Between the myths and misconceptions surrounding ayahuasca, solid facts exist. Because ayahuasca has such a storied history of use and such powerful benefits, we tend to think of ayahuasca in terms of magic. It becomes a plant of legends; the tea of dreams; the vine of the Amazonian past.
The thing about ayahuasca is that the cold, hard facts also speak to its near-magic properties. It’s not just heresay or Peruvian shamans that espouse the benefits of the ayahuasca plant – it’s science.
5 Fascinating Ayahuasca Facts
If you want to learn more about ayahuasca and are considering a spiritual ayahuasca retreat, arm yourself with the facts about the plant. At Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth in Orlando, part of our mission is to educate people about the sacred power of ayahuasca and break down common misconceptions, and the best way to do this is through facts.
Learn more about ayahuasca today, and be sure to book a retreat online if the sacred plant and its benefits are calling to you.
1. Ayahuasca Increases Serotonin Density
Ayahuasca has been touted as a treatment for depression, PTSD, and anxiety, and this isn’t merely a placebo effect. Indeed, one of the most impressive facts about ayahuasca is that it boosts levels of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin, also known as the “happy chemical,” keeps our mood elevated. We produce this neurotransmitter after we exercise, form meaningful connection, and eat. For individuals who suffer from depression or other mood-altering conditions, serotonin levels in the brain are low and the brain has more trouble producing this crucial chemical.
If you think that antidepressants and SSRIs elevate levels of serotonin in the body, think again. In fact, these prescription medications actually reduce the density of serotonin receptors. This, in turn, can actually contribute to long-term and chronic depression.
Enter: ayahuasca as an effective treatment against depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Rather than reduce serotonin, blood tests of ayahuasca users indicate that these individuals have an increased level of serotonin receptors. This study suggests that long-term ayahuasca use can be incredibly effective when it comes to mood.
2. Ayahuasca Is Actually A Mix of Two Plants
Think that Amazonian shamans stumbled across a plant and discovered the incredible properties? Not quite.
In fact, it took much more knowledge than that. We think of ayahuasca as one sacred plant, but it’s actually a combination of a vine and the leaves of a shrub.
It’s the combination of these two plants that give ayahuasca its hallucinogenic properties. The ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) on its own contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The leaves of Psychotria viridis, on the other hand, contain DMT. Without the presence of MAOI, our bodies would just destroy DMT in the gut.
As such, the ayahuasca you know today is a typically a tea brewed from these two sacred plants.
3. Taking Ayahuasca Is a Rite Of Passage In Some Cultures
What we see as a spiritual transformation is actually just a rite of passage in certain South American countries.
In particular, many Amazonian tribes think of ayahuasca as a foundational pillar of what it means to be human. When community members reach a certain age, they are expected to take ayahuasca as a gateway into the spiritual medicine. This ayahuasca ritual, therefore, is a foundation of Amazonian medicine and spirituality.
4. Ayahuasca Is An Adapted Quechua Word
The word “ayahuasca” comes from Quechua languages, which are indigenous to Peru, Bolivia, and other Andean countries. In Quechua, “aya” translates to spirit, soul, or corpse depending on the translation. “Waska” (as it probably was written before becoming hispanicized) translates to rope or vine. So, the common translation of ayahuasca is typically “rope of the soul” or “liana of the dead.”
While the nomenclature is different throughout South America, the translation certainly speaks to the power of the vine.
5. Europeans Discovered Ayahuasca Use In The 16th Century
Ayahuasca is anything but a modern fad. In fact, ayahuasca use has been around for centuries and centuries. White Europeans first discovered ayahuasca in the 16th century, when Christian missionaries from Spain and Portugal began exploring South America.
Missionaries viewed indigenous South Americans using ayahuasca during this time, but they dismissed the sacred ceremony as the devil’s work.
Soul Quest Church Of Mother Earth In Orlando
If you are interested in the ayahuasca experience or think you are ready for the transformative journey, you don’t need to travel to South America. Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth operates just a few minutes from the Orlando International Airport. You can have the ayahuasca journey and spiritual retreat you want without being exploited by ayahuasca tourism.
Book your spiritual retreat in Orlando or attend an information session to learn more about ayahuasca today from Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth.