Ayahuasca – South American Shamanic Hallucinogen


Ayahuasca is the spiritual, jungle vine medicine of the upper Amazon region of South America.

Ayahuasca’s name is derived from the Quechua words “aya” meaning spirit, ancestor, deceased person, and “huasca” meaning vine or rope.

Ayahuasca plays a huge part in the spiritual, cultural and religious traditions of the indigenous and mestizo people of the upper Amazon. Made from the Ayahuasca vine and the leaf of the Chacruna plant, these two are combined to make a very powerful medicine that has psychotropic factors and is said to leave the user with something akin to a religious experience.

Spirituality is in fact at the very center of the whole Ayahuasca experience. The leaves of the Ayahuasca vine are rich with DMT(dimethyltryptamine) and is responsibly for the highly visual hallucinations that  are common during the Ayahuasca experience.

Andrew Weil, M.D. claims that ayahuasca is “quite safe medically, but
can be psychologically risky if taken under the wrong circumstances.”

Used by tribesmen to gather courage or insight before an important hunt, it is seen as a spirit doctor that knows what is wrong with the patient and also capable of providing the cure. The natural question arises: is it possible to bridge the gap between the sacred use of ayahuasca out in the jungle and bring it home to city dwellers and make it into a more safe, regulated, medicinal application.

When consumed the used first experiences vomiting and diarrhea, followed by a relaxed, dreamy state with visions that can last for 6 to 10 hours. Proper guidance is highly recommended. Many after the experience claim to be healed from mental and physical ailments. Will the medical community embrace this alternate therapy and explore its possible uses in treatment for depression, alcohol and other drug related issues.

Andrew Weil, M.D. claims that ayahuasca is “quite safe medically, but can be psychologically risky if taken under the wrong circumstances.” A half and half endorsement/warning from Dr. Weil is common in this new frontier where it is unclear where to stand on the issue of treating drug addictions with…drugs. A health rehab center in Peru called Takiwasi is making headway with regards to this new frontier by using “traditional medicine” like ayahuasca to treat it’s drug addicted patients. Hmmm…  with information about drugs like ayahuasca and Ibogaine surfacing in the treatment world we are excited to see what the future holds for addiction medicine.