Ayahuasca Information

Maniti Eco-Lodge & Rainforest Tours, located in Iquitos, Peru specializes in shamanic workshops & spiritual tours with ayahuaca . We work with local shamans (curanderos or medicine men) who practice the ancient and mystical healing arts of the jungle. The shamans conduct ceremonies and rituals, many of which utilize the use of sacred visionary medicinal plants, designed to open consciousness and bridge the physical and spiritual world. Our shamanic workshops and ayahuasca tours are designed to teach our guests about the mystical world of the jungle, taking them “back in time” to a place where traditional beliefs remain intact.

What Is Ayahuasca?

“Ayahuasca” is a term for both the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and for the visionary brew made from that plant, usually in combination with an additional DMT-containing plant(s). The word “ayahuasca”, from the Quechua language, means “vine of the souls”. A traditional South American preparation, the ayahuasca brew frequently employs Psychotria viridis leaves as the DMT source. Inclusion of B. caapi, which contains monoamine oxidase inhibiting harmala alkaloids) allows the DMT, which would otherwise be quickly broken down in the body by the enzyme monoamine oxidase, to become orally active.

Ayahuasca is prepared by boiling or soaking its plant components; traditional brews may sometimes contain additional psychoactive and/or medicinal plants including tobacco, Brugmansia, Datura, and a long list of others.

Outside the Amazon basin, in cities around the world, ayahuasca is prepared with a wide variety of ingredients including pure chemicals (sometimes called “pharmahuasca”) or substituted “analogue” plants, such as the root-bark from Mimosa tenuiflora [= M. hostilis] (sometimes called “mimosahuasca”), and often the seeds of Peganum harmala (Syrian rue) as a source of MAO-inhibiting harmala alkaloids. Ayahuasca is known for its tendency to induce vomiting and/or diarrhea in many users, its rich and complex visual effects, its reported healing properties, and its powerful mind-altering entheogenic effects.

Ayahuasca is usually made by mixing two or more distinctive plant species capable of producing psychoactive effects when brewed together and consumed. One of these plants is always the giant woody liana vine called ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis Caapi). The other plant or plants combined with ayahuasca generally contain tryptamine alkaloids, most often dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The plants most often used are the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria viridis and other species) and oco yagé; also known as chalipanga, chagraponga, and huambisa (Diplopterys cabrerana).

This drink is widely employed throughout Amazonian Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, western Brazil, and in portions of the Río Orinoco basin. The oldest know object related to the use of ayahuasca is a ceremonial cup, hewn out of stone, with engraved ornamentation, which was found in the Pastaza culture of the Ecuadorean Amazon from 500 B.C. to 50 A.D. It is deposited in the collection of the Ethnological Museum of the Central University (Quito, Ecuador). This indicates that ayahuasca potions were known and used at least 2,500 years ago. Its antiquity in the lower Amazon is likely much greater.

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