Ayahuasca trip is on the bucket list of many travelers. If you’re hearing it for the first time, Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew made from a native vine of the Amazon basin. It has been used as traditional by the indigenous tribes of the Amazon region for thousands of years. The mystical drug is now increasingly gaining popularity among tourists. Countries like Peru, Costa Rica, and Brazil have retreat centers where people get to experience taking Ayahuasca. Also Read – What is CBD oil and why it is increasingly gaining attention from researchers?

Many who have tried Ayahuasca claimed that it helps them reach a state of enlightenment. This may be hard to believe but there are many health benefits of Ayahuasca that have been proven scientifically. Also Read – PTSD: The most common myths busted for you

Some facts about Ayahuasca ceremonies

Ayahuasca is usually taken under the guidance of an experienced healer (a shaman or curandero). The shamans prepare the brew and monitor participants for safety during Ayahuasca ceremonies. The brew is made by boiling torn leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub and stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine in water, though other ingredients can be added too. It is boiled until a highly concentrated liquid is produced and once it cools down, the brew is strained to remove impurities. Also Read – Natural brain booster: Drink ginger tea to improve focus and concentration

Both Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis have hallucinogenic properties that can lead to an altered state of consciousness that lasts for many hours (4 to 8 hours). In order to participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony, you should abstain from cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sex, and caffeine to purify your body.

Participants are also recommended to follow vegetarian or vegan diets for 2–4 weeks prior to the experience to free the body of toxins.

Beware of the Ayahuasca symptoms

After consuming the brew, you can experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, feelings of euphoria, strong visual and auditory hallucinations, mind-altering psychedelic effects, fear, and paranoia.

Ayahuasca may affect people differently. While some may experience euphoria and a feeling of enlightenment, others may have severe anxiety and panic.

The shaman will be there to monitor the participants for safety throughout the Ayahuasca experience. Some retreats have medical staff to help the participants in case of emergencies.

Science-backed benefits of Ayahuasca

Many people who have had the Ayahuasca experience claim that the spiritual trip brought positive, long-term, life-altering changes. Several studies also support the benefits of Ayahuasca, particularly its effect on brain health.

Researchers say chemicals present in Ayahuasca can exhibit neuroprotective and neurorestorative qualities. For example, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic substance in Ayahuasca, can activate a protein that blocks neurodegeneration and protect brain cells from damage. Harimine, another compound in Ayahuasca, is said to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and memory-boosting effects.

Taking Ayahuasca has been found to help increase the brain’s mindfulness capacity and improve overall psychological well-being.

Some studies suggest that Ayahuasca may help treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, mood disorders, and addiction disorders.

Take note: These are results from clinical studies in which the preparation and dosing of Ayahuasca were carefully controlled.

Potential side effects and who should avoid it

Despite its many health benefits, many experts disapprove of this psychedelic brew as a remedy because of its negative effects. Consuming Ayahuasca can lead to serious side effects, and sometimes deadly. While vomiting, diarrhea, paranoia, and panic are considered normal and temporary, they can be extremely distressing for some people.

The brew can interact dangerously with antidepressants, psychiatric medications, drugs used to control Parkinson’s disease, cough medicines, and weight loss medications.

Taking Ayahuasca can worsen psychiatric symptoms in people who are struggling with psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. Those with a heart condition should also avoid this drink as it can increase their heart rate and blood pressure.

Several deaths have been reported after Ayahuasca consumption, but it is not clear whether the addition of other ingredients or dosing issues were behind them. No death has been reported in any clinical trial on Ayahuasca.

Published : September 9, 2020 9:46 pm | Updated:September 9, 2020 9:58 pm

Some facts about this popular psychoactive brew

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