Ayahuasca tea is a South American entheogenic brew commonly made out of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, the Psychotria viridis shrub or a substitute, and possibly other ingredients; although, in the West, a chemically similar preparation also known and sold as ayahuasca, but occasionally also known as “pharmahuasca”, can be prepared using illicitly manufactured N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and a pharmaceutical monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid.
Ayahuasca (pronounced ‘eye-ah-WAH-ska’) is a plant-based psychedelic. Psychedelics affect all the senses, altering a person’s thinking, sense of time and emotions. They can cause a person to hallucinate—seeing or hearing things that do not exist or are distorted.Ayahuasca is a decoction made by prolonged heating or boiling of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine with the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub, although there can be a variety of other plants included in the decoction for different traditional purposes. The active chemical in ayahuasca is DMT (dimethyltryptamine). It also contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Ayahuasca has been used for centuries by First Nations peoples from contemporary Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador for religious ritual and therapeutic purposes.
Benefits of Ayahuasca
Many people who have taken Ayahuasca claim that the experience led to positive, long-term, life-altering changes. This may be due to the effects of Ayahuasca on the neurological system. Recent research has shown that Ayahuasca may benefit health particularly brain health in a number of ways. Ayahuasca is drunk as a liquid.
Effects of ayahuasca
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Ayahuasca affects everyone differently, based on:
- the person’s size, weight and health
- whether the person is used to taking it
- whether other drugs are taken around the same time
- the amount taken
- the strength of the decoction.
The effects of ayahuasca are subjective, but may include:
- nausea and vomiting (induced by drinking the decoction)*
- feelings of connection and unity
- intense visual and auditory hallucinations
- experiencing powerful emotions
- moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate
- increased body temperature.
When ayahuasca is taken in a traditional or ritual setting, these effects may be perceived as cleansing or purging and a part of the spiritual or healing journey.