Ancestral Medicines: Ayuasca
What is Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca is a brew made from the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub along with the stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, though other plants and ingredients can be added as well. Actually the main ingredient of Ayahuasca is found in many plants found in our general life however the amounts of the DMT are stronger and more defined in many of the plants found in the rainforest of Costa Rico and other indigenous areas.
Over time, you may have heard stories of people traveling to Central America and other foreign destinations to experience a wide variety of Ancestral medicines for enlightenment, today we will talk about Ayahuasca, a psychoactive ancestral brew that takes you on a journey of self discovery.
Scientists have discovered several long-term health benefits of taking Ayahuasca and other ancestral medicines. It is finally making it to the western world and being widely accepted to assist humankind with finding their purpose in life.
This drink has been developed and used for spiritual and religious purposes by ancient Amazonian tribes for thousands of years and yet today is still used as a sacred beverage by some religious communities in Brazil and North America on a regular basis to connect with the spirits and help with personal growth.
Traditionally, a shaman or medicine man who is an experienced healer is the one who leads Ayahuasca ceremonies as well as preparing the brew by boiling torn leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub and stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine in water for hours to the desired strength that the Shaman wants for the ceremony. The first step is to clean and smash the Banisteriopsis caapi vines before being boiled to increase the extraction of its medicinal compounds.
After a period, the medicinal brew / liquid reduces to the shaman’s liking, they then remove the water leaving behind the plant material. This process is repeats until a highly concentrated liquid is produced. Once the brew is at the strength satisfied by the Shaman, it is strained to remove all impurities and particles.
How does Ayahuasca work?
The main ingredients of have hallucinogenic properties such as N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic substance that occurs naturally in the plant.
DMT is a powerful hallucinogenic chemical found in plants and naturally produced in our human body however this requires, DMT to be combined with something containing MAO inhibitors (MAOIs), which allow DMT to take effect. Banisteriopsis caapi contains potent MAOIs called β-carbolines, which also have psychoactive effects of their own.
When combined, these two plants form a powerful psychedelic brew that affects the central nervous system, leading to an altered state of consciousness that can include hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and euphoria. It can also lad to a higher level of consciousness and for many people, they find that the effects will continue to benefit them for months after the experience.
How to use Ayahuasca
Though Ayahuasca was traditionally used for spiritual purposes by specific populations, it has become popular worldwide among those who seek a way to open their minds, heal from past traumas, or simply experience a journey into another dimension.
It’s strongly recommended that Ayahuasca only be taken when supervised by an experienced shaman, which is always the case at Eden Quest Retreats, we always look after carefully all people taking this medicine to ensure safety and the very best that the medicine can offer. The Ayahuasca trip leads to an altered state of consciousness that lasts for many hours and be a wonderful journey when done in a safe and monitored way.
You will find that most people travel outside their country to places like Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil and of course Mexico to Eden Quests retreats, where multi-day Ayahuasca retreats are offered. All of our retreats are led by experienced shamans, who prepare the brew and monitor participants for safety and to ensure the very best Ayahuasca experience.
Before joining an Ayahuasca ceremony, it’s recommended that participants abstain from cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and caffeine to purify their bodies. The more pure your body in the better your experience. It is also often suggested eating as healthy as you can for 2–4 weeks prior to the experience to purify the body and remove any toxins.
Eden Quests Ayahuasca ceremonies are always held at night and last until the effects of Ayahuasca have worn off. After our ceremony space is prepared and blessed by the shaman leading the ceremony, Ayahuasca is offered to participants a dose at a time, sometimes split into several doses. After consuming the Ayahuasca, the effects will begin within 20–60 minutes after consuming. The effects are dose-dependent, and the trip can last 2 hours to as long as 12 hours. Those who take Ayahuasca will generally start the experience by vomiting or may have diarrhea at the beginning of the experience and is considered a normal part of the experience. Next you should get feelings of euphoria, strong visual and auditory hallucinations and powerful mind-altering psychedelic effects that will bring you into your past to live and potentially show you your future. It is a wonderful experience.
Everyone who takes Ayahuasca react differently, some experience euphoria and a feeling of enlightenment, while others go through severe anxiety and some panic. It’s not uncommon for those taking Ayahuasca to experience both positive and negative effects from the brew but do not be afraid as the negative effects often are a positive effect in disguise. Many people relive experiences that need to be let go o you live it again to let it go. Ayahuasca is designed to open the pineal gland that leads to enlightenment and happiness.
The shaman and others who are experienced in Ayahuasca will offer spiritual guidance to participants throughout the Ayahuasca experience and monitor participants for safety. At Eden Quest Retreats, we work with sounds and music to give all participants the maximum experience.
Sometimes we hold these consecutively, with participants consuming Ayahuasca a few nights in a row to results in a different experience for the participants. Sometimes this is really good because participants have less fear of the unknown during the second dose.
Many people who have taken Ayahuasca claim that the experience led to positive, long-term, life-altering changes. This is due to the effects of Ayahuasca on the neurological system. Scientific research has shown that Ayahuasca may benefit health and particularly brain health in a number of ways. The main active ingredients in Ayahuasca — DMT and β-carbolines — have been shown to exhibit neuroprotective and neurorestorative qualities in scientific studies.
DMT activates the sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R), a protein that blocks neurodegeneration and regulates the production of antioxidant compounds that help protect your brain, one study indicated that DMT protected human brain cells from damage caused by lack of oxygen and increased cell survival. Most of big Pharma is against this because of the healing qualities and there is no money is cure or natural medicines.
The main β-carboline in Ayahuasca, has been found to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and memory-boosting effects in test-tube and animal studies. It has also been observed to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays an important role in nerve cell growth and promotes nerve cell survival. Additionally, a test-tube study demonstrated that exposure to harmine increased the growth of human neural progenitor cells by over 70% in 4 days. These cells generate the growth of new neural cells in your brain
Much research has shown that Ayahuasca may increase the memory capacity of your brain and improve your overall psychological feeling of well-being.
Studies have found that Ayahuasca may improve mindfulness, mood, and emotional regulation and demonstrated that ratings of depression and stress were significantly decreased immediately after the participants consumed Ayahuasca. These effects were still significant 4 weeks following the Ayahuasca consumption
Ayahuasca may can help treat addiction, anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and PTSD, some research suggests that Ayahuasca may benefit those with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction disorders.
Several studies showed that a single dose of Ayahuasca led to significant improvements in depression and anxiety, mood disorders, and drug dependence. Other studies showed promising results in treating addictions from crack cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine.
Researchers hypothesize that Ayahuasca may help those with PTSD as well, though more research in this area is needed. According to current research, Ayahuasca may protect brain cells and stimulate neural cell growth. It may also boost mood, improve mindfulness, and treat depression and addiction disorders, though more research is needed to confirm these effects.
Much research has been done and thousands of people are living a happier and healthier life from the effects of Ayahuasca. So If you’re interested in participating in an Ayahuasca experience with Eden Quest Retreats, be sure to do your research and know everything about it and whether it is for you or not.