A Guidebook to Using Ayahuasca
A Resource for Understanding The Ayahuasca Experience, Where to Find it, and How to Use it Safely
This Ayahuasca Guidebook contains information for those who are seriously interested in exploring this powerful plant medicine and learning the best way to go about experimenting with it. Read below to see brief descriptions about some frequently asked questions and see the links at the bottom of the page to get more in-depth insight into ayahuasca.
What is Ayahuasca?
Ayahuasca (also known as yagé) is an ethneogenic brew native to the Amazon basin that has been used as a traditional spiritual guidance medicine by the indigenous tribes of the Amazon for millennia.
It's traditionally comprised of a mixture of two plants: the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) containing plant species such as chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana).
The DMT containing plants are what cause the psychoactive effects when one ingests the brew. If DMT containing plants are ingested by themselves they will be digested by the stomach and fail to produce a hallucinogenic effect.
The ayahuasca vine serves as an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) to prevent this from happening and allows the DMT to be released into the bloodstream, creating a deep psychoactive state for what usually lasts between 4-8 hours. During this state people often report a feeling of being transported into another world or dimension, where one is able to take a much deeper look at their life, spirituality, and their sense of self.
Why Drink Ayahuasca?
People consume ayahuasca for a multitude of different reasons.
Ayahuasca has been known to treat many mental illnesses and emotional traumas. It's often sought out by those who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD and more.
Ayahuasca is also believed to help alleviate physical issues. Many seek out the medicine for physical cleansing and purification. Others use this brew to treat physical ailments and improve overall health.
Ayahuasca is known to assist in healing and curing people of addiction.
Some seek out the medicine to gain or improve on their sense of spirituality, which it is very effective at doing.
Check out the Useful Links section at the bottom of this page to read additional information on the benefits and long term effects of this powerful medicine
What is it Like?
According to Jim Davis, experienced ayahuasquero and owner and operator of The Hummingbird Ayahuasca Healing and Retreat Center in Iquitos Peru, there are five types of ayahuasca experiences that are most commonly reported:
- Visions and Visuals - DMT Effects and the Opening of the Third Eye
- Operating Table - The Purging, Cleansing and Healing Aspects of a Ceremony
- Self Reflective - The Introspective Stage for Change and Self-Improvement
- Energetic - The Sense of Energetic Connection to the Universe
- Extreme Nausea - Purging With Little-to-no Experience at all
Check out the Useful Links section at the bottom of this page to read a firsthand description I’ve written on the way I've experienced each of these phases during ceremonies, save for the fifth which I'm unable to describe.
The images that I've included in this Guidebook and the links below are not my own. I've incorporated them to provide a concept of what one might perceive while under the influence of this powerful medicine.
One can have a full on experience of each individual type of phase or a mixture thereof. In most of my experiences, I’ve gone through at least three of the four phases during a ceremony, sometimes all four. Thankfully I've never experienced the fifth type of experience as it's surely most unpleasant.
It’s important to know that no two people will have the same experience. When dealing with many recreational drugs one can often predict the general experience a person will have, with a few variances here and there.
Psychedelics are different. They tap into the subconscious mind and bring out one’s thoughts and emotions. Ayahuasca is the mother of all psychedelics. As no two people have had the same life experiences nor share the same thoughts, no two ayahuasca journeys will be the same.
Ayahuasca experiences can even differ dramatically from one ceremony to the next amongst individual people. One can have a hellishly terrifying experience in one ceremony and one of absolute bliss in the next, and vice versa.
However, as a general rule of thumb the ceremonies get more positive and pleasant with progression. In each ceremony the medicine is doing healing and as that process continues certain issues are addressed, purged away, and things generally become more pleasant.
Where Should I do it?
With the rise in popularity of ayahuasca there are a couple of very common, valid questions:
"Where do I find it?" and "Is it safe to take?"
The answers to these questions are quite simple.
The safest way to do ayahuasca is by finding a professionally-run ayahuasca retreat with a legitimate shaman and brew.
A good way to determine if an ayahuasca retreat will meet the needs and expectations you have is by reading reviews of people who have attended.
If you do research to ensure it's safe for your lifestyle and health and take all of the precautionary measures, it's a very safe substance. However, there can be complications for people who take certain medications or have specific health issues.
There are many websites you can browse through to ensure that you won't have any health complications from ingesting ayahuasca and others that offer reviews from guests who have visited said retreats firsthand. Links to these sites are listed below.