What is ayahuasca?
When people talk about ayahuasca, they refer to the brew - which is a mixture of the banisteriopsis caapi vine and the chacruna leaf. The chacruna leaf is the one with DMT which causes hallucinations and psychedelic experience. If you take ayahuasca by itself, you can access it’s primary healing properties without the hallucinations commonly associated with the ayahuasca experience.
Why do people use ayahuasca?
People choose to use ayahuasca because it’s one of the most powerful psychedelics known to man. Psychedelics in general have a lot of healing potential. I’ve experienced and seen healing in brain health, mindfulness, reducing stress, depression, anxiety, and healing from physical diseases. Including two ladies who had lyme disease and experienced significant increases in their health after using ayahuasca. One man I did ceremony with had suffered a stroke six years prior - after his ayahuasca ceremony his MRI showed no signs of the brain damage visible on previous scans.
There’s a company called MAPS that focuses on psychedelic therapy. They mostly use psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and MDMA in a therapeutic setting for individuals with mental health concerns like PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Many individuals use ayahuasca and other plant medicines for spiritual detox to heal from past traumas, find clarity of mind and intuition, discover their purpose, and access their subconscious mind. We are often not clear in our mind because of emotional and spiritual baggage inflicted by modern society that we carry in our bodies.
Risks and side effects of ayahuasca
During ayahuasca ceremony, you’re going to purge. Physically, you may experience vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach ache. Emotionally, you may purge by crying, laughing, talking outloud.
Your heart-rate and blood pressure will increase - which makes it important that any individuals with blood pressure and heart-related issues do not participate in an ayahuasca ceremony where the ayahuasca vine is mixed with the chacruna leaf. Even though the risk is minimal, some people who have participated in ayahuasca ceremonies have died. Most of these individuals had pre-existing heart or blood pressure related issues.
DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) is released into your body from the chacruna leaf when you mix it with the ayahuasca vine. Even though the ayahuasca vine itself is not regulated, DMT was made a schedule 1 drug in the United States in 1971. If you are in a country where DMT is illegal, like the US, you should not mix the ayahuasca vine with the chacruna leaf.
Some people feel worse after drinking ayahuasca. This is common for those who have a transformative experience using ayahuasca but then return to their old life, old problems, and old patterns without the support of a community to help then continue on their self-healing journey. This is why we strongly recommend joining the Awake Healer community and microdosing ayahuasca vine to 1) stay connected to like-minded people who can help you progress and 2) stay connected to mother ayahuasca.
Contraindications of ayahuasca
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, so do your own research - especially if you are concerned.
Don’t consume ayahuasca if you are using any
- Antidepressants (SNRIs, SSRIs, tricyclic)
- Cough medications
- Lithium or other psychiatric drugs
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease
- St. John’s wort
- Weight loss pills
- Schizophrenia and other paranoia/bipolar disorders
Why are people afraid to use ayahuasca
Many people get worried about using ayahuasca - they may feel like it’s not the right time, that their mind is too weak, or that they’re prone to panic attacks. Maybe they don’t want to throw up or see something they’re not ready for. If you’re thinking about using ayahuasca or if you make that choice, these or similar fears may come up. It’s almost like setting the intention triggers fears that you have about life - ayahuasca shows you who you are.
These fears that come up about the medicine, are generally fears that you have in your life, all the time, about everything. It’s not just about the ceremony or using the medicine. For instance, do you often not think it’s the right time when you make decisions in life. Do you often feel like your mind or emotions are too weak to face challenges in life. Nobody wants to experience those things, but it comes down to what you’re willing to sacrifice to find healing. Will you sacrifice comfort and the status quo in order to find healing?
In my experience, I don’t think your body will allow you to experience anything you can’t handle. Because your body has it’s automatic defense mechanisms - if there’s something that you can’t handle then your body will shut it down and numb it. Whatever comes up during an ayahuasca ceremony is what the individual needs to experience. If traumatic memories come up, it means you’re ready to let it go. Besides, any difficult things that come up are already inside you - ayahuasca can bring those things up, help you process them, and allow you to release them.
Guest written by Isa Mendoza