Why Ayahuasca Doesn’t Work: 13 Reasons Mother Aya Didn’t Heal You

Have you heard stories from people who claim that they take ayahuasca but experience no results? Do you want to understand why there are no guaranteed results despite the thousands of testimonies that it is life-changing?

Thousands of people reported positive experiences with ayahuasca concerning their physical and mental health. According to them, ayahuasca freed them from addiction, relieved them from pain, and comforted them from their depression anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.

However, many were also disappointed because according to them, the ayahuasca tea didn’t work. They were expecting to experience transformation, but they encountered horrible and traumatic visions that haunted them for weeks and even months.

Why are they experiencing the opposite? Do you have the same traumatic experience with Mother Ayahuasca? So, why drinking ayahuasca didn’t work for you?

Why Some Don’t Experience Any Changes After Taking Ayahuasca

Just like any medication, people may have different interactions with it. So, you should not expect to experience the same healing and transformation like the others. It is understandable to hope for similar positive transformation especially if it’s what you hear from every man or friend you spoke to.

There are many ayahuasca ceremonies and stories online that even before you could attend one, you already knew what to expect. With enough research and reading, you will find everything you want to learn about the ayahuasca ceremony, shamans, and more online.

Unfortunately, that information still does not guarantee that you will experience the same result because Mother Ayahuasca works differently in every person. Ayahausca is unpredictable!

For those wondering, why drinking ayahuasca didn’t work for them, here are some suggested reasons from Reddit and DMT Times(1)https://dmttimes.com/articles/2019/12/27/6-reasons-ayahuasca-may-not-be-working-for-you.

1. Wrong expectations

When you drink ayahuasca, you were too determined on a specific outcome. Or you had concrete expectations of how the trip should look like or how the plant spirit should work on you and when it didn’t happen, you thought it didn’t work.

There are a lot of stories and testimonials about ayahuasca that give you enough picture of what happens during a ceremony. If you research it, you will find many readings about the ayahuasca brew, what it does and how it works.
The typical experiences of the participants include hallucinations and seeing shapes, colors, animals and more. However, you should not limit your potential ayahuasca experience from what you read or heard because the ayahuasca brew might work differently on you.

2. Not what you need

Ayahuasca might not be the substance you need at least at the time. If drinking ayahuasca didn’t work for you, you can try other medicinal plants like Magic Mushrooms or an Ayahuasca Analogue (Peganum Harmala + Mimosa Hostilis). You can put it this way, while this plant medicine works for many, it’s not for everyone.

Also, if you are taking prescribed medication, you should not drink ayahuasca because it might result in adverse effects. In general, taking ayahuasca carries health risks, so you should disclose any serious medical condition. According to an Amazonian plant healer, it’s best not to take any other substances or herbal or natural medicines with ayahuasca.

Furthermore, do not drink ayahuasca if you have mental illnesses like bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder because it would be very risky for you. There is a much higher risk of psychotic breakdown.

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3. You were not ready or the effects are delayed

You were not yet ready for the experience. One shaman said it took her many sessions and about a year before she started feeling the effects of ayahuasca. The plant spirit worked on her body and energy system, but only when she was ready did she start having visions and noticing the transformation in her life.

Some ayahuasca experts agreed about the delay of the ayahuasca effect. In fact, for them, ayahuasca works and it’s not true that there is “no effect” at all. However, they believed that it just takes longer or the effects are just delayed. Unfortunately, those who were expecting immediate results interpreted it differently — they thought, ayahuasca didn’t work.

It might take you more ayahuasca ceremonies to see the wonders of the ayahuasca tea or experience the transformed life you desire. But no matter what, it’s best if you give ayahuasca a chance by attending more retreats. You can also ask the shaman to give you more ayahuasca tea during the session for a stronger result.

Give ayahuasca time and you will soon see how it will turn your life upside-down in ways you never imagined but will eventually appreciate.

4. Poor intention

Some people were called by the plant spirit through dreams, synchronicities or strong compulsion for healing. However, ayahuasca and DMT are experiencing soaring popularity and chances are high that people who are not ready for them will hear about them anyway especially that they are intriguing and many often talked about them.

