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anth 329 presentation

Yaohui Chen

on 15 October 2013

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Transcript of Ayahuasca

The Shaman
Ayahuasca Ceremony
The Spiritual Journey
Ayahuasca ceremony has been recognized by western physicians to help access to spiritual or transpersonal dimensions of consciousness

More and more people join in ayahuasca ceremony practices

Our nervous system is a very sensitive electrical circuit.

Everything we take in through our senses - vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell travels through our senses and get stored in our neurons.

When we overload our nerves they collapse and stop working.
By: Hongwei Zhao
Ciara Hunt
Yaohui Chen
Hussein Choweikani

Ayahuasca is a tea made of different plants that has been used for healing in the Amazon rainforest for thousands of years.
It is a visionary tea because it produces visions. The indigenous people of the rainforest consider this tea as a sacred medicine and they drink it for the purpose of healing and transformation.
It gives strong purification of body, mind and soul, it reliefs pain and stress and it gives you the opportunity to learn and to experience other levels of consciousness. It also works as a natural mood-stabilizer and it is very effective in the areas of depression and addiction.

Ayahuasca ceremony: healing and divination process in Amazon tribes

Ayahuasca means “vine of the soul”
In Quechua, aya = “soul”, huasca = “vine”

Ayahuasca has the ability to cure and to give new life to the body, because it repairs our overloaded neurons.

Other drugs contain chemical substances that invade and destroy the neurons, but Ayahuasca protects and heals them.

When Ayahuasca begins to repair the neurons, it awakens the impressions which have been engraved on them.

The neurons return these impressions in the form of visions, because the neurons of the body are connected to the iris of the eye.

Ayahuasca beverage ingredients: banisteriopsis caapi vine, psychotria viridis leaf and other plants
Main chemical: dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
Ayahuasca served as hallucinogen producing visionary spiritual experiences

Ayahuasca ceremony:

Put brew, shaman, plant spirits together

Put body, mind, spirits into order with past, present and future

Participants may experience bizarre visions

Ayahuasca concoction functions:
Spiritual teachers
Sources of healing power and knowledge

Shaman functions:
Conducting ceremony
Interacting between spirits and participants
Retrieving lost soul

Ayahuasca helps participants:
Learn to negotiate spirit landscape

Reach for certain spirits for healing

Awaken own spirits

Bad news, bad smells, loud noise and music, alcohol and drugs, too much radio and television overload our neurons.
When we live in constant drama our neurons get overloaded and all this overloading makes us sick and depressed.
How it works and heals
Everything we have experienced is engraved in our brains- the truth and the lies, the sweet and the bitter.
Each of us has our demons and Ayahuasca shows them to us so we can face them and heal them.
Ayahuasca teaches us the truth about ourselves. By using it, we begin to recognize who we really are.
We begin to see that our pain and our karma is not only ours, but is also connected with our ancestors and other people.

Gradually, Ayahuasca helps you to clean out your body and then you usually stop experiencing negativity.
After the body is rid of toxins and the neurons are rid of negative imprints, then one begins to see the real beauty of the spiritual world.
Eventually, you begin to see powerful spirits and gods. And they can have all kinds of forms, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Mary Magdelene, Ascended Masters, Tibetan Monks, extra-terrestial beings, mermaids, fairy's or plant- and animal spirits.
Taking Ayahuasca then starts to become a very pleasant and enlightening experience, where you can learn a lot about your purpose and goal in life.
The question: Where do I come from and where am I going will get answered and will become clear for you.
All disease is merely a manifestation of imbalance.

True healing comes from a place of integration simultaneously on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Ayahuasca works to diagnose and restore balance, therefore facilitating holistic healing far beyond the frontiers of conventional treatment.

