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Safety for the Solitary Drinker


Since the 1980’s, Ayahuasca has become increasing popular in the west. As its popularity grows, it has come under increasing scrutiny from legal and medical authorities. This thread is intended to give tips and suggestions for a safe experience to people who are new to Ayahuasca and drink alone.

Please note that Ayahuasca mixed with the usual admixtures is illegal or of ambiguous legality in many places in the world. It is recommended that individuals check the laws in their locality.
Legal Issues Forum

What plants go into Ayahuasca?

In the Amazon region, the most commonly used combination is Ayahuasca Vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and Chakruna (Psychotria viridis).

The western psychedelic tradition, on the other hand, has in the past few decades developed the custom of using the word “Ayahuasca” for any combination of MAOI plus DMT — most commonly, Peganum harmala (Syrian Rue) plus Mimosa hostilis.

Banisteriopsis Caapi and Peganum harmala are significantly different both chemically and subjectively.

And because of the toxicity of Peganum harmala (Syrian Rue), with a Harmala-based brew one tries to use the bare minimum necessary to potentiate the DMT effect, which is considered the main event. Too much Rue could cause a toxic overdose.

With the Vine, however, there is no overdose level. Increasing the Vine increases the richness and depth and transformative power of the experience. The Vine is also a wise and caring Presence that can guide and help you through difficult experiences.

The Vine and the Leaf are a “sacred synergy,” a “marriage,” to the Santo Daime church.

Here, and on this forum, the term “Ayahuasca” is used as much Ayahuasca-using groups around the world use it — to mean the brew made from the Ayahuasca Vine and, most commonly, the admixtures Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana.

Peganum harmala — a sacred plant to people of South and Central Asia and to Persians in particular, who call is Aspand or Esphand — has its own unique identity and deserves full respect for what and who it is. Mimosa-Harmala brew has its own powers, similar in some ways to Aya but also distinct.

The first thing to understand, in approaching Ayahuasca, is that these plants are beings, and you are entering into a relationship with these beings.

Obtaining the plants — keeping your profile low

Purchasing plants online is a common way to obtain Ayahuasca and it’s admixtures. The plants are legal in many places around the world, but for safety sake, it is recommended that you minimize your public exposure. To accomplish this consider doing the following:

1) Obtain the plants from a vendor that is in your country. This will help you avoid customs inspections.

2) Use money orders and order forms instead of using a credit card.

3) Make sure that the vendor has a privacy policy in place and has a good reputation for honesty and excellent customer service.
Tradewinds Forum

4) Do not order any pre-made Ayahuasca. Importing large amounts of medicine to/from anywhere in the world (especially without a plant importation permit) may attract attention from authorities. Avoid traveling with brewed medicine, especially through airports or other public transportation hubs.

5) Do not distribute any prepared medicine to anyone.

Preparing the medicine

1) Preparing the medicine takes time. Avoid quick preparation methods as much as possible. There are many tecs in the preparations forum:
Preparation FAQ

2) Avoid using advanced techniques (HCL and phosphoric techs) at first, as these methods can produce strong reactions.

3) Do not mix the medicines. Avoid dreaming of ayahuasca with mushrooms, cannabis, or any man made substances. Stick to caapi and one of the usual admixtures.

4) The spiritual energy put into the process of preparation is said to affect the experience. Be attentive to the brew, smudge yourself and the preparation area, inhale the aroma of the brew… charge your brew with your love and gratitude. Do not play television or radio while preparing the brew.

Note: people who are in a long-term relationship with Ayahuasca sometimes report experiencing “olfactory flashbacks” in their daily lives, where the smell of brewing Ayahuasca briefly but vividly returns.

Telling others about it

The experience with Ayahuasca is transformative and naturally, people want to share their experiences with family, friends and coworkers. We know of many people, however, who have lost jobs or had their reputations damaged because they have shared these experiences indiscriminately, as it was viewed as illicit drug use.

Be discreet in sharing this with others.

Preparing yourself for the experience: Physical Safety

Ayahuasca is an MAOI, and, as such, can have interactions with certain foods and medications.

A list of food and drugs that should be avoided for safety reasons can be found in the post below. These foods should be avoided for 24 hours before and after the Ayahuasca journey.

Note that this information is inherited from medical information about pharmaceutical MAOIs. There have been fatal food interactions with pharmaceutical MAOIs, so to avoid lawsuits doctors and pharmaceutical companies issue strongly worded warnings. With Ayahuasca, on the other hand, MAOI interactions with foods are generally not life-threatening — unless you already have dangerously high blood pressure, in which case an MAOI reaction could cause a stroke.

However, an MAOI reaction from Ayahuasca may cause a severe headache (radiating to the front of the head) that may in some cases last for days and be resistant to pain relievers. Other symptoms of MAOI reaction include stiff and/or sore neck, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, dilated pupils, sweating (sometimes with fever or with cold, clammy skin), chest pain, or heart palpitations.

Another possible consequence of consuming tyramines before drinking Ayahuasca is that that tyramine, as a building block of the amphetamine-like chemical epinephrine, or adrenaline, may exacerbate panic reactions. Anecdotal reports on this forum suggest a correlation between tyramines and panic attack.

Although many people have consumed MAOI-proscribed foods without consequence, anecdotal reports suggest that when MAOI reactions happen, they are often triggered by very small amounts of the proscribed foods. (Aged cheeses, soy sauce, peanut butter, stale nuts, and overripe fruits have all been anecdotally implicated by forum members. On the other hand, bananas, though they appear on some MAOI-proscribed lists, appear to be completely safe as long as they are not at all overripe.)

As a general rule, for 24 hours before and after drinking Ayahuasca, avoid foods that are fermented, aged, cured, pickled, overripe, wilted, past expiration date, or even slightly spoiled; stick to foods that are very fresh.

Fasting at least half a day before an Ayahuasca ceremony and also not drinking much water within a few hours of the ceremony helps minimize the possibility of vomiting prematurely and losing the brew before it takes effect.

Interaction with pharmaceutical medications is a much more serious matter than food interactions. Unlike food interactions, some pharmaceutical interactions can potentially be life-threatening. Pharmaceuticals to be avoided include some OTC pharmaceuticals such as antihistamines, decongestants, and cough medicines, but more dangerous are many antidepressants (including OTCs like St Johns Wort). If you are taking prescription medication (including antibiotics), are subject to high blood pressure, have a heart condition, or are under treatment for any health condition, consult your physician about the use of temporary monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). Medical consultation is especially important if you are taking Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Zoloft or other antidepressants affecting serotonin levels, i.e. serotonin selective re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI). These medications may require a period of up to six weeks to completely clear the system and must be reduced gradually. Some may clear the system in a shorter period of time. But they still require more lengthy abstention than food. For example, be clear of antidepressents for five weeks (35 days) with SSRIs other than fluoxetine (Prozac), 8 weeks (56 days) with the latter. (Caapi itself is an effective anti-depressant. See Threads on Ayahuasca and Depression.)

Also potentially dangerous combined with Ayahuasca are amphetamines and amphetamine-like substances, including MDMA and ephedrine. (There is one death on record of a young man who combined Syrian Rue/Mimosa with cocaine.) Certain herbs, specifically St. Johns Wort, Ephedra, and Kava, can be dangerous with Ayahuasca. Ginseng and Yohimbine also should be avoided if you are taking Ayahuasca.

These substances need to be clear from your system before Ayahuasca is ingested. Some can be cleared in a few days, others need weeks.

An emergency medication that is given in the case of life-threatening MAOI reactions is Procardia, which is a medicine for angina.

Discussion of the safety diet can be found here:
Foods and Meds to Avoid with MAOIs

Preparing yourself for the experience: Spiritual Preparation

In the Amazon, virtually every known Ayahuasca-using culture — including indigenous cultures, mestizo shamans, syncretic churches, and modern drug therapy centers that use Ayahuasca to treat addiction — incorporate some form of the dieta. (The Spanish word dieta is used here to distinguish from the MAOI safety diet.)

Basically, the common denominator of the dieta is flavorless food (no salt or spices, especially hot peppers, onions, and garlic) and no sexual stimulation. And no pork. Most versions also proscribe alcohol, sugar, and fried or fatty foods.

The dieta is not only about food. It also basically includes relative solitude and minimal talking, especially idle chitchat, and, as mentioned, avoiding sexual stimulation. For people in industrialized countries, a modern dieta would definitely include a fast from television, radio, mass media, advertising. etc. (And internet forums? You will have to follow your own guidance on that.)

Energetically, what is aimed for with dieta is a kind of transparency. Spend the day of the journey and the day after the journey in low stress situations. Walk in the woods, meditate, etc.

Nothing bad will happen to you if you don’t follow dieta. Rather, that just limits the good you can receive. But since Ayahuasca is generally a long-term relationship, many solitary drinkers start drinking Ayahuasca first and then find themselves guided to do dieta as time goes on, in order to deepen the relationship. At the very least, diet colors the Ayahuasca experience.

There are many variations on the details of the dieta. They vary not only from culture to culture, but according to the purpose of the dieta — a ceremony, a specific healing, a shamanic apprenticeship. The dieta cleanses the body of “subtle phlegm,” helps you become more sensitive to the Plant’s energies, and makes you more transparent to her healing.

The longer you remain on dieta after an Ayahuasca ceremony, the longer her healing can work.

An introduction to dieta:
Dieta and the Plant World

A more detailed discussion of dieta:
The Spiritual Dieta.


There are many people who dream in an urban setting or indoors. Dedicated a space in your home to dreaming and meditation. Smudging and energetically clearing the space before dreaming will help you feel safe, handled and ready for the experience. Darkness can help to facilitate the journey. (In the Amazon, ceremonies are traditionally held at night.)

It is suggested that, even if you are dreaming indoors, to have plants with you accompanying you on the journey. Even potted house plants. One of Aya’s traditional roles in the Amazon is to help humans and plants communicate with each other. A plant you live with daily is best.


Increasing numbers of people are going to South America to drink Ayahuasca under the guidance of traditionally trained shamans, who may may help you to navigate the difficult psycho-spiritual depths in the realms and assist the healing processes of the Vine. But this is not feasible for everyone.

If you have never drunk Ayahuasca before, and you are drinking alone, you may consider having a sitter. It is not necessary to have a sitter. Ayahuasca is not dangerous. The role of the sitter would simply be to provide support in case of panic.

Assuming that the physical environment is hazard-free, and precautions against food and medication interactions have been followed, there are no physical dangers with Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca (traditional brew with no other additives) has a disaster-free record. There are not even reports of allergic reactions. The Brazilian government did a series of in-depth studies of Ayahuasca use, totalling eight years, and concluded that the greatest physical danger posed by Ayahuasca was of stumbling and falling when one tries to walk.

Nevertheless, a person in a very deep Ayahuasca journey may sometimes believe they are dying, and, especially if they are drinking Ayahuasca alone, this might cause them to panic. So the sitter may be called upon to reassure the person, and to keep reminding them, as often as necessary, that no one has ever died from drinking Ayahuasca (Caapi + Chacruna) brew.

(This does not mean that people who are prone to panic attacks should necessarily avoid Ayahuasca; on the contrary, Ayahuasca has been known to help heal people from panic attacks, by helping them to get a sense of detachment from the experience that enables a better control of the panic reaction.)

The sitter’s main emergency role, then, may be to be calming and reassuring if the person has a panic attack. A hot bath may help if, as common, the panicking person feels cold. Panic attack can be exacerbated by a reaction to food tyramines, so following the safety diet beforehand helps to minimize the chance of panic reaction. Panic attack is more likely with Harmala-based brews than with Vine-based brews; and with Ayahuasca (Vine-based brew) there is, commonly, the sense of a caring Presence, helping and guiding.

These are not “bad trips.” There are no “bad” Ayahuasca experiences, even though things may become difficult and challenging. Ultimately, even the most difficult of Ayahuasca experiences can become part of the larger healing process as it is integrated. So a sitter who is supporting someone through a panic attack should not approach it as “something gone wrong.” Being calm and positive is the best way to be supportive. Exploring the sensation that one is “dying” can be an important part of the Ayahuasca experience. (See “It feels like dying”)

This thread contains a link to a video, in which, from 15:54 to 18:40, one can see a person on Ayahuasca undergoing panic and believing she is dying, and being handled by an experienced sitter who knows this is a normal part of the process:

For information on Ayahuasca and panic:

The sitter need not be physically present with the person on Ayahuasca, if that person prefers solitude. It is enough to be nearby and summonable if help is needed. If no in-person sitter is available, arrange with a trusted friend to have them stay near the phone, so that they can talk to you if you begin to panic. (Program their number on speed-dial if possible, because it may be hard to dial the phone.) Have them review these guidelines beforehand.

A second role of the sitter may be physical support, in case the person needs to walk. A person under Ayahuasca is as physically uncoordinated as a drunk. If the person needs to get up to go to the bathroom or get up and walk for another reason, they may require physical assistance.

If you are going to sit for another person, or if you are considering dreaming together with other solitary drinkers, please read

If a human sitter is not available (or even if they are) it is suggested to have a plant sit with you during the journey.

Special note:

It is best to remain in a sitting or upright position while in an Aya dream (rather than lying down), particularly when alone. There are several reasons for this, but one important safety consideration is that if you fall asleep, it is possible to vomit in one’s sleep, and if you are lying down, there could be danger of suffocation. Leaning against a back support or lying in a hammock are both fine and accepted in Amazonian practice as well.

An Ayahuasca dream is more effective if you are alert and not sleepy, so it is best to be well-rested when undertaking Aya.

The Purge

The Purge is an important, almost legendary, part of the Ayahuasca experience, yet not everyone purges. (See The Purge.)

The Purge usually takes the form of vomiting, but may sometimes take the form of diarrhea. The Purge is a spiritual cleansing and can help to remove deep spiritual and emotional blockages and toxins. Many people purge strongly in their earlier Ayahuasca experiences, and move into deeper spiritual experience as these blockages are removed. Other people experience the reverse: non-purging experiences early on, moving into cleansing purges in later experiences.

The Purge should not be confused with ordinary vomiting to relieve simple gastro-intestinal distress or nausea. If one feels nauseated, one may be tempted to induce vomiting to relieve the nausea, but if one resists the temptation and allows the brew to decide when the Purge should happen, then deep spiritual toxins may be released along with the physical matter.

However, there is a danger of vomiting too early, before the brew is completely absorbed, and losing the effects. This is a simple physical reaction. One should resist vomiting for at least the first half-hour. Nausea can be effectively relieved with Peppermint or Ginger (the Purge may happen later with little or no accompanying nausea). Also, avoiding drinking water or eating for several hours before the journey reduces the possibility of premature vomiting.

If you are dreaming indoors, keep a receptacle nearby for purging. Some people dispose of the purge ceremonially the next day by giving it back to the Earth, and smudging themselves.


Many people create a ceremony before dreaming with Ayahuasca, with prayers for protection and statement of an intention. A ceremony helps to keep the mind grounded and focused. A closing ceremony, the next day gives the dreamer closure as well as a time and place to talk about and express his journey. Closing ceremonies also bring new insights to the experience, in the light of day.

There is a question about how much medicine to drink. There is no real answer because various factors come into play including the strength of the plants, brewing techniques, body weight and emotional state.

Because of this, we suggest the following:

For beginners combine 50g of Caapi and 50g Chacruna/Chaliponga into one drink. Do not drink this all at once. Start with 1/2 of the drink, wait for 45 minutes and add as necessary. Any leftover brew can be stored for you next journey

Following a routine from obtaining the plants, preparing the brew, preparing yourself and creating a ceremony during your experience will maximize the chances for a positive, healing and enlightening experience.


Recommended threads to read in preparation for embarking on a relationship with Ayahuasca:

An Introduction to Ayahuasca
“Para Curar, Solamente Para Curar”
Ayahuasca life transformation


  1. Paul Greenbaum says

    Great informational service.

    I have participated in ceremonies both in Peru and this country. I am very interested in some quality sources and directions in making my own brew. I consider this medicine one of the greatest gifts to the world.

    Thanks and blessings

  2. Joel Nisson says

    Does anyone know of an experienced guide that performs Ayahuasca ceremonies in the northeast US?


    Joel Nisson

  3. admin says

    “Does anyone know of an experienced guide that performs Ayahuasca ceremonies in the northeast US?”

    Hi Joel, sorry but this site cannot work as a promoter for healers or medicine circles, thats really outside of the aims of the site, which is to act simply as an information resource.

  4. Atman says

    I am highly interested in the usage of ayahuasca for spiritual and psychological healing. I have been interested in trying ayahuasca for a few years now.

    I am interested not as a drug, but a tool to use upon my spiritual journey. I have used other plant teachers like marijuana, and while it’s powerful, I do not believe it’s effect are what I am looking for at this juncture in my life. I want something more, to give me the dark night of the soul.

    I am scared, but at the same time over joyed to face my demons, and traverse into the very pits of my own hells that I have created within my own consciousness. I wish to enact a spiritual shift in my path, similar to Jesus performing his 40 day fast in order to defeat his inner demons.

    I have come to a point in my life that I wish to shed off my old self, and be born again. I believe ayahuasca can give me this healing that I so desperately need. I will be doing ayahuasca at my home. This is not the preferred method, but I currently do not have the money to go to the amazon for a real initiation by a real shaman. In due time I will make the journey to the amazon.

    Cannabis was fun and powerful substance, but I wish to move beyond the mere recreational usage of plants. I wish to know my self and enact a spiritual transformation and generate what Buddhist call bodhicitta (the desire to pursue enlightenment).

    I wish to free myself from my own attachments and addictions, and from what I read, ayahuasca is well suited for that. I wish to completely abstain from the usage of recreational drugs like alcohol and marijuana, as I believe they are forms of escapism and attachment.

    My main goals for ayahuasca it to help me generate bodhicitta, detoxing from recreational substances, and a dark night of the soul. Any suggests would be much appreciated.

  5. Marlene says

    WOW and wow
    I had a idea of what I was going to say and it left me so I will just type from the soul. Ayahuasca scares the hell out of me. Anybody who is thinking of it as a recreational drug, oh are you in for a very rough journey. At first it sounds odd especially for an american to say you have to respect the vine but you do and you talk to her and treat it like you would an old dear friend. It certainly is not something to take on lightly, you may laugh when I say this but do Ayahuasca without any respect or “for fun” then see how long your laughing, if you do not give her the respect she demands (note not SEEKS big difference) you will regret it she will make sure you do. It is not an escape in any sense of the word to me it is a realization of what life is, was, and allways will be and a rude awakening for most. What we think we know we find out we really know little or nothing about. Thank You Ayahuasca my great teacher.

  6. Helper says

    Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this drug to anyone. I’m a psychotherapist, and know about drugs from ‘both sides’ and, having researched much in my student days, now don’t take drugs at all.
    I feel that far too many people get into things they don’t understand, and that includes myths about drugs. Before thinking about taking (more) drugs, maybe realise that, – no matter what supposed ‘benefits’ are ascribed to any one drug, that the drug in question is still —in fact— a toxin, to both mind and body!

    To people who speak of the drug Ayahuasca as having a connection with anything supposedly *spiritual* maybe remember that ALL great spiritual teachers, worthy of the name, have completely rejected ALL intoxicants! No great spiritual teacher (including Buddha!) has *ever* sanctioned or recommended *any* narcotic, — ever!
    Ergo: there are NO ‘spiritual shortcuts’.
    Real and actual spiritual advancement is based solely on purifying all of our ‘shadow side’ aspects, and that isn’t achieved by taking *any* drug at all, – it’s done by hard work, over the course of many lifetimes.

    So please heed these words from someone who works with people who have severely messed up their minds and emotions by taking narcotics of all sorts? Some of the people I’ve worked with have so severely and completely ruined their natural mental faculties and screwed up their emotions, that they will *never* recover in this lifetime, and that will have knock-on effects in future lives…
    If you ever have had to do the *hard work* involved in helping drug takers try to sort out their messed-up heads / burnt out brains, you would realise even more so, just what a danger *all* drugs are.

    Based on over forty years of research and work in this field, I say once again: no matter who spins you whatever fanciful tales: there are NO spiritual shortcuts! So please take care of your *natural* attributes of mind and body, and do the hard work, without recourse to yet more poisons?

    With love and caring,


  7. The guy above me speaks nothing but truth. He is the psychotherapist, and I am the victim of my past choices suffering psychosis today. Some of these “Spiritually associated drugs” may make you feel while high closer to being one with yourself / God / Truth (whatever your beliefs) But really just put you in a worse off place then when you started. A natural mind is what is needed. Not some external source. True love and happiness comes only from within.

  8. I live in British Columbia and have brewed Ayahuasca many times now. I have never had a negative experience. If following the respected guidelines of the brew one will have a truly amazing experience. Ive read Helper 1 and helper 2 on the post, my feeling is they havent tried this particular drink. I wonder if they have ever researched Terrence McKenna or possibly read inner paths to outer space. An individual who is grounded (if a person doesnt know what I mean they shouldnt drink this drink) there is no need for fear of the drink , fear of the adventure it gives, or fear of side effects. Sure LSD, Mescaline, ect are harmful and there statements are correct for those drugs especially for people who no nothing of set or setting.. Its like saying all fingers on a hand are they same…I would think the people whom have studied “both sides” realized the people whom had problems with these drugs didnt follow certain diets, didnt create a safe and friendly set and setting.

    For any person who is balanced and would like to try this beautiful tea get ready for an adventure and try not to listen to the negative threads. Television and media (due to sub-conscious brain washing..need and greed) is more dangerous to a persons brain. As is Alcohol.

    In Lak’ech

  9. Elliott says

    Helper and helper #2 are right. No drug can awaken your consciousness. The masses of humanity today abuse mother natures tools. Yes tools, Plants and other psychoactive plants can be and should be used as tools, but only by an awakened man, a true man, a master. The master can pinpoint and issue the exact plant and amount you need to aid you on your spiritual path (i am really talking about a true master not one that thinks he is). Ayahuasca is a magnificient tool to help awaken consciousness. If you are totally opposed to psychoactive substances than you oppose a spiritual experience all together because when one has a spiritual vision or experience, the most halluconogenic substance on earth, DMT, is released in the brain. This is the same psychoactive substance in ayahuasca.
    You dont need any outside drug to realize oneself and it is recomended to take the strait path. However, in the lives we live today full of tremendous suffering, it can be extremly beneficial for someone to experience the true reality through an out of body experience which DMT brings. however this experience might not be pleasant because of the evils we all hold in our depths. The Ancients were much more intelligent and wise then us and therefore they knew how to use the tools that mother nature has given this earth. But tools do not biuld a house only the person can. A person with a tool that doesnt have the ability or know how to use that tool properly, renders it useless and even harmful. If you are looking for the truth, for experiential knowledge of the truth. All the tools one needs are in the books of samael and within the confines of gnosis. Go to for resources and to learn about gnosis.

  10. Wow! I’m definitely going to try Ayahuasca. Definitely. Oh and… fantastic site. Very informative and fun to read. Thank you for this.

  11. Little Freta says

    Helper #1 & 2 & Elliot have obviously never partaken in an Ayahuasca Ceremony. Ayahuasca is far from a drug, it is a sacred medicine. Its healing abilities are truly not of this world. The Queen Mother plant spirit would be very disappointed to hear people speak of her as a drug & throw her in the same category as Mescaline, Peyote, Shrooms, etc. This is sacred spant medicine discovered in the Amazon by Shamans who have studied extensively. It has been used as a tool toward enlightenment, Self-realization and healing for thousands of years. Anyone who doesn’t understand what I am talking about should not be on this site, not bash Ayahuasca and should definitely stay far away from it. If you are afraid of Ayahuasca or don’t understand it, don’t dance with it. You are not ready for it, not in this lifetime at least 🙂

  12. are roy says

    Anything that can and does take away Hate Anger and Fear and put’s a smile back on people’s face’s get’s my vote,

    HELPER ONE “I’m a psycho-the-rapist” break that down (I rape your mind,) give me Ayahuasca any night.

    over these bloated Ego’s that only dish out Prozac and any other drug that kill’s the Spirit.what a load a pseudo B/S


    I wish you well.

  13. cheese says

    Ayahuasca has been around longer than Tylenol yet its frowned upon? Give me a break. This brew has been tested through time for thousands of years.

    Ancient man have used plants for medicinal therapy for TENS of THOUSANDS of years, and the proof is on the wall at these ancient cave sites.

    I don’t buy Helper’s logic. If that is the case, then no man should be buying ANY synthetic pill from Big Pharma for that matter.

  14. Sorry folks, Helper is closer to the truth. and the rest of you sound more like psuedo psychobabbles than anyone involved in main stream medicine. That’s wild for me since I practice on the other side already ! Here’s the deal. The issue is that NAmerican folks are simply not attuned to the indigenous practices of Indian medicine. Period. No amoutn of drumming, or drinking the wild vine will make you so. Theoretically, and a theory I subscribe to, is that we have been here before. So, in theory, I have, as you have, been what we now describe as indigenous, at some point in our etheric lives. So, we remember. We remember a life time when we were so connected to earth mother that the plants did speak to us. But re creating that nearly sci fi scenario now, is ridiculous for the majority of people who are engaging in or entertaining the use of the vine, or cannabis for that matter. You have to take into consideration, a sociological chasm in NA; one built on the use of cannabis, alcohol, pain killers, heroin etc etc, to AVOID pain. We are a nation of non confront. And one seriously addictive persona. So, I ask myself – is it even slightly suspect, to have large numbers of folks suddenly adhere to a principle that involves the letting go of our widely accepted social venners; ( ask yourself after all isn’t it just a little ‘cool’ to know about and ‘do’ ayahuasca ) ? Will they additioanlly choose to dedicate themselves, almost in a monk- like fashion, to a principle of life that should change ethics, practices, their friends, employ, goals – and throw it all away, for the sacred practice of life of medicine, and all that this entails? After all, has your modus operadi changed? Can you pray without substance? Because, after all, at the end of amy discussion on this topic, the main thrust of USE of the vine is prayer my friends – your entire life as prayer. To do less than that, is simply to use even the most sacred plant , recreationally. Sorry, I don’t buy it. We are a nation of addicts – and we have simply substituted one addiction for another. As a practicing medicine woman, I know this to be true. Yes I’ve done it. And absolutely, I am humbled by the mystery of our lives, but not so foolish, to assume that any spoiled, discontent, seeking, self indulgent NAmerican, suddenly has a deep desire or understanding for truth – and therefore finds his/her way to the vine. Not that easy. The Dalai Lama said, basically – adhere to the buddhist principle but climatize those principles to your own culture – you are not Tibetan. Do not walk around with head and eyes down as Tibetans do. Use the principle, translated by your own culture , where you find yourself. To do anything else is sheer MArdi Gras – Faux pas and something we in NA are so damn good at. It is disappointing and frankly embarrasing. We are as shallow as a stillwater pond. Not flowing, not living. We are dnes e energy here, constantly seeking to justify our every indulgence. If anything, on this one, we will be caught. We are,even in our quest for truth and spirit, so vitally screwed up , that we aberrate the use of anything in our despreate attempt. we will be caught on this one, because we are moving into a period where truth is the dictate. Enron, Bush exposed. Anything trolling for less than truth will be taken to task. So, if you are about to use the vine for truth, be clear that IT will call you out, if your intentiond are less than it’s purpose – medicine adn it’s practice, is simply not for everyone. She will let you know. You will become a spectacle in your own life and the dangers of people using the vine as an alternate for ‘something else’ are just as severe. Now your playing with “Presence” with Source” with God. INSTEAD – Learn to breathe, to focus, to stay in present time, with the pure goal of going into trance, so that you can achieve EXACTLY the same effects you seek through the vine. In plain language – it does not belong to you. You will abberate it’s use. You do not need IT to achieve what you purport to achieve. If you say you do, then your claim is simply unbelievable. If you say you do need IT to journey, to delve deep, to reach a spiritual level you imagine, then, you are in trouble. It simply procalims that you are unable to bring yourself to that spiritual place on your own, humble, in the pure light that you are, regardless of substances you rely on , religious beliefs you were born to , axioms,idioms, laws that you adhere to – regardless. And it is the lack of or misunderstanding of that humility that fights against you inside the intelligence of the vien. Find that first, and then, you will not need the vine. You are pure energy – the question you have to ask right now is; why do you need a substnace of ANY kind to make you, help you, to believe that? Huh? Blessings, Munay …… Rocketstar

  15. Hello, has anyone had any experience with ? I am considering purchasing pre-made ayahuasca tea from this website. The cost for a six month supply is $600. I am concerned about their ordering process and also very concerned about possibly not receiving the tea, due to being seized by customs.

  16. I feel that Anam, Helper,Helper2, and Elliot are not very persuasive in their talk. I think their reasons lack experience. I recommend them to find their inner wisdom within themselves, then they should come out and talk. That’s the tricky part isn’t it? Once they find real wisdom they wouldn’t waste their time convincing others why they shouldn’t take something. With True wisdom, either one will share their experience or will give advice only when asked. I request people to not pay attention to those blogs.

  17. KevinJ says

    Does ayahuasca come to you?
    I feel that in seeking it, the being I know so little about, the vine itself, will make it harder for me to find it.

  18. Ashleyyy says

    I have never done Ayahuasca, but have wanted to for several years now. I have done a lot of research on it. Recently ordered mimosa hostilis inner root bark and syrian rue. It should come in this week. I plan to do it alone.
    I have had naturally ocurring out of body experiences since i was about 15 and im now 28. I had no idea what they even were until i researched and found out it was obe`s about a year ago. Theyre creepy sometimes because i dont feel alone, but not in a good way. And ive never been scared of the dark but when i have an obe, i am. Ive never been able to travel, just see myself and the room as it is. Ive had luck going into another room, but im always at the top of the ceiling and cant control myself well. Not to mention scared of whatever is present. Ive taught myself to shake my head to wake myself up. Which is REALLY hard. IM hoping Ayahuasca can help me lose the fear of the darkness i have while in OBE and shed some light on why this happens, as well as connect me closer with the spiritual world. Im not interested at all in its use to get intoxicated, just the knowledge i KNOW it will instill in me and the journey i take to earn this wisdom. I cant wait!
    As far as helper, helper2 and elliot go—why are u even on this site? If u hate hamburgers, why go to Mcdonalds? That, in itself, lets everyone know ur intentions. I have never read anything negative about Ayahuasca. Its a spiritual journey. There is so much to this world. Things we know, but need help to realize. Unanswered questions by the hundreds. I truly believe that Aya is the answer. If it only helps people, what bad can come of it? This isnt a drug. It should be respected and used for its intended purpose. It probably wouldnt be a bad idea if everyone partook.
    Ill record my findings here after my ceremony.

  19. plenty moron says

    Anam Helper 1 Helper 2 et al. If we are pure light, and yet so pathetic as “north Americans” as you describe, perhaps this long diatribe of how addicted and disconnected we are is ACTUALLY how you feel about yourself. Anam your prescription is for all of us pathetic N. Americans to do precisely as you say, to meditate and find the center, etc. You call yourself a medicine woman, but are you sure that you are not merely addicted to the control of others? So vitally screwed up? Speak for yourself, please.

  20. Jeff says

    helper 1 and 2 i have to disagree with you. ayahuasca is a tool we can use to achieve higher levels of consiouness. Just like people use yoga, meditations, rythmic dancing, chanting and drumming as tools to enter higher levels of consciouness. I don’t see any difference.

    Once the effects of the tools (ayahuasca, yoga, meditation, etc.) wear off we are faced with a descion. We can use what we learned in the altered states of consciouness to better ourself (which is what spirutally inclined beings do) or simple go back to the way we were. People who abuse these tools go back to the way we were. I think you are tossing people who abuse cocaine, herione, etc. into a group with psychedelic users.

    I have never seen psychedelics ruin a life yet.

  21. wc5p3mk66 says


    I recently tried a small amount of ayahuasca tea for the first time. After a few hours I felt very physically tense, like I had too much caffeine. Is this normal? I had some interesting thoughts about life go through my mind, but that was about it, other than when I turned on the light for a minute to use the bathroom, there were strange “trails” every which way I looked, kind of like my vision was in slow motion, which was very distracting. If I take a larger dose, can I expect to possibly be more relaxed and have a more “internal” experience?

  22. Helper #1 and #2 couldn’t be more off base with their comments. Actually to the point where I doubt their validity as someone in their (#1 anyway) field at all. If anything #1 sounds like an overbearing Christian with an agenda.

    First of all define for me what a “great” spiritual teacher is. I do not consider any of the beings/people in modern religion to be spiritual teachers at all. The greatest spiritual teacher I have come across has been Terence Mckenna, and it is not even what he set out to/tried to do. Rather it just came out naturally instead of with rigid rules and lies. In fact he presents a very interesting theory of how modern religion all spurned from archaic mushroom related religion.

    You can fry your brain on acid. It would take half your body weight in shrooms to cause physical harm to yourself outside of possibly acting like a complete nut (at that high of a dose acting crazy would be obviously impossible to stop, at normal doses you are just fine) and you can’t fry your brain or hurt it from smoked DMT either. The reason being that by the time you even started to get near that threshold you would be laying on your back looking up into the cosmos. I’m sure in theory you could drink too much ayahuasca, but again like in the case of DMT you would be physically unable to do so.

    Anyway I have never tried ayahuasca yet but plan to in the coming weeks. I take plants and their power very very seriously and with great respect. Natural drugs are great and don’t even deserve to be called drugs. Even tobacco isn’t as deadly as it is made to appear by the addition of nasty chemicals. Respect nature and respect your body. Nice article by the way.

  23. Jim says

    114 grams dried B. Caapi vine pieces (shredded) and 75 grams dried P. Viridis leaves, slow brewed for 3 days in a crock pot with a little (unmeasured) amount of lemon juice and lime juice. Does that sound like an effective dose for a first timer? (first time with ayahuasca-have taken some fairly impressive doses of other psychedelics). Anyway thanks for any advise in advance.

  24. Mushrooms, Salvia Divinorum and Ayahuasca vine have all been a part of this world long before man evolved. When man finally evolved and learned about these precious plants, they were not considered drugs or hallucinogens by the indigenous people. Till this day, they are still not considered that. The label, drugs, was stamped on it by modern government, science and religion to put fear in the heart of man. They know the benefits of these plants, spiritual, psychological, physical, emotional. Those wonderful plants were always known for healing, spirituality and vision inducing. The people of yesterday did not use these plants to trip their brains out and go to a rave and dance the night away. Unfortunately, that is what many people want to to and experience with these plants. Thank god that many use it for the right purpose/reason.

    I’ve used these plants infrequently. For they are not to be used everyday. And I do not run around telling people that they need or have to take these plants. It is up to the individual. There is a saying, different strokes for different folks. What works for one may not be what works for another.

    The TRUE DRUGS are those distributed by the pharmaceutical companies. Those TRUE DRUGS that only mask the so called symptoms that one may or may not be experiencing, only to make the individual dependent on it for the rest of their life. Your going to tell me that that’s the way to go? Make someone dependent on a toxic drug that damages their liver, kidney, heart, sex drive etc. It is funny how the commercials for these products always show people happy in a trance like state as they list a dozen side effects. Come on now.

  25. Chrism says

    I didn’t plan on making a comment here as I only came to do some more research on ayahuasca of which I have been doing much recently, but I can’t resist commenting on how obviously misguided helper 1,2 and particularly anam are. Anam tries to present her case from the point of view of an enlightened compassionate teacher but destroys any hope of this with her discriminatory closed minded words. Apparently human beings are capable of accessing these realms without ‘chemical’ assitance. Perhaps that is true for some. But the argument that because this is so means that the use of entheogens in a sacred context is pointless or somehow ‘cheating’ often seems to stem from a kind of spiritual snobbery on the part of the adherent. Which certainly seems to be the case here. She then proceeds to make enormous generalisations about users of ayahuasca and North Americans as a people. I would have thought that an enlightened person might be beyond such absolutism. So what if these states are achievable otherwise? They certainly aren’t acheiavable as easily as anam would suggest. And if respectful and serious spiritual seekers would like to try entheogens as part of their journey, who are you to tell them that they should not. What if the experience leads them to a deeper understanding of how they can achieve these states on their own? As for the ‘humility’ of natural paths versus the arrogance of entheogenic paths, what a load of unenlightened spiritual dogma. I find the notion of dismissing the potential of asking the help of the other organisms we share this planet with, far more arrogant. What is arrogant about having a reverance for nature to the point of acknowledging that our own experience of consciousness is perhaps not the only and most important thing to be considered. A Terrence McKenna quote springs to mind about the humility of asking the assistance of someone whose idea of home, is cow dung (mushrooms in this case) And that if you can humble yourself to that extent, you are well on the way. I suggest you get to these exact same states as ayahuasca naturally as you claim to be able to do, and examine how narrow minded and dogmatic you have become.

  26. Judgement,prejudice from all. Wether one has drank the brew or not. All of us have valid experiences to draw upon. Yes it is hardwork! Yes, it won’t solve your issues . If it did solve them would there be this judgement , (prejudice) and this odd writing behaviour?

  27. Bcurious says

    Thank you for this website and all of its information!

    My recipe is cooking as I type this and I plan to drink it tomorrow morning, after 24hrs on the stove. I must say I am eager and looking forward to the experience. I will medidate before drinking it alone. I understand its important to have a calm setting and nothing beats Sunday morning alone at home 🙂 (kids and wife are out).

    I will return here and attempt to describe the experience tomorrow night (if I can). Until then, I would only like to suggest those Helper #1, #2 and others with negative posts to first have the experience before making a comment based solely on opinion, life is much greater than anyone’s single point of view and you cannot expect to be helping others unless you had experienced yourselves. In which case if you had tried Aya I strongly believe your opinions would be otherwise…anyways, tomorrow I will know 🙂


  28. Bcurious says

    I am unhappy to report that I didn’t experience anything other than a mild headache. I drank a little over 1/2 gallon of the brew within 1hr20mins right after it cooled down. I had both the b.caapi (114g) and p.viridis (56g) together and cooking at about 30% on electric stove for 24hrs, used 3 gallons of distilled water in the process. I had broken down the vine prior to cooking it. The p.viridis leaves were almost black in color (not fresh) and I didn’t mix it with anything else.

    Does anyone knows what could have happened? Any suggestion? I am willing to try but @ $50/pop I better make sure it works next time.


  29. Mikeyp says

    I have had a few ceremony’s that I walked away from thinking…wow wow wow! that was like 10 years of therapy. A psychotherapist could never have assisted in so much healing and found so much internal garbage in such a short amount of time. The first couple ceremonies cleansed my body. It now has started to work in much finer details such as the language and meaning of words that I use when talking AND when thinking and the flow of energy. It also seems to make you psychic. It has made me aware of my energy body and chakras. It has lead me to loving people. I visit grandmother periodically to process the time since my last visit. Similar to sleep but on a much grander scale. Plus, the closed eyed visions are amazing and has influenced my creativity. I am truly grateful. It is unfortunate that this medicine is called a psychedelic along with all of the negative connotations it has. It is anything but a drug. (i use rue/mim) I see value in the other psychedelics but so far nothing can match grandmother. The evil drugs are pharma drugs.

  30. gigi Rodriquez says

    I have been wanting to do this for years. I scheduled a time this time last year but got scared and I was having a lot of menstral cramps after I choose to do the ceremony. I am now doing this on the 15th (first time) and I started to get my monthly cycle again and I’ve been cramping and having the worse period ever, doubling over for 5 days and still going strong – I have issues in that area since I was young with tubal pregnancies. This is one of my intentions of helping me to heal. Could it be working and communicating with me this early? It seems strangely related. I feel like scars are already coming out. Does anyone else have a pre-experience. Thank you. Gigi

  31. Hello,

    On what info do you base your statements that syrian rue is toxic? There’s a report of an Iranian man swallowing as much as 500 grams of rueseeds, and surviving the experience, so toxic???

  32. So it was 150 grams and not 500, but still: 15-30 times the normal dose in mimohuasca! And this man was an opium junkie with a peptic ulcer!

  33. @Anam – I have to argue with you one one point. I hear the wisdom in some of what you say, but you base a premise on what I believe to be an incorrect interpretation of the Dalai Llama’s words. Frankly, if the Lama’s words were interpreted as intended, I would apply my same argument, respectfully (as I intend it with you).

    The notion that westerners should simply apply philosophies but within the confines of our own “culture” is, to me, incredibly erroneous. I don’t know that I HAVE a culture. No tribe, no elders to trust in, no worthy ideals to identify with. Many of us feel entirely out of place, having no community to truly identify with, so it is no wonder that we seek answers in foreign traditions thousands of years old. What is our culture? Consumerism, fed by mass media propaganda? Christian idealism run rampant? Egoistic, individualist, ethnocentricity propagated by competitive coliseum sports and oligarchic capitalism? I reject MOST of what my American enculturation has force-fed me. To me, embracing Buddhist (or Hindu, Native American (north and south), Tribal African, Shamanic, or Gnostic philosophies means to rebel against, disassociate with, and act to correct MOST of my cultural upbringing.

    Yes, I do in fact intend to change how I live my life, leading by example to influence American culture. Yes, I do intend to take ayahuasca – to purify me of my erroneous perceptions, to make me face my own demons, to prepare me to be a warrior of truth and awakening… and I am not alone. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of us Westerners are in this same place – ready to shed ourselves of old paradigms to lead our culture into the future – one in harmony with nature, based in love and compassion, and dedicated to true pursuit of truth.

    I know that for me, and I assume for many of us, we wouldn’t even know that elevated levels of conscious were possible – or desirable – without the introduction to these subtle states that can be achieved with the use of psychedelic or psychotropic substances. That said, I agree that the aim is to learn to reach this states unaided. Maharaj-ji once said something to the effect of, “This ‘medicine (LSD)” is okay, but it is just a window to look out of. A real guru can show you the door and lead you through it.” That said, most of us wouldn’t know there was a door, or even an outside, without having seen through the window. I agree that any path using entheogenic substances is not to be taken lightly, should be taken with utmost reverence, and should be guided by a true shaman, but that said, I am willing to risk to make gains, not just for myself, but for all of us.

  34. Dervish says

    I have to say that the recommendation for 50 grams of Chaliponga leaves is far too much.
    Chaliponga is much higher in tryptamines than Chacruna..

    5 grams is a low dose, 8 to 10 grams is the normal dose. 15 grams is a high dose.

  35. No wonder Helper 1 and 2 are against Ayahuasca. Of course they don’t want any short cuts – it’d put them out of business! It’s also typical of the arrogance of Western medicine, which is like a teenager that thinks it knows better than the older, wiser adults. Indigenous cultures have known of the healing powers of these sacred plants for millenia. If it didn’t work, it would have died out ages ago. Just like psychotherapy is going to do, because it’s a waste of time and money.

