What is Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca can reset you, something like going back to the factory settings of your Organic Self. Some have a single meeting with the plant or non at all, for others working with these Entheogen Creatures is a Life Path.

Ayahuasca is called the Vine of the Soul. The word comes from two Quechua words: aya (spirit, soul, ancestor) and huasca (vine, rope).

The original Medicine* is made from the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of the chacruna bush (Psychotria viridis). It’s the mixture of these two plants that gives the Ayahuasca brew its unique properties. It is not the vine which provides the visionary effects but the leaves of chacruna, which contain the visionary component dimethyltryptamine (mostly known as DMT). If chacruna was taken by itself, hardly anything would happen because the enzyme monoamine oxidase that is naturally in our stomachs would render its DMT content inert. However, the vine ayahuasca contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s). So when the two plants are cooked together they complement each other and the psychoactive compound results, which has an identical chemical make-up to the organic tryptamines in our body. The mix is therefore able to make its way to our brains, allowing a slow release of tryptamines into our bodies, often resulting in a powerful visionary experience.

People who subscribe to a linear, reductionist worldview will argue that the work of Ayahuasca is accomplished only by the DMT that causes its visionary effects. But it doesn’t aid our understanding to equate the brew in its totality with a summary of its constituent parts or single out just one of them (DMT) and then extrapolate from these in an attempt to explain its effects. Something important gets lost, which is the Spirit or personality of the plants – just like the lifetime and actions of a man cannot be explained by reference to the chemicals in his blood or size of his brain. Besides, experiments with pure DMT do not produce the same results as an Ayahuasca ceremony. If you have participated in a ceremony you will have experienced that there is more to Ayahuasca than that. 

Ayahuasca is sometimes called La Purga (the purge) as it has a reputation for causing vomiting. This purging is regarded as beneficial, because when you purge the spirit of Ayahuasca is conducting a healing, releasing you from heavy stuff. Purging in a ceremony often feels as a huge relief (a different experience from simply throwing up). Other ways of purging are sweating, crying, shitting (the medicine can make you run for the toilet!) and even spontaneously bleeding for women. The literal translation of ‘purging’ in Dutch is ‘zuiveren’. 

Apart from purging and cleaning, Ayahuasca has several ways in which information comes to you. It may come through visions, heightened imagination, feelings, messages or in a kinaesthetic fashion.

Ayahuasca can heal many bodily diseases (often in conjunction with other healing plants), healings which go beyond the abilities of modern Western medicine and its reliance on intrusive treatments and often damaging drugs. Even more remarkable than healing the body, Ayahuasca expands the mind and raises consciousness, releases stuck or damaging emotions and connects us deeper with spirit. By showing us our true power and potential, it enables us to see through illusions and explore the real nature of our universe so we discover our purpose on earth.

In Shamanic cultures Ayahuasca is known as an Ally, a helpful spirit which confers power and passes on information and insights. In the past few decades this simple Amazon vine spread from the remote deep jungles where it grows to destinations worldwide. In our Western world Ayahuasca is now known as an entheogen, a natural substance which reveals the God within, which can put us back in touch with our souls and lead us to new understandings and potential. 

We must be careful about over-claiming the undoubtedly remarkable qualities of the plant. Amazing cures and spiritual illumination are certainly possible from working seriously with it. However, this normally requires more than one ceremony, but rather a rigorous healing process of which Ayahuasca is only one of the ingredients. 

Legal status of Ayahuasca
In Peru, Ayahuasca is not only fully legal but even declared a National Treasure in 2008, making its use exempt from prosecution. Unfortunately this is not so for many other countries.

Internationally, DMT (the visionary component in the brew) is a Class A/Schedule 1 drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. But the plants themselves, containing DMT are not subject to international control by the Vienna Convention, only the principle DMT (as well as mescaline and psilocybin other mind-altering plants and mushrooms). 

Considering that DMT occurs naturally in most plants and animals on earth, including human beings, even by making a cup of herbal tea for your friend, you might officially be charged with supplying a DMT-containing substance, and traveling as a pregnant woman between countries is actually ‘trafficking’ since the babies brain also contains DMT. 

