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What is ayahuasca?

The term „ayahuasca” is used to mean both the plant, Banisteriopsis caapi, and the brew made from it, usually in combination with plants that contain DMT. The term comes from the language of the Indian Quechua tribe.

The traditional South American ayahuasca brew is usually prepared from the leaves of the Psychotria viridis plant as a source of DMT. Banisteriopsis caapi contains the harmin and harmalin alkaloids that act as monoamine oxidase inhibitors. This allows the DMT to retain its activity when ingested. Without these alkaloids DMT is rapidly broken down in the body by the enzyme monoamine oxidase.

Ayahuasca is prepared by boiling or soaking the plant-based ingredients. Traditional brews can sometimes contain additional psychoactive substances and/or herbs, such as tobacco, coca, Brugmansia, Datura and many others.

Outside the Amazon basin and in other cities around the world, ayahuasca is prepared from many other ingredients including pure chemicals (sometimes called "pharmahuasca ') or substitution analogues from other plants containing the harmala alkaloid.

Ayahuasca is known for its ability to induce vomiting and/or diarrhea in many drug users, accompanied by rich visual hallucinations and strong effects, leading to a change in consciousness.