It’s been 60,000 years since the humans been using psychoactive substances such as opium, cannabis and ephedra as both medicine and in spiritual ceremonies and now abusing it as a recreational drug just to elevate dopamine and serotonin in our brains to feel unnecessary feelings of pleasure and joy. These mind-altering and mind-bending substances are now destroying mostly the youth and the other ages of humans too around the world because of their addicting and tolerant properties. Today, we are going to know about a ceremonial tea or wine which is mostly used in ceremonial spiritual medicine mostly in South-American (pan-Amazonian) countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Brazil by indigenous people and around the world too as a recreational drug, AYAHUASCA.
In the Quechua languages, “Aya” means spirit, soul or corpse, dead boy and “Waska” means “rope, “woody vine” or liana”. After coining it as single term “Ayahuasca or Ayawaska”, it means “Wine of the spirits” or “liana of the spirits”. It is also referred to as “la purge” which means cure for one’s spirit, due to the belief that it cures the soul, because it allows one a deep introspective journey that allows the user to examine their emotions and way of thinking.
Evidence of the earliest use of Ayahuasca is from 1,000 years ago, when the bundle containing residue of Ayahuasca Ingredients and various other shamanic substances found in the cave in southwestern Bolivia, discovered in 2010. The earliest reports of 16th centuries missionaries from Christian community of Spain encountered indigenous western Amazonian basin South-Americans using Ayahuasca describing it as “THE WORK OF DEVIL”.
It Is prepared by sections Bani stereopsis caapi vine when they are macerated and boiled alone or with leaves from any number of other plants, including psychotria viridis and diplopterys cabrerana which has the powerful psychoactive chemical naturally present in them which is known as DMT (dimethyltryptamine) and MAO inhibiting harmala alkaloids which are necessary to make DMT orally active. It can also be mixed plants which don not contain DMT such as justicia pectoralis, Brugmansia or the sacred tobacco also known as mapacho or sometimes left with no other replacements to DMT. These brews radically vary from one batch to another, both in potency and psychoactive state depending on the skills of shaman or brewer. Brewing this takes several hours maybe taking the time more than one day. After adding the plant separately at this stage to a large pot of water until it gets boiled and reduced to half of its volume. The individual brews are then mixed up together and brewed until its ready to drink by the participants of Ayahuasca ceremonies. The Shamans leads the ceremonies which is of the entire night and its effect lasts for hours. Vomiting and diarrhea is accompanied and is believed to be the release of built-up emotions and negative energy. It is a brown reddish drink with a strong and a foul taste and the scientific evidence on Ayahuasca is limited although it is known for activating repressed memories in many ways allowing one to understand his/her pasts. In some cases, it helps people to work through memories of traumatic events.
Its not a dream drug as no drug is, it is very dangerous as its difficult to measure its intensity as the batches vary in potency. In addition to physical condition such as intense nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, it involves out of body hallucination and altered perception of hearing, feeling and seeing things which are not real. Most of its users has reported hallucinations that are mimic near-death experiences. Research has been going on its long-term effects but as it is a strong hallucinogen, effects maybe Persistent Psychosis and hallucinogen persistent perception disorder. Additionally, some researchers have found Ayahuasca to be causing changes in brain structure and personality. Although the risk of developing addiction and tolerance towards Ayahuasca is relatively low but behavioral addiction can still occur as some users who are taking increased amounts of it by every time they use are generally spending more and more time of securing the stash of Ayahuasca should seek addiction treatment as this hallucinogen can cause severe brain damages.
There had been several incidents of sexual assaults and abuses in ceremonies by healers and one the most known example is of the Psychology and Anthropology Major Rebekah Senanayake who released an article “Great Shamanic Deception – Using the Ayahuasca as a conduit for Sexual fulfilment” on Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines website in April 2019. She wrote that she was travelling through Peru in 2015 when she first tried the Ayahuasca in a retreat she felt was good and nice, she noticed she was the only woman there and the male healer was paying special attention to her and after a year she went there again, the same healer was performing ceremonies and once again he gave special attention and treatment to her. He began over her in her visions, in a position of dominance and convincing her that he had a need of her special gifts. In the community of Ayahuasca, the Healers are often believed as higher authorities and nobody can question them. Senanayake described it as that the healer is portrayed as all-encompassing power and supremacy. The healers are able use this to their own benefit, preying on the insecurities and problems of participants or patients for the space of healing to further their own agenda. Senanayake said once the 50-year-old healer established the dynamic power with Senanayake, he said it was her duty to cure him from his sexual malfunctions. He coerced her into sexual acts until she realized the violation after years.