  36. I’m about to attend an Ayahuasca ceremony this weekend, and it will mark 5 1/2 years of doing it twice a year with a shaman who comes from Peru to guide our group. It has been a magical, mystical life-changing experience for me. The journeys themselves are profound. Sometimes difficult (never had so much anguish!), sometimes so joyous I think my heart will explode because it’s so big, and sometimes, frankly, boring. But ALWAYS more than worh it. The thing I’ve found over the years, though, is that the majority of the healing work I have experienced has been between sessions — usually months after, and always in the month or so leading up to another one. I truly feel that my life has changed for the better because of our sessions.

    My sister and I had a terrible relationship and didn’t speak for seven years. During a session, my heart warmed and I experienced such a healing, I rang her and we spoke for seven hours straight. In fact, I am going to spend my first Christmas with her in over a year. I’m getting tears in my eyes just writing this.

    I, like others, must take issue with “Helper.” The very fact that this person refers to Ayahuasca as a narcotic shows that they don’t have any idea what they are talking about. Not to worry, though. No one controls my life except me, and no one can ever take the immense experience I’ve had with the Mother Vine away from me.

    God bless all!

  37. Oh! By the way, I want to speak to the very reasonable concerns about talking to others about the experience. I have found (and my experience isn’t solitary, but always within a group in a retreat-type setting, although I’m sure this advice could apply to the solitary drinker as well) that I am able to talk about profound discoveries I’ve made during our retreats. I talk about staying up all night, meditating, singing, chanting (although the majority of the last two are done by the shaman himself). I simply omit the drink. We all know that profound experiences are possible without the substance itself, so no one questions me. I hope that’s helpful to folks.

  38. Brenda says

    I was so worried about not being able to travel to Peru. This is exactly the info I was looking for. I am no longer afraid to do this alone and can’t wait to start brewing. Thank you!

  39. Alison says

    I’ve been suicidal since early childhood through my 30s. I’ve been to over 20 therapists of all kinds, trying to work through my deep loneliness and sense of futility. All that talk, all that role-playing – it changed nothing. The day I heard about Ayahuasca, I started making plans to go to Peru. 4 months later, I had drunk it 4 times. It’s been 10 months since I’ve been back and I haven’t cried once. I don’t feel despair anymore. I’m no longer depressed. Who can say this about talk therapy? Being on anti-depressants for nearly 20 years also didn’t solve any of my inner turmoil. Who thinks Western medicine is actually healing our existential pain?

    Ayahuasca is medicine, and I’d like for it to be taken very seriously as such. It’s awful to drink, and who wants to feel like they have food poisoning for 6 hours, but that’s what you get when you drink it. You also get to face your worst fears and stored emotions, and you get to wrestle with them intensely until, hopefully, you decide to surrender and let them go. And then the purge happens and you feel release. It’s incredibly hard work. A lot of stuff came up for me that I could not let go of, so I’m thinking about going back.

    I’ve read that Ayahuasca’s greatest risk is for serotonin syndrome. I’ve read that Ayahuasca triggers growth in the serotonin receptors, and that anti-depressants actually condition the brain to shrink the receptors. So it’s possible that the risks are greater in taking anti-depressants, because your brain will have even less capability to absorb serotonin over time when you take them. But when you drink Ayahausca, you’re actually rebuilding those receptors. So while I respect everyone’s opinion here, and believe me I have tried everything under the sun to relieve me of the weight of depression, the only thing that worked was Ayahausca.

    But let me be totally clear – it’s one of hell of a medicine. It’s NOT fun. It’s NOT pleasant. Facing your rage and feeling it in every cell of your body, reliving it, and then saying, “ok, I don’t want to be angry anymore, I can let this go now”. I’ve never done anything harder or scarier. So no one should be thinking about Ayahuasca as a recreational drug. Ayahuasca facilitates extremely deep emotional work.

    For more on this, check out the scientific research papers being presented about Ayahuasca as a clinical resource at

  40. jessica says


    I would love to know more about your experience I am going on a retreat for 3 Weeks in iquitos Peru next Monday I will be getting 9 or 10 ceremonies I am going with the intent to release alot of emotional traumas and I know all too well that deep feeling of sadness and lonliness..I have done slot of therapies and talk therapies do not heal emotions and trauma its bullshit actually …anyways I look forward to your response Jessica 🙂

  41. Alison says

    Jessica, I am excited for you! I plan to take a week off from work later this month and camp out at home and drink 4 times. The retreat experience was too distracting and uncomfortable for me to focus during 2of the 4ceremonies, although I still got physical healing out of those noisy sessions.

    I will post again when I “reintegrate”. Jessica, you will find healing, I just know it. Unconditional love for oneself is bliss! May you stay open-hearted not only to Mama Ayahuasca but to your inner child self who will come back out and relive the painful experiences so that they can be put to rest. Plan to surrender, love. Keep us posted. We will be “dreaming” around the same time!

  42. wanderful says

    Thank you for this website. I was worried about imbibing in the brew alone, but I now have the confidence to give it a go.

    With respect to the advice from the psychotherapist about spiritual development and the ingesting of drugs, I agree for the most part. The drug user remains passive on a magical mystery tour of heaven, but if they dont’ do the work, they can never get back there without the drugs. And then again, you can’t always count on drugs to take you to where you want to go.

    But I believe that ayahuasca is hard, hard, work. What you get from that trip, you get to keep when you come back. The very though that I might be healed of what ails me makes me weep.

    Thanks again.

  43. hernan says

    I live in Los Angeles, 45 y/o from Argentina with mother line from Iquitos, Peru.
    After feelings of abandoned as a child, and negative feelings about our system of life, I became agressive, solitary, intolerant and unhappy men.
    After looking for pleasure anywhere, paid sex , massage, and food in excess (but never drugs or alcohol) in attempt to relieve my pain, suddenly I had signals pointing that the place to go was iquitos, specially when reading about iquitos and info on Ayahuasca pop-up. I went there, and most local people don’t believe in Ayahuasca help because is against catholicism and a drug. Also tourist gov office no mention ayahuasca at all.
    Anyway, since iquitos is not a good city for pleasure, I had decided go an try for myself, it was in a retreat in the jungle, called DAS, and I was scare big time to find myself boring during the following two weeks. It ended up in the most amazing two weeks of my life, with 6 ceremonies, where painfully I had to kill parts of myself, where the purest human in me first at all kills the ego, then take charge of the clean up of the the parasites emotions, and then revelations like specific advise for a better life came to my mind. Soon during the retreat I did understand that nothing was a coincidence, that I was saved by a conspiracy of the good spirits, and that It wasnt about me anymore, I had to help to save others, nobody should suffer. I had many revelations also for others guys in the retreat that I was connected somehow. I was forced to face my fears, I made some communications with a butterfly , I had to make friendship withe a giant cricket in my cabin, one bat flew around me when I was lost , also during the purge phase I acted literally as a tiger in the toilet cabin ( or may be a Jaguar) for hours and acted knowing what to do like a boa doing constriction on my belly to help ayahuasca to kill parasites, no necesarily of phisical form. Also I found myself signing healing songs asking the bad stuff go out. I knew how to cure myself , signing, dumping blessed river water on me, all of that often during diharrea, vomiting, spitting, then eructing for maybe an hour and then yawning maybe a hundred times.
    Anyway, I have a better life, people start to feel good around me, and a couple of days ago I booked another retreat of a week in iquitos for 3 ceremonies and I am happy for that. I am blessed for that.
    I hope my experience helps to understand what to expect from ayahuasca, even if every one will have different experience, something will change for the good of them.
    I have read some postings of so called professional practitioners of medicine and psicologic therapists against ayahuasca. I am sad to came across with those people who do not know anything about ayahuasca. I think they may have a lot of education but they are not using their own brain. In other hand we are fortunate that many doctoral thesis and some scientific research was actually done in the amazon about ayahuasca ceremonies, verifying positives outcomes in quality of life of whoever drinks ayahuasca, like in my case.
    Please excuse my bad english. So thanks for reading.

  44. jeff says

    the guy who said mushrooms don’t damage your body
    you are a moron
    psychedelic (poisonous) mushrooms are very toxic to the body mind soul
    and those who are all about saying “Oh ayahuasca the mother goddess vine blah blah blah)
    just because something is natural does not make it GOOD or PURE
    you can’t get spiritual experience from ingesting plants
    that is very stupid and childish and immature

  45. There are a lot of people here saying that ayahuasca should not be put in the same category with peyote, and mushrooms and things like that. The truth of the matter is that mushrooms and peyote are exactly the same thing and in certain tribes they are also used as sacred medicine. Salvia Divinorum is another one that is used in Mexico as medicine. All hallucinogens can be used for this same purpose. It is just that different plants grow in different parts of the world so the shaman must use what grows there and is available to him or her. The entire western world needs to stop making comments on topics like this unless they are sure they know what they are talking about. Mescaline was mentioned in several posts here in a very negative manner when in fact it is the active ingredient in peyote and san pedro cactus which are very sacred plants as well. Please people, read some Terence Mckenna and stop commenting on subjects you know nothing about. This topic is already misunderstood and you all are making matters worse. If you have been educated in a christian setting, this is not a good topic for you to comment on because of your blinders. These plants are sacred and a connection to the spirit world.

