Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

União do Vegetal

  • Isabel Santana de RoseEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_542


The Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal, also called União do Vegetal, or UDV, was created in the Northwestern part of Brazil in 1961. It was founded by José Gabriel da Costa, known as Mestre Gabriel. The religion is marked by its Amerindian, Christian, and Kardecist influences; by the ritual consumption of hoasca or vegetal (ayahuasca); and by a highly hierarchical, centralized, and bureaucratic organization. Currently, the UDV has at least 20,000 members, making it the largest of the Brazilian ayahuasca religions. It has centers all over Brazil, as well as in the United States, Australia, and several European countries.


The Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (Union of the Vegetal Beneficent Spiritist Center), also called União do Vegetal, or simply UDV, was created in 1961 in a rubber camp in the Northwest of Brazil near the border with Bolivia. It was founded by José Gabriel da Costa (1922–1971), known as MestreGabriel, a native of the...


Brazilian ayahuasca religions Santo Daime Ayahuasca Biomedical research Legal disputes Religious freedom International drug policies 
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)Belo HorizonteBrazil