The science behind Ayahuasca - Blog

The Science Behind Ayahuasca

Amazon’s sacred plant is known for saving years of therapy in a few or sometimes one ceremony due to its psychological and spiritual healing properties. What’s the science behind Ayahuasca?

Globally thousands of travellers are getting inspired to try alternative ways for mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing as it is common that western – traditional therapies are not working on a deeper level, and modern lifestyle is numbing their feelings. 

People hear a strong call for healing and travel miles away from home, entering into a deep inner journey in the Amazon of South America, surrendering to the hands of grandmother Ayahuasca that, it is said, has the answers you are seeking. 

What makes this beverage so interesting?

First, let me walk you through the components of the plant and the link with human mind complexity.

Ayahuasca means “the vine of the soul”, is a thick brew that is carefully prepared with the mixing of two principal plants of the Amazon jungle; Banisteriopsis caapi (which is the ayahuasca vine itself) and Psychotria Viridis (most known in the jungle as Chakruna), and it may have more added medicinal plants according to the curandero’s or (shaman) recipe. 

The process starts by boiling the plants for several hours with a conscious intention connecting with the spirit of the plant and sending prayers, this is done solely by the Ayahuascero(a) who has already the knowledge according to his lineage, that comes from thousands of years of working with this plant. 

The magic alchemy happens when the molecules of these plants are passed to the water. 

None of them has hallucinogenic effects alone when ingesting separately, but when they are mixed the Alkaloids from Ayahuasca vine work as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) inactivating the enzymes from our gut (MAOs) that normally its function is to deactivate the DMT in our bodies. The Chakruna on the other hand, has N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) the psychedelic chemical structurally similar to serotonin.

Normally our bodies produce DMT but it doesn’t cause an effect on us because it is inhibited by the enzymes of our gut. 

So the marriage of these two main components creates the Hallucinogenic effect of the brew, one prepares the space for the other to blossom, allowing the DMT to enter your bloodstream and eventually cross the blood-brain barrier where the interesting part begins. 

When the effect takes place?

After around an hour, the drink starts to take effect with a peaking point of 120 minutes more or less, beginning sensations of nausea and physical discomfort that most of the times lead to purging, which is considered a very important component of the healing process as it purifies the body and releases stagnant energy and old beliefs that were stuck inside. 

Almost immediately after that, the hallucination starts together with deep introspection, the interesting part is that unlike other psychoactive substances, with Ayahuasca there is still an awareness of your altered state of consciousness, which allows the person to be the observer of the experience that inclines to a change of perspective regarding his problems and that’s when the healing takes place. 

Due to the increase of serotonin and dopamine, there is an increased sense of happiness, love, and expansion of consciousness that is the Ayahuasca effect itself. 

The most important key

However, by no means, this should be taken as a recreational psychedelic. There has to be caution and self-responsibility with your healing. 

If you are thinking of taking Ayahuasca, use this information as a start point to research further, and be able to get the best of the science behind Ayahuasca. 

Remember, Ayahuasca it’s a great tool, but you are responsible for your healing. 


Written by: Vera Lucia Zamora

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