Everything you wanted to know about Ayahuasca

The shamans of the Quechua people of South America created a psychoactive brew used as ceremonial spiritual medicine called Ayahuasca. This is a decoction of Banisteriopsis caapi liana combined with chacruna (Psychotria viridis), chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana) and/or mapacho (Nicotiana rustica) leaves. However, each shaman often has his own recipe, sometimes including up to 20 types of plants that enhance and complement the effect of the main ingredient: the vine.

So how does Ayahuasca affect the body? This brew contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), whose task is to slow down physicochemical and physiological processes. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an enzyme whose duties include control over the level of neurotransmitters that ensure the interaction of nerve cells, as well as affect thinking, memory, attention, and mood. It is also worth noting tetrahydroharmine (THG), a natural selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is one of the main neurotransmitters.

MAO is responsible for the breakdown of a number of psychoactive substances that enter the body, including N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The key to success in the ayahuasca ritual is that this substance gets into the brain before MAO gets involved in it. To suspend MAO, just what MAO is needed.

As for DMT, it has a very similar structure to serotonin. Due to this, it is able to influence serotonin receptors, and hence the perception of time and reality, giving rise to visual and auditory hallucinations.
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The Ayahuasca tradition is so deeply rooted in the past that it is impossible to determine exactly when it began. Remains of Ayahuasca-based shamanic concoctions found in a cave in Bolivia indicate a period between the 9th and 11th centuries. There are theories suggesting the use of psychedelic substances by the inhabitants of the New World even before our era.

It is difficult to imagine how ancient shamans discovered the recipe for Ayahuasca by trial and error. How many unsuccessful experiments did they conduct before they came up with the combination of liana and chakruna? Especially in light of the fact that they do not grow side by side, since the vine oppresses its neighbor.

However, this mystery haunts only modern representatives of Western civilization. The indigenous people of the Amazon are convinced that their ancestors received a recipe from plant spirits. If we take out the beautiful legends, the most likely version is that initially Ayahuasca was prepared only from vines. Later, they thought of using chakruna. Moreover, some tribes still use a decoction of only one vine.

The old world learned about Ayahuasca in the era of the great geographical discoveries, as soon the white man set foot on the territory of the Amazon. At that time, however, the brew of Indian shamans did not gain much popularity since the church determined Ayahuasca a devilish potion.
An Ayahuasca ceremony experience without integration makes no sense. Therefore, you personally will be integrated by the most experienced mentor - Dr Scott


The mystery of the discovery of Ayahuasca intrigues scientists
Despite the efforts of colonialists, the locals have preserved the ancient traditions. Already in the more enlightened 20th century, science took seriously the study of Ayahuasca. The father of modern botany, Richard Evans Schults, gave the plant a botanical name, and more and more people began to be interested in a new way to know themselves and the world around them.

Today the fame of Ayahuasca has gone far beyond the borders of the South American continent. It not only remains an integral part of the beliefs of the Amazonian peoples but has also figured prominently in a number of syncretic religions around the world, including Barkinha and Santo Daime.


There is no universal recipe for Ayahuasca
The Ayahuasca brew has two key ingredients: dimethyltryptamine and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. The source of the former is most often the leaves of chakruna, amiruki, chalipongs, or the bark of mimosa khostilis. Of course, the "liana of spirits", Banisteriopsis caapi, is responsible for the MAOI.

There is no universal recipe. Every shaman spends many years of his life studying the effects of Ayahuasca testing new combinations. The effectiveness of the drink is influenced not only by the raw materials but also by the skill of the person making it.

In the average recipe, the process of making Ayahuasca is roughly the following:

1. Liana is crushed with a special wooden mallet.
2. The resulting chips are boiled over moderate heat until the water boils away. As a rule, within 2-3 hours.
3. Chakruna leaves are also boiled.
4. Filter both broths until transparent. At least 4-5 times without mixing.
5. The remaining parts of the plants after straining are boiled and strained again. Then they repeat it all one more time.
6. Each broth is poured into its own container in a volume of 3 servings and sent to the refrigerator overnight.
7. The next day, the decoctions are evaporated, while not allowing them to boil. After another filtering, the liquids are mixed. On the eve of the ceremony, the drink is warmed up.

