the standard you must use. When the viscosity is the same, water content and cell matter porportions in the syrup are the same; regardless of the mositure content or potency of the source species.

Clean your Pedro or other column cactus of all wax coated skin. Slice it thin, boil and press the cell contents out with distilled water and a PC. Boil the solution down to consistancy of pancake syrup. I like mine a bit heavier, but not honey viscosity, it gets too hot if you make it too thick and Mescaline degrades at 350 degrees F.
Anybody make tongue candy? Mescaline is sugar. Under 350 F it is stable, boil it too hot and the syrup will carmelize and you lose.

Heavy-cream to pancake syrup consistency is what you want. I don't care if your stalks were 2 inches in diameter or 4 inches... Wet or dry, Pedro, Peruvians, or Peyote. The syrup is your standard.

Decent strength Pedro syrup runs about .1 grams Mescaline per ounce of syrup. Decent Peyote runs about .25 grams Mescaline per ounce of syrup...
Don't make syrup out of Peyote, you lose something (a lot). Make as much Pedro syrup as you can.

How much Pedro does it take to make a dose? Good question, I don't know. Boil your Pedro down to a standard syrup and my guess is you will get about 100 miligrams per ounce.

If you want to make a batch of syrup, best to grow your own cacti for a few years. Start with a couple of kilos, about 5 pounds of peeled sliced cactus. Boil it down and you will likely find you get about four nice doses: I figure close to 500 mg Mescaline Sulfate per dose, you do the math I am too tired... But it all works out: viscosity standarization (heavy cream, pancake syrup) generally yeilds about .1 grams Mescaline per ounce, or one of my doses with 5 oz syrup.

If you choose to extract pure Mescaline from your syrup, figure a 15 - 20% loss (how good was your second semester organic chem lab?)

Remember guys, San Pedro is legal... All of my friends grow it


See the Cactus Links Page for Suppliers

By Nanook of the North (Nanook) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 12:51 am:

Quoting my discussion from Spirit Plant's Desert Forum

>> about how much cactus syrup would it take to get a good idea of what it does? im a pretty big guy...

5 oz of Pedro syrup the consistancy of heavy whipping cream.

>> is there a best season to make cuttings. do they do ok if you cut during the winter (dormant?)?

You end up with tip cuttings in the fall if you harvest, not the best time to take them (spring is best) but you can get roots on them and winter them OK. They don't do much up top until spring. Don't expect growth when cacti are dormant, you can cut, but cuttings won't take root until the hours of daylight increase... About Feb 15 in a midwest greenhouse.

>> when do i bring my pedros in from the cold? what kind of temps are to cold for these guys?

I take mine in the night of the first hard frost. 29 degrees for an hour or two does not freeze them, 28 degrees for a time after sitting at 29 degrees for a few hours will damage the tips, but they grow back out leaving a scar (happened to a friend). They are pretty cold hardy. The native range is 5000ft up in the mountains.

>> i've read that your not supposed to use rooting hormone on peyote cuttings that you plan on consuming (after they are grown). is this the same for pedros?

Pedros don't need it, they are very agressive rooting. Hell Peyote does not need it, it roots fast as hell in nutritious sweet soil... A few weeks at most.

>> what do i do with the small buds that sprout at the base? do i make cuttings from them or wait a while then make cuttings?

Depends on how old your garden is and what you are trying to do with it... Expand the number of pots, or grow out some stalkage to harvest. If you want to expand the number of pots rapidly, cut the bottom buds when they are 6-8 inches long and root them. If you want serious stalkage to harvest wait until they are mature: say 3-4 feet high... Leave 12-18 inches of the stalk in the pot, harvest a foot or two, and save the tip cut to root. The bigger the tip cut the faster it will mature (and the fatter your Pedro will be), but you lower your harvest. Tip cuts should be at least 4 inches long, 6 inch tip cuts root better. I try to start my pots with 18" tip cuts (massive harvest in 3 seasons).

