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At New Life Ayahuasca Costa Rica, all of our medicine is responsibly sourced from Iquitos, Peru where it is prepared by our teacher, Don Ron Wheelock. Ron has been working in the Amazon for nearly 30 years and like indigenous shaman have been doing for centuries, Don Ron prepares his ayahuasca by harvesting the ayahuasca vine and leaves of Chaliponga and then boiling them together for several days while praying and singing Icaros into the medicine. Ron has an impressive knowledge of jungle pharmacology and makes a powerful ayahuasca brew. 

Our ayahuasca is made with only b. caapi and chaliponga. All the ingredients are grown in Iquitos and are selected at a precise time of maturity. Each plant is necessary for its contribution to the effects of the ayahuasca experience.

Before participating in an ayahuasca ceremony or retreat it is important to find out information about the facility, the ceremony leader, and the origin of the ayahuasca brew served at the retreat.

Ayahuasca is made by combining at least two plants - the ayahuasca vine (b.caapi) and a DMT-containing plant such as Chacruna or Chaliponga.  Some shamans may include small quantities of other ingredients such as mapacho, flowers, or other plants into the brew. When done responsibly, these additives do not negatively impact the medicine and may even enhance certain elements of the experience. However, there are some additives, such as datura (toe) which can be especially dangerous so it is important to be aware of what the brew you are going to consume is comprised of.

Our mission is to provide the safest ceremonies possible. However, even with the purest and safest ayahuasca, there is still the risk of interactions with other medications. Please always follow the ayahuasca diet and disclose any and all medications during the booking process.

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FAMILY: Malpighiaceae

GENUS: Banisteriopsis


ALSO KNOWN AS: B. caapi, ayahuasca, aya, yaje, boa vine, vine of the soul, vine of the dead, ayahuasca vine

Banisteriopsis caapi is the main ingredient in ayahuasca brew. Brews always contain b. caapi aka the ayahuasca vine with a combination of other ingredients; commonly including chacruna (Psychotria viridis), chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana), and datura (toe). It contains harmineharmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, all of which are both beta-carboline harmala alkaloids and MAOIs. The MAOI’s found in Banisteriopsis caapi are what make the DMT found in Chacruna (Psychotria virdis) to become orally active in the brew and allow its effects to be felt for hours, rather than just the few minutes that smoking DMT produces.


B. Caapi is a vine that grows up adjacent tress to reach sunlight. It has white and pink flowers, however they rarely bloom in the tropics. The fruits of the ayahuasca vine are 3-winged and maple-like that appear between March and August.

The vine grows in a twisted double helix pattern and can grow quite thick. It grows best in rich moist soil.  When the vine is cut, the cross sections reveal what resembles a flower or brain in its bark. Jewelry is often made of cross cuts from young banisteriopsis caapi vines.


Banisteriopsis caapi can be made into a brew alone, which is said to produce calming effects, but it is most commonly used with a combination of other ingredient to activate its vision producing effects. It has been used traditionally by the people of the Amazonian area for healing and spiritual contentedness for at least centuries; artifacts have been discovered that suggest its use as a component of stuff up to 4,000 years ago.

Ayahuasca use is the primary means of diagnosing and treating malaise in communities of indigenous regions of central and south America. It is used for direct communication with the spirit realm, and gives leaders of villages/communities guidance and directly impacts the cultures of these societies.The architecture, drawings, masks, jewelry, weapons and pottery are all adorned in fashions influenced by experiences with ayahuasca. Even songs and dance are based on visions from ayahuasca uses.

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