Ayahuasca Medicine

Introduction

Ayahuasca brew in the cooking pot

Ayahuasca or yagé is an brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vines and other ingredients. The brew has been used as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among many of the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin for hundreds of years. This brew varies radically from one batch to the next, both in potency and psychoactive effect due to natural variations among individual plants and the skill of the shaman, as well as well as the intent of the ceremony. Many ayahuasca retreats mix additional psychotropic plants into their brew, sometimes with dangerous results. Here at the Ayahuasca Oasis Healing Center, our shamen use a traditional recipe using only Banisteriopsis caapi vines and Psychotria viridis (chacruna) leaves for a more pure and safe experience. The word ayahuasca can be translated to "vine of the soul".

Effects

Upon consuming ayahuasca many people are taken on a journey into their own mind, into the deep layers of consciousness. Many people report having spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, their true self, and deep insight into how to be the best person they can be. This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening or rebirth. Many individuals feel they make contact with spiritual guides. And many people experience profound positive life changes after consuming ayahuasca. 

What to Expect

Ayahuasca is powerful plant medicine that should not be taken simply for amusement. It is not LSD or psychedelic mushrooms. Although most people will experience a deep level of healing, physically, mentally, and spiritually, an ayahuasca ceremony itself is often difficult and unpleasant both physically and mentally. You should be prepared to take an hard, honest look at your own negative beliefs and behaviors, as well as difficult past experiences. These may be magnified during the ceremony. The best approach is to simply observe, let the visions and emotions unfold, and trust that what is happening is a valuable part of the ayahuasca healing process. If you do happen to feel stuck in a vision that you feel is too intense, simply let our facilitators know. They and the shamen will help redirect your focus. 

It is completely normal, even encouraged, to experience vomiting after drinking ayahuasca. Those who do not vomit often feel very poor and weak the following day while those who have regurgitated all of the ayahuasca will feel completely normal. Diarrhea is less common, but considered completely normal.  Your body may feel very weak, and you may have trouble walking. So if you need to use the restroom nearby, let our facilitator know, so they can give you a hand. 

Safety

Ayahuasca is generally safe to drink. However, those with the following conditions are advised NOT to drink ayahuasca: HEART PROBLEMS, KIDNEY DISORDERS, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, SCHIZOPHRENIA, BIPOLAR DISORDER, and ANY HISTORY OF PSYCHOSIS OR PSYCHOTIC BREAKS. 

ASHMATICS should not use an inhaler within 24 hours of drinking ayahuasca. You should NOT drink ayahuasca if you must use your inhaler during an asthma attack. 

We recommend you stop taking medication for HYPOTHYROIDISM a couple days before taking ayahuasca. If your energy level plunges, you may resume taking your medicine. Most people, however, are fine without it. 

Most ANTI-DEPRESSANTS are dangerous to take with ayahuasca and need to be stopped 2-6 WEEKS before drinking ayahuasca, depending on the half-life of the specific medicine being taken. 

The following classes of drugs, including non-prescription medicines, are potentially dangerous when mixed with ayahuasca:

  • anti-depressants (SSRIs and SNRIs)
  • anti-hypertensives
  • anti-psychotics
  • asthma medications such as salbutamol
  • opiates and opioids
  • barbituates
  • amphetamines, meth, cocaine, and other stimulates
  • high levels of caffeine
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • cough medications
  • decongestants
  • anti-histimines
  • dietary aids
  • antibiotics

The following herbs and supplements should not be taken with ayahuasca:

  • St. Johns Wort
  • ginseng
  • kava
  • yohimbe
  • kanna
  • Scotch Broom
  • kratom
  • ephedra
  • boswellia
  • nutmeg

MARIJUANA and ayahuasca do not mix well. Although not at all dangerous, regular MARIJUANA use is frequently associated with a much more limited ayahuasca experience. If you are going to spend the time and money to come to Peru, we highly recommend you stop using marijuana for as long as possible before you take ayahuasca, even up to two months prior! Occasional marijuana use appears to have little impact on the efficacy of ayahuasca.

Although rare, occasionally people taking other medications experience bad reactions. There are so many drugs, and most of them have not specifically been tested for interactions with ayahuasca. For this reason, we do not allow any medications to be taken while at the center.

THE AYAHUASCA OASIS HEALING CENTER DOES NOT ALLOW ANY MEDICATIONS TO BE TAKEN WHILE DRINKING AYAHUASCA.