Frequently asked questions
What is Ayahuasa?
Ayahuasca, also known as the tea, the vine, and la purga, is a brew made from the leaves of the liana jungle vine, the ayahuasca pod and the chacruna leaf. This drink was used for spiritual and religious purposes by ancient Amazonian tribes and is still used as a sacred beverage by some religious communities in Brazil and North America. Ayahuasca is the main medicine for hundreds of ethnic groups in the Amazon and it’s been used by these tribes for over 3000 years.
Our Ayahuasca comes from Pucallpa Peru from the Peruvian jungle and is hand-carried to Mexico as a blend of “Heavenly Ayahuasca” or “Sky Ayahuasca.” It’s brewed from the Ayahuasca vine and the leaves of the chacruna plant and one of the blends most often used in Peru. The leaves of the chacruna plant contain DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) and the DMT is what generates the visions and the colors we experience. The power of the Ayahuasca liana jungle vine gives us a new environment, an aspect of consciousness and expansion, to put more presence in our thoughts, in what we say, in what we think and to be more aligned with oneness and the universe.
Traditionally, an experienced healer who leads Ayahuasca ceremonies like Arturo prepares the brew by boiling the liana jungle vine, the ayahuasca pod and the chacruna leaf in water. The vine is cleaned and smashed before being boiled to increase the extraction of its medicinal compounds. When the brew has reduced to his liking, the water is removed and reserved, leaving behind the plant material. This process is repeated until a highly concentrated liquid is produced. Once cooled, the brew is strained to remove impurities.
How does it work?
The main ingredients of Ayahuasca, Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, both have hallucinogenic properties. Psychotria viridis contains N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic substance that occurs naturally in the plant.
DMT is a powerful hallucinogenic chemical. However, it has low bioavailability, as it gets rapidly broken down by enzymes called monoamine oxidases (MAOs) in your liver and gastrointestinal tract.
For this reason, DMT must be combined with something containing MAO inhibitors (MAOIs), which allow DMT to take effect. Banisteriopsis caapi contains potent MAOIs called β-carbolines, which also have psychoactive effects of their own.
How is Ayahuasca used?
Though Ayahuasca was traditionally used for religious and spiritual purposes by specific populations, it has become popular worldwide among those who seek a way to open their minds, heal from past traumas, or simply experience an Ayahuasca journey.
It’s strongly recommended that Ayahuasca only be taken when supervised by an experienced facilitator, such as Arturo with over a decade of study with teachers from around the world, as those who take it need to be looked after carefully, as an Ayahuasca trip leads to an altered state of consciousness that lasts for 4-6 hours.
One week before partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony, we recommend that participants abstain from cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sex, and caffeine to purify their bodies. We also share details for a detoxifying diet to begin one week before. This helps to free the body of toxins and prepares you to receive Ayahuasca in a more pure state.
What happens during ceremony?
Ayahuasca ceremonies are usually held at night and last until the effects of Ayahuasca have worn off. After the space is prepared and blessed by the Ayahuascero leading the ceremony like Arturo, Ayahuasca is offered to the participants, split into several doses. During the Sacred Eos Journey, you may drink as much as you’d like. There is no limit unless Arturo senses that you’ve had enough. Think of it like a sacred 'open bar.'
After consuming, most people start to feel its effects within 20–60 minutes. The effects are dose-dependent, and the trip can last 2–6 hours.
Those who take Ayahuasca may experience symptoms like purging, diarrhea, feelings of euphoria, strong visual and auditory hallucinations, mind-altering psychedelic effects, fear, crying, laughing, moaning and sleeping. This is individual dependant ie. one person may purge from their mouth where another may not purge that way at all and does through other means like laughing, crying, or diarrhea. These effects, such as purging and diarrhea, are considered a normal part of the cleansing experience.
People react to Ayahuasca differently. Some experience euphoria and a feeling of enlightenment, while others experience different forms of anxiety that will pass. It’s not uncommon for those taking Ayahuasca to experience both positive and negative effects from the brew. These effects are usually temporary and do not last when you are given the proper integration support through experienced guides.
Arturo and all of our staff are highly experienced in Ayahuasca and offer spiritual guidance, group and individual coaching to participants throughout the ceremony. We monitor everyone for safety the entire time. Ceremonies are sometimes conducted consecutively, with participants consuming Ayahuasca a few nights in a row. Every time you take Ayahuasca, it results in a different experience. We serve it every other night giving you proper time in between to rest.
What are the benefits of Ayahuasca?
Many people who have taken Ayahuasca claim the experience leads to positive, long-term, life-altering changes. This may be due to the effects of Ayahuasca on the neurological system.
Recent research has shown that Ayahuasca can benefit health in a number of ways.
May benefit brain health
The main active ingredients in Ayahuasca — DMT and β-carbolines — have been shown to exhibit neuroprotective and neurorestorative qualities in some studies.
DMT activates the sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R), a protein that blocks neurodegeneration and regulates the production of antioxidant compounds that help protect your brain cells.
A test-tube study indicated that DMT protected human brain cells from damage caused by lack of oxygen and increased cell survival.
Harimine, the main β-carboline in Ayahuasca, has been found to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and memory-boosting effects in test-tube and animal studies. It has also been observed to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays an important role in nerve cell growth and promotes nerve cell survival.
Additionally, a test-tube study demonstrated that exposure to harmine increased the growth of human neural progenitor cells by over 70% in 4 days. These cells generate the growth of new neural cells in your brain.
Can improve psychological well-being
Research has shown that taking Ayahuasca may increase the mindfulness capacity of your brain and improve your overall psychological well-being.