Ayahuasca in The Netherlands
For a long time, there seemed to be a toleration policy in The Netherlands: different organizations openly advertised their ceremonies and websites show Ayahuasca in their domain-name without having problems. But… not anymore. Ayahuasca is officially a Schedule 1 drug, prohibited under the Dutch law.

The way we see it, Ayahuasca is a healing plant, not a synthetic drug that might lead to addiction. Shamanic traditions of many cultures have long used plants like Ayahuasca as a means of moving outside of ordinary consciousness and into non-ordinary reality where spiritual communion and healing can take place. Just about as far as you can get from drug abuse! Laboratory tests even show that it is completely non-addictive and in fact, it can cure addiction! But unfortunately, the law is not up to us.

Having said this, we like to mention that although Ayahuasca itself is absolutely non-addictive, Ayahuasca can be over-done. Especially people with an addictive nature tend to swap one thing for the other, and after first healing their drug addiction they might find a new escape in the non-ordinary world of Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca will do them no harm, but this frequent use won’t do them much good either. As soon as one insight arises, before they even have time to work with it, they are back in ceremony awaiting a new one. And a new one. This is not the way to actually ‘move on’ in your life. 

We cannot stress the importance of a good integration time after the ceremonies. Read Ayahuasca Integration for more information about integrating and embodying the Ayahuasca experiences. Find more information about the possibility of integration sessions here.

*) Nowadays there are several brews made from ayahuasca with other plants that contain DMT (for instance mimosa or acacia) or even two other plants altogether, the brew still being called ‘Ayahuasca’ (or sometimes ‘Anahuasca’: analogue to Ayahuasca). 

Where to drink

If you cannot or don’t want to travel to the Amazon to drink Ayahuasca, there are nowadays many possibilities to drink Ayahuasca in all shapes and forms in Europe, there are plenty of options. You can go to an Ayahuasca church (Santo Daime or UDV), you can drink in a very therapeutic setting where they play New Age music and cuddle you through the whole ceremony or you can join an indigenous shaman(ka) visiting the country and everything in between. It is difficult to define in general what a good ceremony is or what makes it authentic or medicinal. So… where to drink and with whom? 
There are a few important guidelines for a good ceremony:

First of all you want to feel safe with the one guiding the ceremony. If you compare Ayahuasca with a car (I am sorry for this ordinary comparison) you can imagine that it makes all the difference who is gonna drive that car, whether you feel save or not and whether you are going to reach at your destination.
Translated to the Ayahuasca ceremonies, the one who guides the ceremony makes all the difference. The skillful the facilitator can work with the spirit energies and the energies of the participants who are entering the spirit world, while protecting the healing space, is essential for a safe and effective ceremony.

It is good to know that the mastery of working with Ayahuasca is an ambiguous skill, as the power gained from its use could be used to heal or to kill. In many indigenous tribes ‘shamans’ or sorcerers drink the brew to send virotes (magical darts of negative energy) at their rivals or enemies, that make them ill or block their healing energy. 

Until the moment that I faced my own confrontation with these practices, I didn’t even believe in such things. Now I know better. I understand that there cannot be Light without Dark. The Universe itself only seeks balance. – Yama

Someone once explained to me once that Ayahuasca is like a virtaliser, enhancing what is already inside. Some of the practices may ultimately be more magical than spiritual. Spiritualare those who have dedicated themselves to be of Service in the world and whose daily lives reflect their healing intentions. Their integrity can be measured by tangible results, their positive impact on other people and in the world around them, not only by the ideals they are preaching. They walk their talk and practice what they preach. 

A very important ingredient for me is that the ceremony is guided with icaros, the Sacred Plant Songs or energetic forces charged with positive healing intent, which direct the ceremony and the visions that may arise. It is the vibrations of the icaros that connect you to the plants and other spirits and summon the healing energies. A good shaman guides the whole process with the energy of the icaros and is able to transmit their energetic healing forces to you.

It’s not the actual words that heal but the vibrations they carry and the insights that arise from this, which allow inner feelings to unblock so that bitterness and anger can change to ecstasy and love. You can imagine that this is a very different experience than ceremonies where they press play and you hear for instance recorded New Age music – although this is what some people might prefer. 