Remember, you are working with a very intelligent plant spirit that can read your DNA, your mind, emotional state and even soul. Your intention is very important in your healing and if you have wrong intentions, then the plant would not work for you.

The intention that you put into the tea could hold back the plant spirit from working. It could be that your intention came from an ego desire or was more than what the spirit could do. Make sure that you have the best and purest intention and ayahuasca will not fail you.

5. Unable to surrender to the experience

Ego is a powerful force and its desire to control yourself will make it impossible for you to let go and welcome the plant medicine to work its wonder in you. You have to surrender to Mother Aya and stop analyzing everything that is happening instead of predetermining all possible parameters.

If your ego is too strong, you may not experience anything at all because you will resist the experience. Or you might find yourself being overwhelmed by emotions or visions causing disorientation, resistance, anxiety or panic. When you find yourself feeling that way, go back to your intention why you seek ayahuasca it could be for healing, discovery, or direction in life.

You have to welcome the medicinal plant and let it work because if you spend the session fighting the experience, you are unlikely to experience any changes at all.

For some, their ayahuasca experience did not work because they were too afraid of the trip that they subconsciously block the work that the plant spirits could have done on them. If you react to the medicinal plant, in the same way, chances are you will also experience the same result — no changes!

6. Ineffective ayahuasca tea

If you were the one or someone new made the ayahuasca tea or brew at home then chances are high that it wasn’t done correctly that’s why it didn’t work. Bear in mind that the DMT present in the plant is not active by itself. You need to add MAOI in the brew to make the plant works.

However, you should note that ayahuasca tea contains the chacruna plant, which is a psychedelic substance called DMT that creates the experience. Unfortunately, DMT is illegal in most countries, but certain religious organizations are allowed to use DMT.

It’s best if you work with an ayahuasca retreat center or shaman who is familiar with the whole ayahuasca ritual. The ayahuasca preparation alone needs intention, it has to be done in a certain way to make it work. But if you have already done it before and want to take ayahuasca again, there are ayahuasca tea kits that you can conveniently purchase, so you can create your brew conveniently at home within minutes.

7. You skipped the recommended dieta

There is a recommended diet and abstinence protocol days or weeks leading up to the ayahuasca ceremony. There are certain food and drinks that should be avoided to let the ayahuasca spirit does its wonders.

The recommended dieta is a clean diet that is usually comprised of vegan, fish, chicken and fasting. The ayahuasca deita can intensify the results of the plant spirit, so you will surely feel a difference and experience the power of ayahuasca.

8. Compatibility issues

There are cases when people don’t experience anything after taking ayahuasca and it could be due to compatibility or simply how their body chemistry responds to the chemical composition of ayahuasca brew. Maybe it has something to do with their readiness or their mind’s reaction. Some ayahuasca users shared that they had to take mega-doses of ayahuasca during a ceremony, but they still don’t encounter a dramatic experience.

If you are inviting a friend or anyone to join you in an ayahuasca retreat, make sure to research with them and inform them ahead about the process and the contraindications especially if they have any medical history — transparency is crucial. It’s best if you also consider their compatibility with ayahuasca because it can either help or worsen their condition.

9. You’re a first-timer

Many noticed an instant effect the first time they drink ayahuasca, but don’t be surprised if you don’t experience any changes on your first try because that’s normal.

The expectation about ayahuasca altering lives is understandable given that it’s what we most read online. But you should not feel bad if after drinking ayahuasca you don’t feel any difference because you’re more likely not alone. Actually, many people took ayahuasca and didn’t experience any changes after the ceremony.

Suzannah Weiss is one of them and she only realized that it was normal when the group talked about their experience. She learned during the group discussion with the shamans that three others of the 26 people experience the same — the ceremony has “no effect” on them at all.

If you haven’t used ayahuasca tea before, the MAO in your GI tract may not be completely blocked and some of the DMT might be broken down by your digestive system instead of going to your brain, that’s why first time users are less likely to have an effect.

Shaman Phillia Kim Downs, who has been consulting with people about their ayahuasca experiences for six years and participated in 44 ceremonies agreed that first-timers are less likely to see an effect that’s why she recommends trying ayahuasca at least twice. So, book yourself for at least two ayahuasca ceremonies or visit more ayahuasca retreat centers to maximize the benefits of ayahuasca in your life.

