Ayahuasca FAQ

Version: 1.01
Date: 02/10/99

Dmcd dmcd@nym.lycaeum.org
Andrew Dunn dunnat@lycaeum.org
Andrew Dunn, Dan McDonley, Runyan Wilde, Ringworm, Flip, Ignacio, Gemini, thelynx, and everyone on the Ayahuasca Mailing list.

1.1 Ayahuasca: a Definition
1.2 History
1.3 Legality
1.4 Dangers
1.5 Chemistry

2.1 Traditional Use
2.2 Modern Use
2.3 The Sacred Vs. The Profane
2.4 Set and Setting
2.5 The Purge
2.6 Reports of Use
2.7 Cultivation

3.1 Books
3.2 Journals
3.3 Commercial Sources
3.4 Internet
3.4.1 Websites
3.4.2 Newsgroups
3.4.3 Mailing lists
3.4.4 IRC

4.1 Organizations


1.1 Ayahuasca: a Definition
This brew, also called yage, or yaje, in Colombia, ayahuasca in Ecuador and Peru (Inca "vine of the dead, vine of the souls," aya means in Quechua "spirit," "ancestor," "dead person," while huasca means "vine," "rope") caapi in Brazil, is prepared from segments of the vine Banisteriopsis Caapi. Sections of vine are boiled with leaves from any of a large number of potential admixture plants resulting in a brew that contains the powerful hallucinogenic alkaloids harmaline, harmine, d-tetrahydroharmine, and often N,N-dimethyltryptamine. This medicine has been used for millennia in order to enter the sacred supernatural world, to heal, divine, and worship.

1.2 History
"Use of ayahuasca for visionary experiences appears to be primeval, to judge from the richness of associated mythology. Pre-Columbian rock drawings are similar to contemporary ayahuasqueros' paintings, which are said to represent yage visions (see page 127 of Plants of the Gods for a fine example of such a drawing on granite). However, the earliest known record of the practices associated with this botanical wasn't set down until the middle of the nineteenth century.

The author was Richard Spruce, a one time British schoolteacher, who was among the early explorers to make the perilous journey into the Amazon. Spruce almost died of dysentery and malaria but survived to become one of botany's greatest collectors. In 1851, while exploring the upper Rio Negro of the Brazilian Amazon, he observed the use of yage. He came upon it twice in Peru in 1853. In his Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and Andes, he described its sources, its preparation and its effects upon himself. Unfortunately, Spruce's experience was characterized mainly by his getting sick.

Spruce's Notes didn't appear in print until 1908. They were edited by Alfred Russel Wallace, who simultaneously with Darwin conceived the theory of evolution. Spruce suspected that additives were responsible for the psychoactivity of this beverage, although he noted that Banisteriopsis by itself was considered mentally active. The samples he sent to England for chemical analysis weren't located and assayed until more than a century later. They were still psychoactive when examined in 1966.

The first widely read description of yage practices was published in 1858 by Manuel Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian geographer. The experience made him feel he was "flying" to most marvelous places. Describing how natives responded, he reported that natives using this drink were able to foresee and answer accurately in difficult cases, be it to reply opportunely to ambassadors from other tribes in a question of war; to decipher plans of the enemy through the medium of this magic drink and take proper steps for attack and defense; to ascertain, when a relative is sick, what sorcerer has put on the hex; to carry out a friendly visit to other tribes; to welcome foreign travelers or, at least to make sure of the love of their womenfolk.

Several early explorers of northwestern South America--Martius, Crevaux, Orton, Koch-Grunberg and others--also referred to ayahuasca, yage and caapi. They all cited a forest liana but offered little detail. In the early twentieth century, it was learned that the use of Banisteriopsis vines for healing, initiatory and shamanic rites extended from Peru to Bolivia.

In 1923, a film of Indian yage ceremonies was shown at the annual meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Other noteworthy publications drawing attention to the effects of this drink came from Rusby and White, who observed yage practices in Bolivia in 1922, from the Russians Varnoff and Jezepezuk, who did Colombian fieldwork in 1925-1926, and from Morton, who in 1931 published Klug's southern Colombian notes about Banisteriopsis inebrians". Source: Chapter seven of the third edition of the Psychedelics Encyclopedia by Peter Stafford

1.3 Legality
The plants that are used to make Ayahuasca are legal. ; However, some of the compounds contained within are not. So while Ayahuasca is not a scheduled substance in the United States, the chemical N,N-dimethyltryptamine is a Schedule 1 substance as defined by the DEA. This means that N,N-dimethyltryptamine is a controlled substance and is illegal.