Live music
Although there are many ceremonies in Western countries that are being guided by music on electronic devices, personally I can only be in ceremonies with live music. Above all, it is about the vibrations. The healing or re-balancing is achieved through the vibrational effect that the songs and music produce in the energetic field that has been amplified and rendered extraordinarily sensitive after the taking of the plants. The difference between a live vibration and a CD player seems obvious. Unfortunately there are now plenty of people who taught themselves a couple of good tunes and guide ayahuasca ceremonies with their live singing, but they didn’t learn the healing gifts to hold space of the processes.

The Ayahuasca brew
The original Ayahuasca Medicine is made from the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis). Nowadays there are many people who make a brew from ayahuasca with other plants that contain DMT (for instance mimosa or acacia) or even two other plants altogether with similar effects, still calling it ‘Ayahuasca’ (because ‘Ayahuasca’ sells!). This is called ‘Anahuasca’ (analogue to Ayahuasca). Me, I’m so connected with ayahuasca and chacruna, that I absolutely prefer working this brew. There are also people (shamans as well as Westerners) adding all kinds of – potentially dangerous- other plants to the mixture to create certain special effects. Some of these added plants (like the poisonous Toé, also known as Datura or Brugmansia, notorious for its strong deliriant effects) can – in large quantities – cause even blindness and death.

Our general advice is: find out what you are drinking and with whomask around for references and decide if it is the right place for you.

Though we have strong preferences for ourselves, we also appreciate the different paths and approaches (when they are done responsibly) and believe that each unique offering brings something different to the spectrum of healing that is deeply needed on this planet right now.

Ceremony Preparations 

  • Mindset
  • Intention 
  • Ayahuasca diet
  • Further preparations
  • Precautions and contra-indications 
  • Inform yourself 
Ayahuasca can introduce you to a new Universe of possibilities, offering you the chance to heal by changing your mind and allow you to draw from new potential. 

Much of what you find on the internet about Ayahuasca is only talking about the beautiful visions and incredible life changes that she can provoke. But working with Ayahuasca is not only having ecstatic experiences and there is no guarantee that you will be instantly launched into bliss when drinking the Plant. She will show you whatever you need to see, for your personal process. You have to be ready to take whatever comes and fully surrender to it, wherever she takes you. 

If she takes you to heaven, let’s go to heaven. If she takes you to hell, let’s go to hell.
Are you ready to surrender? 

So before taking Ayahuasca you should ask yourself: Why…? Ayahuasca is not a ‘recreational drug’. It is Sacred Medicine, capable of facilitating deep healing and a profound shift in consciousness if you approach it with clear intention and treat it with respect. Unless you are willing to accept whatever you see and experience during a ceremony, you should re-consider why you would put something into your being that might shake the foundations of your reality.

This being said, there is no such thing as a ‘bad trip’ with Ayahuasca. The Plant is there to teach and to heal, and as part of that process she may show you things that you have repressed and would prefer not to see. But they are not visions which the plant imposes on you from elsewhere, these things are already in you. The point of showing them to you is so that they can be known, brought to consciousness and dealt with and their energy released since, hidden or not, they are driving you in ways you cannot control. It’s only after you become aware of them that you can exercise free will over your destiny. A way of avoiding getting stuck with a part of your unconscious that you are not ready to see is to set an intention for your journey. 

All journeys are healing adventures and a cause for celebration when you get rid of the past and reconnect with the true nature of the world and yourself. This is why preparation is so important and why you should approach the ceremony respectfully and with awareness. 

It has been said that once you decide to journey, you have begun your journey. Be clear about your intention for participating in the ceremony, without being too specific about any particular outcome. You will be working with a most intelligent medicine and your intention may help in getting the most out of your ceremony. Be open for any experience, which could be surprising or different than what you had anticipated. It is not about getting what you want or hope for, it’s about trusting that you’ll be given nourishing food for awakening, in whatever shape or form.

