Are you wondering why Westerners are taking ayahuasca trip to Peru? Do you want to understand what people say about their ayahuasca experience?

The use of ayahuasca has become so popular that many people are flying to the Amazonian jungles for an ayahuasca experience after hearing that it has healed thousands of people from various illnesses. However, people may have different reactions to it, but one thing is certain, it has certain effects that may change one’s perception and help improve one’s health.

For those who are eager to understand why many people use iowaska to address their health concerns or confront the long term effects of their trauma or addiction, this page is for you. Continue reading and be amazed at the potential and promising effects of ayahuasca.

What Is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a native plant in the Amazon that has become very popular around the globe in recent years, due to its powerful properties. There are many accounts about its healing properties, especially when it comes to curing various physical and mental illnesses, including, anxiety, depression, and even addiction.

It is a divine drink made of Psychotria viridis shrub along with the stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. It offers the possibility of accepting our subconscious or the unconscious world, revealing and uncovering the mystery of knowledge. It opens a new dimension of consciousness.

In the modern era, it is interpreted as an extraordinary chemical that is equivalent to a neurotransmitter or hormone which activates the brain psyche and reveals the infinite human potential.

It also expands one’s state of consciousness during the trance stage. It also illuminates the way you perceive reality. Moreover, Mother Ayahuasca can bring inspiration, help one innovate things, and make one creative. It can also change one to live with more empathy, improved communication skills, better faculties, and more.

It brings better changes in one’s life. Aside from healing, thousands of people who tried the brew said they were more peaceful, happier, more confident and stronger spiritually because Mother Ayahuasca also works with the spiritual side of one’s being. It leads to self-discovery and reconciles your whole being.

What does ayahuasca mean in English?

It is a Brazilian plant, Banisteriopsis caapi vine (B caapi vine) that has winged fruit and yields a powerful hallucinogenic alkaloid and is used to treat certain disorders of the central nervous system, the family Malpighiaceae.

What is another name for ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca comes in different names. It is also very popular as yage, Banisteriopsis caapi, and huasca. The word “ayahuasca” is in the Quechua language where “aya” means “spirit, soul” or “corpse, dead body” and waska means “rope,” “woody,” or “liana. So, some also use the words “liana of the soul,” “liana of the dead”, “vine of the soul” or “spirit liana” when referring to it.

In Brazil, the brew and the liana are informally called caapi or cipo. The latter is the Portuguese word for liana or “woody climbing vine.” In the Uniao do Vegetal of Brazil, an organized spiritual tradition where people drink ayahuasca, they call the brew hoasca or vegetal. Meanwhile, Brazilian Yawanawa calls it “uni.” It is also called a kamarampi, huni, brew, daime, the tea, and la purga.

Meanwhile, Santo Daime(1), a religion founded in the 1930s referred to ayahuasca as “Daime.” It contains psychoactive compounds and many people drunk it as part of their ritual. It can induce strong emetic effects that the people embrace as both emotional and physical purging. Santo Daime churches promote a wholesome lifestyle that conforms with Irineu’s motto of “harmony, love, truth and justice.” It also values strength, humility, fraternity and purity of heart.

On the other hand, the Achuar and Shuar people of Ecuador and Peru call the concoction “natem.” Meanwhile, the Sharanahua people from Peru call lit “short.” Some also spelled it as “iowaska” or “ayawaska.”

What Is Ayahuasca Tea

Ayahuasca tea is a mixture of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Psychotria viridis shrub. The concoction is what is usually served in the ayahuasca ceremony.

However, the tea goes beyond the mixture itself. It is usually prepared by a shaman or curandero. Also, the intention of the one making the Ayahuasca tea is very important because it has to be pure.

The one taking the tea also needs to have pure intentions. One’s intention has to be rooted in the service of one’s self, the people, and the planet.

Ayahuasca Tea vs. DMT

Lots of people get these two confused as DMT aka n N-dimethyltryptamine is the pure form of the molecule (white powder) where people smoke it. And ayahuasca is the brew that is used in the Amazons by the shamans, which is taken orally.