1.4 Dangers
The biggest physical danger in ingesting ayahuasca is related to the effects of an MAO Inhibitor found in the brew.

Tyramine is an amino acid which is normally metabolized by MAO in the gut. After taking certain Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors this MAO is inhibited and any dietary Tyramine will not be metabolized. This may cause an increase in tyramine levels in the blood. Because high blood levels of tyramine can effect naturally occurring norepinephrine, this condition could lead to a hypertensive crisis. In a hypertensive crisis, blood pressure may exceed 180 and the heart rate increases to well over 100 beats per minute. People who suffer hypertensive crisis typically report the most painful headache of their lives. A hypertensive crisis can lead to hemorrhagic stroke, myocardial infarction, rupture of a pre-existing aneurysm, and to death.

Tyramine is found in cheese, wines, and generally, anything aged or fermented. Also, Symptathomimetic drugs (MDMA, amphetamines, OTC cold meds like ephedrine, dextromethorphan, etc) can cause a hypertensive crisis. Lastly certain natural herbs can have reactions, Ephedra sp. and maybe even St Johns wort.

Foods High in Tyramine (to be avoided) :
All aged/mature cheese (exception: cottage cheese, cream cheese)
Dry and fermented sausage (bologna, salami, pepperoni, corned beef, and liver)
Pickled herring and salted dried fish
Broad beans and pods (lima, fava beans, lentils, snow peas, and soy beans)
Meat extracts
Yeast extracts/brewer's yeast
Beer and Ale
Red wine (chianti, burgundy, sherry, vermouth)
Banana Peel

Foods Moderate to Low in Tyramine: (to be used in limited amounts, i.e., 1/2 cup, 4 oz. or less)
Fruits (bananas, avocados, canned figs, raisins, red plums, raspberries)
Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yogurt, and sour cream)
Caffeine (coffee, tea, and cola drinks)
White wine, port wines
Distilled Spirits
Soy sauce

Document from hyperreal.com

Historically a strict dietary regimen is observed before any ayahuasca ceremony. Although there are many reports of foods high in Tyramine being consumed while using a MAOI, it is unknown how safe this practice is. Since Monoamine Oxidase - A is the only one inhibited when harmala/harmaline/etc is used, Monoamine Oxidase - B is still active in processing some of the Tyrosine. An even more serious problem is the possibility of drug interactions. One of the more deadly of drug interactions with MAOI's is modification of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's). This can lead to serotonin syndrome. The symptoms of a hypertensive crisis differ from the serotonin syndrome though there is overlap. For example, both may elevate blood pressure. If serotonergic syndrome is suspected (ingestion of Syrian rue or other MAOI) the use of a serotonin receptor blocker might be helpful. Use of Syrian rue is not very likely to cause a hypertensive crisis; it is more likely caused from the presence of non-selective irreversible MAOIs such as Marplan. Symptoms such as a pounding headache, nosebleeds, severe tremors, muscular rigidity, and fever may indicate a medical emergency (hypertensive crisis, serotonin syndrome or both). Confusion is common but if one has taken ayahuasca, confusion could be a manifestation of expected drug effect and not necessarily that of a serious toxic syndrome.

Incidentally, not only antidepressants such as tricyclics, heterocyclics, SSRIs, and many atypical antidepressants may cause serious drug interactions. Many other drugs including nosedrops, decongestants, amphetamines, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, diet pills, allergy medication, and opiates may also cause serious drug-drug interactions with MAOIs. Syrian Rue and B. caapi are safer than most other MAOIs; however serious drug-drug interactions can still occur. This is especially the case with SSRIs.

At the first sign of symptoms or the appearance of a severe headache you should call 911. On the way to the emergency room, you should inform paramedics that you suspect you are having a MAOI hypertensive crisis; They would be well advised to administer one or two 25-mg tablets of the adrenolytic drug chlorpromazine. Sublingual nifedipine 10 to 20 mg is another alternative; The capsule should be bitten and the liquid contents retained in the mouth. This would hopefully bring your blood pressure down by the time you arrived at the emergency room. (See page 1606 of THE MERCK MANUEL OF DIAGNOSIS AND THERAPY, 16th Edition, Robert Berkow, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, RAhway, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories Division of Merck and Company, Inc., 1992.)