10. You smoke too much weed

There seems to be a direct correlation between smoking too much weed and reduced ayahuasca experience. Those who regularly smoke weed or had a joint on the day of the ayahuasca ceremony didn’t have deep ayahuasca experience. In fact, some of them had to drink several cups of ayahuasca tea more than everyone for a minimal experience. Others said there were no changes at all.

Smoking marijuana before the ayahuasca session may stupefy and darken the overall experience, acting as a blockage for the visionary plant to manifest in the fullest way, according to Temple of the Way of Light(2)https://templeofthewayoflight.org/downloads/Medical-Contraindications-with-Ayahuasca.pdf. Also, given the heightened sensitivity during the session, marijuana’s negative effect can potentially affect the other participants’ experience and the overall energy of the medicine circle. So, it’s best to stay away from it weeks before the ceremony.

There is no concrete evidence to support the claim above, but it’s best not to take weed and ayahuasca together. Just put it this way, if you are working with one medicine, let it do its thing and not compete with another plant spirit that could minimize its physiological benefits.

11. Aphantasia or mind blindness

Others don’t experience ayahuasca’s powerful effect because they have trouble visualizing internally and they fail to perceive DMT visions. They might have encountered an emotional experience but without visions.

If you are prone to this condition, it’s best to relinquish your expectations around visions and perceive the experience in other ways. You can also try to detox by applying the recommended ayahuasca dieta.

12. You are not doing the healing work

The real healing starts after the ceremony and it’s when your intention is really tested. Ayahuasca may highlight and work on blockages on various levels, but it only serves as a guide. You should be clear with your intention for healing and Mother Aya will be happy to show you what you need to do to achieve your goal. The hard part is putting what she has shown into practice especially when you are triggered or facing challenges.

Although ayahuasca tea has the power to move and inspire you, it actually only leads the way, and eventually, you need to do the work. You won’t reap results if you leave everything to Mother Aya.

Many misunderstood the process by leaving everything to the plant medicine, but those who got the message knew that they had to do something to achieve the healing they desire.

Anne Palmer(3)https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/11/ayahuasca-didnt-heal-me-i-am-healing-me/ shared her experience with this medicinal pant where she penned an article entitled “Ayahuasca didn’t Heal Me. I am Healing Me.” Palmer had been working with plant medicine for a year due to her cyclical addiction of bulimia and disordered eating patterns.

For her, ayahuasca brought her back to feeling the pain that other types of therapy hadn’t even gotten close to scratching. The community and relationship with the people involved including a group of other seekers and the shaman amplified the ayahuasca experience and healing process. Two years later, she is recovering from her health issues. But she credited herself for her healing.

“Ayahuasca didn’t heal me though. I healed—and I am healing—me. I say this in the most humbling way possible. Plant medicine was a tool. A resource for me to connect deeper. To show me how to feel again,” she wrote.

13.You didn’t do the integration process

As mentioned above, healing starts after the ceremony and you can only sustain and fully recover from your baggage and health issues if you continue the recovery process even after your ayahuasca sessions. You’ve got to do something to keep the momentum or at least keep the power of the plant medicine in your system and you can do that through integration!

In the integration process, getting support for your experiences after the retreat is very essential. Some will immediately notice reduced anxiety, a calmer disposition, more peaceful mind and a healthier body. However, not everyone could keep the progress. In fact, even those who immediately experience positive changes found themselves stuck after a couple of weeks or months.

For the integration process, you can visit an ayahuasca community or keep in touch with the shamans, people, or group you were with during the retreat. You’ll be surprised at how having support is very useful in the healing and integration process after attending ayahuasca ceremonies.

Here are some tips for post-ayahuasca integration.

Why Ayahuasca Won’t Heal You

There are several stories about ayahuasca’s healing power. Many testified that it worked in helping them return to their best shape and health. However, many were also disappointed because they were expecting too much from it, but it didn’t work.

So, are you wondering why ayahuasca sometimes doesn’t work? There are different speculations and opinions about it and here are some of them.

According to Reena Gagneja(4)https://qr.ae/pG8UWS, a soul plan reader and spiritual mentor, ayahuasca gives you what you’re ready to handle. So, the healing that you get, depends on your intention, sincerity, level of ego and level of humility. Aya could also surprise you beyond what you expected.

