Ayahuasca, is it religion or a natural medicine?

In order to answer that question we need to dig inside this topic, first the Church does not consider or support the use of hallucinogenic drugs to approach God. Because it is not the right path and secondly because of the health risks they bring.

Ayahuasca or “purga“ (purge) is a brew used for ritual and healing uses, now more widespread, originating in the north and central part of South America.

It’s component is plant-based as the banisteriopsis caapi (commonly called and depending on the area: ayahuasca, yagé, caapi, yagugue, mariri or pildé and others such as psychotria viridis (chacruna) or also diplopterys cabrerana (chacopranga), and water, but it is estimated that there could be combinations with other herbs. It’s elaboration is simple, only the mixture is allowed to boil for ten hours and after being cooled, is administered by the shaman to be drink. The effects of the brew are entheogens, that is to say, those caused by a vegetable substance or a preparation of vegetable substances with psychotropic properties, which once ingested causes a modified state of consciousness.

This property is chemically caused by the presence of a tryptamine alkaloid (family of tryptamine, which is an alkaloid monoamine) called dimethyltryptamine (DMT). In addition to psychedelic effects can cause dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or other.

Its use is millennial; it is estimated that the ethnic groups of the Sionas were those that spread it in the Amazon, reaching other indigenous peoples of Colombia as Ingas, Kofanes, Yanaconas, Yaguas among others, and expanding to other territories such as those of the present republics of Ecuador , Venezuela, Brazil and Peru.

In the ceremonies the participants sit in a semicircle, while the shaman exhales the smoke of a cigar called “Mapacho” to drive away the negative energies. Then administer the concoction to the participants and begin the chants.

Between the first 20 to 45 minutes, the effects begin to appear, causing dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. The ceremonies last about seven hours.

The sense of its use, as far as the curative one, would be the cleaning of the soul, and with respect to the ritualistic one, to interpret the real meaning of the hallucinations for the later learning.

Ayahuasca was known world-wide by the book “The Yage Letters” of the authors William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg in which epistolary Burroughs, tells about his experience with ayahuasca in 1953 in the Peruvian Amazon and Ginsberg his identical adventure in 1960.

Since 1996, who may be the largest disseminator and researcher on DMT’s properties, Dr. Rick Strassman, who is currently a professor of psychiatry at the University of Medicine in New Mexico and also President and Co-Founder of the Research Foundation of Cottonwood (Cottonwood Research Foundation), an institute dedicated to the investigation of conscience.

Although many so called ”religion” used Ayahuasca in their rituals this divine vine is rather a medicine than a religion or cult.