>> i feel like my pedros are ready to go and i'm getting pretty close. so, just to make sure! about 1 - 1 1/4 lbs of cactus per person pre-processed? yes?

Hard to say... But that's about right, peeling will reduce your weight, pith weight counts for nothing really. 1-1/4 lbs of green peeled tissue per person sounds better. Should be a very nice buzz.

>> after you have your pedro syrup... how long will it keep? can you freeze it for storage? or is it best fresh...

Syrup is stable in the fridge or frozen. It keeps practically forever frozen, years. Syrup stored in the fridge gets better over time because cell fragments have a chance to settle out, the syrup will get nice and clear (dark but see through). Very little stomach upset. BTW use a 60% polyester 40% cotton dress shirt to strain the juice from the pc, it catches cell fragments better than any other filter I have found, with excellent pass-through properties.


By Nanook of the North (Nanook) on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 03:41 am:

Quoting Jesseb:

>> do you have to use distilled water for the making of the syrup? I live in a pissant town and have no access to distilled water.

Yeah, you need distilled or RO Water. The mineral content of tap water really craps things up and the syrup won't boil down cleanly. Tap water causes deposits to form on the sides of the boiling container, the syrup adheres to the deposits as it thickens, a crust forms, then it starts to blacken and burn all around the edges.

Most grocery stores carry distilled, de-ionized or "reverse osmosis" filtered water somewhere, all of these work fine: basically the same as distilled (no mineral or salt content). Look in the section with laundry detergent and bleach, or in the drinking water section of the grocery store for gallon or 2-1/2 gallon plastic containers of water with one of these terms specified on the label. Beware: some brands add minerals back into the drinking water for taste, but even this is better than tap or well water. De-ionized water from those purifier machines popping up everywhere works very well (Most grocery stores and Wally Marts now have these water machines, the water is cheap and is perfect for this use). You could use water from a de-humidifier, as it is also mineral free.

Filtered tap water is not the same and should be avoided. Distilled, de-ionized, reverse osmosis, or drip water from an air conditioner or de-humidifier is what you want.

Trust me, I specified the water type for a reason.


By Nan (Nanook) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 05:11 am:

[Anon: Thank you Nanook.

Very informative.

A question if you will. I know this person who lives where such are legal for him. His method is to simply cut away the needles and the skin, leaving the green layer behind. Cutting it into spears, throwing it in a blender and then strain through a T-shirt to get out air bubbles. Sundry or dehydrate the resulting snot to the consistency of playdoe (which happens suprisingly quick if its spread out.) And then mix with the pulp left in the T-shirt. Roll into balls, and eat like pills with a glass of water. It's really simple, you can bairly taste it he sais and it's a relatively small amount of matter to deal with. And I suspect this method uses minimal heat exposure. The balls are the consistency of bitter, green playdoe.

Do you think this method would work for peyote? With minimal damage to the alkaloids? Seing as no heat is involved except maybe sun or exposure to a dehydrator? ]

Your friends method will work fine with Peyote... But... If he prepares Pedro syrup and drinks a few ounces and then simply chews a couple of buttons slowly... The effect is nearly identical to eating 6-10 buttons, or preparing all these buttons and consuming it as you describe. No "snot" with the pressure cooked prepared Pedro.

[Anon: Just curious, since I do not own any cacti, since this works with pedro, It should work with T. Peru only stronger right? ]

The stronger the species, the stronger the syrup. Works with any Tricho. cacti.

[Anon: Thanks again, Nanook.

One more question: Could one remove the spines, skin and white pith/core from the Pedro before putting in pressure cooker, rather than leaving in "cucumber" slices? This would seem to do away with some of the useless mass without having to press so often or hard?]

[Anon: So now I'm wondering, what the alkaloid loss on pedro is after being proccessed through a pressure cooker if it shows a marketable difference in effects doing the same thing with peyote....(noting the fact that peyote has quite a different alkaloid make up than san pedro.) ]

I don't think the extra work of removing pith is worth it, alkaloid recovery with this method is nearly 100%, so throwing in all the flesh (unless the stalks are old and fiberous) is probably best. When dealing with tough old stalks slice them lengthwise down along the core and throw out the wooden pith.

