Ayahuasca, infamous for its effect on mind that results in to altered, amplified consciousness, has gained mass attention throughout the world. People from around the world seem to travel Iquitos, Peru to seek spiritual catharsis or may be to just blew their heads off.
Ayahuasca, also known as yage, is a blend of two plants, the Ayahuasca vine and the shrub called chacruna which contains hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine. It is this reason Ayahuasca is illegal in USA and UK. Ayahuasca can have a serious implication for someone who has already suffered from metal health problem.
But then in some tribes of South America ayahuasca is an integral part of the society. In the year 2008, the Peru government recognized the ayahuasca’s status and called it the basic pillar of the identity of the Amazon peoples. According to the Peru government, consumption of the ‘teacher’or the ‘wisdom’ plant opens the portal to spiritual world and its secrets. Traditional Amazon medicines have been based around Ayahuasca rituals.
‘Ayahuasca tourism’ is quite famous and well established in South America. Thousands of foreigners each year flock to Peru to take ayahuasca.
There is very little scientific evidence available about clinical benefits of ayahuasca. At many places ayahuasca has become an important tool to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction and depression. Most of the people seek ayahuasca with good intention. These people are not thrill seekers but are only curious or serious or are dealing with specific conditions such as depression. Having ayahuasca is not a very pleasing experience or fun at all. It puts your body through the wringer, both emotionally and physically.
According to McKenna, who visited Peru to witness the midnight ceremony, wasn’t very keen for the party. He was just curious about the local ritual. He found that members of the Colombian community meet together to drink teacher plant and be part of the healing process. According to him, though it was a group, but the experience was mostly singular. He said he found his own space after drinking the bitter mixture. People were lying on the mattress or watching the fire to the sound of Andean musicians.
Few people vomited at times, some cried and some slept. But most of the people were silent with only music coming from the shaman. McKenna spent several hours in consciousness but in dreamy state. It wasn’t a sickening moment for him, neither he was physically uncomfortable or disoriented at that time.
Many other travelers said the effect was similar to LSD which is often now used recreationally. For some the experience was hugely enlightening but challenging at the same time.
Ayahuasca is legal only in Peru as part of their spiritual ceremony. It is not recommended to be taken unsupervised. Ayahuasca is not for everybody, since the experience can be intense. Though the spirit landscape might sound beautiful, it is overwhelming at the same time. Ayahuasca is believed to put the body, mind and the spirit in order with the past, present and the future.