WHAT IS AYAHUASCA?
Ayahuasca is a sacred psychedelic brew that has been used through out the Amazon for centuries. No one knows for certain just how long its use has been practiced, but there have been artifacts discovered that suggest its use dating back to 2000 B.C. Ayahuasca was discovered by the Western world in the mid 19th century and has captivated ethnographers, chemists, botanist and pharmacologists because of its unique properties. Ayahuasca is made by combining two plants, usually the vine (B Cappi) and a DMT containing plant (Charcruna or Choliponga) and boiling them over low heat for many hours. If each plant were to be consumed individually there would be no effect on the user but the specific combination of pants allows the body to absorb and process the brew to induce a visionary state. Because of the immense biodiversity in the Amazon with thousands upon thousands of species of plants, it is still unclear how the indigenous people knew which two to use. Many claim they were given the knowledge by the plants themselves. This mystery only adds to the awe and wonder of ayahuasca.
Traditionally, ayahuasca is used under the guidance of an ayahuasquero (or shaman) in a ceremonial setting to cure spiritual and physical disease. In the Western world, it has been building a name for itself as an increasingly popular tool for treating depression, anxiety, addictions and PTSD. It has been featured on many prominent television and news programs such as BBC, CNN, HBO’s VICE and Newsweek and the message is clear: Ayahuasca has incredible potential.
The visionary state of ayahuasca is different for everyone, although many common themes are reported such as interaction/communication with nature, animals, deities and spirits. It is said that the spirit of ayahuasca is feminine, divine, motherly and comforting. An ayahausca experience can be beautiful and euphoric but it can also be dark and difficult. Ayahuasca shows us the truth in all ways, in the world and the deepest corners of our soul. Facing truth and honest reflection can often be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is through suffering that we grow.
Ayahuasca can radically change an individuals perception of reality. Most people report the experience to be intense, profound and spiritual. Ayahuasca allows you to ‘wake up’, leaving behind old ideologies, and creates a feeling of oneness with all of life. Many users report experiencing vivid and elaborate visions that lead to profound revelations. These revelations can be anything, but are often related to the essence of life: who we are, where we came from, why we are here, how we interact with other life (both humans and nature) and how it is all connected. Some even report gaining access to other dimensions and interacting with spirits. Ayahuasca as a plant teacher reveals itself differently to everyone, but almost all users report it as being one of the most positive and profound experiences of their lives.
Ayahuasca requires that your follow a diet in preparation for the experience. The first concern is medications which could have a negative interaction with the MAOIs in ayahuasca. Always disclose any medication you may be taking to ensure safety. Each center will have different guidelines and level of adherence to the traditional ayahuasca diet : no salt, no red meat, no dairy, no sugar, no sex. Despite if you follow the dieta or not, Ayahuasca consumption comes with a purging process that is considered an essential part of the experience. The physical purge comes in the form of vomiting and diarrhea. The intensity of the purge varies on an individual basis but the purpose is the same for all: cleansing and purification. The purge represents the release of negative energies and a cleansing of the body, mind and spirit.
When preparing for an ayahuasca Costa Rica retreat, it is important to take into consideration some traditional dietary guidelines.
Ayahuasca brew is made from Banisteriopsis caapi vine alone or in combination with other plants. The active hallucinogenic properties of ayahuasca become acvtive when a DMT containing plant is combined with the ayahausca vine which contains MAOIs. Our medicine is made in Iqtuitos, Peru by master brewer and shaman Ron Wheelock.
Ayahausca is generally considered very safe, however there are certain prescription medications that counterindications with the MAOIs found in ayahuasca. Always disclose all medications to the ayahuasca provider prior to participation in ceremonies. Refer to our safety page for more information on possible medicinal interactions.