Ayahuasca And What You Don’t Know About It

There is much to be learned of Ayahuasca between its origins, effects and redeeming qualities.
Known as one of the great enlightenment rituals, Ayahuasca is the inward exploration of the mind and body through a tea blend. The goal is to reach metamorphosis. Though the common cup of tea has been known to provide certain medicinal qualities, this ancient practice requires a spirit guide, a strict diet and a puke bucket.

As the shift into spirituality widens, we can learn more about this intense, direct connection to a higher power within nature. Though it won’t do justice to lightly graze over such a heady topic, it’s important to know what you’re walking into should you decide to pursue it. Here are a few things you may not know about Ayahuasca, if you’re into it.

Ayahuasca and What You Don't Know About It
What is Ayahuasca exactly?
Like the tail on the donkey, Ayahuasca is actually difficult to pin down. Each experience varies from person to person, and each time is different for the same person. It is, however, loosely defined as a DMT-based psychedelic tea met by a sort of religious experience, of which the goal is to both purge and transform fear, to get a better understanding of oneself. DMT is the euphoric chemical released during death that is stored in the brain, a chemical produced in the early weeks of life. This plant-based trip forces people to travel inward with the hope of evolving to a better state of awareness, discussing their experience with a certified shaman who can guide them through, interpret their visions and troubleshoot possible unpleasantness.

Ayahuasca and What You Don't Know About It
The tea may be made by you, and it tastes like shit.
Depending on where you do it, an Ayahuasca retreat can last anywhere from two days to a week, but the ceremony will likely be one to two nights at the end. Regardless, it requires a very specific diet, and the longer ceremonies involve fasting during the early parts of the week as well. This is a time that is devoted to making the medicine yourself, a tea concocted from two particular plants: the ayahuasca vine and a shrub called chacruna (Psychotria viridis), whose narrow leaves produce the DMT found in the muddy tea.

Yes, its taste is less than desirable, especially if you were never good at doing shots, but the ceremony is prefaced by a lengthy cleanse, spiritual exploration through nature, writing and yoga and ends with the drinking of the tea, which is when things start to get real interesting.

It’ll make you puke your guts out (but that’s a good thing).
Ayahuasca will definitely make you uncomfortable, maybe extremely so, but that’s the point. It’s exactly why you’re doing it: to uncover some of what you’ve suppressed most deeply. Though drinking the tea itself may appear similar to swallowing your own vomit or eating funky mushrooms, it will purge your inner turmoil and bring to the surface some experiences you wouldn’t like having on your own.

Many artists, especially painters, use this colorful experience in their work, but the effects of the medicine can last a lifetime for anyone who partakes. It may sound a little culty, but this ancient tradition is designed for healing the soul and reaching the divine, and anyone who has done it (and talked about it) considers it necessary to the human experience.

It can hit you quick and last a long time.
Ayahuasca tea is sort of the long form of a DMT experience. Smoking DMT by itself is a short and intense experience of only a few minutes. Drinking the tea, however, allows for a longer, deeper exploration of the mind. This power plant serum takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to kick in, but it’s different for everyone. And it can last up to eight hours, perhaps more. Whereas DMT is a shortened version (only a few minutes), Ayahuasca is more lengthy, giving you time to purge your fears, discuss your experiences with your leader and work toward some kind of change.

Ayahuasca and What You Don't Know About It
You’ll need a certified shaman to get the full effect.
Surely anyone can figure out how to make the medicine on their own, but the experience itself is a weighty one, fraught with dehydration, negative energy and unforeseeable circumstance. This is why you need a certified shaman you trust to guide you through the experience. Ayahuasca opens up realms of possibility in the mind, which can be full of difficult pictures to interpret, but having an experienced, knowledgeable person you trust nearby can help decipher some of the messages and make the experience more profound in a lasting way. That, and you probably won’t know what the hell is going on the first time through, so you’ll want a guide who knows their way through the thicket.

Podcasters Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus, among many individuals who have experienced Ayahuasca, dedicate large portions of their podcasts to discussing their experiences on a regular basis with one another and their guests, which can be very helpful if you’re truly interested in this practice and have questions.

Ayahuasca and What You Don't Know About It
It could very well change your life in a major way.
Most anyone who does it claims it has bettered their lives. Though the psychedelic experience itself can be intense, the lasting effects include, but are not limited to, a broadened perspective, a more connected way of living and a clearer picture of where your path lies. It is meant to put you in touch with yourself, with others and with nature, which has become more essential as technology quickly becomes the thing binding us together. But even business savvy people have experienced it and found it a remarkably profound tool in their work life, too.

Though people may seem more evolved and connected, they’re actually becoming devolved and more connected with a device (their phone, tablet, computer), which ironically shuts them off from what is going on in front of them. Ayahuasca helps to anchor a person in the present, teach them a better way of living, with removal of the ego, a state not easily attainable through a good Wi-Fi connection.

It has anti-depressant qualities, among other things.
Though it appears as a simple meditative practice, Ayahuasca has been known to have transformative effects for people who suffer on constant basis. The irony is that the medicine can take a person through an intense field of suffering, but on the other side exists a sense of peace. It is said that veterans who suffer from PTSD have found the effects of Ayahuasca helpful. In addition to not being addictive, it may increase serotonin receptors and help one find inner wellness.

Ayahuasca and What You Don't Know About It
It might be the most lucid experience you ever have.
Ayahuasca may provide what some consider to be a beautiful experience. Aside from the bright lights, intense colors and upward exhilaration, many claim they’ve traveled to different dimensions, while remaining completely lucid. Users tend to not feel stoned, but rather feel like themselves walking through another doorway. People have seen people they want to see in their visions, experienced wisdom on a whole new level, full of new and desired information and brought those experiences back with them once the psychedelics have worn off.

Skeptics are welcome to their interpretations, but those who’ve experienced it themselves are convinced.