1.5 Chemistry
Ayahuasca has many chemical constituents; To break it down to its simple chemical interaction on your brain would not do it justice. It is the synergy of the different plants that make ayahuasca's effects so amazing. There are literally hundreds of different plants that are added into the ayahuasca brew, each changing the character, lessons and effects of the experience. But to make a gross over simplification, the effects are caused by two main chemicals -- a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) and N,N-dimethyltryptamine. N,N-dimethyltryptamine is normally broken down in the stomach by an enzyme called Monoamine Oxidase. If a MAOI is used N,N-dimethyltryptamine is no longer destroyed and the blood levels remain high enough to effect the brain. N,N-dimethyltryptamine is the primary source of the hallucinatory/entheogenic experience.

Simplifying the chemical action like this does accurately represent the actual experience. Smoking N,N-dimethyltryptamine is very different than using ayahuasca. Using a synthesized N,N-dimethyltryptamine and a pharmaceutical MAOI is also not the same. With ayahuasca, the addition of each different plant to the brew creates a whole new experience. In historical times, the two most frequently used plants are Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. The B. caapi vine is the source of harmine and harmaline; which acts as the MAOI; some believe these compounds are also very psychoactive on their own. Psychotria viridis is the source of N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Most often, B.caapi is the main ingredient in the brew with various other plants often containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine added. In modern times Peganum harmala is also used as a MAOI. It contains Harmine and Harmaline also. But these mixtures produce side effects. This is usually attributed to other elements in the plants used. The major side effect is nausea. Ayahuasca is used traditionally as a purgative which the Indians welcome as a means of cleansing the gastro-intestinal tract from the parasites and bacteria common to the amazon region. Diarrhea is another common side effect of ingesting the brew. Pharmaceutical MAOI's have been used but rarely do they capture the true essence of the experience. Marplan and Moclobemide are two common pharmaceutical MAOI's


2.1 Traditional Use and Preparation
The Traditional use of ayahuasca is for healing the mind, body and soul. Yage is known as "the great medicine" in northwestern South America, where it is used for healing much as peyote is used in North America. Through its assumed intercession with spiritual entities, yage reveals the proper remedies or brings about healing spiritually or magically. In contrast to Western notions of medicine, yage is believed to be curative whether the patient or the healer swallows it. ; Summing up these processes, someone said, "Nature cures the disease while the healer amuses the patient." Others speak of ayahuasqueros "singing the illness away." In Visionary Vine, Marlene Dobkin de Rios outlined many of the procedures used in "curing sessions." In Wizard of the Upper Amazon, Manuel Cordova-Rios gave another remarkable account: he continued to use ayahuasca medicinally when he returned to city life, seven years after his capture by Indians. "My cures," he comments, "for human ailments such as diabetes, hepatitis, leukemia, cancer, paralysis, rheumatism, epilepsy, suicidal depression and the dysfunctions of various internal organs have been called miraculous by some people." Chapter 7, Psychedelics Encyclopedia by Peter Stafford

The Amazon shamans (see definition of Shamanism at deoxy.org) would gather their ingredients with much prayer and fasting. The care and reverence taken during this time is very important to the use of ayahausca. Even now, where many guides of ayahuasca ceremonies grow the plants, an equal love and caring goes into the growth and harvest of these special plants. The main ingredient B. caapi would be used fresh. It is pulverized and put into a pot over a campfire, then the P. viridis is added. The mixture is boiled all day in the acidic water from the Amazon. About a one foot long and broomstick thick section of B. caapi is used per person in preparing the brew. Also a good amount of P. viridis is used. The amount of P. viridis varies depending on the number of people who are to partake in the ceremony. Sometimes P. viridis is not used at all and other N,N-dimethyltryptamine rich plants are substituted. Once the brew is done, it is stored until the ceremony. If it is protected from fermenting or spoiling, it will last for quite a while. In ceremonies by experienced guides and shamans, people will many times drink more and more during the experience, especially after vomiting. The potency of the brew depends on the knowledge and the experience of the shaman preparing it.

2.2 Modern Use and Preparation
Modern usage of ayahuasca is highly debated. Many people approach ayahuasca as just another hallucinogenic drug to "trip" off of. Most of those people will never try it again. A more accepted use is entheogenic in nature. People seek answers from the plants of ayahuasca. But even then reverence and the sacredness of ayahuasca is many times forgotten. It is important to emphasize that the more one puts into the experience the more one will get out of it.

In modern preparation the stove has replaced the campfire but much has remained the same. Although B. caapi is usually substituted with P. harmala, occasionally it is still used. Whatever ingredients one has, a good way to do it is prepare them separately and mix later if desired. A pure water source such as distilled of filtered water is important because excess minerals may inhibit the effectiveness of the brew. The pH of the water should be between four and five. This helps the alkaloids become more soluble. Ascorbic acid in the form of ground up Vitamin C pills or lemon juice will do nicely. It is very important to grind or pulverize the material as fine as you can and to boil the plant materials for a couple hours. Strain and save the water, then put the material back into pH adjusted water and repeat what you just did. Continue this process until the water doesnt change color. Then mix all of your boilings and boil down to a more manageable quantity.