Ayahuasca is a strong purgative (allows profound cleansing through vomiting and diarrhea), an antibiotic (kills microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses), an analgesic (painkiller), disinfectant, and cicatrizing (speeds healing of wounds).
There is no plant healer on the planet, however, quite as revered, as powerful, and as respected as Ayahuasca.
The Western world is finally beginning to acknowledge this plant phenomenon, with an ever increasing number of people, academics, scientists, neurologists, philosophers and mystics heading to South America to experience Ayahuasca for themselves

Banisteriopsis caapi vine, Psychotria viridis leaf, other plants
Ayahuasca ceremony is held by a shaman
It lasts 4-5 hours
The Shaman smokes the plants to decide which part to use.
Then, he boils the leaves and tobaccos to bring the spirit of plants to ayahuasca.
Boiling of these constituents will take hours or days
Participants get together in a dark tent
The shaman shakes leaves and chants a hymn to assist the participants to put the body and soul into different time and space.
How it applies to nursing, side effects and cost.
There has been an increasing interest for Ayahuasca by conventional western medicine among physicians and Nurses.

Growing belief that it is “ medicine for our times” with many potential therapeutic applications especially in the field of psychiatry.

Consideration of Ayahuasca for the treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD, Parkinson’s, abuse disorders, such as alcoholism and substance abuse, as well as for physical maladies such as cancer and HIV, especially for patients who struggle with the currently FDA- approved options.

Therapeutic Benefits Cont.

Increased feeling of rejuvenation and hope.

Increased mental acuity, cognitive functions, mathematical ability, and physical vigor.

Increased psychic intuition, creativity and musical expression.

Increased physical activity and weight loss.

Increased faith in a divine presence and interconnectedness.

Many subjects became health conscious, some became vegetarians and ate a raw food diet.

Remission of cancers and other serious illnesses through regular use.

Increased interest in Ayahuasca among neuroscientists

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease through the natural occurrence of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which prevents breakdown of dopamine in the brain.

Treatment of Addiction by inhibiting excessive dopamine production in the mesolimbic pathway, also known as “pleasure center”, usually induced by addictive drugs. Hence, reducing the pleasure or reward effect associated with addictive drugs.

One night of drinking Ayahuasca is equivalent to 10 weeks of psychotherapy

Significant sustained Decrease in the scores of Hamilton Depression Scale, starting 40 minutes after Ayahuasca intake.

Reduced drug and alcohol use.

Reduced anxiety, increased self-love, self-confidence and self-assertiveness

Reduced hateful feelings towards others, less judgmental and more compassionate.

“Medicine for our times”
Therapeutic Benefits after first Ayashuasca experience
(Most subjects did not use Ayahuasca Regularly)
Side Effects
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (believed to be necessary in order to expel bad energies from one’s body).

Moderate increase in blood pressure.

Moderate increase in heart rate.

Tremor and tingling sensations.

Serotonin syndrome, if taken with anti-depressants, due to increased serotonin levels in the brain (Anti-depressants must be stopped 2 weeks to a month prior to participation in ceremony)


Acute or regular ingestion of Ayahuasca is relatively safe.

Safe for all developmental stages in humans, including in the uterus, and throughout childhood and adolescence.

No toxic effects in pregnant women or in their newborns

Legal Challenges
To date, Ayahuasca is illegal in the U.S. due to its N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) containing component, P.viridis. A hallucinogen that is a schedule I controlled substance under U.S. law.

Occurrence of DMT poses challenges for the eventual pursuit of clinical investigations under an FDA approved IND protocol.

In The U.S., Ayahuasca’s use is restricted to religious organizations that use it as a sacrament under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Most clinical studies conducted by Physicians and Nurses, though scientific, have been preliminary and conducted abroad.

Drug approval studies conducted under FDA approved protocol are needed to provide health professionals in the U.S. with a body of information as to its safety, side effects, drug interactions and toxicity. Such data is essential for health providers in the event they are required to treat individuals who have ingested Ayahuasca.


In Iquitos, Peru:
A single nighttime ceremony costs $60
All inclusive 7 Day Authentic Ayahuasca Retreat costs $650

In the U.S. :
A single nighttime ceremony ranges from $150 to $300
A weekend retreat costs $1000

Thank You!
Ayahuasca Ceremony:
How it works to treat disease/illness
Description of the Belief
Ayahuasca Ceremony:
How it's performed
Full transcript