Shamanic work is never recreational, it is purposeful. It is not about getting ‘high’ but about getting answers. Intentions can provide a framework for your journey, by giving it direction and purpose. If you go into your journey without a clear intention you might be plunged into chaos, with fast moving images that make no sense and leave you overwhelmed and confused. Knowing the reason for your journey means that everything you see or feel relates to something definite: the issue at hand. However, once your journey begins, you might not be able to clearly remember your intentions as the Plants begin to lead you on your journey. No need to worry or try to fight your experience if you feel ‘loss of self’ since by now the Spirits are aware of your purpose and you don’t have to continually refer to it once they have been informed. 

In shamanic terms, Intention alerts the plant spirits to your purpose so they are aware of the reason for your visit. 

There might be Aha! moments during your journey, but it is after you return that the real work starts. Decoding the symbols and interpreting the information you have been given, within the framework of the intentions that you set for yourself. 

This afterwork can take days or even weeks, months. See Ayahuasca integration for more information about this. 

Ayahuasca Diet
Prior to the drinking of Ayahuasca there is a preparing diet that you need to follow, to keep you safe. It‘s role is to minimise the likelihood that you will endure physical harm while participating in Ayahuasca Ceremonies. For further information read more about the Ayahuasca Diet on this page. There  you can find more precise practical advise about which foods are safe or not safe in conjunction with ayahuasca or simply not desirable for ceremony, so as to have a deeper and more pleasant experience. 

We have to abstain from our earthly senses in order to open up to our higher senses.

The reason of this preparation is to avoid things in your body that could interfere with your experience and to purify yourself before the ceremony to get a good experience. A clean body makes your experience easier and allows the plant medicine to work deeper and lift you higher. Furthermore, the plant medicine help you to clean and to heal on all levels, starting with the body. The ‘cleaner’ your body and mind are at the start of ceremony, the less the medicine has to work on that level. So that when the medicine makes you purge, it will be the cleansing and letting go of all the old things that don’t serve you anymore and not because of a bad reaction of the medicine in your ‘dirty’ body that simply makes you sick. One of the maestros put it this way:

If you invite your Mother to your house, you don’t invite her in a big mess.
You show respect by cleaning up and then invite her in your temple
. – Don José

Spiritual benefits of the diet
Dieting and making some sacrifices also serves as an expression of determination and dedication to your spiritual, emotional and physical transformation, which can support you to integrate and sustain the healing you receive through the Sacred Plants. While the outward expression of the diet is often talked about in terms of food restrictions and sexual abstinence, the diet goes much deeper than the physical aspects. For more information about the spiritual benefits of dieting, read ‘A Master Plant Dieta is not the same as an Ayahuasca Diet’.

Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, the people you hang out with and the things you subject your mind and soul too. Always be mindful of the things you put into your body, physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Further preparations
The general rule with plant work is: the purer the body and spirit, the more powerful the experience of the Medicine and its teachings.

Prepare yourself by moving into silent sitting meditation, which is an important way to strengthen the Watcher in yourself. This helps you to stay centered during the intensity of the ceremonies.

Doing yoga helps you to stay fit and flexible and to move the energies in your body.

By avoiding certain activities and thoughts you create space for the plants to metaphorically grow inside of you, so you can benefit from their wisdom and healing power.

Calm your Mind
You want to be as clean and light as possible before staring the ceremony. So avoid upsetting input such as arguments, stressful-, violent- or disturbing- situations, -events, -places, -movies, -books, etc. Do not watch tv or read the news.

No sex
It is advised to have no sex at least three days before, during and two weeks after the ceremonies, since sexual activity can be a distraction from the energy work you are doing and during orgasm you easily give away the powerful energy that is building within you during this process, which would be a pity. In case both partners are involved in the ceremonies, (conscious) sex is fine, as long as you are aware of not leaking your energy. During the traditional Master Plant Dietas there is often a strict prohibition on sexual activity for this reason. For more information about the Master Plant Dietas, read ‘A Master Plant Dieta is not the same as an Ayahuasca Diet’.

