Whether you are exploring Ayahuasca for the first time or are contemplating going on your tenth Ayahuasca retreat, Frshminds’ Ayahuasca FAQ helps you dive deep and further your understanding of this amazing plant.
Ayahuasca is a plant medicine brew of typically two different plants, the Ayahuasca vine (baanisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of the chacruna bush (psychotropia viridis.) The plants are boiled into thick red or brown tea and are often infused with the intentions and prayers of shamans. In Colombia, chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana) is used in the preperation known as yagé.
Ayahuasca induces a psychoactive effect as a result of the interaction between chemicals in the chacruna leaves and the Ayahuasca vine.
The leaves of the chacruna bush contain DMT that becomes bioavailable after cooking and the Ayahuasca vine contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors that prevent your body from rapidly breaking down DMT.
While the DMT content of an ayahuasca brew varies across studies, a recent review of the chemical composition is about 1.3 mg/ml. Different brewing methods and plants are sometimes used to create unique effects.
As with everything else in life, Ayahuasca retreat experiences have a wide range of prices, from $500 to over $5,000 that depend on a number of factors including:
– Location: Is this a beachfront retreat or someone hidden in the jungle or a mountain top? Typically, the less accessible the location, the more expensive the ayahuasca retreat will be.
– The amenities: The more spartan the amenities, the lower the cost. Want access to a full gym and gourmet restaurant? You can have that as long as you are willing to pay for it.
– The accommodations: Amenities range anywhere from shared dorm-style accommodations to private villas with personal chefs.
– The staffing: Some retreats are staffed with a full complement of support staff and mental wellness professionals while others are run by the shaman and their assistant.
– Number of ceremonies: Typically, the higher the price, the more ayahuasca ceremonies that are included in the retreat.
The ayahuasca and SSRI interaction is a concern as both affect the serotonin system in our bodies. SSRIs work by changing how our brains use serotonin. They do not create serotonin, and depression is not caused by low serotonin.
What SSRIs do is block serotonin from being absorbed into the body and becoming unavailable.
To learn more, please read our article Ayahuasca and Antidepressants – Is it Safe and speak to your doctor.
A big part of a successful ayahuasca experience is following the ayahuasca preparation diet. The ayahuasca diet has restrictions on food and certain activities and is a longstanding tradition among ayahuesqeros of the Amazon basin. While there is no gold standard list for ayahuasca preparation, learning about the Ayahuasca Preparation Diet is an important part of the puzzle.