DMT extraction from plants

DMT extraction from plants


Mimosa hostilis root bark (MHRB) is widely available in powdered form and contains up to 1% DMT. The powdered root bark is usually boiled and taken after a harmine or harmaline containing plant such as Banisteriopsis caapi or Peganum harmala. Harmine and harmaline are monoamine oxidase inhibitors which make the DMT active orally and are quite nauseating. Boiled root bark is also very nauseating so these combinations don't usually make for an enjoyable evening. Another option is moclobemide, a more powerful pharmaceutical MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors), which can be taken with extracted DMT (ideally as DMT fumarate) to avoid these problems. You can find interesting pharmacological information in the following articles: DMT. Part I and DMT. Part 2.

Warning: using moclobemide with MDMA (Ecstasy) can be lethal.


Traditionally an acid-base extraction is used. The root bark is owdered and acidified to around pH 3, usually with HCl. The liquid is filtered off or decanted and the process repeated three times. The collected liquid is then basified to around pH 10 with NaOH and extracted with a non-polar solvent, usually at least three times - shaken, not stirred! The DMT freebase is highly soluble in the non-polar but virtually insoluble in the aqueous phase, so the non-polar is separated off and evaporated to give a crude extract. This extract can be purified for smoking, although smoking or snorting DMT is not recommended as it is very irritating to the mucous membranes, due to its alkalinity. (Heptane can be used for crystallisation and is available in the US as Bestine, a rubber cement thinner). The crude extract is quite adequate for oral use however, or for the preparation of DMT fumarate, so the crystallisation stage is omitted here. (Heptane is less suitable orinitial extraction from basified MHRB as it gives only two-thirds the yield of naphtha.) In practice the acidification stage can be omitted and it can be basified to far beyond pH 10, which helps to get a good partition without any emulsion, and saves using a pH meter. DMT is highly soluble in warm naphtha (up to 50 ºC - DMT boils at 67-68 ºC) but barely soluble below zero, so the naphtha can be recycled and the precipitate dried rapidly. (Recycling solvents is advisable as some DMT will remain in solution below zero.) The crystals below are produced by evaporation. Freezing naphtha yields a powder (in weighing boat below) which is less sticky and a paler yellow than the crystals, but probably of higher purity and considerably quicker and cheaper to produce.

Equipment and glassware:

  • Glass bottle with plastic screw cap;
  • McCartney bottle or similar;
  • Funnel;
  • Pipette;
  • Three-valve pipette filler (optional);
  • Poultry baster;
  • Rectangular Pyrex dish;
  • Single edge razor blade;
  • Scalpe;


  • Deionised Water (from any car accessory shop);
  • Sodium Hydroxide NaOH (Caustic Soda - for unblocking drains from DIY stores);
  • Naphtha (petrol lighter fluid);

Safety note: safety goggles and rubber gloves must be worn at all times when handling caustic soda.


1. Add 200 ml deionised water to the screw cap bottle. Then add 5 g of caustic soda while wearing protective goggles and gloves. Allow enough spacefor shaking - the bottle shown is a pint vinegar bottle (568 ml). The caustic soda will need shaking to dissolve, or the bottle base will become very hot. Once dissolved add 20 g Mimosa hostilis root bark powder - a large bore funnel is useful. (Buy powdered root bark as the wooden stuff is likely to destroy your coffee grinder!) Wear a dust mask when handling the powder as it goes everywhere. Shake the bottle and leave the basified root bark overnight. To speed things up the sealed bottle can be placed in a saucepan of warm water up to 60 ºC for an hour - plastic bottles are not recommended as they often develop cracks when heated.

2. Add 50 ml naphtha (35 g), recap the bottle and warm in a water bath to 60 ºC. Loosen and retighten the cap to release any pressure - if the thread is weak a plastic wine cork should fit well, but ensure that it is held firmly during agitation. Remember that naphtha fumes are flammable. If necessary wrap PTFE plumbing tape around the cork to get a tight fit. The bottle must now be shaken vigorously for at least a minute while wearing protective goggles and gloves - the DMT shuffle! Leave the bottle to rest in the water bath at 60 ºC after shaking. After a few hours there should be a clear partition between the caustic soda solution and the naphtha floating on top. Allow the bottle to cool, remove the cap or cork slowly and use a pipette to remove all the naphtha - you may need to tilt the bottle and use a long pipette - wear protective goggles and gloves in case of spillage and remember that naphtha is highly flammable. The poultry baster and long pipette fit together with plastic tubing (shown on the baster) so it can be inserted into the screw cap bottle. The ¼" (0.63 cm) tubing fits over the end of the baster and inside the open end of the long pipette. Alternatively a three-valve pipette filler can be fitted to a long pipette. These clever devices have pinch valves for Air, Suction and Empty and can be purchased cheaply on eBay. A McCartney bottle is useful to help separate the phases as this is impossible in a wide vessel. Use a pipette to remove all the naphtha from the McCartney bottle and empty it into a rectangular Pyrex dish. Place the Pyrex dish in a freezer for a few hours.

