Bufotenine Extraction: Sodium Hydroxide to Alvarius Alkaloids

Bufotenine Extraction: A Comprehensive Guide

Bufotenine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in certain plants and animals, notably in the skin and glands of some toads, specifically the Incilius Alvarius (often referred to as the Colorado River Toad or the Sonoran Desert Toad). This compound is related to the well-known substances DMT and 5-MeO-DMT and has been used in various traditional shamanic practices. This article will provide insights into the extraction methods of bufotenine using sodium hydroxide, acetone, and elaborate on the specific extraction from Alvarius toads.

Bufotenine formulaBufotenine

1. Introduction to Bufotenine

Bufotenine is a psychoactive alkaloid that has been at the center of numerous studies and traditional practices. The effects and properties of this compound vary, and its extraction requires careful techniques to ensure purity and safety.

Picture of the seeds before (left) and after (right) cracking at low heat.

2. Bufotenine Extraction Using Sodium Hydroxide

a. Materials Required:

  • Source material containing bufotenine
  • Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
  • Distilled water
  • Separatory funnel
  • Non-polar solvent (e.g., naphtha)

b. Procedure:

  • Grind the source material into a fine powder.
  • In a container, add an appropriate amount of distilled water and slowly add sodium hydroxide, stirring constantly until fully dissolved.
  • Add the ground source material to the sodium hydroxide solution, ensuring thorough mixing.
  • Add the non-polar solvent and shake the mixture gently.
  • Allow the layers to separate in a separatory funnel. The bufotenine will migrate to the non-polar solvent layer.
  • Drain off the non-polar layer, which contains the bufotenine, into a clean container.
  • The solvent can then be evaporated, leaving behind bufotenine.

Picture of the grinded seeds (left) and the mixture with Na2CO3 (right).

3. Bufotenine Extraction Using Acetone

a. Materials Required:

  • Source material containing bufotenine
  • Acetone
  • Filtering apparatus

b. Procedure:

  • Powder the source material.
  • Place the powder in a container and cover it with acetone.
  • Allow the mixture to sit for several hours, occasionally shaking or stirring.
  • Filter off the solid material, collecting the acetone solution.
  • Evaporate the acetone to yield bufotenine.

setup to recover spilled over material (right).

4. Extraction of Alkaloids from Incilius Alvarius (Alvarus)

Bufotenine is not the only psychoactive compound in Alvarius toads; they also contain other alkaloids, including 5-MeO-DMT.

a. Procedure for Alvarius Alkaloid Extraction:

  • Collect the secretions from the toad by gently squeezing the glands. This is often done onto a flat surface.
  • Allow the secretions to dry, resulting in a crystalline material.
  • This crystalline material can be further processed using either the sodium hydroxide or acetone extraction method to isolate specific alkaloids like bufotenine.

formed blob


While the extraction of bufotenine and other alkaloids from various source materials is a topic of interest for many researchers and enthusiasts, it's essential to approach these procedures with caution. Additionally, the ethical considerations of collecting secretions from live animals should always be taken into account. Moreover, in many regions, the possession, extraction, and use of bufotenine are illegal, so always ensure that you're informed about local regulations.

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