Plant medicines such as ayahuasca are considered miraculous tools for some U.S. residents’ healing and spiritual journeys.
“Eye-opening” plant medicines have been gaining popularity in the United States over the years. Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), peyote (Lophophora williamsii), and salvia (Salvia divinorum) are a few examples. Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, recently credited a medicinal plant called la purga or ayahuasca with his MVP award.
Ayahuasca, or “vine of the soul,” is a South American psychoactive traditional medicine. It’s a part of ceremonies and spiritual activities among indigenous people in the Amazon region.
There is evidence that ayahuasca was used by shamans known as ayahuascero thousands of years ago. In the late 20th century, experts claimed that ayahuasca cures mental and physical illnesses and opens communication with the spirit world caused its use to spread across Europe and North America.
As ayahuasca churches grow in the U.S., some are conducting more research on its benefits beyond ceremonial use.
What is ayahuasca and how is it used?
Among the ingredients used in ayahuasca are leaves of Psychotria viridis, stems and bark of Banisteriopsis caapi, and other plant-based ingredients.
In Psychotria Viridis leaves, you can find DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine), a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug known as “the spirit molecule.” Also, there is an enzyme in the brain, monoamine oxidase (MAO), which is contained in Banisteriopsis caapi.
Depending on the purpose, other botanical substances are added, such as:
* Ayahuma bark (cannonball tree) – used for healing and protection of lost souls
* Capirona bark – purging and protection
* Brysonima Christianeae – used to transcend physical body ailments
* Remo Caspi (oak tree) bark – used to remove dark energy
* Bobinsana – used to open the major heart chakra
Among the many ways to use ayahuasca, shamans use it to carry out spiritual healing. Users of Ayahuasca report having mystical and spiritual revelations about their calling and perception of the universe.
Ayahuasca can cause strong visual and auditory hallucinations connected to altered states of consciousness and introspection.
What are the potential benefits of using ayahuasca?
It has been demonstrated in a scientific study that ayahuasca improves brain health by increasing blood flow to areas of the brain that regulate emotions and memory. More evidence suggests it can help you be more mindful, reduce stress, and treat people with PTSD and addiction.
The U.S. has classified ayahuasca as a Schedule I drug; it has no approved medical use, including standardized dosage. However, clinical studies suggest that with proper quantity, ayahuasca has positive effects.
On Get Yourself Optimized, I interviewed Dennis Notten about his ayahuasca journey and his Microdosing Ayahuasca program. As a result of his enculturation with Amazonian tribes, he believes microdosing ayahuasca has the power long-term to transform people and bring them closer to their destiny.
What are the risks and precautions to take from using Ayahuasca?
Overdosing on any medicine can be harmful. People experience various effects when they use ayahuasca; some of these effects are seen as cleansing, particularly when used in spiritual and healing journeys. An individual may experience one or more of the following side effects:
* Nausea and vomiting
* Autonomic instability
* Motor function impairment
* Muscle spasms
* Panic attacks
It is important to note there are some contraindications. Ayahuasca is not recommended for people with schizophrenia or other mental health issues. It is possible to develop strong hallucinations and serotonin syndrome from an overdose of Ayahuasca.
In many cultures, traditions, and tribes, plant medicines have endured the test of time, including ayahuasca.
Having powerful psychedelic properties, most research studies suggest that ayahuasca has several neurological and psychological benefits and is an avenue to spiritual awakening.
However, if you plan to participate in Ayahuasca ceremonies, do your research beforehand to understand its positive and negative health effects.