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Ayahuasca: A Beginner’s Guide

What Is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca (a Quechua term meaning “Vine of the Souls”) is a drink brewed from the leaves of the Psychotria Viridis shrub combined with the stalks of the Banisteriopsis Caapi vine.

It is believed the ayahuasca brew has been utilized by ancient Amazonian tribes for spiritual and religious ceremonies since ancient times. In modern times, ayahuasca has become known world-wide as a tool for:

  • Expanding one’s mind

  • Healing past traumas

  • Treating addiction

  • Healing anxiety and depression

  • Exploring the subconscious realm

How It Works

The Psychotria Viridis plant naturally contains N,N-dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT. On its own, you wouldn’t feel the hallucinogenic properties of this plant because your liver and gastrointestinal tract contain an enzyme called monoamine oxidases (MA

Os) that rapidly break down DMT. The second ingredient in ayahuasca, Banisteriopsis Caapi, allows the DMT to take effect by providing a monoamine oxidases inhibitor called β-carbolines, which also causes it’s own psychoactive effects.

When combined into ayahuasca, these plants create an incredibly powerful psychedelic drink that affects your nervous system, enabling an altered state of consciousness that often includes out-of-body experiences, hallucinations and feelings of euphoria.

The Ceremony and What to Expect

Ayahuasca is NEVER something that should be done alone, or without supervision. This is why it is very important to have an experienced shaman who can guide you through your journey and provide guidance and supervision.

The ayahuasca ceremony traditionally takes place during the night. After the shaman has blessed the space, the brew is offered and often split into a few doses. The effects of ayahuasca often emerge between a half hour and 60 minutes. An ayahuasca trip can last anywhere between 3 – 12 hours.

Your shaman will continuously monitor your experience to ensure your safety and help guide you on your journey.

Ayahuasca and Your Brain

Recent medical studies into ayahuasca have shown that it can benefit your brain health in numerous ways. The active ingredients in ayahuasca exhibit neuroprotective and neurorestorative qualities that can block neurodegeneration and improve production of antioxidant compounds that benefit brain cells. Studies have also shown ayahuasca to have anti-inflammatory and memory-boosting effects.

Psychological Well-Being – A Treatment for Addiction, Anxiety, Depression & PTSD

Ayahuasca can greatly improve mindfulness, mood and emotional regulation. Most impressively, research has found these positive effects can last for weeks or even months following consumption.

Ayahuasca has been the focus of many medical research studies and they’ve continuously shown that ayahuasca can be a powerful treatment tool in managing stress, anxiety, addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. People managing mental illness have been found to have experienced a significant boost in mindfulness, empowerment, hopefulness and overall quality of life several months after taking ayahuasca.

We hope this blog post has helped you learn more about ayahuasca and its powerful benefits. If you have any questions for Inner Circle about the ayahuasca ceremony, or our beautiful accommodations on Airbnb, please contact us today!


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