Experiences, Health
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Therapeutic caapi tea: a prototype – Material and Method

By Doctorcito

More and more people are using or consider using ayahuasca tea as an alternative medicine for different therapeutic purposes: depression, Parkinson’s disease, ageing-related cognitive decline, etc.

Yet most of these actual or planned uses are relying on the rich pharmacodynamics of the caapi vine and don’t necessitate the preparation and use of a standard mix. Rather what is needed is a caapi tea specifically designed for these purposes.

During a fieldwork in Peruvian Upper Amazon, Partner and I have had the opportunity to learn the preparation and effects of a caapi-alone brew that appeared a well suited prototype for such a therapeutic tea.

I managed to reproduce it with ressources commonly available in a First World country (including the Preparation forum of this board). The following method gives a tea both of us found equivalent under all aspects to the original.

Material: 300 g of roughly pounded dried stems of Banisteriopsis caapi var. cielo purchased from Maya Ethnobotanicals were put in a 10 l chemicals-proof plastic bucket containing 6 l distilled/demineralized water to which 60 ml of organic apple cider vinegar were added. Proportions are thus 1:20 for dried plant material:water, 1:100 for vinegar:water.

Method: after having left soaking overnight, the whole stuff was poured out for cooking in two 3.5 l ceramic pots. After slow boiling during 4 h and infrequent stirring with a wooden spoon, preparation was poured back in the (rinsed) bucket, and the pots rinsed. Then, using a large cooking-glass jar (handled with heat-resistant gloves) and a permanent coffee filter put in a funnel, the liquid was separated from the plant material, filtered, and poured again in the ceramic pots.

Duration of the very slow boiling reduction step depends on the desired final volume/concentration. Here, to obtain the equivalent of the original tea, the final volume was set to 1.5 l, i.e. 1/4 of the initial volume of water. It took about 3 h, under constant supervision.

Once cooled, the liquid was filtered twice, in adding a paper coffee filter (bamboo paper for rapid filtering) to the permanent one: a first filtration in the glass jar (previously rinsed) and a second during final transfer into three 0.5 l plastic bottles (previously rinsed). Extra attention was devoted to fill up the bottles so that no air remained under the hermetic top. The rinsing (triple = lab standard) of all ustensils and containers (all reserved for this use) was effectuated with distilled water. Sanitized (bleach) rubber gloves were used for all manipulations implying immediate or delayed contact with the brew (especially during the final filtering and transfer step).

With these precautions, conservation at ambient temperature in the dark proved to be effective up to 6 months.

Depending on individual metabolism and purpose, such a caapi tea may be pharmacologically active with doses as low as 20 ml. It allows a convenient precise adjustment of the therapeutic dose and is a useful basis/prototype to evaluate the optimal concentration (reduction step duration) one wishes to obtain according to the preferred volume of intake (it smells and tastes better than concentrated standard mix).

N.B. Ideally this post should be in the Preparation forum. I just found more convenient to post it in the Science forum because I can pin it there, allowing thus easier access and reference to it.

5 Comments

  1. Anyone interested in the medicinal uses of ayahuasca should take note that tobacco and not ayahuasca is the nr. 1 medicinal plant in the Amazonian pharmacopeia. What this means, and I have this from Jacque Mabit, founder of the Takiwasi therapeutic community, is that diets are necessary if one wants to work with ayahuasca as medicine. I would not be surprised if tobacco itself proved to have a medical potential in diseases such as Parkinson’s. I would also caution anyone who wants to experiment with these plants. There are many scientific studies of MAOi a type and Parkinson’s Disease, but the connection is not well understood. It seems there may be a relationship between dopamine and MAOi’s. As much as I would like to believe that a natural remedy could be found, we must be very careful in the claims we make and the experiments we undertake for both scientific and ethical reasons.

  2. By the way: sterile bottles can be acquired at most pharmacies and they are not expensive. Save yourself the trouble of attempting sterilisation which is practically impossible in a home environment. I have often asked myself why ayahuasca prepared in the Amazon region does not spoil almost immediately due to temperature and aerial contamination. One possible solution is ph. Another is that storing preparations in a refrigerator changes ph. Aside from that, refrigerators are notoriously full of all kinds of potential contaminants. Any suggestions?

  3. Where can I purchase the tea?? I’m seeing the root being sold and saying poisonous and not for consumption. This makes me confused because I saw a documentary showing the people drinking it, but they said it was DMT also known as caapi vine tea?? I’m confused. I saw the documentary and it seems like this is my last resort to to possibly being free from my traumatic past. I was in the medical field and I have been on every possilbe medication and combination only to become worse. I have been in therepy i eat right and excercise and yet nothing. I am at the end of my rope and not getting any younger. I am hoping to find this tea and hopefully all this trauma in my head will be gone so I can finally have some kind of peace in my life.

  4. GK77 says

    Angela,
    Firstly, the vendors selling these plants are simply covering their own asses by saying NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. They knwo what they are purchased and used for, but since they are often used making “illegal” drinks, they say that.
    Secondly, there is a difference between caapi tea, ayahuasca and DMT. It can be somewhat confusing at first… I will try to elucidate it for you.
    B. caapi is a vine, also called ayahuasca or vine of the dead. Scientifically, it is classified as a strong plant based MAOI drug, or MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitor. Often times doctors will prescribe MAOI (in extracted isolated pill form and not a “tea”, of course) for anti depression. There are physically safer alternatives, such as SSRI’s etc, but it sounds you have gone that route. Also I don’t personally recommend the use of pharmaceutical medications such as MAOI’s or SSRI’s ( I would rather use a natural and traditional method such as teas, herbs etc) but they do offer some benefits, for some people.
    Then there is the concoction, or mix of different plants called ayahuasca also. It does include the ayahuasca vine (b. caapi) and usually includes a DMT containing plant, such as chacruna (p. viridis). DMT is an endogenous “drug” found in the body and many other plants. When the MAOI containing b. caapi is combined with the DMT containing p. viridis, the body better absorbs the DMT and creates an altered state.
    This has been shown to be very therapeutic for psychological issues. Although it can, and most likely will be a very psychologically & physically difficult (think hallucinating while vomiting/diarrhea) experience as well. I don’t know what psychedelic experience you have had in the past, but it may be very hard for one who has never altered their own consciousness before, with either meditation, drugs, breath work etc..
    Finally, research the proper diet and forbidden medications (like never take SSRI’s) when preparing for ayahuasca. Both diet and other drugs/medicines can greatly increase the physical risk associated with using ayahuasca.
    Most of this information can be found on this site I would imagine. I would suggest getting to know more about what you want to gain, and see if this ayahuasca might offer that for you. Be careful, be safe.

  5. Bella says

    Can someone tell me the best source to buy the ingredients? And what ad-mixture is best for healing depression-like issues?

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Please note: Owing to the complex legal status of ayahuasca in many places, comments geared towards finding ayahuasca or ayahuasca ceremonies cannot be accepted. Comments with commercial intent are also not accepted. While you may feel compelled to, please refrain from giving medical advice, especially in regard to a physician prescribed pharmaceutical regime. One may offer proven scientific studies and contra-indications regarding specific medication/foods, but must not advise the cessation of prescribed medication.