A study in 20 people indicated that consuming Ayahuasca once weekly for 4 weeks was as effective as an 8-week mindfulness program at increasing acceptance, a component of mindfulness that plays a fundamental role in psychological health.
Other studies have found similar results, noting that Ayahuasca may improve mindfulness, mood, and emotional regulation.
A study in 57 people demonstrated that ratings of depression and stress were significantly decreased immediately after the participants consumed Ayahuasca. These effects were still significant 4 weeks following the Ayahuasca consumption
They’re mostly attributed to the DMT and β-carbolines in Ayahuasca.
May help treat addiction, anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and PTSD
Research suggests that Ayahuasca does benefit those with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction disorders.
A study in 29 people with treatment-resistant depression showed that a single dose of Ayahuasca led to significant improvements in depression severity compared with a placebo. Other studies report rapid antidepressant effects of Ayahuasca as well.
Additionally, a review of six studies concluded that Ayahuasca showed beneficial effects in treating depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and drug dependence.
Several studies have focused on the effects of Ayahuasca on addiction disorders, including addictions to crack cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine with promising results. In one study, 12 people with severe psychological and behavioral issues related to substance abuse participated in a 4-day treatment program that included 2 Ayahuasca ceremonies.
At a 6-month follow up, they demonstrated significant improvements in mindfulness, hopefulness, empowerment, and overall quality of life. Plus, self-reported use of tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol significantly declined. Researchers hypothesize that Ayahuasca may help those with PTSD as well, though more research in this area is needed.
What is Kambo?
Kambo is an animal medicine and healing ritual used mainly in South America. It’s named after the poisonous secretions of the giant monkey frog, or Phyllomedusa bicolor. The frog secretes the substance as a defense mechanism to kill or subdue animals that try to eat it. Humans, on the other hand, apply the substance to their body for its health benefits. It is used to cleanse the body of toxins, and treat numerous health conditions including:
Antibiotic and antiviral properties
Removes Excess medications in your system
Circulation problems, thrombosis
Destroys pathogenic micro-organisms
Detox heavy metals in the blood
Hepatitis and liver problems
Reactivates and balances the 7 glands
Relieves and heals significant muscle aches
Stimulates the endocrine system
Strengthens the immune system
Viruses and/or Viral infections
What is the Kambo process like?
The first part of the process involves drinking about a liter of water. Next, Arturo will use a burning stick to create a number of small burns on the skin, resulting in blisters. The blistered skin is then scraped off, and the kambo is applied to the wounds. From the wound, the kambo enters the lymphatic system and bloodstream, where it’s said to race around the body scanning for problems. This usually results in some immediate side effects, especially vomiting. Once these effects begin to fade, the person will be given water or tea to help flush out the toxins and rehydrate.
Important to consider
Within minutes of applying the kambo, people may experience immediate, temporary, unpleasant symptoms such as:
Rush of heat and redness to the face
Rapid heart rate
Please note these symptoms typically last from 5 to 30 minutes and range in severity per the individual.
What is a Temazcal ceremony?
Temazcal (aka Temazcalli) is an ancestral medicine that connects us to memories and rebirth. It represents the womb of mother earth and reconnects us to the four elements : fire, air, earth and water. It helps us to link our emotions and to break non serving thought patterns. The temazcal is a medicine that connects us in spirit, body and mind; to assist us in healing painful memories that have limited us throughout our lives. It also helps us to heal physical illnesses in our body as our emotional body is connected to our physical body.
This is achieved through plants and vapors that expire inside the Temazcal. It's through the vapors that we heal. The ceremony includes a healer or Temazcal facilitator and a fire eagle who's in charge of feeding the heat of the stones that represent the masculine energy while the Temazcal represents the mothers womb. Once inside the womb of mother earth, we enter in contact with the feminine energy and we have the balance of the masculine/feminine when the stones reach the center of the Temazcal.
We include it in our retreat as it's another form of energy and repressed emotional clearing, grounding and relaxation.
What is Rapé?
As part of the ceremonial experience, we offer Rapé (rap-PAY) at the start of every ceremony and it’s available to you throughout the ceremony per your request. Rapé is a medicine made from natural organic tobacco and other medicinal plants. It is blown up the nose in a ritualistic fashion. It’s an optional form of medicine that you do not have to partake in if you choose not to. The effects are individual dependent.
Nicotine may be a widely abused substance in our modern world, but to many indigenous cultures of the Americas, tobacco is a sacred plant known to cleanse both individuals and ceremonial spaces. This is the case for rapé as part of important medicinal rituals.
While rapé is often made of several Amazonian plants, the core of most rapé snuffs is the tobacco species Nicotiana rustica. This Amazonian tobacco is used extensively in tribal rituals and is much stronger than N. tabacum, the type of tobacco found in cigarettes.
The tobacco and other ingredients are ground into a fine powder, which is then blown into each of the nostril cavities through a ceremonial pipe made of bamboo.
Rapé can help you in the following ways:
- Helps focus and sharpen the mind.
- Clears a person or space of distracting, bad energies in preparation for intention setting.
- Detoxes both body and mind and clears your energetic field. Because of this, rapé is often used in conjunction with ayahuasca ceremonies.
- Clears sinuses of mucus and bacteria, thereby helping to combat colds and respiratory ailments.
- Provides a calming, grounding effect on the emotions that lasts much longer than the initial sensation.
- Can be used in conjunction with other treatments for addiction and mental illness.
Rapé is a cleansing medicine, so after taking it, you may experience side effects such as vomiting, sweating, or diarrhea. This does not happen to everyone. Although this can be an uncomfortable part of the experience, some people say the temporary pain is an integral part of the spiritual and physical cleansing process—by purging deep-seated toxins, you come out the other side of the experience feeling calmer, more focused, and more in line with your true self.