Scott Rennie(5)https://qr.ae/pG8ULG, who has been attending regular ayahuasca ceremonies for five years, believes that one doesn’t experience healing immediately because it’s a process. Healing takes time and one can’t force it. For instance, if you have been living an unhealthy lifestyle in the 20, 30 or 40 years, expecting overnight healing is absurd.

It’s likely that ayahuasca works but it’s not done yet. Rennie likened it to cutting the knot in one go. Psychologically it could lead to a psychotic break because there’s nothing that could hold one together. For the same reason, Buddhist practice so slowly over decades because they believe one can’t just drop their ego on the spot permanently or they will never recover.

Ayahuasca will give you a taste of that egoless state and will answer specific questions about your life to find healing. However, you’ve got to do your part, find the deeper roots, take your time and work what’s needed to be done and let the healing begin.

In general, the effects of ayahuasca can be subjective.

When Ayahuasca Doesn’t Work

There are several reasons when ayahuasca doesn’t work and the reason could be down to you who is taking it or due to other factors at play that influence ayahuasca’s effectiveness. In most cases, it has something to do with your lifestyle or how your body responds to it.

Many were disappointed because they didn’t experience the things they read after taking ayahuasca. They felt that they were scammed because the medicinal plant didn’t work for them. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Actually, there are instances when the plant still works but the effects are delayed.

James Giordano, professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center, and Downs both disputed the claims that someone can truly have “no effect” after taking ayahuasca. Both believed that those individuals are experiencing a slight or delayed effect only.

According to Suzannah Weiss(6)https://www.vice.com/en/article/yw55jj/ayahuasca-had-no-effects, the morning after her first ceremony, she woke up and started brawling. She initially thought she was upset for going all the way to the jungle in South America and not feeling the ayahuasca effects. However, another participant informed her that her feelings were disproportionate to the situation, so she took advantage of her emotional rawness and had a good cry. She later felt the calmness she seldom feels and was suddenly at peace. There was a rare sense of inner peace over the months since her first ayahuasca retreat.


Ayahuasca’s effects are subjective, so you should not expect to have the same experience as anyone else. Also, your perspective, expectations, intentions, and even the way your body responds to the medicinal plant matter. You have to follow the recommended dieta and even the integration process post-ayahuasca to really feel the effect. There are various reasons ayahuasca doesn’t work, but many ayahuasca professionals believe that it’s not true that the medicinal plant doesn’t work at all. For them, it works, but the effects are delayed.

Ayahuasca is an effective tool for your physical, mental and spiritual recovery, but you still need to do your part to fully embrace the transformation it offers. Trust Mother Ayahuasca to lead you to the road of recovery, proclaim your freedom from depression, anxiety, addiction and trauma because ayahuasca is the medicine that you need. Drug addicts, sick people, and even people with PTSD have nothing but positive experiences with it. It transformed their world, helped them transition to better persons, and achieve the best version of themselves.

If you need to learn more about ayahuasca, please check our homepage.


  • quora.com/What-are-the-reasons-why-ayahuasca-tea-doesnt-work
  • dmttimes.com/articles/2019/12/27/6-reasons-ayahuasca-may-not-be-working-for-you
  • highsnobiety.com/p/ayahuasca-ceremony-scam/
  • bbc.com/news/stories-51053580
  • iceers.org/Documents_ICEERS_site/Scientific_Papers/ayahuasca/Rafael_Guimares_The%20Ethnopharmacology_of_Ayahuasca/EthnopharmAyahuasca_Chapter6.pdf
  • elephantjournal.com/2019/11/ayahuasca-didnt-heal-me-i-am-healing-me/


1 https://dmttimes.com/articles/2019/12/27/6-reasons-ayahuasca-may-not-be-working-for-you
2 https://templeofthewayoflight.org/downloads/Medical-Contraindications-with-Ayahuasca.pdf
3 https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/11/ayahuasca-didnt-heal-me-i-am-healing-me/
4 https://qr.ae/pG8UWS
5 https://qr.ae/pG8ULG
6 https://www.vice.com/en/article/yw55jj/ayahuasca-had-no-effects