Thought restrictions
Thoughts have a very important role in the process. Negative thoughts and certain fantasies are a demonstration of the lack of determination. Prevent yourself from:

  • Thinking negatively and complaining about the diet
  • Doubting or losing faith in the process and/or the facilitator
  • Fantasising about favourite foods or sex
Dreaming and fantasising about the things you are sacrificing for this transformation process is not only considered rude to the plant, but it also makes your diet harder for yourself!

Precautions and contra-indications 

Prescription medicines
You have to be aware that ayahuasca can have adverse interactions with various prescription medicines, particularly some medications used to treat depression and psychiatric disorders, especially anti-depressants and SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). Most shamans and conductors of ceremonies aren’t pharmacists that know how the drugs you are taking combine with the use of ayahuasca on a chemical level. So the general advice is to take responsibility for yourself and consult your doctor for a professional opinion if you take some sort of medication. Some medicines require a period of six weeks or more to clear the system and should be reduced gradually and under medical guidance. Also if you are take antibiotics or other medical treatments. There might be no problem but it’s best to check.

Non-prescription medicines
Non-prescription medicines such as antihistamines, dietary aids, amphetamines and even some herbal remedies (e.g. those containing ephedrine, high levels of caffeine or other stimulants) should be discontinued for at least a week prior to and following the drinking of ayahuasca.

Recreational drugs
Avoid all chemically-based recreational drugs for several weeks before and after you join an ayahuasca ceremony, and other medicinal plants like marihuana for a period of at least two weeks. 

Medical conditions
Ayahuasca and the diet that comes with it are not always the ideal combination with certain medical conditions, e.g. diabetes and some stomach, colon, heart or mental health problems. So again, always check with your specialist. If you decide to work with the vine, you must take your own responsibility including that of your safety.

This being said, know that there are very few accidents with ayahuasca, while many people die from prescription drug overdose!

Inform yourself
Ask around for references about the place and people where you will be drinking and decide if it is the right place for you.

Find out what you are drinking and with whom, ask around for references and decide if it is the right place for you. Prepare well, make sure you are not eating any food that is contra-indicated and inform yourself about any medical conditions and medications that might apply to yourself.

Ayahuasca Diet

  • Ayahuasca diet
  • Foods to be avoided
  • Tyramine rich foods 
  • Warming about pharmaceuticals
  • Good foods
  • Post diet

The Ayahuasca Diet is developed to prepare you for your participation in the ceremonies, based on scientific evidence that this is essential for your wellbeing. 

Some precautions are associated with safety concerns and others are strongly recommended for having a more pleasant ceremony. Following these restrictions leads to a deeper experience with the medicine.

Foods to be avoided
Salt, sugar, oils, garlic, chilli, spices, dairy, heavy meats (such as pork and red meat), caffeine, alcohol, aged/preserved foods and refined/processed foods.

By not being overwhelmed with flavoured food, you can more finely sense the plant. Furthermore, some of these foods (like sugar, heavy meat, caffeine) might cause headache or stomach ache, may decrease the vividness of your journey or block your energy. Other foods can potentially react very badly with Ayahuasca. A serious health concern is the tyramine in some foods which interacts with the MAO inhibitors in the medicine. 

Tyramine rich foods
Foods that contain tyramine in large quantities are aged cheeses (such as parmesan, blue cheese and cheddar), soy products (especially fermented), broad beans (tuinbonen), sauerkraut, marmite, tap beer, spoiled / improperly stored meat, fish, poultry, liver, dried/fermented meat, pickled haring. This list was first published in 2012 by Dr. David Flockhart for when one is prescribed SSRIs or any MAOI.

Warming about pharmaceuticals
Beware that the most dangerous thing to mix with Ayahuasca would be pharmaceuticals – some of these could be dangerous with Ayahuasca, especially anti-depressants and SSRI’s(selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) which could potentially cause something called Serotonin syndrome. On a physical level Ayahuasca inhibits the action of the enzyme ‘monoamine oxidase’ (MAO) in the body. While MAO is inhibited, compounds that the enzyme would normally break down could accumulate in the body to toxic levels. That is why it is advised to avoid taking Ayahuasca alongside foods that contain ‘tyramine’ (an amino acid) which stimulates the release of ‘norepinephrine’ in the blood. If norepinephrine gets too high it can cause headaches, constriction of blood vessels, severe hypertension and in rare cases even heart failure or a fatal stroke. 