As for the temp and pressure altering the alkaloids in Pedro, there is no significant change in the effects.

[Anon: why mess with a ucky syrup when you can just powder the dried cactus in a food blender? call me ind0lent but it seems kinda less messy ta me. "two scoops ah pedro in a package of...." ]

Uhh... Because it removes all of the bulk which reduces upset in the gut...? Because it is faster acting...? Because it is easier to measure doses...? Works for my pot bellied pig.

[Anon: i see the light now!!!! -however- my pot bellied pig gets off in 5 minutes already. an yeah, he still gets a bit ah upsets but whats wrong with a nice spiritual purge...i find it quite refreshing! ]

[Anon: Nanook: Up until reading your posts, I'd been most interested in learning more about the method outlined by indole. (Drying only the green flesh right under the skin and powdering.) What's your opinion on this method? Thanks, mon.]

It works. But your recovery of alkaloid is not as good as with a simple boiled extraction where the recovery rate is significantly higher imo.

With a pressure cooker water extraction you get virtually 100% retention of the magic into the liquid syrup, sans fiber. Since the magic is in solution, absorbtion begins upon contact, so the effects come on faster and stronger.

Dosing is better standardized, syrup can be made from any tricho species and effectively compared for potency. Nan

[Anon: Thanks for taking the time to explain. I'm sold.

...But how would one lose active ingredients by just dehydrating the green flesh? Any idea on the storability of this syrup?

Because the entire plant contains magic, even tho the green photosynthetic flesh contains the highest concentrations, there are traces even in the pith. The white flesh in between contains sufficient quanities of magic that I don't feel right unless all of it is conserved. Cacti grow slowly enough that I want to get all of the goody out of it. Waste not want not.

In a PC/water extraction you end up with a damp lump of compressed pulp (after pressure cooking and squeezing the flesh out several times). If you taste this pulp you will find all the bitterness is gone. It is tasteless fiber. All of the magic is passed out into the saved liquid, which is concentrated through boiling. The resulting syrup contains all of the plant sugars, minerals, and magic, with none of the fiber, and it uses the entire harvested section (less the waxy skin). No waste. You use, and get, the benefits of the entire plant.

Dried powder works well, but unless you are drying and powdering the entire plant there is a significant loss, as there is significant magic in the white flesh. If you dry and powder the entire plant you are also getting all of the fiber, with the resulting digestive issues. Certainly the green flesh contains the most magic, but it does not by any means contain all of it.

In S. America where Trichos grow wild and in abundance it is common to use just the green flesh for ritual, they can afford to only use the most potent portions of the plant. But in places where Trichos must be cultivated I do not see that this reasoning applies. With a pressure cooker it is not that difficult to effect a complete recovery of all of the goodness of the entire plant. Nan

I forgot... Syrup is very stable. It keeps for months and months in the fridge, and actually gets better over time: cell fragments that passed through the cloth filter settle out after a month or so. The resulting syrup is clear, very dark with chlorophyll, but see through clear.

It can be also be frozen, in which case it keeps practically forever. I have found no loss of potency in syrup frozen for 5 years.

If syrup is stored at room temperature I have seen films of mold start to grow like a skin across the surface of the liquid after 6 weeks or so, but refrigerated syrup stays clean for 3-4 months without a problem. If I am going to hold it longer than 3-4 months, I decant the clear syrup off the sediment (after it has settled out), then freeze it.

[Anon: Just for the sake of completeness, would you recommend any substitutions for dried pedro materials, with the desired end of yeilding pure Mescaline?

Nanook, if one was living in on the tenth moon of Jupiter, and had an ethical code that found pressure cooking mescaline to be kind of scary, could she simmer for a longer time, or is the pressure necessary to drive out the stuff? ]

Cooking without pressure works, cook it, mash it with a potato masher, squeeze. It might take 5 or more "draws" to get it all. I se no reason to change the procedure for dried cactus. Make sure you use plenty of water, the cactus will rehydrate when cooked.