What they never allow is the preparation of a drink in Teflon or aluminum containers. After all, it corrodes these materials with toxic substances (i.e., aluminum salts). The correct cooking utensils are stainless steel.
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The ritual itself is most often performed in the evening.
Retreat centers are usually located far from civilization. Ayahuasca is home to small villages in rainforests, not bustling, polluted metropolitan areas, and there is sdom in maintaining this tradition. After all, the bustle of the urban jungle cannot deliver an authentic experience.

Some shamans gather in groups of up to 30 people. But ideally, the number of participants in the ceremony should not exceed 10. This guarantees that everyone gets the attention that is required on their journey. The day prior to the ceremony, you meditate and set your intentions.

The optimal time of day for the ceremony is evening, and the ideal place is a maloka (hut). Usually, the shaman begins the ritual after sunset. First, he uses special spells to protect all participants, and only after that he allows you to drink Ayahuasca, controlling the process.

The shaman determines the dose for each individual. It varies for each person, according to constitution, health, goals pursued, and whether this is the first ceremony.

The shaman also drinks a dose of the brew himself. If the portion allotted to a participant does not work, the shaman gives this participant an additional serving.

Ayahuasca takes effect 30-60 minutes after ingestion. Participants spend this time reflecting, discussing important issues with each other and smoking makhorka (mapacho).
Take this information very seriously. Compliance with these simple restrictions will make your participation in the Life Retreat program comfortable and completely safe.
Ayahuasca causes nausea in many people. Shamans advise you to hold off on vomiting as long as possible in order to increase the effectiveness of the journey. Since nausea is common during the ceremony, buckets and napkins are provided to all participants. The restroom, of course, is also within walking distance.

Ayahuasca lasts 4 hours, sometimes longer. When the shaman notices that the effects are winding down, he ends the ceremony. The ritual usually starts around 10 pm and ends by 2–3 am. At this point, everything depends on the desire and state of the participants: some communicate with others, some leave to retire and relax.
The shaman is the alpha and omega of the whole ritual. The quality of the drink, the accuracy of the dose, the correctness of the moral and physical preparation of the participants all this and much more depends primarily on his/her qualifications.

The shaman carefully controls all aspects of the ceremony. By creating a universal, pacifying environment, the shaman also makes adjustments in accordance with the goals of the participants. The main instrument in this matter is olfactory and auditory sensations. Therefore, an experienced shaman always responsibly chooses what sounds and aromas to surround his students with.

If everything is clear with smells, then it is worth focusing on sounds in more detail. The shaman not only communicates with the participants and guides them along the right path with his advice. In his/her arsenal, there are also special spells, traditional ikaro songs, as well as the musical shakapa rattle.

An experienced shaman always sees which of the participants needs accompaniment and guidance, and who should be left alone with his visions. The second happens much more often, because the essence of Ayahuasca is to cope with your experiences on your own and thereby gain invaluable experience.

Drinking Ayahuasca without a shaman is not recommended. You can either waste your time, energy and money or worse, make problems.
We have prepared an interesting and rich program for you. This will be the most unforgettable journey of your life into the depths of your subconscious.


The shaman decides how the ceremony will be held
Many shamans are representatives of professional dynasties, and their ancestors have performed these rituals tens and even hundreds of years ago. To become a real maestro (as they are called), they study for 20 years.

In the case of "shamans" who receive this title in a couple of years, there can be no question of any qualifications. A word of caution: the layman is not the greatest of the dangers that lie in wait for you. Even worse are the so-called brujos (sorcerers), who, according to real shamans, perform ceremonies solely in order to steal spiritual energy from others.


She was interested in European and North American countries
The active study of Ayahuasca in the first half of the 20th century led to its worldwide popularization in the second. She was especially interested in European and North American countries. Which, of course, could not be ignored by the official authorities.

One of the most striking legal precedents dates back to 2001, when the center of attention was the Church of Santo Daime, whose members took Ayahuasca as part of their religious practice. The authorities opened a criminal case against the church leadership, allegedly for spreading DMT.

The prosecution failed to prove the harm from the use of Ayahuasca, and the court acquitted the leaders of the church. It was decided that this is the right to freedom of religion, guaranteed by Article 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This became the impetus not only for the free use of this drink within the framework of religious rites, but also for the creation of its analogues.
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The demand for Ayahuasca is growing every day, but not everyone has the opportunity to travel to South America. Outside of it, the "liana of spirits" does not grow. Therefore, in different parts of the world, enthusiasts began to experiment to create their own drinks that provide the key to knowing yourself and the world around you. Even in South America, the Banisteriopsis caapi vine is sometimes replaced by other plants containing similar substances.

