Ayahuasca is obviously famous for its powerful psychotropic effects. The visions it provokes are often compared to shamanic visions or mystical experiences. This is the main reason why Westerners are turning to this medicine. However, the effects of Ayahuasca are as much physical, psychological, emotional, as they are energetic.For example, many Amazonian tribes use the ayahuasca liana primarily for their cleaning properties like *kambo, in order to get rid of pests, diseases of the body, as well as diseases of the mind. . Even today some communities, especially in Brazil, have the custom of resorting collectively to a purge of Ayahuasca. More commonly, the house of spirits that serves as a place for Ayahuasca (*maloca) ceremonies is also a place where we come to collectively heal, even if the approach today is often individual. In this regard we would like to remind you that it is not obligatory to drink Ayahuasca for treatment. Traditional Amazonian medicine is a medicinal science that brings together hundreds of other plants including Ayahuasca.
* What is Kambo ?
* What is a Maloca ?
A hint of controversy
Apart from Ayahuasca being perceived as a tool for introspection and awakening, it must be emphasized that the visionary dimension of this medicine was traditionally the tool of diagnosis and care of the healer. Nowadays, it is often the main element that motivates Westerners to come to Ayahuasca retreats. Without condemning this approach, however, we must at least point out some current drifts. Indeed, Western practitioners tend to break free of tradition and offer a jumble of holistic practices around an Ayahuasca retreat, reducing this medicine to the new marketing product “trend”. One must remember that Ayahuasca is the heritage of the indigenous communities of Amazonia. Using Ayahuasca in this way demonstrates pure and simple appropriation, but above all ignorance of its real therapeutic potential.
Main Effect of Ayahasca
Drinking Ayahuasca causes a state of “modified” consciousness, a sort of meeting between the conscious and the unconscious that can bring the hewho consumes it to a state of dialectical lucidity. This visionary phenomenon makes it possible to be both the examiner and the examinee, and highlights the root of the conflicts that affect the individual. According to Dr. Riba’s neuroscience experiments (see below), Ayahuasca acts on emotional footprints by reactivating our old memories while keeping our conscious part awake. As the brain automatically links new experiences to old ones, the patient creates new connections in the brain to heal repetitive, harmful and limiting patterns. Sometimes, however, you feel lost, confused or panicked. These states are often unavoidable and represent our resistance to the phenomenon. This kind of resistance frequently causes most of the time a feeling of nausea very often followed by vomiting. Vomiting is also a symbolic act in which evil energies are expelled from oneself.
... I felt a kind of discomfort, I could not hold still on my mattress. While I struggled to keep my concentration, the effects became stronger and stronger, I began to sweat, my breathing was more and more difficult. I finally grabbed my bucket and started throwing up. I saw fluttering, black bugs coming out of my mouth. Then I slumped on my mattress. I was exhausted but strangely serene. A feeling of well-being was running through my body ...— Testimony of a patient having drunk Ayahuasca
The hours following the ceremony are often times when one feels good and calm. Coincidence or not, Ayahuasca is an excellent anti-depressant (see chapter on the Ayahuasca Chemistry). This is also why it is very appreciated in the treatment of addictions, depressions and traumas. This feeling of well- being and liberation allows to accompany the patient in his process of care, an initial step to any subsequent work. The Ayahuasca ceremonies are a first approach that enables one to see the benefits of intense work, as in the context of a Diet of Master Plants.
Neurological effects :
Ayahuasca obviously activates the visual cortex. However other areas of the brain are also activated. According to Dr. Riba’s research, Ayahuasca activates the neo-cortex, the seat of perception, reason and decision-making ability. It also activates the amygdala, a region of the medial temporal lobe that contains all our old emotional memories including traumatic events, mourning,… The insular cortex is also activated. It is considered the link between our emotional impulses and our decision-making ability.
Physical effects and therapeutic use :
One can not speak of the effects of Ayahuasca without addressing its purgative properties. It is common at a Ayahuasca ceremony that the patient has nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, … This “cleaning” step is quite natural and happens in some communities for the most important phase of the process of healing. Note that purging is very often necessary so that the patient can have visions. Consumption of Ayahuasca may also be accompanied by physical pain other than nausea, such as stomach upset, headache, burning and heaviness on the skin, chills, sudden back pain or any other kind of pain in other parts of the body. These lasts one are often caused by “ghost” pains, residual energies from traumas, buried emotions, … They can also be the result of poor monitoring of the “diet” preceding the consumption of Ayahuasca. (See the contraindications related to the consumption of Ayahuasca).
Ayahuasca is also a potent anti-parasite that works on the digestive system and the urinary system. It also helps to rid the body of microbial organisms such as E. Coli, Salmonella, and yeast. Besides, Ayahuasca also contains many active ingredients, including DMT.
It turns out that DMT could play a major role in the treatment of many degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, bipolar disorders, atherosclerosis, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disorders as indicated in the following scientific article: The Therapeutic Potentials of Ayahuasca: Possible Effects against Various Diseases of Civilization.
Finally, Ayahuasca also has anti-carcinogenic properties. It stimulates the production of white blood cells promoting the destruction of cancer cells, stops the spread of cancer, and prevents the use of cancer cells (warburg effect). For more information, please refer to the following article : Ayahuasca and cancer treatment.
Energetical and emotional effects:
Ayahuasca has the property of harmonizing the energies by undoing the “knots” that could be present. The liberated energies then re-circulate in a more harmonious way. During this process of liberation, the buried emotions resurface. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. This is the case when a lot of emotional material is released at the same time. The direct consequence of this energy rebalancing is that one feels more “centered”, more energetically stable, able to look at what surrounds us with a new and more contemplative eye.
According to an article in Journal of Psychopharmacology, Ayahuasca activates the frontal and paralymbic regions of the brain, while inhibiting the passive mode “default mode network” that is supposed to manage self-awareness through introspection and autobiographical memories. This mode of functioning seems absent in regular Ayahuasca consumers who, on the other hand, tend to cultivate a form of mindfulness based on the feeling and the experience of feelings. Amanda Feilding, a British researcher who has worked with Dr. Jordi Riba, says that Ayahuasca acts on the mind and helps to free oneself from the grip of the ego. One study correlates this fact, demonstrating that the regular consumption of Ayahuasca could be likened to the practice of meditation, having the effect of detaching from one’s thoughts and emotions. It has also been shown that ayahuasca promotes neurogenesis (neuron production) as well as neuroplasticity (ability to modify the synaptic network), causing changes in communication between neural circuits carrying inappropriate addictive habits. Thus Ayahuasca stimulates the production of new neural circuits and facilitates a neurological rewiring of the brain’s reward pathways, as a sort of “reboot”. For more information please refer to the following scientific article: The Therapeutic Potentials of Ayahuasca: Possible Effects against Various Diseases of Civilization
Effects of Ayahuasca on spirituality
It is quite common that after a stay in a Ayahuasca center, one feels the need to live more intensely one’s spirituality. Ayahuasca medicine helps us to reconnect with ourselves, through the work of self-acceptance, of letting go, and by the revelations that visions induce. It allows us to renew the dialogue with our soul. Be careful not to lose your footing. It is common for patients to think of themselves as the new prophet and to make a “*messiah complex“.