[Anon: BTW Nanook -- have you ever witnessed any attempts to can/jar the syrup? I know that the 10 minutes you give isn't enough to autoclave, do you think that the added time might be a problem? ]

No problem canning it. 20 minutes under 15lbs. It is correct there is no breakdown or loss of alkaloid. This magic remains stable under 15lbs pressure @ 250*F. And the extraction is complete without additives. All plant fluids and salts are completely removed, with all magic in it's natural state.


By Nan (Nanook) on Monday, October 22, 2001 - 04:39 pm:

Information links: The Cactus Links Page  (Vendors: cuttings, seeds, more info)


By Corro (Corro) on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 05:00 am:

i had really good luck w/ these guys. . they came rooted and ready to pot.

By greenthumb (Greenthumb) on Friday, November 02, 2001 - 12:31 am:


Thanks for the Cactus Tek (as well as the rest of the archives).
I hope to finish "manipulating" the thorny devils by this weekend. I bought 20 lbs. of it.

If I knew what a pain in the ass peeling it would be, I would have bought less!

THE QUESTION IS-------------
Why peel it?

By Nan (Nanook) on Friday, November 02, 2001 - 12:49 am:

The skin contains a lot of wax and it is nasty in every respect.

Also, the skin is thick and tough... Yet right under the skin is the tissue with the highest concentration of magic... So if you don't peel it a lot of the magic remains trapped right under the skin.

Peeling is a tedious and time consuming process I agree... Drink the syrup once and you will understand completely how worthwhile the effort is.

By Nan (Nanook) on Friday, November 02, 2001 - 10:38 pm:

Skins... Yuck

Slice off the tips of the stalks. Make the tip cuttings at least 4 inches long, make em longer if you feel can can spare them (and the peeling). Better to root the tips in soil, don't consume them.

Take a column of cacti and lay it, or stand it up if you find it easier... And run a very, very, sharp knife down the length of the harvested section just under the spines. You want to remove as little of the flesh as possible, but cut off a strip of skin containing a row of spines.

Turn to the next row of spines and repeat the slicing until all of the spines are removed.

Now you can hold it comfortably, and these cuts have opened up four or five (depends on the number of rows) "V" shaped strips of skin that run the length of the harvested section.

Starting at one end, get a fingernail or a small knife blade and lift up the edge of the skin where the column was cut. The skin is tough, and if you pull up gently and steadily it will pull off cleanly in long strips.

If the skin breaks, try starting at the other end; they peel better in one direction usually. If the skin tears in the middle you must dig it free enough with a knife point to get a grip on it. A pair of forceps helps.

20 lbs is lot, an all day project for one person to peal and slice. Two days to make syrup unless you stay up all night.

Try processing just a portion. The tickets increase in value and the interest compounds if you stick it in the ground and root it some of it. A lot of it.

If you don't want all the tips they still make nice holiday presents

By greenthumb (Greenthumb) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 03:19 pm:

tried the cacti last night=-

Thanks Nan--

By Jesseb (Jesseb) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 03:35 pm:

Nanook, My girl is thinging about doing a little cacti with me. The thing of it is is she has never done anything stronger then a little weed. She has tried shrooms but never got off on them. She takes Zoloft and can't seem to get off. SO would this be a little to much for her? If you remember have I have never done cacti either, but have eatin alot of shrooms so do you think that we could do this without going off the deep end. Is cacti like shrooms as far as the SSRI's are concerned. Zoloft is an SSRI right? Thanks.


By Nan (Nanook) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 07:04 pm:

I have no idea of any pros or cons involving cactus, Zoloft, or SSRI. You are own your own, so proceed with caution.

Boomer... Working on this board so that information like this can be easily found and utilized by you guys.

Greenthumb.... Well you ain't gonna tell us more?

By plinkerdink420 (Plinkerdink420) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 07:48 pm:

i tried some cacti several months ago... the san pedro... anyways yeah.. alot of hard work preparing that shit. but well worth it!

