A tobacco purge generally takes place in preparation for an Ayahuasca Ceremony, an Amazonian ritual where a hallucinogenic-laden tea is drunk.
Significant amounts of tobacco tea is consumed, along with water, before vomiting is induced by a guide.
It is seen as something of a deep cleanse, with tobacco used to purify the liver and lungs, and bring clarity to one’s thoughts and emotions.
One website lists the ceremony as a US$35 addon to an Amazon expedition.
This isn’t the first death thought to have been caused by a tobacco purge gone wrong. Canadian Jennifer Logan, 32, died of a pulmonary edema after the ritual.
A large accumulation of fluid in her lungs caused respiratory failure.
The government has warned of the spiritual cleansing rituals, saying while not illegal the tea presents certain risks as it is not regulated.
There have been reports of psychological damage, assault, theft and rape of people under the influence of ayahuasca tea.