On other continents, such analogs are also found. For example, the buffalo vine (Acacia phlebophylla) and the maiden acacia (Acacia maidenii) are popular with Ayahuasca lovers in Australia. In the Middle East, the main source of MAOI is common harmala (Peganum harmala). Passionflower (Passíflōra) grows in Asia, the Mediterranean, and Madagascar.

Of course, pharmacists also joined in and proposed an artificial analogue. By combining synthetic monoamine oxidase inhibitors and dimethyltryptamine, they obtained a pharma huasca, which also gained some popularity.
An Ayahuasca ceremony experience without integration makes no sense. Therefore, you personally will be integrated by the most experienced mentor - Dr Scott


Outside the Amazon, the "liana of spirits" does not grow


Ayahuasca relieves irritability and gives a feeling of relaxation
Ayahuasca has a complex effect on the body. Still, it is worth highlighting at least 3 main aspects:

Increased blood pressure. The heart rate increases and the load on the cardiovascular system as a whole increases. Therefore, people with corresponding diseases can take part in the ceremony only after consulting a doctor.

Purification. This is how you can translate the word "la purga", which refers to a special state after taking Ayahuasca. It provokes vomiting, and in some cases, diarrhea. The reason for this is the anthelmintic effect of harmala, which rid the body of various parasites.

Sedation. Ayahuasca immerses you in a state of relaxation, eliminating feelings of anxiety and irritation. This is an indispensable guarantee of a special state that opens access to new levels of knowledge of yourself and the world around you.

It is impossible not to mention the deaths associated with the use of Ayahuasca. Yes, it happens. Never because of the drink itself. Such tragic cases are always provoked by one of two reasons: neglect of chronic diseases or the use of substances prohibited on the eve of the ceremony. Thus, man himself turned out to be the blacksmith of his own misfortune.

Aside from taking illicit foods, drugs, and other substances on the eve of the ceremony, there are no long-term negative effects from Ayahuasca. But there are temporary effects:
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Changing minds and changing lives!

vegetative dystonia;
increased body temperature;
muscle spasms;
violation of motor functions.
Ayahuasca takes effect in half an hour or an hour from the moment of taking it. How soon this happens depends on the concentration of DMT in the drink. The peak of the journey occurs within 1.5–2 hours of ingestion since it is by this time that the level of DMT in the blood reaches its limit. The effect ends in about 4 hours.

As a rule, the initial sensations at the physiological level are frightening for some participants. Along with nausea, there may be a burning sensation in the stomach, and a noticeable change in the sensitivity of the skin. But there are more essential aspects:

Visual hallucinations. An almost obligatory attribute of the ritual. The brightness, depth, and frequency of visions are variable. It's like a roller coaster. Moreover, hallucinations occur regardless of whether eyes are closed or open.

Increased hearing sensitivity. Your ears will be able to pick up subtle sounds. The more solid the dose, the more acute your hearing.

Enhancing emotions. You can experience a whole range of feelings, sometimes quite contradictory. It can include joy on the verge of euphoria and sadness, happiness and fear, surprise and pity, as well as a sense of unity with the whole world.

✓ Changing the perception of the environment. Ayahuasca speeds up thinking significantly. This is the path to fullOf the possible effects, it is also worth noting a feeling of detachment from one's own body, a change in self-esteem, a different perception of time, and sometimes even short-term emotional disorders.
An Ayahuasca ceremony experience without integration makes no sense. Therefore, you personally will be integrated by the most experienced mentor - Dr Scott


Emotions are heightened, especially with a high dose

Of the possible effects, it is also worth noting a feeling of detachment from one's own body, a change in self-esteem, a different perception of time, and sometimes even short-term emotional disorders.

Ayahuasca Targets Emotional Areas of the Brain

The key active ingredients in Ayahuasca are dimethyltryptamine and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. This is a very important combination, as MAOIs actively promote the efficient absorption of DMT. Harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine, alkaloids that bind monoamine oxidase, but do not provoke irreversible chemical reactions in the body, also play an important role.

Since different shamans use different recipes, the concentration of each of these alkaloids can vary significantly. However, there are valid ranges.100 ml of a drink may contain:

tetrahydroharmine - 21-67 mg;
harmine — 37–83 mg;
harmaline — 64–172 mg;
dimethyltryptamine — 31–73 mg.

By controlling the activity of serotonin, Ayahuasca affects the parts of the brain responsible for emotion and introspection. More specifically, DMT affects the serotonin receptor 5-HT2A and thereby decreases the activity of the areas of the cerebral cortex that are responsible for vision and decision-making.

