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What is Ayahuasca?

Author: Calvenn

Ayahuasca, or Banisteriopsis caapi, is a vine of the jungle, which grows in the entire Amazonia, from Columbia to Peru, Bolivia, Brasil and Guyana. It is known to and respected by all indigenous peoples as a healing plant or master “teacher plant” and represents the basis of their traditional medicines.

Ayahuasca is boiled together with the leaves of a shrub called “Chacruna,” or Psychotria viridis, giving a brew or sacred drink of psychoactive character that is consumed in a ritual ceremony leading to reflection and cleansing. This brew, named also Ayahuasca, has been used for more than 5,000 years by the shamans of the Amazon as a way to reach amplified states of consciousness.

The psychoactive effects of Ayahuasca can be attributed to Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a substance that is produced by our own body and is responsible for our nocturnal dreams. According to the healers Chacruna is in charge of “painting the visions” whereas the Ayahuasca plant is the one teaching beyond those visions.

The term Ayahuasca is derived from the Quechua words “aya” meaning soul or spirit and “huasca” meaning rope or vine. This is translated as the cord of the dead or the vine of the soul and is considered to be a drink used by the initiated ones to communicate with the world of the spirits. This brew is considered to be the foundation of the magical-spiritual connection of more than 75 ethnic groups of the Upper and Lower Amazonia.

In the tradition of the Shipibo shamans of the Amazon jungle, Ayahuasca is consumed, among other things, to diagnose and treat illnesses and malfunctions in general, to take important decisions, to ask the Gods for advice, to solve personal conflicts between families and between tribes, to communicate with the spirits of nature, to exercise one’s divine capacities and to elucidate mysteries, thefts, disappearances, to know if we have enemies, to know the infidelity of our spouse, to reinforce our sexual activity, etc.

A series of scientific investigations have been carried out in the last years, which have contributed some important conclusions. Based on these diverse investigations we can affirm the following about the physiological effect of Ayahuasca on the human body: the lack of any hepato-toxicity of this vegetable compound.

The consumption of Ayahuasca within a controlled context shows no side-effects, it is not addictive and it does not produce any withdrawal syndrome, that is to say that people do not show any symptom of abstinence when they stop consuming it.

As Josep Ma Fericgla, Spanish expert in therapies with entheogens, affirms "after thousands of years of its consumption in Amazonia there does not exist even a single record of undue use, of poisonings or accidents as a consequence of its use. There have not been cases of abuse or addiction to this substance, it is not poisonous, it does not generate dependency and there is not one case of crime associated with its consumption.”

Although it contains a psychoactive component, Ayahuasca cannot be considered and condemned as a classic drug of addictive and negative effects. On the contrary, we must ensure that its consumption never happens within a recreational or playful context. The norm of its use places it within a ritual controlled context of sacred, spiritual and therapeutic characteristics that lead us to a process of deep introspection revealing both agreeable and suppressed experiences, for which the use within a recreational, playful or compulsive context is inadmissible.

The vast majority of persons who consume it, indigenous settlers, shamans, healers, psychologists, therapists, drug-addicted patients, spiritual searchers, religious people and interested ones in general, do not consider this plant to be a drug, but a tool for introspection, meditation, therapy, inner cleansing, auto-exploration or a sacrament.
Ayahuasca Ceremonies: http://www.sacredvalleytribe.com

Author: Calvenn Starre - http://www.calvennstarre.com and http://www.empowernetwork.com/calvennstarre
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