By greenthumb (Greenthumb) on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 02:08 pm:

Good Stuff for sure

I had done Mesq. before but at that time the effects were lost to me because of the different shit I was using, as well as the mesq. to buzzcraft with.

I used 10lb. completely peeled to make 15oz. heavy (about pancake syrup consistancy) juice.
Took 1 1/2 oz. w/ cranberry juice and felt light and happy after 60 min. I then took another 1 1/2 oz. and in another hour, 1 more oz.

@ 4 hrs. on 4 oz.- I had a very good thing going on!!!!

Very clean buzz. Lasted 12 hours. Didn't eat for 8 hrs. beforehand. Had nice time.
Not as harsh as blotter 'cid, but I had the same transitions- I'll explain

I go from nice head buzz, to giggles/hollow belly/jelly legs, to heavy body buzz. This is my 'cid cycle and it happened with the syrup as well.
I did have some indigestion and one case of "Should I trust that fart???", but all in all not much tummy trouble.

The visuals were not heavy but I did get a couple of 10 minute sets of what I call "freeze frame". To me everything looks like a film that has every other frame missing.

For me the trip was most like fresh, clean liquid 25.

I think I just found great new toy!!! Would recommend to anyone as a first time trip.

I have used a new tek for the ten lbs. I'm boiling down right now. I only peeled the long strait "easy" parts of the plant. The tips, bulbs, and spiney cut off strips all went into the cooker. These hard to peel parts were cut up very thin and cooked, SKIN ON, for 30min. @ 20 psi. This brew was mashed and stirred well, and placed back in the cooker for 30 min. more.
I did this to try and utilize all the "magic" that would have been lost by throwing away those parts.

The flesh separated easily from the skin when stirred and mashed up. This whole pot of stuff was strained and pressed into a reducing pot.

The other 9 lbs. were carefully peeled, ala Nan tek, and cooked for 20 min. @ 20psi. All 9 lbs. were liquified in the blender, cooked in distilled h2o for 60 min., strained through a shirt, and liquids reduced. The flesh was boiled and pressed 3 times. The reducing pot has been going all night and still has 2+ gallons in it.
I'll post on any flavor / digestability differences compared to all skin off. I'm sure that there will be a bunch of particles left in the syrup, these will settle in the fridge before It is placed in the freezer.

If I can find no real differences, I hope to never peel again!!!
I hope I helped somebody out with the 411.

As always-- Everyone repeat after me--
Thanks Nanook!!

By Nan (Nanook) on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 02:34 pm:

Hard work don't I know. It takes a productive spirit.

The only time "skin on" pressure cooking makes a real difference is if you Extract and/or have a sensitive stomach. Waxy skins & Protien leave sediment and residue, things are not as clean. Wax is gross. Extraction Performance is reduced.

By big slick (Baddaboom) on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 04:48 pm:

Bought 30 grams dried cuttings from was not sure how much to ingest so thought try 7 grams then maybe do more later. From looking up san pedro on the web I thought I might need to take all 30 grams to have a decent trip, but other sources implied peruvianus to be alot stronger than san pedro. I first tried chewing a piece but found the taste to be very unpleasant. Decided to chop it up finely and gulp it down with some milk which was workable. Less than an hour later started feeling effects walked to a bar and got couple of drinks to smooth things out which worked. On the way home felt like puking so I did then felt much better. At home watched some movies tripped for about 8 hours the intensity was about equal to 1.8 grams of shrooms. Pleased with the cactus but thinking does anyone have any different ideas of how to prepare it or get more out of it

By quote: (Quote) on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 10:58 pm:

so how much did you end up taking totally ?

By ShrooMaster (Shroomaster) on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 11:18 pm:

i dont think 30g dry would hardly be anything. especially for the price id say you paid.

By big slick (Baddaboom) on Friday, December 28, 2001 - 01:14 am:

I ended up taking just the 7 grams so the peruvianus seems quite potent