  46. WOW!!!! What happened to live and let live? I guess everyone has an opinion. It seems to me that in reading many of the above comments- there are those that warn against the plant without ever having tried it. Judgment is their “automatic reaction”, which ultimately stems from fear when ignoring proven facts of the plant.
    As we are all adding our 2 cents as it were, I personally feel that when the soul is ready for healing of this depth, and only this plant can assist with soul learning of that magnitude, then the plant will naturally call to that being- vice versa.
    I would say that the knowledge and wisdom of this plant is not for everyone. In addition, if it is not meant for a being to work with plant, I have no doubt that plant has it’s own way of making it crystal clear to that being to avoid using it in the future. I don’t see the need to criticize others that wish to partake though. It seems to me that if one is drawn to trying it or working with this plant, then there must be a reason the Soul has for doing so. We are all responsible for ourselves and for our own learning. We all must make our own choices, come what may. Take care when interfering with another’s free will.

  47. @helper.

    Soma is mentioned many times in vedanta scriptures. I believe soma is dmt

    It is described as being prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity.

    In the Vedas, the drink, and the plant refer to the same entity. Drinking Soma produces immortality (Amrita, Rigveda 8.48.3). Indra and Agni are portrayed as consuming Soma in copious quantities. The consumption of Soma by human beings is well attested in Vedic ritual.

    The Rigveda (8.48.3) says:

    a ápāma sómam amŕtā abhūmâganma jyótir ávidāma devân
    c kíṃ nūnám asmân kṛṇavad árātiḥ kím u dhūrtír amṛta mártyasya

  48. RegularMomLady says

    Just wanting to leave my two cents here…
    I do not care for the idea that spiritual enlightenment is only meant for certain, already somewhat enlightened beings. I’m not sure if it was this forum or another, but I read, ‘not for the Orange County housewife who wants to divorce her husband’. Well, I find that offensive. It minimizes the suffering that any being can feel. The Orange County housewife might be desperately sad and lonely and still have to pull her depressed bum out of bed everyday and care for a family and be subjected to our ‘culture’ ( if you want to call it that!) I have made the brew for myself twice. It’s no joke, but it helps big time, in my opinion. I wish that we all had access to better ancestral linage and tradition, but we can’t all be from Peru, can we? That being said, the last time I tried it my intuition told me that I’m better off doing it with a guide. I still felt overall positive effects, but the true feeling of the knowledge of duality can be very scary.

  49. Carol Lombard says

    I am interested in trying Ayahuasca but I do take an antidepressant (Cymbalta) and am concerned about going off it for weeks in order to take Ayahuasca. Is it absolutely necessary that I completely rid myself of my medication in order to drink the tea? Also, I agree about Ayahuasca and other plants being nature’s medicine, and yes, Big Pharma IS often a huge racket, but I just have to also say that my Big Pharma meds have saved my life on countless occasions, and although they are flawed and grossly over-priced and with too many side-effects, I am still grateful for my medication. I have already faced many of my demons and have suffered more than most people can imagine, which is probably part of why I also have had a history of anxiety and depression. Ironically, it is the anti-depressant effects of Ayahuasca that interest me most, and yet because I am on an anti-depressant medication, I read that Ayahuasca is not safe for me to take. Does anyone know more about this? I am not, nor have I ever been, on an MAOI inhibitor, does that matter? If serotonin syndrome is the main concern couldn’t I go off my 40mg daily dose of Cymbalta for just 2 weeks before taking Ayahuasca and be safe, rather than going off my meds for 6 weeks as I read I might have to? Any input here is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  50. Stephanie Alexander says

    I am a 49 year old woman .I tried Aya for the first time last year. I did it at an Indian Reservation with a group of about 35. I was the only one that did not vomit. I consumed 5 of the drinks. The rest of the group consumed 1-2 drinks. I can only speak from my experience here… I was blessed out of my mind! My purge was defined by my HOT Crocodile tears and extremely runny nose! I was told that my purge was in my head as opposed to a body purge. It made sense. I came out of it the next day with such a feeling of weightlessness, clarity and peace! The trees spoke to me and cradled me as I had my experience outside under the stars. I can not say that I had hallucinations… but I did clearly have a few (if that makes any sense at all). I was aware of all things going on around me and still having a very personal and meaningful experience. I had conversations with self, I felt the earth’s heartbeat… the plants spoke to me. It was so personal and beautiful. I was able to reconcile so many traumas that night. I am grateful to have had the experience. I thank the Earth every day for it.

  51. L.j says

    This article is very informative and will be helpful to beginners who don’t know who to ask because of the hushed undertones of people who say they know but have no experience (true wisdom is learned through experience my friends, its human nature to fear what you don’t understand) or people who just don’t know. There is a time and place for the lectures of the zombie-like state that real drugs induce, like the kind approved by our own govt. I get all of that and feel bad for the people who get caught up in the cycle of habit and addiction but this isn’t a “buzz” or something that you want to rinse and repeat night after night. In all honesty you don’t always get a nice easy feeling from it if done correctly because it can be downright painful on a mental level. But pain is necessary for growth at times. Its there for when you need it the most not to escape reality but to make yourself really start force feeding yourself the truth about yourself. The drugs the doctors prescribe or people sell on streets do the opposite. They make you numb to your feelings.
    I personally know people who struggled with addiction and who couldn’t find the help they needed anywhere around them and as a last ditch effort turned to the vine and came out as different, wiser, stronger people. I myself have only needed it a handful of times in the last couple of years because I don’t believe it intended for long term nightly use. She lets you know when its time to re-shed the one dimensional way of societal thinking. It simply lets you see from any and all angles and breaks down the walls we build out of fear. It sheds light on lifetime traumas and helps you to heal and move on so your more able to live in the present and not the past or future. It reminds you of how to just breath, appreciate and love yourself and every living creature that is living, even you. It helps peel off the layers of years of suppressed emotions. Maybe people are misinformed, or just don’t fully grasp what all of that means.
    Either way there’s no need for hostility here. This is a place of nonjudgmental acceptance for everyone because that’s just the way it should be. Aya isn’t a replacement for any addiction. Sometimes this life is hard and we all get a little lost sometimes no matter what good higher intentions we strive for. All the vine does is illuminate so people can see clearly when they get a little lost. I hope that everyone who feels lost or off course is able to find their way in this lifetime and overcome difficulties enough to be able to enjoy the good times, appreciate and respect the rougher times and never stop learning and experiencing new…experiences. Thank you for reading, excuse the errors because I don’t feel like proof reading as I have children who are waiting quite impatiently for me to play a board game with them on family night. Goodnight and good luck!

  52. Hello! I’m about to get access to white b. Caapi and p. Viridis to prepare my own brew. In my experience I was offered to participate many times in Ayahuasca ceremonies with other people. I didn’t want to participate mainly because my intuition told me not to. Now I am prepared for it and took a week’s rest to respectfully brew it and drink it with my girl partner. I hope to completely heal myself. I feel the information on this page helped me to understand how to have a solitary ceremony properly. Looking forward to doing it and posting here on the results.

  53. Jessica says

    How fascinating and informative.
    I am deeply unhappy with “Health” Canada’s decision to stop Dr. Gabor Mate from helping so many people with debilitating addictions with Ayahuasca under threat of removing his license to practice medicine.
    Methadone and Suboxone manufacturers continue to rake in massive profits with their toxic crud.
    How I wish hallucinogens were available treatments for helping addicts in Canada, rather than having to resort to traveling to South America and/or send away for sub standard, adulterated who knows what.

    Just like the cure for cancer, there are no monetary incentives for the pharmaceutical racket to actually help people.
    I suppose I’ll try and save up for my trip.

  54. Never underestimate how much your experience and your perception are themselves the product of your beliefs…and how those beliefs are themselves the product of your past experiences and perceptions.

    It’s a cycle. An evolution of conditioning…becoming.

    We create ourselves, layer upon layer, with thoughts upon thoughts… judgements layered over other judgements. These judgements give us the temporary sensation of “Knowing”, yet in the long run, the more layers we create, the more the sensation of doubt gnaws away at our soul. We have aquired so much knowledge that we don’t really have the feeling of being sure about anything anymore.

    The more you pursue understanding – whether by using “substantial tools” or inner “meditative tools”, whatever… – the more fragile and fleeting your stable sense of “Knowing” becomes.

    That’s just the nature of complexity.

