Ayahuasca Medicine

1. Definition

Ayahuasca is defined as Medicine by the south american indigenous for thousands of years. The definition of “medicine” while referred to Ayahuasca can be found in between two official definitions from the Oxford dictionary, which are the following:

A. A drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease.

B. (Among North American Indians and some other peoples) a spell, charm, or fetish believed to have healing, protective, or other power.

Ayahuasca stays in the middle of these meanings, as it cures physical, mental and emotional disorders, as complementary aspects of “health”, which according to the 1978 definition of the World Health Organization (WHO), is a state of “biological, psychological and social well-being”, what is known as the “bio-psycho-social model.”

Ayahuasca extends the common concept of “medicine as it aims to put order into the body, mind and spirit with the past, present and future. Ayahuasca is not meant to be a replacement for western medicines nor do we try to “westernize” it, as its approach to the healing process of a person involves a completely different paradigm.

2. Treatments

The efficiency of Ayahuasca intaking has been highly experimented and proved  in ritual contexts for certain ailments and disordersmany of them related to Addictions and depression. Even though there is not a complete scientific backup or research regarding physical diseases, there are so many cases of cancer remission after the intake of Ayahuasca that we cannot and should not ignore this.

“There are many thousands of cases in which people have been healed of physical, mental and emotional disorders, and many curious cases of recovery from grave and even fatal disorders. There is much to investigate about the healing properties of ayahuasca. A large number of people have been cured of addictions through a few ayahuasca ceremonies, and the cases of post-ayahuasca cancer remission are too numerous to ignore.”
[more info]

More detailed information about the physical illness treatments and the effects of Ayahuasca can be found in an interesting article: Scientist Believes Psychedelic Plant Medicine Ayahuasca Can Cure Cancer.
More sources of information about scientific approach of the ayahuasca healing effects can be found at these links:

3. Origins

The origins of the Ayahuasca medicine have been tracked only since the 16th Century, when the first missionaries from Portugal and Spain reached the native populations of South America, but  the real birth of this powerful plant combination can be traced back  to a much older tradition: based on the pottery found with traces of the Medicine, the age of the tradition can be thousands of years older.
However we consider that the best source of information are the shamans themselves, according to them the real origin of the knowledge are the plants themselves.

4. Preparation

Ayahuasca as a brew is most commonly made up of two essentials ingredients: the leaves of a plant containing the hormone “dimethyltriptamine” (DMT), most often Psychotria Viridis (Chacruna), which is also naturally secreted in the human brain. DMT, when taken orally however, is broken down by the “monoamine oxydase”  (MAO) enzyme in the stomach. To prevent this, the “Banisteriopsis Caapi”, the Ayahuasca vine, is mixed with the leaves which protects the DMT from this MAO.

The shaman can alter this brew by adding or taking away various different indigenous plants to tailor his medicine to his own spiritual and physical desires for his ceremony.

Citation from “The Shaman’s Last Apprentice” (Rebekah Shaman)[http://www.rebekahshaman.com/]


It’s very important that the Shaman that is going to serve the brew has cooked it his or herself. During the preparation it’s necessary to break up the bark of the vine of the Banisteriopsis Caapi and use it to cover the bottom of a large pan with it. The bark will then be covered with the leaves of the Chacruna and this sequence of layers will be repeated until the pan is full.

The pan is then filled with nearly 40 litres of water and is placed on a straight fire to cook for about 8 hours, stirring once in a while. After this time the brew is filtered, removing the solid material and keeping the dark brown liquid which is the medicine.

Many other plants can been added to this mix in order to obtain different results, for example:

  • Remo Caspi bark: Added with the intention to remove dark energies
  • Wyra Caspi bark: for purging purposes and relax, focused on the gastro-intestinal disorders
  • Shiwawaku bark: added to the brew it brings protection and healing
  • Huacapurana: by evoking the spirtit of Amazonian giants, provide a strong grounding presence in the ceremony.
  • Capirona bark: obtained from a plant with white flowers and hard wood, it is added with the intention to strengthen the protection and cleansing effect of the Medicine.
  • Chullachaki Caspi bark (Brysonima christianeae): Provides cleansing to the physical body.
  • Camu camu Gigante: To protect against dark energy
  • Tamamuri: Head spirit who looks like an old Asian warrior with a long, white, wispy beard. He carries a staff and manages thousands of spirits to protect the ceremony and send away energies that are purged from the participants.
  • Uchu Sanango: Provides power, strength, and protection.
  • Lopuna Blanca bark: Provides protection. It’s head spirits take the form of giants.
  • Punga Amarilla bark: Yellow Punga. Provides protection. Used to pull or draw out negative spirits or energies.

Other common ingredients to the medicine are Mapacho, a variety of pure, organic Tobacco which is used with the purpose of cleaning energies by feeding the spirit, or Ilex guayusa, a plant with a high level of caffeine, that helps the participants to stay awake during the night rituals.

At Maya Ayahuasca Retreat we ensure the highest quality of our medicine which is prepared on site by our shaman and ourselves containing exclusively Banisteriopsis Caapi, Psychotria viridis and Mapacho.

Due to the highly increasing tourism looking for the most psychedelic experience with ayahuasca, some shamans have started to add another plant, Brugmansia (Toé or Datura), which is very well known for its powerful hallucinogenic effects. We strongly recommend avoiding the retreats making use of this plant or not declaring which ingredients are being used for their medicine due to it’s powerful effect that can sometimes take an inexperienced drinker away from the very nature of Ayahuasca herself.