If this is your first time seeking at Ayahuasca Recipe, we’ve got a lot of content about ayahuasca for you.
Most Popular AYAHUASCA posts are:
- 10 Free Ayahuasca Sources on the Web–if you have a serious interest in ayahuasca, you would benefit by devoting a few hours to perusing these sites that we consider to be the best sources of ayahuasca information to be found on the web.
- The Gringo Shaman’s Ayahuasca Recipe the title says it all; short point-by-point ayawaska recipe ingredients and cooking description; contextualized by Bajaverde’s meandering quest to experience his first ayahuasca ceremony.
- Ayahuasca Retreats Reviewed looking to explore the ayahuasca world in a safe environment from skilled facilitators and bona fide shamans, you won’t want to miss this page and related articles, reviewing ayahuasca retreat opportunities in Peru, Costa Rica and Brazil.
- Ayahuasca TV–our latest project collecting the best in ayahuasca information in video format available on the web. Commentary, reviews, anthropology and more serve to highlight the ayahuasca related content in the videos. Stay tuned, updated frequently.
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What is Ayahuasca?
Those new to the realms of ayahuasca often encounter a confusing amount of seemingly contradictory information concerning what exactly constitutes an authentic ayahuasca brew.
Some of the confusion arises because, first, there are many terms and spellings, etymologically speaking, that refer to both the vine–ayahuasca (common botanical referent Banisteriopsis caapi; short form B. caapi)–and the ayahuasca tea that contains the vine and at least one other admixture, usually, but not always, a DMT containing plant such as chacruna (common botanical referent Psychotria viridis).
Yet, depending on the individual preparing the ayahuasca tea recipe–and most notably, the tradition he or she became adept with the preparation of ayahuasca–the actual ayahuasca recipe ingredients may contain a plethora of other plants.
The other plants are added to the brew based on the desired healing effects an ayahuascero (someone who is trained to administer ayahuasca, often to referred to as a shaman) determines are necessary to treat or alleviate an illness, be that a psychic or physical illness.
“A shaman is a healer who sings.” –Anon
It would be fair to say that from thousands of accounts from anthropological and ethnobotanical studies there are two key ayahuasca recipe ingredients in any ayahuasca tea which work together in synergy to catalyze a subjective experience of altered consciousness for those who partake of the brew.
There are many adjuncts to what could be considered an ayahuasca potion or brew, but its base–essential ingredients, i.e. there are no psychoactive properties without these two essential ingredients–traditionally consist of, at a minimum, the following two ingredients:
1. The ayahuasca vine, Banisteriopsis caapi (pictured right), and,
2. A DMT containing plant (such as psychotria viridis).
This is the basis of all the best traditional ayahuasca recipes as prepared by indigenous cultures in and around the areas of South America’s Amazon region.
With that said, from a purely clinical or scientific perspective, there are many other plants that could be mixed together to get an effect similar to the traditional brew that can be found in the Amazon.
For example Jonathan Ott has written a book, titled Ayahuasca Analogs, which details around 4000 potential plant combinations that, when brewed together, would result in an ayahuasca-like experience.
On the other hand, to keep true to the cultural and possibly spiritual foundation of ayahuasca, as far as encountering the “ayahuasca spirit” and all the legendary mythology associated with it, the definitive ingredient for any brew to be considered ayahuasca is Banisteriopsis caapi.
Without including Banisteriopsis caapi in an ostensible ayahuasca brew, you are not preparing or partaking in an experience that any indigenous ayahuascero (shaman) would consider to be ayahuasca–because, it is believed through thousands of years of use and handed-down experiences that the Banisteriopsis caapi serves to connect those who ingest it with a spirit unique to the Banisteriopsis caapi vine; the spirit is thought to be a gatekeeper to another realm and is said to be responsible for miraculous healing, revelations of deep personal insight, protection, divination and a long list of other far-out things: Things which, even today, remain hard to prove in any accepted empirical manner according consensus and repeatability within scientific circles.
Once you grasp what, exactly, is ayahuasca–i.e. a synergistic mixture of–at least–two plant components, one containing DMT (often psychotria viridis) within its structure and the other containing, ideally banisteria caapi (banisteriopsis caapi vine), or another MAO inhibitor–then you may still encounter some confusion in your research as you attempt to understand this mysterious concoction.
Because the brew goes by many names.