Ayahuasca tea contains DMT from P. Viridis and Monoamine oxidases (MAO) from B. Caapi, the latter is very important to make the former work orally because it has low bioavailability without MAO inhibitors.

DMT blasts you off and it lasts somewhere between 10-15 minutes and it is much more intense. On the other hand, ayahuasca tea lasts longer. The time frame is anywhere between 2-8 hours depending on how you prepare and how much you ingested.

Moments after inhaling hit can be visibly bigger and then your excursion will ensue. The DMT starts to activate the serotonin receptors within your brain as it enters the body. It converts the hormones released by these receptors into compounds that are psychedelic. Then, you start to hallucinate when these psychedelic compounds enter the bloodstream. The serotonin receptor that is most responsible for these effects that are psychedelic is the 5-HT2A receptor, but the 5-HT2C receptor may also play a large role in the overall effect of the drug.

A person may experience different hallucinations in his lifetime due to DMT. Many consider it the strongest excursions with some saying their DMT trip felt like they were dying. There are many stories about near-death experiences from participants who have tried ayahuasca and all those experiences are due to DMT, the hallucinogenic compound in yage. Like many illegal drugs, its effects on the brain can be overwhelming.

“It has been speculated in the past that a lot of [psychedelic] experiences – not only DMT but also LSD and so on – contain themes of death,” says Chris Timmermann, a psychologist and neuroscientist who researches psychedelic drugs in a study about near-death experiences and psychedelic drugs, BBC(2) reported.

“If I were to speculate, one possibility may be that the system is reaching such a high level of disorder that the psychological reaction might be, ‘Oh my God, I’m dying.’”

The dose of DMT in the study is so little — so participants were not on the verge of death, even if they felt like they were. The feeling was known as “ego death” referring to the intense psychedelic experiences where one felt a total loss of sense of self. Researcher Robin Carhart-Harris said it’s like one is awake but without a sense of personal identity. However, the researchers couldn’t explain why “ego death” made the participants feel like they were dying.

Meanwhile, unlike LSD, when you trip on Ayahuasca tea, there isn’t even a shred of reality that is ordinary. It’s like you have gone to another planet which is nothing like this world. The language used in that space is emotions and vibrations. The drug is a whole sensory overload. Generally, your coordination is negatively impacted, so most people sit or lie during their whole excursion. It’s believed the most people experience an enjoyable excursion to a different world while on Ayahuasca tea.

What Is Ayahuasca Like?

Ayahuasca is a brown-reddish drink with a strong taste and smell. It has an earthy and bitter taste and smell. Many found its distinct taste repulsive which makes it challenging for many to take the brew. In fact, others loathe it and don’t want to take ayahuasca again. But those who experienced the positive effects of ayahuasca have continued to seek it.

While others find it nasty, some find it bearable to drink. Some likened ayahuasca tea to a sour smoothie mixed with dirt. It is earthy, woodsy, slightly-bitter and slightly thicker compared to a normal tea. Several participants were surprised that it wasn’t as bad as they expected.

Ayahuasca is not a drug, but it has a plant-based psychedelic effect on one’s senses. It alters a person’s thinking, sense of time and emotions and can cause a person to hallucinate. After taking the ayahuasca tea, one might see visions or hear sounds that do not exist or are distorted.

What Is Ayahuasca Made Of

Ayahuasca is a mixture made of banisteriopsis caapi vine with the leaves of the Psychotria viridis (P viridis) shrub. Aside from the latter, there is a variety of other plants that can be included depending on the traditional purposes.

But the active chemical in ayahuasca is DMT (n dimethyltryptamine) and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). DMT is a powerful hallucinogenic chemical but with low bioavailability because it gets rapidly broken down by enzymes MAOs in the liver and gastrointestinal tract. This is the reason DMT needs to be combined with something containing MAO inhibitors (MAOIs) for it to take effect and Banisteriopsis caapi contains potent MAOIs called β-carbolines.

When the two plants are combined, they form a powerful psychedelic brew that affects the central nervous system and leads to an altered state of mind including hallucinations, out-of-body experiences and euphoria to name a few.