    Alex (above) rightly pointed out that Terrence McKenna, surely one of the greatest seers in recent times, never set out to understand the things he “Knew”. It was never his goal in the beginning. He stumbled upon them accidentally whilst he was on his natural flow. And yet there are so many followers of McKenna who aim to emulate him and follow in his footsteps, unaware that the higher Knowledge only reveals itself to us when we have surrendered to its opposite -NOT Knowing… and therefore chasing the butterfly is futile.

    Let me be clear: I’m not for or against ayahuasca or the psychonautical quest in any way. I have personally used it a few times, and may or may not use it again in the future. The point is not really about the substance. The point is within your own consciousness, tied up within the reason WHY you choose/desire to use it in the first place, which, again, is embedded in the many layers upon layers of the human ego.

    That, I believe, is the point that Anam and others were expressing.

    Ayahuasca (etc) is a portal into the deep subconscious and the collective “cosmic conciousness” itself.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    There are those that have expressed the “nothing more” view; that ayahuasca is nothing more than a portal into the subconscious and that there are other tools and methods for exploring the same realms, of which psychoanalysis and meditation are two such options.

    And there are those that have defended the “nothing less” view; that ayahuasca is nothing less than a portal into the subconscious and should be revered and respected as such. It can be a powerful tool that deserves its place, sitting equally alongside any other method on the conscious shelf.

    Yes, it can take you there. Yes, it can give you a glimpse…and by seeing just a tiny glimpse of infinity we can grow immensely.

    Yes, it’s true…and yet the underlying QUESTion still remains: Why are we seeking further growth? What is it we feel we are lacking in this present moment that leads us to search for higher understanding? What drives our “spiritual” Quest for self-improvement?

    There comes a time on this journey – at least this has been the case for me, personally – where one realises that “the way out is in”. The way out of all that conditioning is not to add more layers of reconditioning, but rather to allow ones layering to drop away naturally and effortlessly over time.

    And the key word here is indeed “effortlessly”, for any amount of trying or yearning or searching…questing…is to be unaware of the layers from which you are trying to escape, and therefore you remain within that cycle.

    One cannot “do” unlayering.
    It is an undoing …and not one that can be undone!
    It is a happening – it simply occurs in its own time of its own will – and any attempt to cause or facilitate this happening is just another Act of the egoic Actor.

    If you feel inspired to use ayahuasca, I say Yes, do it!
    If you feel that is the way forward in your journey, I salute you.
    You are not wrong to do so, even if following that signpost leads you on a journey that comes right back to this same point, and even if next time you choose the other path… you were still never “wrong” to have chosen that way.

    I say Yes, do it! …and Know the reason Why you are doing it.

    For that is the question from which all other questions stem.
    And the answer to that question is the place that all other answers will eventually lead.

    And these same words have been uttered by those that followed one path all the way to its conclusion… as those who followed the opposite path all the way to its conclusion.

    And that is why none of us are wrong. And it is all a dance of perception.

  55. I first drank Ayahuasca in February, 2013. I have participated in ceremonies with traditional Shamans deep in the Peruvian amazon, in the usa with the Santo Daime Church and with a group that is a blend of the two styles.
    I have also taken Psilohuasca(Syrian Rue extract+Mushrooms) on my own when I have been unable to attend a Ayahuasca Ceremony when I felt i needed to partake in one. I would always choose Ayahuasca over the Psilohuasca, although I could not give a valid reason why. Both are very beneficial. I think part of it is the group nature of the Aya ceremony. I am also going to be taking a combination of Syrian Rue and Acacia Confusa in the near future. I found this site while further researching Syrian Rue, and wanted to also give feedback to it being called toxic. I highly disagree with this statement, from both personal experience and research. I have found that most people who state it is toxic have taken a relatively large dose of ground of seeds, without extraction. I only take it via a concentrated tea. Grind up seeds, boil for several hours, strain, reduce to a thick consistency, done. It is important to know how much you start with, and reduce it to so that you can calculate the approximate concentration of a dose. High doses of this medicine contains more Harmalines than in your average Ayahuasca Tea. I enjoy taking high doses when combined with mushrooms, and the effects are very strong. It really messes with your balance and ability to stand, move, walk, etc. This level of dosing is not needed to potentiate DMT, but I feel it adds to the experience for the better. I have very little to no nausea when taking it in a concentrated tea such as this, and very little is needed. For heavy doses I take 10-15 “0” capsules filled. At the concentration I make it at 1-2 would definitely be sufficient to potentiate.
    I also strongly recommend fasting the day of the planned consumption, and I often fast the day before as well.

    IME, the Santo Daime Ayahuasca is generally heavy on the Caapi, and light on the Chakruna, as well as being watery and not as strong as some Shamanic brews I have taken. They don’t want everyone laying on the ground having super heavy visuals. However the medicine they make is top quality and very high vibration. I highly recommend anyone with the availability to participate in one of their ceremonies to do so. Very safe environment, and very good for a first timer to partake.

    Jungle Aya is very balanced, generally speaking, and heavy with chacruna, but it is important to drink with a well known Shaman or group, and not just the first guy at the Iquitos airport who shouts ayahuasca at you. I drank with several highly respected Shamans, and one who was near 100 years old who started training with this father when he was 12. I prefer the pure blend of Caapi, and Chakruna, but with this shaman I was able to experience a few different kinds of Ayahuasca. After which I still prefer the pure blend of Caapi and Chakruna.

    Much love.

  56. Electra says

    My husband and I (both 62 years old) recently spent a wonderful 2 weeks at a Costa Rican jungle retreat where we participated in 6 Ayahuasca ceremonies on different days. On each of those days we were welcome to drink the sacred healing brew up to three times, approximately three hours apart. We do not drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs with the exception of a diabetic medication that my husband has taken for a few years. We read lots of personal accounts from people who had taken the medicine and watched a few documentaries about Ayahuasca before we left. I could have stood to read less about other people’s accounts and go with a cleaner slate as everyone’s experience is so different and affected by their particular brew, how it was prepared, and the people in charge of keeping them safe, but whatever. Nothing that I read had any negative affect once I arrived and felt the love and integrity everywhere.

    I took an ice bucket with a lid as I was picturing a world of grossness relating to purging. There was no hint of anything gross. Nobody purging on the floor and no smell. The whole purging thing is actually sacred which I understand now after taking Ayahuasca. We were given light organic vegetarian meals on ceremony days which were chosen by people who are trained to know what foods work best.

    Our experience was amazing from start to finish. We both entered into it with clear intentions to be healed physically and mentally and a desire to be spiritually uplifted. We were committed to trusting and surrendering which we had learned is very important. I attended all 6 ceremonies and drank the brew 3 three times on most days. Many people chose different intentions for each ceremony but I always chose healing and let Mother Ayahuasca heal me in the order of importance that she knew was right for me. My view of every experience was that I took a trip through a sacred portal to Heaven on Earth which felt like a dimension right here and so close but one I can’t access without a boost of DMT at this point in my life.

    A special friend whom I met there who had taken Ayahuasca many times, told me that each experience is like peeling an onion. A layer of earthly conditioning that we have received since we were born is peeled off, one layer at a time until all of the layers are peeled away and what’s left is pure love and light which we were when we came to Earth.

    The setting was incredible as many very talented musicians played guitars, drums and various instruments and sang beautiful uplifting songs. The energy was amazing as were the people. There was love in the air at all times. We both experienced different forms of healing and many valuable verbal lessons were taught to me by Mother Ayahuasca who was gentle and loving; I believe partly because I had completely surrendered to the experience and expressed my gratitude from the heart for all of the beauty and healing that I was experiencing.

    I enjoyed some hallucinations. Lots of patterns of tiny hexagons with brightly colored fine lines around each one and a lime green one separating each which related to the plants in the forest. I was closely connected to the plants and trees which did everything but walk around. It was truly amazing. There were times when I could here the bees or the insects. All living things seemed to be vibrating together.

    Each person’s experience seems to be so unique. I’ve read that people are invited by the universe in one way or another when they are ready. I suspect that some of the people who have bothered to participate in this forum who sound negative towards Ayahuasca may actually be getting drawn closer to the truth even if they have been misguided in the past by teachings or people’s experiences that aren’t a true representation of this beautiful healing medicine.

    I hope Ayahuasca gets the respect that it deserves in the future for it’s healing qualities in a world that needs healing and needs to rise up together in unity at this time. It also deserves respect by people who prepare it and administer it, that those things will be done in a respectful way by knowledgable people who have people’s best interests at heart. Anything less than that is unacceptable. May everyone who is ready to take the sacred healing plunge enjoy their experience to the fullest as we did. ❤️

    (We’re moving to the jungle to do as much as we can until we move on from this earth. We started late , now we have to make up for lost time.)

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