Before your Ayahuasca Eco Tour:

Health Requirements for Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a powerful substance and there are several medical conditions that can create dangerous, even potentially fatal, interactions. Here are some conditions that often preclude participation in an Ayahuasca ceremony:

  • Cardiovascular Conditions: Ayahuasca can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, which can be dangerous for individuals with heart disease, hypertension, or other cardiovascular conditions.
  • Psychiatric Conditions: Individuals with a history of psychiatric conditions, particularly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and certain types of depression, should avoid Ayahuasca due to the risk of severe psychiatric reactions.
  • Neurological Conditions: Certain neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, can potentially be aggravated by Ayahuasca.
  • Liver or Kidney Disease: The body’s ability to process and eliminate Ayahuasca can be impaired in individuals with liver or kidney disease, potentially leading to harmful effects.
  • Respiratory Conditions: Conditions like asthma may be worsened by the use of Ayahuasca, particularly in traditional ceremonies where tobacco smoke is often present.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Ayahuasca use is generally contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to potential risks to the child.
  • Immune System Disorders: Those with immune system disorders may also be advised against participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony.
  • Diabetes: Ayahuasca might interfere with blood sugar control, causing complications for individuals with diabetes.

Apart from these conditions, certain medications and substances are known to have dangerous interactions with Ayahuasca, particularly those that affect the serotonergic system, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used for depression and anxiety, certain migraine medications, and illicit drugs like MDMA or cocaine.

This is not an exhaustive list, and each individual’s health needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you have any existing medical conditions or are on any medications, consult with a healthcare provider before participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony.

Consider Your Intentions for Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is not a party drug. It has been used for at least 4,000 years by the indigenous people of the Amazon for spiritual enlightenment and emotional healing. Its usage has spread around the world and has been lauded by celebrities such as musician Sting, comedian Ron White, podcaster Theo Von and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Ayahuasca is increasingly being researched for its potential psychological and emotional benefits. Here are some reported benefits:

  • Enhanced Personal Insight: Many users report increased self-understanding and personal insight following Ayahuasca ceremonies. This may involve re-evaluating personal beliefs, gaining clarity about one’s purpose or direction in life, or understanding past traumas.
  • Emotional Healing: Ayahuasca can bring up intense emotions, and many people report that this leads to a therapeutic release, helping them to overcome issues such as trauma, grief, or emotional blockages. Recurring negative emotions can make you physically sick. If you suffer from any psychosomatic illnesses, chances are Ayahuasca can improve your physical health.
  • Improved Mental Health: many users have reported that Ayahuasca has relieved them of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It removes emotional triggers. Self-love often increases after the experience.
  • Sense of Connection: Users often report feeling a deep sense of connection to nature, to others, and to the universe, which can lead to feelings of peace and wellbeing. Many report having visions of the future that come true.
  • Spiritual Growth: Ayahuasca is often used as a tool for spiritual exploration, leading to personal growth and a deeper understanding of one’s place in the world. Many users report that they no longer fear death. That their faith in God has been reinforced by the certainty of their divine experience.
  • Addiction Treatment: there is evidence that Ayahuasca is useful for relieving substance abuse and addiction. If you want to give Ayahuasca a chance to free you from addiction, we recommend that you stay with us for at least 9 days. The longer you stay with us, the better your chances for recovery.
  • Increased Openness: Psychological research has found that use of psychedelics, including Ayahuasca, can increase the personality trait of openness thus enhancing creativity, imagination, and appreciation of beauty. The medicine will peel you like a banana and you will probably make new friends in the early morning hours that follow ceremony.

If you compare the above list with the list of benefits claimed by those who have had a near death experience (NDE), you’ll notice some striking similarities. For physically healthy people, Ayahuasca can provide the benefits of an NDE without the risk of physical death.

Ayahuasca Attitude Adjustments

The term “Ayahuasca” comes from the Quechua language, with “aya” meaning “spirit” or “ancestor,” and “huasca” meaning “vine” or “rope.” Therefore, the term Ayahuasca roughly translates to “vine of the soul” or “vine of the spirits.”

DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is the active ingredient in our medicine. Our medicine is derived from the stems of Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) vines and the leaves of ch@crun@ (Psychotria viridis) plants which contain relatively high concentrations of DMT. The Ayahuasca vine does not contain DMT. But it does contain harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, which are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). These MAOIs temporarily disable your body’s ability to digest DMT so that it can enter your blood stream in relatively high concentrations.

In order to make the medicine, the plants must be shredded to increase their surface area for boiling water. They must be boiled for several hours to increase the concentration. You will experience this process first hand at our retreat and drink the results. You’ll know exactly where it came from.

Ayahuasca medicine does not taste good. Our shaman will carefully assess your capacity and fill some portion of a shot glass for you at ceremony. Better to just chug it. A hard candy lozenge after swallowing will usually help postpone your purge. In ceremony, we all share the vulnerability. No shame in purging. Most of us do.