What Is Ayahuasca Used For

Ayahuasca use has become very popular worldwide due to the long list of benefits it offers especially on one’s physical, mental and emotional health. Thousands of tourists flock to the Amazon jungle to experience the wonder and life-changing encounter with Mother Aya.

Initially, ayahuasca was used for spiritual guidance and religious ceremonies governed by an experienced shaman. However, some also used it as a recreational hallucinogen or as psychedelic drugs.

The hallucinogenic component (DMT) of ayahuasca tea is illegal in the United States, but the plants from which it is derived are not. In the United States, churches are allowed to use ayahuasca in their ceremonies under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Aside from religious rites, there are various studies supporting the health benefits from ayahuasca, including better moods and emotions, and improved mindfulness. It also aids post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction. This magical concoction has positive effects on one’s health conditions and mental health. In fact, many said it worked as addiction treatment for them.

The mixture has become more in-demand and is already a multi-million industry because many believed that it has the power to heal. Also, there are countless stories and testimonials that support ayahuasca’s ability to cure depression, anxiety, trauma, and even cancer.

Here’s a short list of the various conditions that ayahuasca can help one with.

• Pain
• Panic
• Stress
• Cancer
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Trauma symptoms
• Impulse control
• Sleep problems
• Prolonged grief disorder
• Drug and alcohol addiction

However, using ayahuasca may have negative effects. Here’s a short list of the side effects of ayahuasca.

• Intense nausea
• Vomiting and diarrhea
• Frightening hallucinations
• Intense visual and auditory hallucinations
• A moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate

Overall, there are no serious long term side effects on the body. Existing research indicates that long term effects of the use of ayahuasca are not associated with a loss of cognitive functioning or negative mental health outcomes. Taking ayahuasca is generally safe.

What Is Ayahuasca Ceremony

Ayahuasca ceremony has changed over time especially after ayahuasca tourism started to boom. Initially, only the shaman drinks ayahuasca. The spirit of ayahuasca gives them wisdom and clairvoyance to determine one’s illness, find a cure for it, or simply find answers to a question. In some cases, one is advised to take the brew when their condition is worse.

During the ceremony, the set and settings are very important. The shamans usually do traditional songs known as icaros before, during and after the ritual. The song influences the internal landscape of one’s psyche and it is also therapeutic.

According to the shamans, the plants, themselves taught them the icaros. Vegetalistas, the shaman specializing in the spirits of plants, use the songs to call out the spirits. Icaros is very useful because it invokes the plant’s spirit, enhances or mitigates the uses and effects of ayahuasca, calls healing energies, strengthens one’s feeling of being loved.

However, as the word about ayahuasca spread around the globe, especially to Westerners, more and more want to have a first-hand experience with ayahuasca especially after learning about its wonders. Eventually, the ayahuasca ceremony changed with the participants drinking the brew, instead of the shaman doing it.

That change also made the drink even more popular because those who had a close encounter with Mother Aya saw visions and experienced spiritual transformation.

Although the current setup is somehow different from the traditional ayahuasca ceremony(3),it delivers the same results – it gives one wisdom, healing, and a promise of a better life.

Is Ayahuasca Illegal In The US?

The ayahuasca plant is not illegal in the United States per se, but its active ingredient known as DMT is banned in the country because it is considered a Schedule I drug, which is the same category as heroin and ecstasy.

The indigenous people from the Amazon have been using yage for thousands of years already and it is known to bring visual and auditory hallucinations which are associated with healing and spiritual awakening.

Several celebrities, including Sting, Lindsay Lohan and Tori Amos have been very outspoken about their experience after taking the ayahuasca tea. But since it was illegal in the U.S. those who wished to experience it had to travel to Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, or Colombia.

But that changed after the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 in the United States that “ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected.” The statute protects every American to practice their own religion or no religion at all, without persecution or discrimination. The act also allows one to practice his or her religion, however, that may be defined as long as it is not infringing on another person’s rights or safety.

Due to the act, ayahuasca retreat centers in the United States, including Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth are allowed to include ayahuasca in their ceremonies where the tea is one of the sacred sacraments in their religious practices.

