Ayahuasca in Peru

(See also: plant medicine and shamanism.) Ayahuasca refers to a medicinal tea prepared from a combination of two plants indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. The ayahuasca brew is made by combining the ayahuasca vine with the leaves of the Chacruna plant—and, sometimes, the addition of other plants. In conjunction with healing songs and tobacco, ayahuasca an important tool in Amazonian shamanism. The patient drinks ayahuasca for its powerfully cathartic effect and its ability to reveal visionary realities. The healer drinks ayahuasca to heighten their diagnostic sensitivity and gather more healing power. The ayahuasca ceremony is an integrated part of many indigenous Amazonian cultures, including their artistic forms and cosmological systems. Today, these traditions are reaching a globalized world through integration with contemporary Western forms of spiritual practice and insight. This has the potential for incredible benefit: ayahuasca and Amazonian shamanism have an unbelievable power to restore and realign the spirit. It is particularly renowned in the West for its effective treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The process of integrating ayahuasca into Western cultures has only just begun, so be cautious, and make sure not to call it a ‘drug’! And, I almost forgot, don’t expect to enjoy the taste of ayahuasca—it is very bitter!

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