What foods need to be avoided?

Basically foods that are aged, preserved, dried, fermented, pickled, cured (meats), rancid, old, outdated, overripe, or even slightly spoiled.

The following foods are recommended to be avoided with MAOIs:

  • Meat that is not fresh, especially unfresh liver (fresh meat and fresh liver are safe)
  • Smoked, fermented, pickled (herring) and otherwise aged or dried fish, lox; any fish that is not fresh
  • Sausage, bologna, pepperoni, salami, corned beef
  • Aged cheeses (cottage cheese and cream cheese are safe)
  • Protein extracts
  • Liquid and powdered protein dietary supplements
  • Brewer’s yeast, yeast vitamin supplements, or yeast extracts
  • Fermented tofu, fermented bean curd, fermented soybean paste, soy sauce
  • Canned soups, or soups made with protein extracts or bouillon
  • Miso soup (contains fermented bean curd)
  • Shrimp paste
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fruits that are bruised or even slightly overripe, especially bananas and apples; raisins and other dried fruits, fig newtons, etc (banana peels also should be avoided — as though you’d eat them anyway)
  • Avocados, if ripe or overripe (slightly underripe avocados are fine in moderation). Guacamole should be avoided.
  • Red wine, especially Chianti; sherry, vermouth, champagne, brandy; beers and ales, including nonalcoholic; whiskey and liqueurs such as Drambuie and Chartreuse
  • Dairy products that are close to the expiration date or that have been unrefrigerated (fresh yogurt is safe)
  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet)
  • Fava beans, especially if overripe
  • Peanuts – in large quantities
  • Raspberries – in large quantities
  • Spinach, New Zealand prickly or hot weather – in large quantities
  • Chocolate – in large quantities
  • Caffeine in large quantities (note: in a few rare individuals, there may be a severe interaction with even small amounts of caffeine)

How long do they need to be avoided?

24 hours before and after drinking Ayahuasca should be sufficient.

Is it really important to avoid those foods?

The warnings about tyramine interaction sound very serious, because they are adapted from warnings about interactions with pharmaceutical MAOIs.
However, food interaction with Ayahuasca is frankly not as serious a matter as it is with pharmaceutical MAOIs.


However, while there are no reports of fatalities from food interactions with Ayahuasca, food interactions could conceivably be life-threatening for a person with severe high blood pressure or serious heart disease. People with these conditions, therefore, should follow the MAOI safety diet very strictly when taking Ayahuasca.

Please note: Peganum harmala (Syrian rue) is a stronger MAOI than Banisteriopsis (Ayahuasca vine) and has potentially more serious interactions.

What can I eat?

In terms of the MAOI safety diet, basically foods that are as fresh as possible and not overripe, preserved, or spoiled in any way.

Drugs and Medications

Is it really dangerous to combine some pharmaceutical drugs with Ayahuasca?

YES. Unlike food interactions, whose consequences are unlikely to be serious, interaction with pharmaceutical drugs and meds (including some over-the-counter drugs and certain herbs) can be potentially life-threatening..

Which drugs are dangerous with Ayahuasca?

A list of meds to be careful of with MAOIs:

  • other MAOIs
  • SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
  • amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine)
  • antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
  • appetite suppressants (diet pills)
  • medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems
  • antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, etc.)
  • CNS (central nervous system) depressants
  • antipsychotics
  • alcohol

Some specific drugs that should not be combined with MAOIs:

  • Actifed
  • Amantadine hydrochloride (Symmetrel)
  • Amoxapine (Asendin)
  • Benadryl
  • Benylin
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Buspirone (BuSpar)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol)
  • Chlor-Trimeton
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Cocaine
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  • Cyclizine (Marezine)
  • Desipramine (Pertofrane)
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM)
  • Disopyramide (Norpace)
  • Doxepin (Sinequan)
  • Ephedrine
  • Flavoxate Hydrochloride (Urispas)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Nortriptyline (Aventyl)
  • Oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan)
  • Orphenadrine (Norflex)
  • Parnate
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Phenergen
  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Procainamide (Pronestyl)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Quinidine (Quinidex)
  • Salbutemol
  • Salmeterol
  • Selegiline (Eldepryl)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Tegretol
  • Temaril
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Elavil)
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)
  • Yohimbine

Also avoid the following herbs:

  • St. Johns Wort
  • Kava
  • Ephedra
  • Ginseng
  • Yohimbe
  • Sinicuichi

Using Tricyclic antidepressants within two weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects including sudden fever, extremely high blood pressure, convulsions, and death.

Using Fluoxetine (Prozac) within five weeks of taking MAOIs may cause high fever, rigidity, high blood pressure, mental changes, confusion and hypomania.

Using Meperidine (Demerol) with pharmaceutical MAOIs has resulted in deaths from a single dose.

Using cocaine with MAOIs may cause a severe increase in blood pressure, increasing the chances for stroke and cerebral hemorrhage and making it possible to overdose on a relatively small amount of cocaine. (A fatality has been recorded involving combining Peganum harmala and cocaine.)

Using Bupropion (Wellbutrin) within two weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects such as seizures.

Using Buspirone (Buspar) with MAOIs may cause high blood pressure.

Using Carbamazepine (Tegretol) with MAOIs may increase seizures.

Using CNS depressants with MAOIs may increase the depressant effects.

Using Dextromethorphan with MAOIs may cause excitement, high blood pressure, and fever, or brief episodes of psychosis.

Using Tryptophan with MAOIs may cause disorientation, confusion, amnesia, delirium agitation, hypomanic signs, shivering.

Using alcohol with MAOIs may cause side effects like angina (chest pain) or headaches. The headache may mask or be mistaken for hypertensive crisis caused by MAOI interaction.

Using Kava with MAOIs may result in hypotensive crisis (severe blood pressure drop).

Using Temaril with MAOIs may increase chance of side effects.

Special note to diabetics: MAOIs may change the amount of insulin or oral antidiabetic medication that you need. Notes on Diabetes and Ayahuasca.

Threads discussing specific meds:

asthma inhalers
Losartan (Cozaar)
St Johns Wort

How long do you have to stay off them before and after an Ayahuasca ceremony?

Depends on the drug. May be 24 hours, may be six months. Two to six weeks is typical, but do not guess. Find out for sure from your doctor.

Questions about food or medication interactions may be posted in this thread http://forums.ayahuasca.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=7088
Or you can create a new thread in the Information Forum with your safety question.