History of Ayahuasca Plant Medicine
From the Quechua word for “vine of the souls,” the Ayahuasca plant owes its name to the divine spiritual healing powers it is believed to possess. This medicinal plant grows meters in length as it strives for the light at the top of the Amazonian tree canopy. The Ayahuasca is primarily located in the tropical jungles of Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Columbia and produces small blue flowers that emerge during the rainy season.
For centuries, the vine has been used in traditional healing and spiritual ceremonies amongst the tribes in the Amazonian Basin. A paste is produced from sections of the vine that are boiled to activate the medicinal ingredients. This paste is then combined with other plant materials to create a tea.
The natural active medicinal ingredients release the mind and help people enter an alternative state of consciousness. The tea is consumed during special ceremonies, typically led by a Shaman. The Shaman is an experienced natural healer and guides the individual through the Ayahuasca experience, taking them on a euphoric journey. The tradition of this healing process has endured and is still practiced throughout America.
Benefits of Plant Medicine
At Revela Retreats, we understand the action of these ancient materials on the body and how to use them for maximum medicinal benefit. Plant medicine using Ayahuasca displays similar activity to natural mood chemicals within the brain that promote the feeling of happiness, joy, and pleasure. This active ingredient is N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a psychedelic substance present throughout the plant and animal kingdoms.
On its own, this molecule is short-lived within the human body. However, the Ayahuasca vine can be combined with the leaves of the Chacruna plant to enhance the Ayahuasca experience. The presence of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are within Chacruna, prohibit the breakdown of DMT and prolong the Ayahuasca effects. The active ingredients in these materials work in unison on the central nervous system, creating positive feelings that can last several hours.
The Ayahuasca experience will vary between individuals. However, it is commonly reported that while exposed to the Ayahuasca medicine there is an overwhelming feeling of clarity, self-understanding, euphoria, heightened sensory perception, and an overall improvement in mental wellbeing. This experience allows individuals to feel comfortable with self-reflection and exploring the potential root causes which may have led to, or contribute to, certain psychiatric conditions.
Due to the neurological influence of this brew, the treatment is beneficial for sufferers of anxiety, depression, psychological trauma, and addiction. Ayahuasca releases individuals from the grip of these conditions and can lead to an improved quality of life and a feeling of self-worth. Our plant medicine treatments also give an enhanced awareness of who you are and a feeling of closeness to others.
The Ayahuasca benefits do not stop once you leave our retreat. The therapeutic effects are known to continue working in the weeks following your initial Ayahuasca experience and can lead to long-term treatment of psychological conditions unimproved by prescription medication.
Ayahuasca retreat medicine is considered a multifunctional treatment that could alleviate symptoms of many diseases. In addition to the psychological benefits, Ayahuasca medicine may possess antioxidant properties, which can improve the function of cells within our bodies. When these cellular processes are damaged by oxidative stress, diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory disorders can occur.
Furthermore, the active compounds in the Ayahuasca medicine may contribute to the protection and restoration of cells within the brain. They may have potential applications with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Use of Ayahuasca is a sustainable treatment as the active ingredients in this traditional medicine are not associated with the negative psychosocial effects that may be associated with some drugs. If repetitive treatment is also desired and/or required, Ayahuasca continues to have a positive psychological effect, even after prolonged use.
As part of the treatment, it is normal for users of Ayahuasca to experience purging. Formerly this has been considered a side effect of Ayahuasca treatment. However, recent links between gut health and mental wellbeing regard the cleansing of the digestive tract as beneficial to the Ayahuasca healing process. It is also considered that this expulsion eliminates individuals of bad energy and allows self-renewal and healing to take place.
How to Prepare for Your Ayahuasca Retreat
The idea of this treatment is to be natural and to feel the true healing powers behind Ayahuasca. Therefore, you must return your body to its organic state. To achieve this, we recommend individuals participate in ‘Dieta.’ Dieta is a process by which you cleanse your body and prepare yourself for the Ayahuasca healing process. There are three main aspects to the Dieta. These include:
- Spiritual preparation
- Drug use
Diet before Ayahuasca Retreat
Controlling your diet before an Ayahuasca experience is important to optimize the healing process. We recommend you eat a mild, plant-based diet with no seasoning or spices. To enhance the process, we discourage you from consuming foods rich in Tyramine. These include meat, dairy, alcohol, fermented foods, and nuts. Tyramine disrupts the unison between the Ayahuasca and Chacruna on the neurological pathway and will limit your overall experience.
Spiritual Preparation for the Ayahuasca Retreat
In the weeks before your treatment, allow your body to relax and unwind. Try to avoid the media and consciously prepare for the Ayahuasca healing process by eliminating negative feelings and thoughts. Individuals should also avoid sexual activity as this may disrupt your energy and draw in the energy of the other person.
Avoid ingestion of substances which may be considered toxins, including cigarettes, caffeine, and synthetic drugs. In addition to a heightened healing experience, the issue of synthetic drugs is also a safety concern. A harmful reaction may occur if these are consumed before treatment. Ensure you leave adequate time for drugs to leave your system. Be mindful that this may take several months for some substances.