3. Remove the Pyrex dish from the freezer. Tilt it so that the naphtha can be removed from a corner with a pipette and place it in the screw cap bottle, making up the volume with fresh naphtha if necessary. Pouring the naphtha from the Pyrex dish will remove crystals. Invert the dish to keep dust out and leave at room temperature until all the remaining naphtha has evaporated. You should be left with deposits of tiny crystals which can be scraped up with a single edge razor blade. The crystals can be scraped off the razor with a scalpel into a cigarette paper or filter paper - keep the scalpel blade in a wine cork when not in use. Repeat the process until no more precipitate appears - remember to loosen and retighten the bottle cap to release any pressure before shaking. To save elbow grease a laboratory shaker can be used for the agitation - for best results it needs to be run at full throttle and on the floor for safety. Vigorous agitation will create an emulsion which can take a few hours to resolve in a warm water bath, but gives a much greater yield than gentle agitation. If emulsion remains in the naphtha, the phases should separate in a McCartney bottle. In case of the emulsion is not divide with naphtha, you can add table salt (NaCl to water). It increase density of water and speed of solution dividing with naphtha. If smaller or larger quantities of caustic soda are used the emulsion will not clear as well - the ratio of 5 g caustic soda : 200 ml deionised water : 20 g MHRB powder gives optimum results.

4. To purify the extract, add to naphtha in a sealed jar or McCartney bottle. Place on a hotplate stirrer until warm and thoroughly stirred. Once dissolved, decant off the naphtha from any crud with a pipette and freeze precipitate as before. This will give a fine yellow powder shown in the weighing boat below. Freebase DMT should be stored in an airtight container in a freezer.

Bulk extraction methods

In the bulk extraction below, 12 g caustic soda is added to 360 ml deionised water in four 750 ml olive oil bottles and shaken thoroughly. 62 g MHRB is then added to each bottle, shaken thoroughly and left overnight. 62 ml naphtha is then added and after warming on the hotplate, each bottle is secured to the shaker using stick-on Velcro (from haberdasheries) and bungee straps. Each bottle is agitated for one minute at full power and returned to the hotplate until the emulsion resolves. If emulsion remains in the naphtha, the phases should separate in a McCartney bottle. Three extractions are usually required. Both hotplate and shaker are operated at ground level for safety.

In the bulk extraction below, 67 g caustic soda is added to 2 litres deionised water in a 5 litre tin and shaken thoroughly. 333 g MHRB is then added, shaken thoroughly and left overnight. 250 ml naphtha is then added and the tin heated to 50 ºC in a water bath. The tin in then shaken by hand for one minute, stopping when necessary to release any pressure. The plastic locking teeth on the pouring spout are cut off to prevent the cap seizing on! The contents are then poured into a narrow neck 2 litre erlenmeyer flask and kept warm whilst being magnetically stirred with a large stir bar. The stir bar is gently inserted and removed by using a magnet on the outside of the flask - shown on the hotplate stirrer below. It is also handy if the stir bar needs to be centred in the flask. Gentle stirring should help resolve any emulsion and gives a much cleaner product. After several hours the phases can be separated using a three-valve pipette filler with a long pipette. A McCartney bottle is useful to help separate the phases at the bottom of the naphtha layer. The flask below is sealed using cling film with an elastic band, although polyethylene based DuraSeal would be more durable paraffin based Parafilm M does not resist solvents). Film is more convenient than a rubber bung as the aperture can be almost covered when drawing off the naphtha, reducing evaporation. Three extractions are usually required. The final extraction may be waxy and can be improved by magnetically stirring on a hotplate in a small sealed jar with naphtha, then separating and freeze precipitating as before. Heptane is more selective and will leave any brown gum in the bottom of the jar, although more care is required as it attacks any rubber seals and pipette bulbs!

High density polyethylene (HDPE) containers are not suitable for bulk extractions as the naphtha dissolves some of the material making the extract sticky, particularly when heated in a water bath (which is necessary to achieve a good yield). A demijohn could be used instead of the tin below, provided that the bung is removed regularly when heating and shaking, to release any pressure. An alternative extraction method is to use an Erlenmeyer flask on a hotplate stirrer alone, but this produces a far lower yield than is btained by shaking beforehand.

Preparation of DMT fumarate

DMT fumarate is preferred for oral use after an MAOI as it is water soluble and causes less gastrointestinal disturbance, and can be stored indefinitely without refrigeration.

