History and etymology of the Ayahuasca

The Ayahuasca, this drink with over 40 different indigenous names, Ayahuasca, yage, or caapi, etc. are just a few names the plant is called, but it is most commonly known as Ayahuasca. The name Ayahuasca, a Quechuan term, translates to English as “vine of the soul” or “vine of the dead”. This may be because people initially believed that taking the Ayahuasca drink would enable a person to feel a spiritual connection with their souls or that it would also allow them to communicate with their dead ancestors.

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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