With different plants you will need different amounts for a potent brew. To even attempt to list how much of what you would need is futile. So much depends on how potent the plant is. This in turn depends on the individual plant's growing conditions, which plant you use, and so on. Experience will teach one more than reading.

2.3 The Sacred Vs. The Profane
For thousands of years ancient cultures have been using entheogens/hallucinogens to contact the spirit world and receive teachings from the connection they created. Shamans were trained in the use of these drugs and would seek guidance from them. Eventually they would learn to induce the ecstatic states without the use of these drugs.

To ancient cultures everything was sacred because all of experience was connected to God, or whatever you call the force that guides and interconnects us with all things. Preparation of drugs like ayahuasca were very sacred to the peoples of these cultures. The entire process of using entheogens was done with thorough contemplation. Fasts, purification ceremonies, and many other preparations were made in order to partake of these ceremonial drugs. In everything they did reverence was displayed.

Our modern culture has forgotten the sacredness of these plant teachers. Without the ceremony and ritual and reverence the possibility of abuse of these plants is high. Furthermore, many people are not prepared psychologically or spiritually for the experience. Some treat it as something fun to do or a way to be amused when bored. Naturally, when a life altering experience happens through the use of these plants, many do not know how to deal with it. They did not prepare for it and may not have had a guide present who can help them learn from the experience. A guide is also very important This may sound superstitious to some; however, it is important to consider how readily we accept guidance from someone when learning to drive a car or brew coffee, but how much we may resist learning from a someone who specializes in using nature to expand her spiritual boundaries.

Ayahuasca is held sacred by the many generations of people who have used it. Their experience has demonstrated that it is not wise to use it as a casual, social drug. Used as a sacred sacrament, it has resulted and results in greater health -- spiritual as well as physical. It is up to those of us who live in the modern world to understand and attempt to view it as such and not just something to "do" or experiment with. If you have reverence for the process and the experience you will be much better prepared for the experience as a whole and it's meaning.

2.4 Set and Setting
Set refers to your attitude, your mindset; Setting refers to your physical surroundings. These are very important in any entheogenic/hallucinogenic experience. You should prepare your mind in advance to what may happen and how you will react. Think about what you will do if things don't go as planned and you get in over your head. By thinking about giving in and relaxing before you journey you will be more apt to do so while taking that journey. Also you should choose a place that is safe and will have few unexpected interruptions. By preparing an area that you are comfortable and safe, you improve your chances of really getting a lot out of the experience. If you are in a new location with new people you may be so worried about external events you can't focus on the internal teachings that come. Not to mention the fact that you could really freak out and hurt yourself in a strange place with ever changing scenery and people.

By preparing yourself and your surroundings you will improve your chances of having a very meaningful experience. If you neglect this you could be in for an extremely frightening experience. Ayahuasca is not a social drug. Use it with only close friends. Prepare yourself, it is unlike any experience you have ever had.

2.5 The Purge
With Ayahuasca use there is likely to be a great amount of purging happening. Depending on which plants were used there can be a little or a whole hell of a lot. There are steps you can do to reduce nausea such as drinking ginger tea and gel-capping it. But even then completely avoiding the purge is close to impossible. It is intertwined with the ayahuasca experience. If you can learn to accept it and flow with it it can ironically be very enjoyable. It is a release and purification. After it is all through you will feel very good, very clean and pure. If you fight it, it will be more then unpleasant. Give in to it and just go with it and you will feel better.

Usually you will purge a number of times and then feel better. Though with repeatedly taking more you will most likely purge after each time. Imagine all of the distractions, discomfort and pain you have within you being released with each purge. Let it flow as it is supposed to. Accept it as part of the experience. There is very little you can do to avoid it, so not fighting it or dwelling on the nausea will allow you to focus your thoughts and energy on what is important.

