Ayahuasca has long been used by Amazonian tribes for spiritual healing and divination but is now gaining popularity with Westerners.
It contains DMT, which produces intense visual and auditory hallucinations. The chemical causes an altered state of consciousness and can also produce powerful feelings of euphoria.
People often drink ayahuasca to combat depression or addiction, but it also offers other benefits like spiritual growth and emotional healing.
It is said that ayahuasca can be dangerous if not administered under strict supervision of an experienced shaman.
This drug is illegal in many countries due to its side effects which include vomiting, fever, seizures and sometimes death.
However, it’s important to note that these occurrences are rare and usually happen only when someone takes too much or doesn’t follow directions and precautions about how much should be taken with food or water.
If you’re considering taking this drug, it’s best to do some research.
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a South American tea used both socially and ceremonially as spiritual medicine among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. The tribal people believed it could heal both physical and mental illnesses.
This ceremonial tea is still being used in ceremonies among the religious communities in Brazil, North American and Santo Daime.
Traditionally a shaman or curandero prepares the brew and watches over the people who consume it as a guide through their spiritual journey.
The brew affects the central nervous system giving the user an altered state of consciousness that can include hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and euphoria.
Is Ayahuasca safe?
Ayahuasca ceremonies are usually led by experienced shaman who know what they are doing, know what to look out for, and how far to take it. They offer spiritual guidance throughout the experience and monitor everyone for safety. Some retreats will also have medical staff on hand in case of emergencies.
Taking Ayahuasca can result in serious side effects, as it can interact with many medications and may worsen some medical conditions.
You should do your research and consult your physician before consuming Ayahuasca or any form of mind-altering drug.
How is it consumed?
The tea is made from boiling torn leaves from two plants, the Psychotria Viridis shrub and stalks from the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine. When combined, these two plants form a strong psychedelic brew that effects the central nervous system leading to an altered state of consciousness that can include hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and euphoria. It has a strong bitter taste and can be salty/yeasty in flavor and thick depending on the Shaman’s recipe.
It is strongly recommended to only do Ayahuasca under the supervision of an experience shaman who can look after you and guide you through your altered state that can last for many hours.
People travel to countries like Peru, Costa Rica, and Brazil to attend Ayahuasca retreats.
Before consuming the brew, it is recommended that people abstain from cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sex, and caffeine and consume a vegetarian diet 2-4 weeks prior to rid their body of as much toxins as possible.
Ayahuasca can take about 20-60 minutes before kicking in, can last up to 6 hours and be taken through multiple days.
People who have taken Ayahuasca have experienced:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Hallucinations that you can see and hear
What are the benefits of Ayahuasca?
Recent research has shown that Ayahuasca may benefit your health in various ways.
- Ayahuasca is a natural plant medicine that can help protect brain cells and memory.
The main active ingredients in Ayahuasca are DMT and B-carbolines and they have been shown to exhibit neuroprotective and neurorestorative qualities.
- DMT blocks neurodegeneration and regulates the production of antioxidant compounds that help protect your brain cells.
- Harimine, the main B-carboline in Ayahuasca has been found to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and memory-boosting effects.
- Ayahuasca may help treat addiction and treatment-resistant depression.
There is research out there right now that suggests the components of ayahuasca can help aid in the following:
- A study with treatment-resistant depression showed that a single dose of Ayahuasca led to significant improvements in depression severity and antidepressant effects.
- A study looking into the treatment of addiction showed that people with psychological and behavioral issues related to substance abuse demonstrated significant improvements in mindfulness, hopefulness, empowerment, and overall quality of life. They also reported a declined use of tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol because of it.
- You can use it for spiritual growth, self-awareness, and healing
The use of Ayahuasca for spiritual growth can lead to:
- An ethical awakening and awareness of one’s conscience
- It can help you to love and respect yourself
- It teaches you about surrender
According to some studies ayahuasca may increase a person’s ability to be in a mindful state.
- It may help with PTSD
Research has found that ayahuasca may be beneficial for people with PTSD because it helps with the retrieval of repressed memories, which paves the way for the brain to reprogram or extinguish the associated fear response.
- It may help with suicidal ideation
A study done in 2019 suggests that lifetime psychedelic use can lower levels of suicidal ideation by treating a wide range of mental health issues that my contribute to those thoughts.
If you’ve never tried Ayahuasca before but are interested in exploring this plant medicine as part of your own spiritual or health journey, then be sure to do your research!
There are many reputable places around the world where one can participate in safe ceremonies facilitated by experienced shamans.