MAOIs, in turn, target dopamine receptors. In fact, they take control of the dopaminergic system, which is responsible for motor activity, emotions, and motivation.
Take this information very seriously. Compliance with these simple restrictions will make your participation in the Life Retreat program comfortable and completely safe.
Antidepressants such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are strictly prohibited, since Ayahuasca affects the amount of this substance in the body. Mixing DMT and SSRIs is fraught with the emergence of a deadly serotonin syndrome, so taking such antidepressants is contraindicated one week, or even two weeks before drinking.

In addition, on the eve of the ceremony, you should avoid the following list of substances:

antihypertensive drugs to lower blood pressure;
medicines for getting rid of excess weight;
remedies for colds, bronchitis, asthma and other similar diseases;
any drug in the name of which you see the letter combinations DXM, DM, DX and Tuss;
drugs that reduce the activity of the central nervous system, from antidepressants to barbiturates;
vasodilators that dilate blood vessels;
antipsychotics and antipsychotics;
psychotropic opioid analgesics;
amphetamine, ephedrine, opiates, marijuana, and cocaine;
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Ayahuasca is not compatible with many medications


Copes with Ayahuasca and depression, even with severe forms

One of the main effects of using Ayahuasca is to increase the concentration of serotonin in the body. But it is with the deficiency of the "hormone of happiness" that researchers associate alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, senile dementia, schizophrenia and even autism. That is why Ayahuasca has become an excellent tool for getting rid of any manifestations of addiction: from alcoholism to gambling addiction. It also heals the craving for domestic violence, and dependence on the abuser, and other manifestations of dysfunctional behavior. Ayahuasca also copes with depression, even with its severe forms.

Of course, you can only count on a positive result if you drink Ayahuasca in the right environment and under the supervision of an experienced mentor. Otherwise, you risk getting the opposite effect, due to a poor-quality drink, own unpreparedness, or for some other reason.

The path to personal growth

Ayahuasca is the shortest path to spiritual awakening, true knowledge of oneself, building relationships with other people, and finding harmony with the world around you. However, this drink is not a short-term route. This is only the most intense part of a long journey, a new life. The ceremony sets you up for constant self-improvement through constant reflection and, of course, action.
The Wachuma ceremony is one of the ways of knowing oneself through sincerity, unconditional love for oneself, through acceptance and understanding of oneself and the world that a person creates
There are many examples of high-profile participants who have been impacted by Ayahuasca. In particular, the singer Sting, actress Lindsay Lohan, athlete and commentator David Icke, and businessman, writer and showman Tim Ferris spoke positively about Ayahuasca. Treating addictions, dealing with inner anger, knowing oneself, they all had different goals, but they achieved them.

Beware of counterfeits

Since the fame of Ayahuasca has long gone beyond America, the community of its adherents around the world is very diverse. Many, in search of enlightenment, go to the homeland of the "vines of spirits" and participate in ceremonies conducted by real shamans under authentic conditions. These people understand that Ayahuasca is not only a decoction but a ceremony and sacred ritual.

There are also those who distort the ancient rites. Someone unintentionally, due to lack of awareness, or intentionally, in pursuit of easy money. Be that as it may, many newfangled movements of the so-called neo-Ayahuasqueros have appeared. These are South American Indians, posing as shamans, and residents of other countries, positioning themselves as gurus of a new format. One thing unites them: by borrowing external attributes, they miss the essence of the ceremony.

A true maestro does not strive for wealth. Holding ceremonies for some private secret purposes and abuse of their high position is also considered unacceptable among true shamans. A true healer sees it as his mission to help people in search of the true path. If you don't abide by this mission, it means that you are a fraudster who is eager only for profit.

Since Ayahuasca was and remains an abstract folk treasure, of course, shamans did not have any intellectual rights to it. The cunning businessmen didn't hesitate to take advantage of this, ferreting out recipes from the gullible maestro and applying for patents for this healing drink. At first, it was impossible to make claims against them, and even more so to obtain compensation for the keepers of ancient traditions.

This issue was also not without high-profile court precedents. Back in 1986, one American received a patent that gave him the ownership of knowledge about the "liana of spirits." Fortunately, public organizations defending the rights of indigenous people of the Amazon have appealed this decision in court. Looking back at the centuries-old Indian traditions associated with Ayahuasca, Themis' servants revoked the grant of this patent.

