Ayahuasca — also known as the tea, the vine, and la purga — is a brew crafted from the leaves of the Psychotria Viridis shrub at the side of the stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, even though sometimes it may contain other plants and ingredients depending how its made.
This drink was used for religious and spiritual purposes through ancient Amazonian tribes and is still used as a sacred beverage by some communities in Brazil and South America in ceremonies held by the tribes’ shamans.
Traditionally, a shaman or curandero — a skilled healer who leads the Ayahuasca retreat ceremonies — prepares the brew, by boiling the leaves of the Psychotria Viridis shrub and stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine in water.
The Banisteriopsis caapi vine is cleaned and smashed before being boiled to extract the its’ medicinal compounds.
When the brew has reachedpoint of the shaman’s liking, the water is removed and purified, by filtering it througha plant cloth. This method is repeated until a rather focused liquid is produced. Once cooled, the brew is strained once more, to rid it of impurities.
How Does It Work?
The main ingredients of the Ayahuasca brew — Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria Viridis — both contain hallucinogenic compounds.
Psychotria Viridis contains N-dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic substance forming naturally inside the plant, which is also known as DMT.
DMT is an potent hallucinogenic chemical, also produced in our brains. However, due to its low bioavailability, it iseasily broken down by the enzymes referred to as MAOs, which are the monoamine oxidases in charge of breaking down compounds inthe liver and gastrointestinal tract.
For this purpose, DMT needs to be combined with something containing MAO inhibitors (MAOIs), which allow DMT to produce a impact. The other ingredient in the brew, Banisteriopsis caapi, contains powerful MAOIs referred to as β-carbolines, which also have psychoactive effects of their own.
When mixed together, those two plantsform a powerful psychedelic brew, leading the participant towards an altered kingdom of focus consisting of hallucinations, otherworldly stories, and euphoria.
DMT RETREAT (A personal experience)
“At the northwestern edge of Jamaica, Montego Bay fits a famous tourist slogan, ‘the whole resort’.Theres Snorkelling, ATV safaris, Catamaran cruises, you name it. But I wasn’t here for any of that. I had traveled to Jamaica to enjoy, precisely, complete nothingness.
I had come to pursue the sensation of nonexistence,catalyzed by a tryptamine referred to as 5-MeO-DMT, aka five-MeO or Five. It’s also known as the Toad, as it can be found inside the poison of the Bufo alvarius, a species of toad local to the Sonoran Desert. Most fancifully, 5-MeO-DMT is called The God Molecule, as it enables full-blown mystical experiences, including an alleged communion with a higher-order, comparable to a divine awareness of sorts. It is the most effective psychedelic on the earth. ( 5-MeO- DMT retreats areillegal within the US, hence why I had travelled so far.)”
My experience could be considered as a very extreme reanalysis of waking awareness, evenfrom a low dose. It reminded me of how Ken Nelson, the underground chemist, described it in his 1984 pamphlet: ‘You may become completely absorbed in a complex chemical event characterized by an overload of mind and perception, a quick crumble of the EGO, and loss of the space-time continuum’.”
Among customers of psychedelics, this type of experience is called “ego demise”,and a team of researchers at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research in the Johns Hopkins University say is marked by “a complete loss of subjective self-identification” and a feeling of “merging into the encircling surroundings or the complete universe.”
Alexander Shulgin, a chemist, regarded for first synthesizing MDMA, described his more outlandish response after smoking 30 milligrams of Five. “I ended up crawled up on my mattress ina fetal position with my eyes closed,” he wrote, “squirming around, screaming‘Fuck! You killed yourself!’ repeatedly, very scared I was losingmy life.”