All the names are a result of the widespread use of the ayahuasca tea across a large swath of the South American continent. Numerous separate and distinct people have traditionally utilized the ayahuasca brew traditionally for hundreds and even thousands of years. Add to this, many of these groups were acting individually and also spoke distinct languages, which have morphed and evolved over time.
Then there is the contemporary phenomenon of intense interest in what could be termed the Western World regarding the use of ayahuasca, out of curiosity, adventure, connection with the primal, a search for insight and healing.
And what is the result of old culture and traditions colliding with the mobility and instantaneous nature of the modern connected world–a metropolitan mixture of emergent language and terms that serves to befuddle those, “not in the know”.
So, let’s turn on the fog lights and bring some clarity to the miasma of terms that all refer to the star of this site, ayahuasca.
For some of the most common alternative spelling of ayahuasca, you have:
- Ayawaska, it is easy to see how you could, upon hearing the imported term ayahuasca make a guess at the spelling and come up with–ayawaska. And here, you wouldn’t be wrong. Ayawaska is the preferred Quechua spelling for both the vine (B. caapi) and the brew.
- Iowaska, this spelling is just a common English language attempt at trying to sound-out the aural pronunciation when one hears, Ayahuasca.
- Yajé, also spelled just yaje by English speakers because, most English speakers aren’t conscious of the accent mark; nor is it necessary to understand meaning when speaking our native language, English. Anyhow, yajé finds its roots in the Tucanoan languages. And also from the tucanoan languages we get our next ayahuasca term.
- Yagé, as stated above another spelling and word meaning ayahuasca coming from the Tucanoan lineage. But wait, this word, also seen as just yage (again without the accent) when written by English speakers, has deeper roots in the West. And, you can blame or applaud our ayahuasca-familiar friend William S. Burroughs for popularizing this term by the publication of his book, The Yage Letters. The book is a collection of letters between William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. In it William S. Burroughs relates accounts of his experiences with Ayahuasca. This book can considered as one of the first counter culture pillars in what today has become the Ayahuasca tourist industry in the Amazon, where many Ayahuasca Retreats are on offer to the adventurous tourist. But, for the sake of our defogging exercise in, we can thank William S. Burroughs for popularizing yage as a term used by some English speakers to refer to ayahuasca.
Now this is not an exhaustive list of all the different spellings from all old and new ayahuasca consuming cultures. But, it is a list of the most often used spellings, misspellings and other attempts by English speakers to refer to ayahuasca, both the vine and the brew or tea, when using the internet and searching on the internet for an ayahuasca treatment.
Ayawaska, iowaska, yaje and yage, ayahuascu, ayahuaski are all terms that refer to the same “potion” or ayahuasca recipe.
In a perfect world, the ideal way to experience ayahuasca is with a reputable ayahuascero or shaman–both terms referring to individuals adept in the workings of the ayahuasca brew and the spirit of the ayahuasca vine.
In recent years there has been a surge of interest from individuals in the Western World–mostly people from the United States, Australia, Japan, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and England–toward the subject of South American shamanism and, specifically, shamans that would be more correctly termed ayahuasceros, or those individuals skilled in the administration and preparation of the ayahuasca brew.
Because of this intense interest and money being spent to satiate curiosity, fulfill a step on a bigger quest, or a alternative route (alternative to Western Medicine) to healing, the entity of the Ayahuasca Retreat Center has emerged and the idea of ayahuasca treatment as a healing method for various maladies and even in Peru, ayahuasca takes a central role in some drug rehab centers.
If you are traveling to South America for an authentic ayahuasca session, you’ll want to keep an eye on our Best Ayahuasca Retreats page for up-to-date verified ayahuasca facilitators. As this grows, we’ll compile an .pdf ayahuasca retreat resource.
And, our latest project, compiling the latest research for the best THC Detox.
If you are fortunate enough to be traveling to South America, AyahuascaRecipe.org is currently building a directory of reputable ayahuasceros and ayahuasca retreat centers throughout the world. If you would like to review a retreat center or you are associated with a retreat center and would like to have your facility considered for inclusion in our directory, please send an inquiry via the form available here, Contact Us.
If you are seeking to build a relationship with the ayahuasca vine, there are numerous online sources where you can buy ayahuasca ingredients.
Also, if you are traveling in South America, the ingredients necessary to brew your own–not recommended–ayahuasca via a basic ayahuasca recipe can be found in most open markets, such as the San Pedro Market in Cusco, Peru, pictured below, or in the witches alley of Iquitos’, Belen Market.