In layman’s terms, the federally-enacted RFRA protects one from governmental interference when it comes to taking herb medicine or drug in ceremonies and other sacramental practices. Thanks to the said statute, the members of the Indigenous Native American Church are free to exercise their religion by holding sacred ceremonies.

Can You Die From Ayahuasca?

Consuming ayahuasca is generally safe, but there are also a few reports about participants’ death from taking the brew.

Most ayahuasca death(4),reports are not directly related to taking the brew. However, in 2018, ayahuasca made headlines after a British coroner confirmed that Henry Miller, 19-year0old from Bristol, died after taking a dose in a ceremony in the Colombian jungle.

The coroner ruled that Miller’s death was accidental but urged the Foreign Office to provide a “standard message warning” to tourists who want to participate in ayahuasca ceremonies.

Miller’s experience could serve as a cautionary tale. He reportedly attended one ceremony and drank three cups of yage. However, he told his family that he felt nothing. Two days later, he attended another ceremony but quickly fell ill. He was taken by two teenage tribesmen to a nearby hospital on a motorbike but died en route.

The tribe who administered the ayahuasca apologized for it. They also levied a punishment of nettles against the shaman and some of his family, The Guardian(5) reported.

Ayahuasca became global news again in 2018 when the locals from Victoria Gracia village lynched Sebastian Woodroffe, 41, in broad daylight. According to reports, the villagers attacked Woodroffe because he allegedly shot Olivia Arevalo, a leader and practitioner of traditional medicine and defender of Peruvian Amazon, twice, killing her in the process. But those who knew the Canadian man couldn’t believe that he could kill a person.

“It is absolutely not something he is capable of in any way,” a friend of Woodroffe named Alison Jones told Global News.

According to Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry at Harbor-U.C.L.A Medical Center, those taking anti-psychotic pills should not take iowaska because it could lead to a terrible outcome. There is a serious risk for individuals with a history of psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia when they combine their medication with yage because the DMT present in the medicinal concoction could exacerbate pre-existing mental illnesses.

Ayahuasca Tea vs. DMT

Lots of people get these 2 confused as DMT aka n n-dimethyltryptamine is the pure form of the molecule (white powder) where people smoke it. And ayahuasca is the brew that is used in the Amazons by the shamans and its taken orally. Ayahuasca tea contains DMT. Monoamine oxidases is the b. caapi use in ayahuaca vine for your body to digest DMT orally.

Both of these are the same chemical and it brings you to the same space, however, they have different effect when taken. DMT blasts you off and it lasts somewhere between 10-15 minutes and it is much more intense. On the other hand, ayahuasca tea lasts longer. The time frame is anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on how you prepared and how much you ingested.

Moments after inhaling hit can be visibly bigger and then your excursion will ensue. The DMT starts to activate the serotonin receptors within your brain as it enters your body. It converts the hormones released by these receptors into compounds that are psychedelic. You start to hallucinate when these compounds that are psychedelic enter into the blood stream. The serotonin receptor that is most responsible for these effects that are psychedelic is the 5-HT2A receptor but the 5-HT2C receptor may also plays a large role in the overall effect of the drug.

The are several different hallucinations that a person will experience while in your lifetime you may experience under the effect of DMT, but nearly all can agree it’s among the strongest excursions. It has been said, unlike LSD, when you trip on Ayahuasca tea, there isn’t even a shred of reality that is ordinary. It is as when you have gone to another planet which is nothing like this World. The language the use in that space is emotions and vibrations. The drug is a whole sensory overload. Generally your coordination is negatively impacted, so most people sit or lie during their whole excursion. It’s believed the most people experience an enjoyably excursion to a different world while on Ayahuasca tea.

Can You Have a Bad Trip?

In short, you can have a bad trip. For this reason you have to prepare as much as possible before taking it. Such as good mental health, proper diet, and good physical health conditions  prior to taking it. People with heart conditions should be very careful because ayahuasca tea can increase heart rate. Serotonin syndrome is also a side effect.

