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What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca is a drink used for the spiritual purposes. It has been a tradition passed down by Amazonian tribes in Brazil and North America. The word ayahuasca means “vine of the ancestors.” Ayahuasca ceremony is led by an experienced healer such as a shaman. First of all, the healer in charge prepares the brew. Then the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine is cleaned and smashed. The smashing helps to release its medicinal compounds.
The shaman starts by boiling torn leaves of the Psychotia Viridis shrub. Next, he adds stalks of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine into the boiling water. When the brew boils down to the shaman’s liking, the water is removed and reserved. The plant material is placed aside. This process is repeated until it turns into a highly concentrated liquid. After it cools, the brew is strained to remove impurities. The shaman believes in the power and benefits of Ayahuasca. It can change lives.
Psychotia Viridis and Banisteriopsis Caapi plants are the main ingredients in ayahuasca. They form a powerful psychedelic brew that can affect the central nervous system. Also, this combination leads to an altered state of consciousness. As a result, the recipient experiences hallucinations. Ayahuasca also causes euphoria and an out-of-body experience. The psychoactive component in these substances is very potent.
Also, DMT is an illicit Schedule I substance in the U.S. In fact, it is illegal in many other countries. This is one of the reasons people are leaving U.S. borders in pursuit of Ayahuasca.
How Does it Work?
If you are not able to travel abroad, have no fear. Ayahuasca Retreats are popping up inside of the United States.
However, there are details you need to know. First, never attend an Ayahuasca ceremony unless it has an experienced a Shaman. These are spiritual experts that have your safety in mind. Second, only qualified Shamans should prepare the brew. In addition, they should oversee everything throughout the whole ceremony.
- Abstain from smoking, drinking and sex.
- Do not drink caffeinated beverages
- Follow a plant-based diet 2-4 weeks before the ceremony. (vegetarian/vegan).
- Samans also suggest that you try to flush out toxins from your system.
What are the Benefits?
There are positive effects after consuming Ayahuasca. For example, it helps treat addiction, anxiety and depression. People claim that ayahuasca is more effective than 10 years of clinical therapy. They also say it is an alternative for treating all types of psychological disorders.
Other studies show that ayahuasca protects brain cells and stimulates neural cell growth. It may also boost mood and improve mindfulness. Believers in ayahuasca claim that it is highly therapeutic.
Research done on 1,571 participants with depression. This research also included 1,125 patients with anxiety. The results show the positive effects of ayahuasca:
- 46% very much improved their depression
- 32% completely improved their depression
- 54% very much improved anxiety
- 16% completely improved anxiety
Are There Side Effects?
Have you been following along? Then you already know that ayahuasca does come with negative effects. For example, vomiting and diarrhea are normal behaviors. Another fact is that it can dangerously interact with medications. In summary, it does not fare well with the following medications.
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – anti-depressants such as Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft.
- Decongestants, cold medications, antihistamines, asthma inhalers and more.
Celebrities Experience an Ayahuasca Retreat
According to celebrity Will Smith, his experience with ayahuasca was bitter-sweet. “This was my first taste of freedom. In my 50-plus years on the planet, this was the unparalleled greatest feeling I’ve ever had.” He attended a whooping 14 ceremonies. You can also watch Megan Good’s encounter with ayahuasca. https://youtu.be/tjBpZo1sHAw
Possible Psychological ayahuasca effects include:
- Altered sense of time
- Distorted hearing
Is Ayahuasca Legal?
In 1971, DMT became illegal in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, ayahuasca is also illegal. However, DMT is allowed for religious purposes. Furthermore, research suggests that ayahuasca changes certain areas of the brain. The DMT component of ayahuasca relates to proteins that help memory. Check out YouTube https://youtu.be/DbmCegvlzuM.
How does it Compare to Other Treatment Practices?
Unlike Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), participants say their experience is more emotional and spiritual. In essence, ayahuasca users are not trying to escape reality. Instead, retreaters are aiming to get healed. For example, research based on 2,267 ceremonies show that ayahuasca has a healing affect. Here goes the list:
- Ayahuasca deepens connection to spirituality and a higher realm
- Assists in discovering your life purpose
- Helps you understand and heal the roots of depression, addiction, trauma and PTSD
- Enjoy deeper and better relationships
- Enhance personal growth
- Attain inner peace
- Discovery a greater sense of gratitude, love, joy and mental clarity
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Cost of Ayahuasca Retreat?
A. You can find cheaper prices for some retreats within the United States. However, on average, the prices for an Ayahuasca retreat outside the U.S. will cost between $1500 to $3000 or more. It depends on the types of services included. Also, there are vacation packages that include ayahuasca ceremonies that start at $7,000.
Q. Where Can You Find a Retreat?
- Soltara Healing Center in the Costa Rican rainforest.
- Etnikas in San Salvador, Peru
- Gaia Sagrada in Cuenca, Ecuador
- Ayahuasca Retreat in California, Colorado, Washington, Kentucky and New York.
Q. What Medicines Cannot be Taken with Ayahuasca?
A. Ayahuasca should not be taken with decongestants, cold medications, allergy medications, antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, amphetamines, some hypertensive medications, including Adderall and Ritalin.
Q. Pregnant Women or High Blood Pressure Score
A. Pregnant women or people with heart conditions or high blood pressure can not attend ayahuasca retreats.
Q. Who Should Not do Ayahuasca?
A. Those with a history of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and people who have heart conditions. This experience is way too intense. Also, as a precautionary measure, always talk to your healthcare provider before undertaking an ayahuasca adventure.
Final Take Home
We are all in search of a better way of life. Oftentimes, life stresses that we face are way too much for us to handle. For some people, talk therapy is a better option. On the other hand, medication is more effective choice for some people. Ultimately, each individual has to find what works best for them. This same principle applies to the use of Ayahuasca. Although it has healing properties, it does not have the same results for everyone.
Not everyone is willing to travel to South America to find a healing treatment. However, there are Ayahuasca Retreat Centers throughout the United States. Only time will tell if Ayahuasca is the best alternative to treat various illnesses. Many people claim that their physical, emotional or mental health problems are gone. But the truth remains in the hands of research.
Thank you for sharing this Ayahuasca space with me. I have enjoyed learning about this phenomenon. If you like this post, feel free to share it with your friends or neighbors. Also, do not hesitate to leave your questions or comments below. I’ll be glad to correspond with you. One more thing, remember to be kind to others because kindness matters.