The healing power of ayahuasca

When I saw this Boingboing post it made me wonder if there’s some guy who reads an onion post and tries to write articles about real people who one up it.


“ayahuasca” is an ancient term meaning “the act of separating suckers from their money”.

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DMT is a fucking awesome drug, when you just smoke it by itself, but ayahuasca sounds pretty risky. I’m well past the point in my life where I think it would be a good idea to take an MAOI inhibitor at all, much less mix it with anything physiologically active.

But, you know, each to their own…

I knew a guy a long time ago who did one of those rituals and came back with a nigh-unto-incurable strain of giardia.

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Apparently that Zillmer fellow (“uncontrollable vomiting and feverish shivering”) took the brown ayahuasca…

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That’s a normal Ayahuasca response, unfortunately.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Mind you, that’s also close to the standard response for novice heroin users. My flatmates used to chug water all day, just because puking water is less unpleasant than the dry heaves.


At one point, I felt myself step into a leadership role that had almost been waiting there for me.”

Without a soul, insight is a dead mirror.


Definitely! But whereas it makes an amazing impression, I think that the five minute or so peak is far too short to do much significant work with. It is almost more like an endurance exercise to see how quickly one’s ego can be deconstructed by weird. That’s an amazing experience in itself! But then it’s over.

It is worth being cautious about. The easy availability of LSD in the 20th century undid some of the popular awe and respect for psychoactive compounds. Many of them can be something of an ordeal, which can arguably be worthwhile if one knows what they are in for. That’s why I have always studied a lot about the pharmacology, traditional uses, subjective effects, and physiological/medical interactions long before ever taking anything. When one eats with a proper diet, the MAOI effect is not noticeable. But this diet is difficult for most USians. As foods age, cure, and ferment - tyramine is produced - which is precisely what you want to avoid. So no tea, bacon, cheese, soy sauce… lots of foods. But it’s only for a couple of days. If anything, I find that those precautions also help “ritually” - they make a distinct preparation for the event, setting it apart from the rest of daily life. It requires just a bit of discipline, beyond “let’s drop some tabs” on impulse.

Well, to be fair, they might have still gotten that infection just by visiting even without the ayahuasca. A friend of mine was just released from being treated for a nasty virus contracted by swimming in the jungle in Puerto Rico. Travelling to different climates has its own risks with regards to pathogens, parasites, etc.

My experience has been an amazing vomit to start with, but I get it over with quickly. This is another reason to mind what you eat! If all that is in your stomach is some funky liquid, you can barf it up quickly and cleanly. Not the case if you just ate a platter of nachos a couple hours ago!

Actually, I did not find the vomiting unpleasant at all. It felt like a combination of two factors: 1. firstly, the stuff tasted insanely bitter. I could only force myself to drink so much before I ejected it. And 2. it is like going up the craziest rollercoaster ever, or knowing that you are about to lift off in a rocket to space. You are approaching a frontier, a boundary of experience which is inexplicable, and you can see yourself going over into it and you just need to be committed to diving into the unknown, not-self, otherness. First time this happened to me was in my living room! I felt like an herbal fire hydrant, projecting huge jets of water. I had enough presence of mind to throw some towels on it. But it was just water, so eventual cleanup was easy.

The psychoactive effects are so powerful that vomiting and shaking sounds mundane, like staying home from work with the flu. But it can be quite an adventure, viscerally animal, yet the boundaries of what is you and what is existence are themselves fluid. One minute you might be wondering “WTF is happening? I took that drug, right?” but the next minute you might be wondering what a “me” even is. Basically, apart from some panic of coming up so fast, it is too intense to worry much about vomiting.

It can be a fairly long trip, depending upon several factors. So competent sitters and/or guides might be a good idea.


That is the big danger with the heavy shamanic stuff; lack of in-the-moment awareness.

With LSD, you may be a bit discombobulated, but you’re normally aware of the fact, and why it’s happening, and that it will pass in time. With Ayahuasca/Salvia/etc…not so much. Once you’re on the rollercoaster, you forget how you got there, and may end up taking regrettable real-world actions.

Sober and responsible tripsitters highly recommended.


Linsey Lohan said it worked for her, and I don’t remember seeing her name for doing stupid stuff since. :wink:


Well, is it amoral to dupe those less intelligent ?
I don’t know, maybe it is. The information on drugs is abundant online, so being ignorant is a choice. People can use it to find some revelations about God - - and they feel like that was very significant experience. Well, what if the chemical simply triggers the part of the brain that produces the feeling of outwordly significance, without actually giving you any new knowledge or understanding. But I guess our current narrative is pretty much mechanistic. “Take something”. You don’t have to pet your dog, just give him some medicine like prozac for dogs - fluoxetine - - and the dog will be happy.
I don’t know, maybe this is progress.

And that should impart upon them the same duty of care any spiritual or medical professional should have. I’m not trying to precisely define the job titles who can use psychoactive drugs; I’m just saying that it should be limited to jobs where you have the experience to deal with bad side effects, and a duty of care towards your client. I don’t think “executive coach” is a job title that qualifies in either sense.

I don’t disagree with the basic argument, but it is worth keeping in mind that Western conceptions of medical ethics are not universal. Given their history, neither the medical nor spiritual professionals of the West have any right to claim the high ground.

Ain’t no Hippocratic oath [1] for tribal shamans.

[1] And Hippocrates was a crooked prick, anyway.

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I found DMT pretty damn impressive… and fairly convincing to this agnostic. Of course, it could be nothing more than the effect of a chemical, but I tell you what, it sure seemed like something a lot fancier than that. Lots of intense and remarkable effects, for instance: I’m now less afraid of death.


I had a “friend” in high school (we actually had some good times, but scare quotes remain) who had this attitude toward drugs, and, well, everything. He was a real alpha in everything from Math team to LaCrosse, but had come up with the nerds, and we were his crowd, somehow. He was sure he had everyone’s number and would break us all down occasionally in obnoxiously reductive ways. He actually would tell people that he would “love to guide them through” a hallucinogenic experience, which made my damn skin crawl. I personally love mushrooms, and somehow luckily avoided ever being around this guy when I did. Oddly, a couple of people who were curious about them came to me to keep them company for their first time, rather than the self-appointed shaman. Not oddly at all, he ended up joining the peace corps after high school, then got an MBA.


Stepp[quote=“HMSGoose, post:35, topic:81775, full:true”]
I had a “friend” in high school …

Stepped into a leadership role that was almost waiting for him, so to speak?


ayahuasca is not a “for fun” party drug…

I can’t even begin to image what kind of special hell it would be to do with a bunch of CEO’s led by an “executive coach”. uggggh.

interestingly enough there are a lot of different plants it can be made from. basically just a combination of DMT and an MAOI inhibitor. Mimosa hostilis & Syrian rue are a good starter choice.

A few people in this thread mention Salvia. Salvia is quite different, and has 2 levels based on dose, one is like a mild marijuana stone, and the second is a very strong psychedelic. you need a fair amount very quickly to cross the psychedelic threshold, usually in the form of a smoked extract.


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