Add 1 g freebase DMT from the above extraction to 50 ml anhydrous acetone in a jar and place on a hotplate stirrer until warm and thoroughly stirred - use cling film to seal as acetone removes enamel from lids! Keep the first jar warm on the hotplate and add 310 mg fumaric acid to 50 ml anhydrous acetone in a second jar and place on the hotplate stirrer until warm and thoroughly stirred. Once both have dissolved, mix together and place on a hotplate stirrer until warm and thoroughly stirred (5 - 10 min). Swirl the jar and pour quickly into a rectangular Pyrex dish, replace cover and place in a freezer. If necessary add more acetone and repeat to remove any residue in the jar. After a few hours, decant off the acetone with a poultry baster and dry thoroughly on a hotplate. This will give an off-white crystalline powder which can be scraped up with a single edge razor blade. Mixing all the ingredients together at once is effective but gives the product a yellow lumpy appearance. The yield should be around 1200 mg, suggesting that the freebase could be 90% pure (1200 x 76%). The beauty of this method is that any excess fumaric acid dissolved in the acetone does not precipitate out when frozen! Discard the used acetone by pouring onto concrete or tarmac, away from children or animals (it will evaporate very quickly).

In this experiment the acetone was dried with anhydrous magnesium sulphate - produced by baking Epsom Salts (MgSO4) in an oven above 200 °C. This produces a white cake which is powdered with a mortar and pestle. It is then magnetically stirred in a sealed bottle of acetone - a pint vinegar bottle is ideal. The acetone is then filtered off into a second pint vinegar bottle. Magnesium sulphate is a convenient drying agent to use as its appearance changes as it absorbs moisture. Drierite desiccant (CaSO4) impregnated with cobalt chloride indicator (it has blue color) is no longer recommended due to toxicity concerns with cobalt.

  • DMT is C12H16N2 = 188 g/mol, m.p. 40–59 °C
  • Fumaric acid is C4H4O4 = 116 g/mol, m.p. 287 °C (H=1, C=12, N=14, O=16)
  • DMT fumarate = 2 x 188 + 116 = 492 g/mol, m.p. 152 °C (contains 76% DMT)
  • Acetone Boiling Pt. 56 °C, Density 0.791; Drying agents: K2CO3/MgSO4/Na2SO4/Molecular sieve 0.3 nm/CaCl2

Mimosa hostilis

Mimosa hostilis is the former scientific name for Mimosa tenuiflora, and the two names are synonymous. The older name is still widely know due to its presence in the literature and as distributers of botanical products still use the older term. M. tenuiflora is an entheogen known as Jurema, Jurema Preta, Black Jurema, and Vinho de Jurema. Dried Mexican Mimosa Hostilis root bark has been recently shown to have a DMT content of about 1%. The stem bark has about 0.03% DMT.

To date no β-carbolines such as harmala alkaloids have been detected in Mimosa tenuiflora decoctions, however the isolation of a new compound called "Yuremamine" from Mimosa tenuiflora as reported in 2005 represents a new class of phyto-indoles. This may explain the reported oral activity of DMT in Jurema without the addition of an MAOI. Imported MHRB typically requires the addition of an MAOI in the preparation of ayahuasca.

Alkaloid content

  • Root Bark contains DMT - 0.31% to 0.57% (Schultes 1977)
  • Inner root bark contains up to 2% active alkaloids (Extractions from DMT-Nexus and others)
  • 3% of the total alkaloids (or 0.04% of rootbark) is NMT and 2-Methyl-1,2,3,4-Tetrahydro-Beta-Carboline

Pictured below is its original after being harvested from the plant. Notice the middle core is quite distinct from the root-bark, the outer bark is much more brown:

The first step in refinery is to brush the outside to remove the dirt. Then the outer bark must be lightly scraped with a good knife. It is preferable to remove at least some of the outermost layer to uncover the more blackish and purplish layer underneath:

Once the outermost part has been removed, peel off the Inner Root Bark to separate it from the core. This can easily be accomplished immediately by hand, though the use of a knife may be helpful.

The peeled inner root-bark now needs to dry. This may be accomplished by simply leaving it in the sun. Here's how it should look:

Plant Sources of DMT reported as percent of total dry plant source mass/weight:

  • Acacia bark — 0.71 % N,N-DMT;
  • Acacia maidenii bark — 0.36 % N,N-DMT;
  • Acacia simplicifolia bark — 0.86 % N,N-DMT;
  • Mimosa hostilis root (bark) — 0.57 - 1 % N,N-DMT;
  • Virola shoots & flowers — 0.44 % N,N-DMT;
  • Desmanthus illinoensis root bark — 0.34 % N,N-DMT;
  • Pilocarpus organensis — 1.06 % 5-MeO-DMT;
  • Phalaris tuberosa — 0.10 % N,N-DMT, 0.022% 5-MeO-DMT, 0.005% 5-OH-DMT;
  • Phalaris arundinacea — 0.06 % N,N-DMT;
  • Psychotria species — 0.2% N,N-DMT;
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