For a very good article on the Purgative aspect of Ayahuasca read: From Agony to Ecstacy: The Transformative Spirit of Yajé

2.6 Reports of use
Report 1. Peganum harmala by Ringworm
We tested it at various dosages ranging from 1-10 grams of Syrian rue seed. We found that four grams is the most sensible amount but for strictly MAOI purposes no more than 2 and a half need be taken. She took 4 grams daily for 30 days I took 4 grams every three days for thirty days.
We did a simple extraction of Syrian Rue seed, it consisted of 8 grams in two cups of water and a small amount of lemon juice, this was boiled until the fluid was enough to be drunk with three sips for each of us. The seed was than strained out. After some time we decided to go walking, it seemed like a nice August night. As we walked we both commented on the stuttering light syndrome. This is when there is a light and it becomes fragmented, it tends to stutter as your eye moves away from it. We were both rather turned on and just generally feeling good (possibly the famed aphrodisiac qualities?). I noticed with closed eyes that there were many mandala-like designs. These did not wiggle but more so form and re-form. They reminded me a lot of oriental carpets, I remembered a man I knew from when I was homeless, he taught me a lot about spiritual feelings. I sat on a curb and envisioned him telling me that no Oriental carpet was perfect as it was truly created by God and so any carpet maker would flaw his work, to show his humility. I found this entire mandala thing very interesting. Once we entered the house I was greeted by my plants and the plant light, the light was shattered so much that it followed me as I turned my head. This light was like when you stare into a light at a distance, you can almost see the waves of it as it comes toward you. We sat and watched a special on Bufo sp. in Australia and couldn't help but laugh... We were VERY happy, I commented on the anti-depressive qualities, we even mentioned using this in stead of our usual alcohol to bring up spirits. I drove her home and all of the speed signs tended to tail far behind me, a passing car left a tremendous streak of light behind itself.
Well we continued to use the seeds for a month.... She decided this time to be the guinea pig so every morning she would prepare the tea for herself, she noted that effects dropped increasingly until there were no effects. She also became so repulsed by the smell of our tea that she was happy to see the end of our month. I found that using it every three nights tended to keep with the same visual disturbances. My closed eye visions expanded and became deeper, whereas the anti-depressive quality of the tea faded severely, I was sad to see it go. I must say that you can feel the third eye(?) in the center of your eyes become open, it is almost like a weight is lifted from your brain, a very good feeling I may add.

Report 2. Banisteriopsis Caapiby Ringworm
one foot long one inch thick piece of B. caapi vine per person.
pounded and beat up... I smashed the hell out of it with a hammer. The bark was peeled off and pounded some more, I actually developed a nice beat to this. I boiled the bark separate from the inner, harder core. This is all the traditional method that is used with most S.American shamans.
once drank, it seemed to give a tremendous amount of energy, much more than Syrian Rue's lethargy. I happily danced around with my girl. We sat on the "grounding stone" this is a HUGE rock that is completely white, I was drawn to it as a way to level out in a previous experience. I stared at Venus, probably for a long time. I could see it completely round and even some of the texture. I normally have 20/50 vision so I can tell visual enhancement. I felt like I was sitting on top of that big rock I called Venus and staring at the earth, I then thought I was siting on that big rock o' earth once again and staring at Venus.... I kinda liked the fact that I could be staring at myself from two different planets. I completely felt the sameness of the universe. It was then that I questioned why I felt so drawn to the cosmos on just an MAOI. It seems much more than that. For a good part of the night I stared at Venus and the milky way. I always loved the feel of seeing the stars and being able to see their depth, where they are in the cosmos, it really gives a feeling of distance. To tell you the truth, I never closed my eyes more than once, I was so rapt with the clear night. Upon closing my eyes it seemed very dark/midnight jungle feeling. I can only describe this as I once did with a Salvia journey, I watched the jungle as it crawled and grew over my whole world... it just kept expanding. I have never been there but the jungle seems very powerful, like one living entity.

