Ayahuasca is a  jungle vine that allows your brain's natural psychedelic, DMT, to persist and affect you. I first encountered it when Karla took me to visit her family in the Amazon nine years ago. Her tribe, the Shipibo, has used it for hundreds, thousand of years, and her mom drank it for stomachaches as a little girl. So it's either children's Tylenol or uber-LSD, or both. But for unknown reasons, it helps depression, drug addiction and acedia — at least it did for me.

Reilly Capps // reporter
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Aya helps depression

February 12, 2017

In a double-blind study, doctors in a hospital in Brazil connected people with treatment-resistant depression to monitors and gave them either ayahuasca or a placebo; ayahuasca drinkers saw their depression drop.

 

A paper catalogs aya use in Catalonia. There are 17 ayahuasca groups in and around Barcelona alone. A study says DMT causes short term changes in brain cell proteins. And the Global Ayahuasca Project has a survey looking for experiences.

 

 

LEGAL
 

The Ayahuasca Defense Fund — the ACLU for jungle drugs — raised $93,000, and its legal advice helped spring a guy from prison in France. Ayahuasca is legal in most countries; including France, although sometimes only for certain people. A center in Florida changed its ayahuasca brew recipe to make it 100 percent undisputably legal. Overall, when governments try to control aya, they often fail, and prominent journal this month said that restricting aya "has a high cost in terms of health."

RELIGION

 

Religious leader Jeffrey Bronfman was interviewed. A talk about ayahuasca was scheduled to take place on the premises of a Spanish Catholic parish; when the priest found out, he "couldn't believe it" and canceled the talk. A hearing in Denmark in which a religious group is petitioning the government for the right to use ayahuasca was standing room only.

SAFETY

 

New York Magazine has a fascinating article about shady sex and aya. It leads with the story of a Harvard Divinity student who was living with a jungle tribe — a tribe which used to have warrior headshrinkers — who had a shifty medicine man. The man dropped stupefying plants into her ayahuasca to seduce her — a jungle roofie. There are many good gurus everywhere — and also many sketchy ones. (Here are safety tips for women going to South America. Some retreats are for women only.) In mid-January, in Ecuador, at a ceremony held by a shaman affiliated with that same former-head shrinking tribe, a Texas woman died. The stats still say ayahuasca is safe.

OTHER NEWS

 

Ayahuasca is a vine. With such high demand for it, the price has tripled in six years, the Guardian says, and supplies are dwindling, and Peruvians have to hack deeper into the jungle just to harvest younger, smaller vines. I wrote in Rooster Magazine about a similar problem with iboga, a similar plant.

 

The vine is curling its way around tech circles. Business magazines even cover ayahuasca now, and 4-Hour-Workweek guru Tim Ferriss calls "deliberate, supervised use" of ayahuasca the most effective therapy he knows. "The best analogy is having a software program debugged," he said.

 

Scholar Bia Labate drank with war vets, and High Times says ayahuasca is "proof of the deeper underlying unity and interconnectivity of all things." The Flaming Lips drank ayahuasca at Miley Cyrus's house. Famous performance artist Marina Abramovic made a film about her aya journey.

 

I interviewed ayahuasca researcher Dennis McKenna for a story about the Stoned Ape theory in Rooster Magazine, and so did Boulder Weekly, because McKenna talked in Boulder the other day. In his talk, McKenna said that aya is the plant world's way of talking to us monkeys. It's saying: "You monkeys only think you're running things."

 

Before she died, Carrie Fisher used ayahuasca with ex-husband Paul Simon to try to heal their relationship and smooth her bipolar — no luck on either. A former child star says ayahuasca saved her life. On Twitter, multiple people offered to sneak into the White House and slip ayahuasca into Donald Trump's morning glass of juice.

 

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AyaNews: Ayahuasca improves mindfulness

June 24, 2018

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