Others see distorted versions of devils or unpleasant creatures that don’t have any good intentions. They never have anything pleasant to express, if what the evil creature is saying is in a perceptible language the man has the capability to understand. Sometimes they say things that are awful and will threaten you. Just about any kind of nightmarish creature, thing or scenario in the head can create can become as real as the nose on your face while on this powerful drug. The borders of that which you can hallucinate have no limits, but are typically otherworldly and look like nothing of this Earth. Sometimes these bad trips that just last five or ten minutes in reality, can feel like hours, even occasionally DAYS to the individual experiencing it. The idea of being trapped in a nightmare within your own head for what seems like hours is a nightmare by itself. This is why you have to use ayahuasca tea with a good intended and well trained shaman.

What Does a Good Ayahuasca Trip Feel Like?

An excellent trip using ayahuasca vine is not easy to describe, but one word that appears fitting is undoubtedly “beautiful”. Where you may go on your own trip that is short and everything you see has no boundaries. Wherever you are and whatever else is around you will not look anything like it did before you began tripping. It’s going to seem like nothing of the Earth, completely unrecognizable. Sometimes everything around you may simply melt into a pool of colors to the ground, while the remaining world looks like a smeared canvas painting. Most things seem brighter than ordinary and appear to get light or something that somehow looks like “energy” radiating off of whatever.

People additionally have the appearance of being encompassed by energy as well, much more so than inanimate objects. While tripping while looking at individuals is a little overwhelming, even while on a trip that is good.

Colorful, geometric structures that go or swirl, sometimes in the model of a person or life form that is unknown is one of the most typical hallucinations. These geometric shapes have the same energy as other items along with individuals pulsating off of them as they move about, most likely to music that’s either actually playing or just playing within your mind. It is common for a person or life-form to speak to you, usually not saying much, when you hallucinate them. Their messages are short and sweet, usually containing some sort of advice or enlightenment. Occasionally these life forms talk in what can only be described as the language of the people.

The high accompanied using the DMT is extremely similar to the one that LSD produces but a tad more extreme. Your limbs your entire interior warm, maybe a couple of butterflies in your belly, your heart rate goes up, absolutely no physical pain feel pleasant and tingly and generally you feel very euphoric. It’ll also affect your blood pressure. Overall, this is a rather enjoyable high that some say continues for up after the psychedelic effects of the drug have worn off.

Your decision to take DMT should not be a rash one. It is wise to have ayahuasca ceremony with someone for your first time. The guide that show you during your trip should be trusted, have good intentions  and should not be under the impact. This person can help show you through a bad trip. You ought to also make other suitable preparations before taking this plant medicine like finding an environment that is safe, comfortable and preferably very recognizable. The easiest way to really have a bad trip would be to be within an uncomfortable, foreign environment. When in doubt, take deep breathes.

You’ll have many health benefits after ceremony. You can find 11 reasons to take ayahuasca here. Whether you have a bad or good ayahuasca tea experience, you will still get massive healing. Both emotional and physical healing. Most people with depression will feel better, and alive as if their spirit came back to their body.

Safety Tips Before You Use Yage

Even if the use of ayahuasca is safe, one still needs to take caution because using psychedelic drugs could present side effects as ayahuasca may affect your health conditions, in particular, your blood pressure or heart rate.

Taking an ayahuasca trip to South America will not be worth it if you will only suffer from tons of side effects, so take this medical advice to avoid the adverse effects that many people suffer from substance use.

• Do not combine it with alcohol or any other drug
• Avoid driving or operating machine
• Judgment and motor coordination is a requirement
• Never take it alone, in case you need medical help or assistance
• Persons with mental health issues should avoid it


Ayahuasca is a powerful brew that can heal various physical illnesses and improve one’s mental health. It can also help one improve his spiritual side and overall quality of life. The plant material is generally safe, but it has psychedelic effects that result in one experiencing hallucinations. One may see visions, hear sounds, and encounter an out-of-body experience.

However, there are concerns about its safety. There are few reports about some participants dying from it. Iowaska tea is generally safe and the reported incidents are not directly related to the tea. Nevertheless, it’s still best for one to take caution before taking the brew. Those taking anti-psychotic pills are advised to avoid using ayahuasca because they are at risk as the concoction could aggravate their condition.

If you are looking for ayahuasca tea or wish to learn more about this indigenous tea from South America, you should check our Ayahuasca kit and tea page.