Mother Ayauasca- Strax Huset, Bergen
The main ingredient of this jungle tea is a vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, which like the tea itself is also called ayahuasca (which means ‘vine of the soul’ or ‘vine with a soul’). The secondary ingredient is either chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana), plants that contain a relatively high amount of the psychedelic substance DMT.
Nobody knows for sure how long this drink has been used. First recorded Western contact with ayahuasca was made in 1851 by Richard Spruce, the famous ethnobotanist from England. When taking into account archeological evidence of comparable native plant use, it seems likely that its use dates back to at least two millennia ago.
In the past few decades ayahuasca is slowly gaining interest from Western society as well. Not only academic researchers in the field of psychotherapy have shown an increased interest. Psychonauts, i.e. people who practice responsible and conscious use of mind-altering substances, use ayahuasca to confront themselves with the richness of the mind, the infinity of the universe, and their deepest fears, so as to experience ecstasy resulting from facing and overcoming these fears.
Ayahuasca is not a miracle cure in the sense that you drink the brew and all your troubles have vanished within a couple of hours. It is a miracle cure though, in the sense that it brings unconscious and seemingly other-worldly processes to surface, which enables you to work with it while the effects last.
What is more unique about ayahuasca, is that the effects rely on a specific combination of two plants: Banisteriopsis caapi and chacruna (or chagropanga, depending on the region). How and when exactly the discovery of combining these two plants was made by native Americans remains unclear, although many tribes and shamans have their own mythical tales explaining this event.
Second, the primary ingredient of chacruna and chagropanga is also a neurotransmitter found in all human beings and plays a key role in all kinds of extraordinary states of awareness. This neurotransmitter is called dimethyltryptamine, or DMT for short, and is found in the brain, blood, lungs and other parts of the human body. There is strong evidence pointing towards the pineal gland (“the third eye” in esoteric traditions), located in the center of the brain, as the main factory of human DMT. Apart from human beings, DMT can be found in every mammal and in a variety of plants.