‘Ayahuasca’ is a plant mixture from the Amazon forests that is capable of inducing altered states of consciousness. The effects may last anywhere between 4-8 hours after ingestion. Ranging from mildly stimulating to intense visions, ayahuasca is used primarily as a medicine and as a shamanic means of communication. It is typically used in a ceremonial session under the guidance of an experienced shaman.
Why is Ayahuasca gaining prominence now?
In the past few decades, ayahuasca has slowly gained interest in the western society. Influenced by many Hollywood celebrities who have given testimonials about how it altered their life, many are seeking the same experiences.
War veterans are also seeking ayahuasca to cure PTSD. Others are seeking it as a cure to curb their negative thoughts and suicidal tendencies. But, many people who have used ayahuasca say that the brew itself is not a cure and is only a tool to help people dislodge the negative energy and assist them in letting go of the trauma.
How does Ayahuasca help?
Ayahuasca is a brew that consists of two plants: Banisteriopsis caapi and chacruna (or chagropanga,
This neurotransmitter called dimethyltryptamine or DMT for short and is found in the brain, blood, lungs and other parts of the human body. There is strong evidence pointing towards the pineal gland (“the third eye” in esoteric traditions), located in the center of the brain, as the main factory of human DMT. Apart from human beings, DMT can be found in every mammal and in a variety of plants. . You can check out a more informative video about how Ayahuasca works in the brain below.
To make the brew, shamans boil these two Amazonian plants for many hours, sometimes days. As they simmer, the DMT (dimethyltryptamine) contained in one of the plants mixes with the Banisteriopsis vine and its key ingredient: monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs. Normally when people ingest DMT, the monoamine oxidase, in our gut knocks it out. But the Banisteriopsis allows the hallucinogen to directly
The Possible harms of Ayahuasca
While it’s possible to purchase ayahuasca powders and extracts through the Internet, it is impossible to know what you’re getting. This can be dangerous and even deadly. There have been reports of death even during legitimate ayahuasca ceremonies as a result of consuming poorly brewed versions of the beverage. Other reports show that fake shamans use it to take advantage of women after feeding them lethal doses of toé mixed with ayahuasca.
While ayahuasca may be able to heal ailments that modern medicine cannot, the potential dangers must be considered. Although it is almost impossible to die of ayahuasca toxicity- mistakes in the brewing method, or mixing other ingredients many lead to potential brain damage.
The many benefits that ayahuasca is associated with can also be achieved by proper meditation and breathing techniques, although the latter will take much time and dedicated practice to give the same results as ayahuasca.
Edited by Rachelle Chandraan