Read more about the precautions and contra-indications concerning prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines, recreational drugs and medical conditions in Ayahuasca Preparations. 

Good foods
Good foods include fresh legumes, fresh veggies, fresh fruits (you better avoid dried fruits because they are very sugary), boiled or steamed potato, sweet potato, (also cassava and green plantains if you can find it), pumpkin, corn, popcorn (without salt or sugar!), lentils, chickpeas, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, spelt, spaghetti, oat or rice porridge, chia seeds, linseed, rice or mais crackers without salt, spelt bread, eggs. Also free range chicken breast and fresh water fish are theoretically okay in your diet.

To add a little flavour you can use cilantrobasil, oregano, ginger, fresh lemon/lime juice (stay away from vinegar and soy sauce, salt, pepper and strong spices like cumin, chilli etc.). A little coconut oil is okay for cooking (for instance to make sautéed vegetables: shortly fry and then add some water). If you really need you can eat some nuts and seeds on the side, but not too many. Try to eat organic. The general rule with plant work is: the purer the body and spirit, the more powerful the experience of the Medicine and its teachings, and the diet will certainly help. 

  • Broccoli supports the liver’s detoxification 
  • Artichokes improve the digestion of fats
  • Beets help regenerate liver cells, improve fat metabolism and eliminate heavy metals from the body. 
  • Vitamine C is antioxidant and helps to reduce some possible side-effects of a detox such as headache or nausea (know that vitamin supplements and herbal medicine should be discontinued a few days before the ceremony, so the body is as pure as possible). 
Imagine… a Buddha Bowl filled with a rich and tasty quinoa salad: boiled quinoa, steamed broccoli, cauliflower and green beans, fresh red sweet pepper (paprika), cherry tomatoes cut in half, the juicy red fruit of fresh pomegranate (a real taste enhancer!) and some dry roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or almonds with cilantro sprinkled on top… Or… a beautiful plate with a feast of wholegrain rice, boiled sweet potato, artichoke, steamed slices of beetroot and carrot, a salad with cucumber, tomato and radishes, sprinkled with little lemon juice and fresh basil… – Yama

Post Diet
It is strongly advised to do a Post Diet for at least two weeks to make it settle in your body and building strength to stick to the lessons you learned, embodying them and implementing them in your life. Slowly build up the foods you have been refraining from in opposite order as the preparing diet, not eating or drinking anything cold or frozen for a week, no sex or recreational drugs for at least two weeks. But the good thing is that all fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can be eaten again in all abundance!

Ayahuasca Integration

Ayahuasca can introduce you to a new Universe of possibilities, offering you the chance to heal by changing your mind and allow you to draw from new potential. But it needs to be understood and integrated to have a lasting effect.

What’s the aim of your work with Ayahuasca, if not to create change where you feel it’s needed – and who can create that change but YOU? 

Ayahuasca will not do the work for you. She may show the roots of your illness but if you choose to stay ill, it will not intervene against your will and ‘fix’ you anyway. She may also show you where your life is not working and where you are creating unhealthy relationships, patterns and outcomes, but if that is what you choose to continue it’s up to you.

The real ‘work’ comes after the ceremonies, in the doing that follows the enlightenment. It’s up to you. 

Journeys are taking place in a sort of dream state: very vivid at the moment, difficult to recall and vanishing after a while. Reflecting on your journey and voicing what you experienced inside among the people that shared the experience with you, can be a great help as a first step in processing and integrating the information that you received. So note down. Or draw, if you can’t find the words. 

Transition and reflection
After your journeys, always ensure you have some time, space and adequate surroundings to slowly settle in and have a good rest, so you can return gently to the world of your daily life.

In the days, weeks and even months after the flow of Ayahuasca may continue, still passing on information. Especially if you have a proper post-diet, transitioning slowly back into your ‘normal’ life while carefully embodying your life lessons. It helps to regularly take some quiet time for reflection, writing down (or drawing) your important yet transient thoughts and images so as not to forget. 