Report 3. Mimosa hostilis + Peganum harmala
I obtained 1oz of Mimosa hostilis root bark and prepared it for an ayahuasca brew. First I added some water and the Mimosa and put it in a blender. I then boiled it in a pot with ascorbic acid (ground up Vitamin C tablets) for about 6 hours. Then I filtered it with a paper towel and boiled down the liquid until I had a small amount. I pored it in a glass baking dish and dehydrated it. After scraping it up it made 15 gelcaps. I had previously made an extract in the same fashion of Peganum harmala. I took 8 gelcaps of Mimosa and 2 of the P. harmala (aproximatly 4g P. harmala extracted). First the harmala, which kicked in about 45min I then took the Mimosa and held it down for about 20 min and purged. I was still not feeling the effects so I sat down with some Native American flute music playing and was flipping through a book with photos of nature and some accompanying poems. I finally stopped at one of some salmon swimming and the picture was from above so created this patterned layered effect with the surface of the water, the fish and the bottom of the stream. It started to really look odd and I knew something was kicking in. I ate a bit of granola to get the taste of vomit out of my mouth. slowly things started to get very odd. colors were vibrant and brilliant. Every time I blinked my eyes a new world was opened up to me. I closed my eyes briefly and saw tons of CEV's and it quite reminded me of Salvia divinorum where there were multiple images of entities and it almost looked like a piece of psychedelic art work where there was just so much going on in the picture it was confusing. I re-opened my eyes and continued looking at the book. Sound became echoes around me and everything had trails on it. I purged again and in the agony of the purge I felt release. Tears came to my eyes as the pain rose and exited my mouth. I sat for a moment and felt better. I returned to my couch and saw that auras were enhanced and I saw the layers of connectivity in everything. I felt very connected to the plants in my apartment and connected to nature. At this point I just started to laugh. The music seemed to pale to sound of my own laughter. It was jovial and echoing. I was filled with an ultimate sense of happiness and content. This was when I had my first realization. As I looked into the picture and visualized myself there I felt the cold wind upon my face. The chill penetrated me. I realized that If I wanted to become closer to nature I had to stop insulating myself from it. I sat there in my apartment warm and content yet connected, but in the same right I was so insulated that I could not fully immerse myself into nature like I wanted. That I had to accept the cold and the elements if I wanted to experience what nature is all about. The reason I had not been able to go further along my path was the fact that I have been insulating myself so It did not feel real. Reality is a duality of comfort and discomfort. You can't feel that oneness and connection if you remove yourself from that duality. As I realized all this and at a level that is indescribable in words I started to have other revelations about who I was and my goals. That ayahuasca is a tool as is my meditations and walks through the forest. They will all bring me to the same point. It matters not what tool you use as long as you use it efficiently. And in combination they can be even more powerful. Slowly the realizations were fewer and it turned towards incorporation what I have learned. How would I use this newly realized lesson. Slowly the CEV's faded, the echoing ended and things became more normal. The whole experience lasted about an hour and a half to two hours. The lingering effects lasted about another hour. I am left with an overwhelming feeling of joy. I feel clean and content. I look forward to my next journey.

Report 4. Ephedra + Peganum harmala by Morph
I have always had an experimental mind. Sometimes, of course, experiments can go awry. The trick is to take a lesson away from every experience. Last summer I decided to try a combination that I had never heard any news at all about. Without referring to my friends who "know", I cooked up a combination of Peganum harmala crude extract and Ephedra sinensis (mao-huang) twigs and stems. I forced the vile, bitter liquid down the hatch around 9:30 in the evening. Before I wax on about the chronological details, please let me inform everyone that Ephedra is an ally of mine. I have fully enjoyed her virtue (occassionally) with mushrooms, usually alone. By 10:00 I was full-on feeling the effects of both drugs. The beta-carbolines, from the Peganum seed delivered the expected physical effects: flushed face, tunnel-vision and light sweating. By the way my heart was pounding, I expected the ephedra was also kicking in. At 10:15 I left the house to walk, as I was feeling a raher unnerving rise in energy and activity. My hands were shaking, my face fully flushed and a sheen of sweat covered it. I walked for about 20 minutes, to a local graveyard. I laid down in a familiar spot and tried to relax. Unfortunately, within minutes I realized that I may in some sort of trouble, here. My heart rate must have been up by 3x. I was sweating so hard that the drops were stinging my eyes. My mouth felt horribly dry and hot. I was flashing hot to cold and I was shaking uncontrollably. My Head was hot and ached at the temples. I rolled around in the wet grass for about 10 minutes. The dichotomy lay in the fact that I knew I was not well, but I could not seem to think of a logical progression of action. I began to wish I had a sitter along. As I lay on the ground, I realized that I had made a big mistake, jeopardizing my well-being. I tried stumbling home around 11:30 that evening. People walked on the opposite side of the street because I looked so haggard and wild-eyed. By the time I reached home the effects were receding. Upon reaching my bathroom I vomited hard. I crawled into bed and felt the effects recede slowly over the next 4 hours or so. I did not sleep. I felt giddy and nervous all day next, and did not sleep well the next evening. I jeopardized my health and well-being by combining a known MAOI with ephedra alkaloids. I was planning to use this combination in a future ayahuasca session if the experiment went well. Could we imagine the horrible visions and side-effects brought on if DMT or another hallucinogen were introduced? I shudder to think. Please be careful, do your homework and bring a sitter.. not like me!

2.7 Cultivation
For a good complete list of plants used read an excerpt from Johnothan ott in Ayahuasca Analogues

Growing these plants is an undertaking that will one of be the most rewarding aspects of your experience. Using an ayahuasca brew with plants you've grown, you've already started to develop a relationship with these plants. The plants will have gotten to know you and this will emerge as a very important aspect in your journeys with ayahuasca.