However, that was not the end of the story. The "owner" of the patent appealed against this decision in the next instance court and restored his right. And yet, in 2003, the patent expired, and attempts to renew it were no longer crowned with success. After all, US legislation has changed, and now applications for such patents are also considered by the very same public activists defending the rights of indigenous peoples. Since then, shamans have been actively educating about the heritage of their ancestors. They understand that moral right is on their side and the more people know about their ancient traditions, the less chances the next rogue will find loopholes in the legislation and appropriate someone else's.
Dimethyltryptamine has become a major stumbling block for the legalization of Ayahuasca in many countries. DMT is included in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which allows them to be used for scientific purposes, but limits their medical use.

In the comments to the same convention, it appears that this document does not regulate the cultivation of DMT-containing plants. This set the stage for active controversy over the legal status of Ayahuasca. In 2010, the International Narcotics Control Board recommended that states control this issue on their own, many countries made the production, transportation, possession, and sale of Ayahuasca a criminal offense.

The fact that the relevant international committee washed their hands and the governments began to go too far did not suit very many. The loudest outraged group were those for whom Ayahuasca became an integral part of religious rituals. These people immediately declared a violation of their right to freedom of religion.

Legal status in different countries

Due to DMT, Ayahuasca is banned in the vast majority of countries.
An Ayahuasca ceremony experience without integration makes no sense. Therefore, you personally will be integrated by the most experienced mentor - Dr. Scott

Legal status of Ayahuasca in different countries

There are gratifying exceptions where the authorities do not step on citizens' freedoms so harshly. Of course, we will not consider the situation in almost 200 states. Let's go through the key:

Complete ban. In Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, Ayahuasca is considered a narcotic substance. The situation is similar in most EU countries, with the exception of a few mentioned below.

Legal status. In Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, this drink is recognized as a national treasure and an integral part of the spiritual life of citizens. In Spain and Italy, there are simply no laws prohibiting Ayahuasca. In the Netherlands, you can buy it in specialty stores, and the retreats are quite official.

Mixed status. Religious use is permitted in the United States and Canada. In addition, in the States, the plants themselves are not banned, unlike the decoction. In Chile and Australia, the legal status of the drink is not defined, which does not allow it to be classified as a narcotic substance. In Portugal, Ayahuasca can be stored and consumed, but not produced, transported, and sold. In Romania, medical and scientific use is permitted.

We have collected for you the most frequently asked questions from retreat participants

Unlike drugs that are used for pleasure, Ayahuasca is a learning tool. Of course, there are exceptions, but usually this process has little to do with rest. Understanding the truth about yourself, others and the world, realizing your shortcomings, looking for answers to difficult questions and solutions to problems can evoke a variety of emotions: from despair and fear to disappointment and anger.

However, these feelings will not be with you for long. They evaporate as soon as the Ayahuasca wears off and the invaluable experience remains. Think of these unpleasant sensations as an important step on the path to enlightenment. Just prepare for the ceremony properly and trust a truly experienced mentor.
This unpleasant symptom is another important part of the process. Thus, cleaning takes place both on a physiological and spiritual level. But nausea, like diarrhea, hasn't hurt anyone yet, and it usually only shows up at first. Adherence to the diet and other requirements on the eve of the ritual will make it easier for you to go through this stage.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO MIX Ayahuasca With Drugs?
Many cite DMT's compatibility with many other substances. Do not forget that Ayahuasca is a multicomponent product and does not have a single recipe. Therefore, you never know if she will enter into a dangerous reaction with the drug. So stick to the restrictions and don't risk your health.
DO Ayahuasca drug tests detect?
Such tests do not even detect DMT, because it is fundamentally different from the drugs for which the means of detection are sharpened. The chemical composition of the other components of Ayahuasca does not pose a problem at all. Therefore, the risk of a positive drug test result remains within the margin of error.
IS Ayahuasca addictive?
No, this is definitely not an experience that you will want to have over and over again. On the contrary, you need to gain strength to force yourself to take part in the ceremony again. Ayahuasca addiction does not exist as such. Only a temporary effect is possible if you consume 2 or even more doses of the drink per day. After a day, he disappears.
No. But if you want to go through an authentic ceremony, and not a parody event, try real Ayahuasca, and not an accidental psychedelic concoction. Trust a hereditary shaman, and not a disguised guru - then yes, absolutely. Plus, in Ecuador, you do all of this while remaining perfectly clean before the law.