Integrating your journeys successfully is the key to allowing the results to affect your future selves positively. Do what you can to enabling your growth, creativity and meaningful revelations while doing the things that simply have to be done. To adapt a famous saying:

Before your journeys, chop wood and carry water.
After your journeys, chop wood and carry water.

Sacred plants can be life changing. But stepping back into the constantly moving track of ordinary life might be quite a challenge and it’s important to avoid feeling too lost or disappointed in the reality you get back into. The integration of your experiences and insights is essential to have a positive effect on the long term. Especially strong plants like Ayahuasca can shake your foundation and as such (temporarily) disrupt you. It is very important to embody all that is touched and opened. Sometimes it can be supportive to reflect on your situation with someone who understands.

Find more information about the possibility of integration sessions here.

When to drink again
Ayahuasca is a Medicine Plant and should be used when you have healing to do. If that healing is complete, at least for the moment, there is no need to revisit. It might be better to take time to process what you already learned and to integrate the energies that have been returned to you instead of confusing yourself by loading other experiences on top of it.

The point of this work is to heal, which means not only changing your thought patterns but consequently your habits and actions in the world so you get more useful outcomes. 


Due to the illegal status of Ayahuasca in much of the West, those who are willing to explore its potential have to realize that the religious, therapeutic or other use of Ayahuasca is NOT protected by covenants on religious freedom

It means that at all times you will carry your own personal responsibility when deciding to work with Ayahuasca. 


The intense process that Sacred Plants can initiate (and the strict diet that goes with it) is not feasible or advisable for everyone. For example, psychosensitivity is a strong contraindication, because ‘journeying’ with these plants opens up all kinds of information channels even more. In addition, some plants (like ayahuasca) can have dangerous interactions with certain medication, in particular pharmaceutical drugs that are used to treat heart complaints, depression and other psychiatric conditions – in particular antidepressants and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

Most shamans or facilitators Sacred Plants ceremonies are not doctors or pharmacists, who know how these drugs chemically combine with the use of Sacred Plants. So if you are considering working with these plants, it is my explicit advice is to consult a doctor about the condition that you have and/or the medication that you are taking. Some medicines must be reduced very gradually and under medical supervision and, after being phased out, require a further period of a few weeks to be truly out of the system. Only when you are ‘clean’ of this – and your mental condition and your mental condition allows it – can you safely take these plant medicines.


Vanwege de illegale status van Ayahuasca in een groot deel van het Westen, moeten diegenen die bereid zijn haar potentieel te verkennen zich realiseren dat religieus-, therapeutisch- of anderszins gebruik van Ayahuasca NIET wordt beschermd door het recht op religieuze vrijheid.

Het betekent dat u te allen tijde uw eigen persoonlijke verantwoordelijkheid draagt wanneer u besluit om met Ayahuasca te werken.


Het heftige proces dat deze plantmedicijnen op gang brengen (en het strenge dieet dat erbij hoort) is niet voor iedereen op elk moment haalbaar of aan te raden. Zo is bijvoorbeeld psychosegevoeligheid een sterke contra-indicatie, doordat het ‘reizen’ met deze planten allerlei informatiekanalen nog verder openzet. Verder kan met name ayahuascagevaarlijke interacties hebben met verschillende geneesmiddelen, in het bijzonder farmaceutische medicijnen die worden gebruikt voor de behandeling van hartklachten, depressies en andere psychiatrische aandoeningen – met name antidepressiva en SSRI’s (selectieve serotonine-heropnameremmers).

De meeste sjamanen en begeleiders van ceremonies zijn geen artsen of apothekers die weten hoe deze medicijnen op chemisch niveau combineren met het gebruik van ayahuasca. Dus mocht je erover denken om te gaan werken met deze planten, dan is mijn uitdrukkelijke advies om een arts te raadplegen over de aandoening die je hebt en/of de medicatie die je slikt. Sommige geneesmiddelen moeten zeer geleidelijk en onder medische begeleiding worden verminderd en hebben, na het afbouwen, nog een periode van enkele weken nodig om werkelijk uit het systeem te zijn. Pas als je hiervan ‘schoon’ bent, kun je deze plantmedicijnen veilig tot je nemen.