First you should decide on what plants you want to obtain and grow. Also you need to take into consideration the growing conditions, ease of cultivation, and requirements of the plants you decide on. Not to mention how green your thumb is. Eventually with a bit of trial and error and a lot of TLC you will be able to take care of most of these plants. So now we'll go over briefly a bit about the care of common plants used in the ayahuasca brew and their growing conditions.

Banisteriopsis Caapi Vine of the soul
This plant is a vine and can survive a vary wide range of conditions. But depending on where you get it and what conditions it is used to may need to be slowly adapted to your particular growing conditions. It likes moderate shade and high humidity. If you get your plant from a green house it may need a humidity tent at first while you slowly adapt it to less humid conditions. It is best if the soil never dries out completely yet is not saturated either.
Peganum Harmala Syrian Rue
This plant can be very difficult to grow at times if it does not have it's optimal conditions. Plus based on the relatively cheap and easy to obtain seeds this one you may not want grow yourself. But if you want to become self sufficient in getting the resources for ayahuasca you may just choose to grow this neat plant. It needs very well drained soil. Water it like you would a cactus. Let the soil dry out completely between watering. It also likes just about as much sun as you can give it.
Psychotria sp. Chacruna
Much like B. caapi, needs high humidity and moderate shade. Germination can take as long as six months.
Mimosa Hostilis Jurema
Fairly hardy tree but is not frost resistant. Germinates quickly if seeds are soaked in very hot (water just taken off the burner once boiling) water for 20 min then placed a quarter of an inch in the soil. Will germinate in anywhere from two days to a week or longer. Likes generous amounts of sun.
Desmanthus illinoensis Illinois bundle flower
Sow in spring or fall in a very open area that gets full day sun. Will tolerate frost and snow over the winter. Indoors germinating the seeds before planting will increase the survival rate. Put them in a plastic bag (humidity tent) till they get a few inches high. Let the soil dry completely between watering. These plants need a great deal of root space so they will not do as well in containers as in the ground. Is drought tolerant but prefers regular watering.
Acacia sp.
Sowing from seed can be difficult. Lightly file a nick into the seed coat being careful not to penetrate it fully. Even a light nick will do. Soak it in very hot (water just taken off the burner once boiling) water for 20 min then placed a quarter of an inch in the soil. Give it as much sun as possible depending on the species. For a good article read Cultivation of Australian Acacias


3.1 Books
Psychedelic Shamanism - Jim DeKorne
A Field Guide to Medicinal and Useful Plants of the Upper Amazon - James L. Castner, Stephen L. Timme, James A. Duke
Pharmacotheon - Jonathan Ott
Ayahuasca Analogues - Jonathan Ott
TIHKAL - Alexander and Ann Shulgin
The Yage Letters - William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg
Visionary Vine - Marlene Dobkin de Rios
Vine of the Soul - Dr. Richard Evans Schultes
Ayahuasca Analogs and Plant-Based Tryptamines - Jim DeKorne
Plants of the Gods - Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann

3.2 Journals
Shaman's Drum
P.O. Box 97
Ashland, OR 97520
credit card orders call 541-552-0839

Psychedelic Illuminations
P.O.Box 3186
Fullerton, Calif. 92634

Entheogen Review
564 Mission Street
Box 808
San Francisco, CA 94105-2918

The Resonance Project
323 Broadway Ave. E. #318
Seattle, WA 98102

Giorgio Samorini
Via E. De Amicis 32

3.3 Commercial Sources
Here is a list of suppliers that sell plants and resources for ayahuasca:
Shamanic Technologies - Ayahuasca
Botanical Dimensions
Amazing Nature
Ho Ti Nursery
Companion Plants
Redwood City Seed Company
Legendary Ethnobotanical Resources
Ho Ti Nursery
Kava Kauai
Horus botanicals
Native Habitat Ethnobotanicals
Logee's Greenhouse
JLF Catalog
The Herbal-Shaman
The Herben Shaman
Theatrum Botanicum
BPC - Box 1368 Sebastopol CA 95473 USA, $2 for a catalog Allies - Box 2422 Sebastopol CA 95473 USA, $2 for a catalog