Ayahuasca comes on gradually, gently. The first thing you may notice is that the surrounding jungle sounds different. Some people report the sensation of something entering their bodies starting with their toes and fingertips. After about 20-30 minutes, you can no longer deny it and you can’t escape it. Depending on the strength of the medicine and the amount you drink, your experience will last between 2-8 hours until all the excess DMT is completely metabolized. The duration of the experience makes Ayahuasca useful for improving mental and spiritual health. When it’s over, it’s over. You will not experience any flashbacks because DMT is completely metabolized.

DMT is already present in our bodies in small concentrations. In larger doses, DMT allows you to envision so much beauty so quickly that it overwhelms your ego’s ability to process the information as it normally would do in order to make payoff decisions. This too-much-information (TMI) state is commonly referred to as “ego death” because the ego eventually gives up trying to classify and judge its observations. If you are one of the many people who find it very difficult to go with the flow when appropriate, you may have a very unpleasant experience resisting the influence of the medicine. So, it would be wise to practice stopping your mind from thinking before your retreat. It’s actually harder than it sounds.

If you feel like you are dying during the experience, it may comfort you to receit a life-affirming poem. Something like:

I give up.
I surrender.
We win
together, we are the light.”

— Repeat as necessary.

Another word of caution to those who often experience negative emotions. If you spend much of your time feeling shame, fear, guilt, jealousy, hatred or anger, you might be in for a wild ride. You may be challenged to transcend your victimhood by revisiting your original trauma. Know this: your free will is immutable. Nothing can scare you while under the influence without your permission. Meanwhile, our shamans will do their best to repel spirits that feed on negative emotions.

To give you a better idea of what to expect from ceremony, we have prepared a long Ayahuasca YouTube playlist with a wide variety of videos. Give each one the 2 minute test. If it doesn’t feel useful after two minutes, skip to the next.

Recommended Diet Before Your Ayahuasca Retreat

Ayahuasca contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which can have dangerous interactions with certain foods and medications. In the days leading up to an Ayahuasca ceremony, it’s generally recommended to avoid foods that are high in tyramine, a naturally occurring compound that can lead to a hypertensive crisis when consumed with MAOIs. Foods to avoid include:

  • Fermented, cured, or aged foods: This includes aged cheeses, smoked or cured meats, fermented tofu or soy products, sauerkraut, and pickles.
  • Overripe fruits and vegetables: Particularly avocados, bananas, and figs.
  • Certain beans: Such as fava or broad beans.
  • Yeast-containing foods: Such as yeast extracts and fermented breads.
  • Alcoholic beverages and fermented drinks: Like beer, wine, and sake.
  • Caffeinated beverages: Like coffee and certain teas.
  • Dairy products: Especially aged or processed ones.
  • Salty and spicy foods: These can exacerbate potential stomach discomfort.
  • Processed or junk foods: These are generally discouraged due to their high content of artificial additives and preservatives.
  • Red meats: They take longer to digest and can put more strain on your system.

At the very least, you should observe these dietary recommendations starting on the day that you leave for the airport.

What to Pack

Here’s a suggested list of things to consider in order to come up with your own packing list:

  • Your round trip airline tickets to Iquitos, Peru (IQT). Most likely, your flight to IQT will be on LATAM Airlines with a stop in Lima, Peru. There may be a direct flight from Miami (MIA) to IQT in the future.
  • Your travelers insurance policy hardcopy or card for your wallet. We recommend in the unlikely event that you’ll need medical services in Peru or have a flight cancellation.
  • IF you must arrive a day before and/or a stay a day after the retreat in order to catch our riverboat connections, note your hotel address and reservation #. See the Transportation sections on our Retreats page for details.
  • Passport
  • Peruvian Visa hardcopy, if required. Click here to see if your country of origin requires you to have a Peruvian Tourist Visa.
  • Phone
  • Phone charging cord
  • Ear phones
  • Shaving kit
  • Sun glasses
  • Reading glasses, if necessary
  • Book(s)
  • Solar charger and storage battery
  • Water-tolerant hiking shoes or sandals
  • Moleskin
  • Long pants
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Loose-fitting pullover or light jacket
  • Belt
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • thin boot-liner socks
  • Hat
  • Binoculars
  • Poncho
  • Moist towelettes
  • Insect repellent
  • Aloe Vera/skin cream
  • Sun screen
  • Back pack
  • Ibuprofen
  • Melatonin
  • Your favorite hard candy to place on your palette after you drink Ayahuasca. It should help postpone vomiting so you can absorb a bigger dose. Got no clue? Try Altoids. The metal case will make them easy to find and transport.

For additional information call +1-415-508-7302‬
or send us email.