The Ayahuasca brew and San Pedro has been used ancestrally by the many ethnic groups of the western slope of the Amazon. It is estimated that 72 ethnic groups of this geographical area used it from remote times to modify their ordinary state of consciousness, with religious, therapeutic and cultural affirmation purposes. Its importance is shown by the wide dissemination of its use and the persistence of 42 different names to name it, as well as the various forms of preparation and use that are current, up to the present, between ethnic and mestizo groups.
Amazonian healers are experts in the induction and management of altered states of consciousness, through plant substances (ayahuasca and other plants) or animals (bufotenins). They modulate their effect through energetic and ritual additives or techniques, using these states for healing, divination or to be recontact with certain spiritual and cultural elements. Based on the decoction of ayahuasca liana (Banisteriopsis caapi) and leaves of Chacruna (Psichotria viridis), in a sophisticated and precise combination, discovered thousands of years ago by the Amazon inhabitants, the ayahuasca brew mimics and enhances the action of some neurotransmitters that found in our organism as well as in other mammals. Both beta-carbolins contained in ayahuasca liana and DMF of chacruna are found in the digestive tract, pineal gland and nervous system.
ForFor this reason, James Callaway (1995) named it “endohuasca”; although the finding is relatively recent and the role of these substances in our organism is not well defined, its mood regulating function and the association of dimethyltryptamine levels with dream images have been identified. Because of its psychoactive effect of modifying the ordinary state of consciousness, its curative force, or perhaps its visionary effect, Ayahuasca became “ curanderismo “, in the sacred plant around which the ancestral medical system was structured in this region. The discovery of the indigenous healing system by the West was marked by prejudices and projections to concepts, resources and technologies different from those known to them, in an ambiguous relationship, although less evident, still persists.
The effects induced by the Ayahuasca drew the attention of some Spanish chroniclers who, in interpreting the visionary phenomenon and the relation to the invisible world from their point of view, did not hesitate to ascribe a devilish character to these practices, as the description of their effects shows and the drawing of the liana Ayahuasca under the denomination “Diablohuasca”, realized by Baltazar Martinez de Compagnon: “… when they take it, they lose the sense, because the drink is very powerful, through it they communicate with the devil, because they are left without judgment, and they present several hallucinations that they attribute to a god who lives within these plants “(Martinez de Compagnon, 1768, quoted by García, 1971).