3.4 Internet

3.4.1 Websites
Ayahuasca Home Page
The Lycaeum Drug Archive - top class drug information archive
Hyperreal Drug Archive - the hyperreal drugs archive
Disembodied Eyes - excellent source of info on all entheogens
The Psychoactive Archive - large collection of all things psychoactive
The Erowid Entheogen Vaults - entheogens,spirituality and politics
The Entheogen Explorer Home Page - plants for the soul
Paranoia Drugs Resources - excellent selection of drug links
E=mc=Th xrl Hrdms - hyperspace and entheogens
Island Web - web site dedicated to the creation of a psychedelic culture
Entheogen.Com - excellent monthly 'magazine' style site devoted to entheogens
Herb Web - a web site mainly about herbs but some info about entheogens
Mulga Country - loads of general info regarding entheogenic australian plants
Diary of a Psychonaut - on-going diary of a psychonautic explorer
DMT World - excellent website dedicated to N,N-dimethyltryptamine
MIND BOOKS offers publications about psychedelics

3.4.2 Newsgroups

3.4.3 Mailing lists

Topics for discussion - Anything relating to Ayahuasca or its chemical constituents. Subjects such as extraction, preparation, botany, and shamanism are all more than welcome.

To be added to the list, simply send a message with the words "subscribe ayahuasca" in the body of the text, to majordomo@lycaeum.org Remember, however, that you have to send the subscription request from the address that you want to receive the list mailings to.

To be removed from the list, simply send a message with the words "unsubscribe ayahuasca" in the body of the text, to majordomo@lycaeum.org Also you must send the request from the address you subscribed with. Do NOT send it to the mailing list address (ayahuasca@lycaeum.org)

3.4.4 IRC
on irc.lycaeum.org:
on irc.webmaster.com:


4.1 Organizations
SpiritQuest: Listening to the Plants
Friends of the Forest
Unio do Vegetal
Santo Daime - Green Travel
Santo Daime - Official Site

Introduction to Santo Daime Written by Runyan Wilde and Gemini

Organization: There are several different branches, the main one being Ceu do Mapia, led by Padrinho Alfredo de Melo, son of Padrinho Sebastiao, the successor of the founder, Irineu Serra. The vice-president is Alex Polari de Alverga, and they support groups all over the world (some 30,000 participants). Another branch is headed by Alfredo's brother-in-law, Paulo Roberto, who has started up groups in Hawaii, Los Angeles, Arizona and, I believe, the Netherlands. There are maybe a couple of other branches.

Major beliefs: The possibility of total healing, spiritual perfection, and reception of the direct Teachings from the Divine itself. Most of us believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, Mary, all the saints, prophets and patriarchs, all the Hindu, Egyptian, Greek and Norse deities, the patriarchs, the matriarchs and our parents.

Ceremony: First, prayers are said, our father and hail Marys and a few particular to Santo Daime. then two lines are formed, one of men and one of women, and we receive the Daime, as the ayahuasca is called. During the entire ceremony, men and women are kept separate. There are separate restrooms and places to purge for men and women, and separate places to go outside for some air. after this, the hymns are sung from the "hinarios" of people who have received them. there are special hymns for healing, for communicating with spirits, for concentration and for celebration. Mestre Irineu was the founder, and he has many hymns, as does Padrino Sebastiao, the second leader, and other padrinos and madrinas. Most of the songs are sung in Portuguese. In America, though, there are many which are sung in English which were received by people who speak English. There are three dances which are done to different rhythms: the waltz beat, a march beat and "mazurka," another beat. they are very simple steps which are designed to accentuate the flow of the energy current between the participants. The steps to these simple dances were received by Mestre Irineu in his visions. There is a place for people to lie down if they feel unable to stand or sit, but people are asked not to leave the area or go off on their own once the ceremony has commenced. The Daime is given about every 2-3 hours throughout the night. The ceremonies are called "works" and they can last all night, although most often they start at about 6 at night and end by one or two. To close the ceremony, more prayers are said and then there is a period of socializing and cleaning up that follows. People eat, bathe, change clothes and return to the secular world in this way.

Where to get more info: By far the most thorough presentation was in Shaman's Drum, Number 22, Winter 1990-91.

How to join: You hear about it from a friend, and then you talk to someone, and then you show up at someone's house for a ceremony and find out how you get along with the Spirit and with your own guts. Then you come back a few more times and find out if your life starts changing radically, and that you are changing inside-out. Then you find out that all your questions from your whole life are being answered, including the ones you didn't know how to ask. Then you ask to receive your star, and go through a beautiful initiation in front of all your brothers and sisters. In Brazil it's different: Santo Daime is an officially recognized church, and there are definite places to go to. In America we are very protective of the sacred ritual-- it would not be understood by the public or the current government.


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Last updated: October 25th, 1998