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Ayahuasca is a brew from the forests of South America and made from the leaves of the Chacruna plant and the bark of the Caapi vine. It is known for its visionary and healing properties. It was traditionally used for religious and spiritual purposes and has become globally popular.
Although in the Spirit Vine retreat center we only use ayahuasca for spiritual development, some studies showed that Ayahuasca may help those with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction issues. Significant improvements were found in hope, empowerment, and overall quality of life following the taking Ayahuasca. It is important to point out that Ayahuasca is not a magic pill, it is only effective if the person accepts that spiritual development is a process and takes time to unveil our shadows and understand what needs to be done. It is a personal effort, people will not find saviors in Spiritual Vine center.
Not everybody can drink ayahuasca for several reasons, depending on preexisting illness or psychiatric disorders, medicines and addictions. It is true that Ayahuasca can help with addictions but not during a 9 or 11 days retreat, addictions need a special type of setting and not a regular retreat.
I don’t believe that ayahuasca can be productive if the person is not ready to take absolute responsibility for their life and decisions. We teach how to stop blaming others. The real chance to evolve is facing whatever we need to in order to start the process of liberation.
In this link you will find information on how to prepare yourself for an Ayahuasca retreat: https://spiritvineretreats.com/resources/preparation-ayahuasca/
Certain drugs and medications have been found to not be compatible with Ayahuasca – causing serotonin syndrome – It is very risky to take 2 substances including supplements that affect the serotonin levels.
Too little serotonin has a role in depression but too much serotonin can cause a myriad of symptoms specially during ayahuasca like changes in blood pressure, loss of muscle control, accelerated heart rate, confusion, restlessness, nausea, tremors, high fever, seizures and passing out.
Ayahuasca contraindications with herbal medicine and supplements include but aren’t limited to:
- St John’s Wort
When you are filling out the application form, please inform us about any medicines or supplements you might be taking. In addition, you need to discuss in advance with the facilitator your herbal medicine and supplement intake so that you can follow the guidelines and ensure your system is clear before attending any workshops.
Antidepressants in general are not compatible with the ingestion of Ayahuasca. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by raising your serotonin levels. For example Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Citalopram, Paroxetine, etc.
Any drug to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADD, blood pressure medicines, cold or cough, anti alergics, anti inflammatories are not compatible with the ingestion of ayahuasca. Also statins, opioids, amphetamines, medicines for nausea, asthma sprays and recreational drugs.
Health Contraindications Related to Ayahuasca
Who should not take Ayahuasca? There are problems or risks that may occur if you have health complications. If you suffer from heart problems such as tachycardia or a heart murmur or have a pacemaker you cannot take Ayahuasca.
Taking Ayahuasca with high blood pressure medication is also not allowed. Low blood pressure, advanced diabetes, mental illness or having recently undergone surgery.
Most drugs, sugar and refined carbs cause side effects when discontinued like mood swings, anxiety, stomach pain, insomnia, aggressivity, suicidal thoughts, headaches, fear or panic, etc that’s why it is so important to ask authorization to your physician if you can stop taking the medicine gradually, with supervision and at least three months prior the retreat starts. Plenty of time must be allowed for these symptoms to subside so when the participant arrives here will feel comfortable.
The consumption of Ayahuasca isn’t possible if you suffer with or have suffered from:
- Serious asthma
- Bipolar disorders
- Cancer or any other autoimmune diseases
- Crohn disease or intestinal ulcers
Drug Contraindications Related to Ayahuasca
What medications react to ayahuasca? Some prescriptions can be dangerous when combined with Ayahuasca. Look at examples of drugs that cannot be taken and the reasons why:
Tyramine with Ayahuasca can cause the inhibition of the breakdown of this amino acid as it can be freely absorbed in amounts larger than the body can handle. There are no known fatalities from combining the two but it’s advisable to be cautious especially if the reason for taking this medication is for high blood pressure or known heart problems.
Zyrtec is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of the natural chemical histamine in the body and using Ayahuasca is not advised. Common side effects include fatigue and nausea, and any decongestant may cause a rise in blood pressure.
Naltrexone taken alongside Ayahuasca will compete for opioid receptors in the brain. This medication is used for blocking the effects of drugs known as opiates and can help in reducing the desire to drink.
Tramadol and Ayahuasca is another combination that should be avoided. Tramadol is a strong painkiller used to treat severe pain after an operation or a serious injury. It works by blocking pain signals from travelling along the nerves to the brain and can cause unpleasant withdrawal reactions.
Be perfectly honest when you fill out the application form or if you talk with your facilitator – giving full disclosure of all medications so that your Ayahuasca experience is safe and does not detrimentally affect your health.
Food Contraindications Related to Ayahuasca
Dietary restrictions need to be followed when taking Ayahuasca as Ayahuasca is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which blocks enzymes that break down excess tyramine in the body. This can lead to a sudden spike in blood pressure and other unpleasant symptoms such as severe headaches and an accelerated heart rate.
Food interactions rarely happen if you follow the principles of avoiding foods that are aged, preserved, dried, fermented, pickled, cured, or spoiled. What you eat and drink and the lifestyle choices made will greatly affect the value of your Ayahuasca experience. Before you participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony you will need to stop eating certain foods. These include:
- Red meat
- Pork, ham, and bacon
- Dairy products
- Ripe bananas
- Fermented products
- Smoked products
- Dried and candied fruit
- Caffeine and chocolate
- Dietary supplements
You’ll need to read the food restrictions related to your particular retreat and prepare accordingly to avoid known contraindications with Ayahuasca.
At Spirit Vine Center we provide special meals that are salt-free, with dairy and sugar replacements like almond or caju milk, vegan cheeses, the only sweetener available is stevia. You’ll be able to enjoy fresh water from our well, coconut water and lemonade from the land. We have our own organic garden.
Behavioural Contraindications Related to Ayahuasca
Prior to attending your Ayahuasca ceremony, you will also need to refrain from all sexual practices as this exchange can lead to an interference within the Ayahuasca process. Also avoid watching TV and any other forms of media which can deeply affect both mental and emotional states – refocus on yoga or meditation during this time to help you connect with your inner self.