As cannabis becomes legal in several states across the United States, and people are micro-dosing psychedelics like psilocybin to help with anxiety and depression, it makes sense why ayahuasca, a traditional hallucinogenic tea, has entered the mainstream realm, too. Once considered a traditional Amazonian medicinal tool, the psychedelic tea has a hallucinogenic effect that proponents swear is life-changing. If you've never heard of ayahuasca before, it's an indigenous Amazonian plant that's used to create a ceremonial tea.
This tea contains stems of the ayahuasca plant, and leaves from another plant that naturally contain N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (aka "DMT"), according to the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council, a nonprofit aimed at sustainable and safe use of traditional medicinal plants. When sipped during an ayahuasca ceremony, ayahuasca can lead to hallucinations, often involving death, family, and relationships. In fact, the word "ayahuasca" means "vine of the death" in Quechuan languages. People may participate in ayahuasca ceremonies several times over the course of a week, month, or other period of time.
Historically, ayahuasca ceremonies were performed by skilled medicine workers called shamans, and were believed to cure ailments and heal people's spiritual problems. Although an ayahuasca ceremony isn't necessarily religious in nature, most people report coming to terms with their own spirituality during a trip. These days, people seek out ayahuasca because they hear that the effects can be deeply profound.
In truth, it may take a while for the benefits of ayahuasca to be broadly accepted. Technically, ayahuasca is illegal in the United States, because DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug. But on Reddit, many people share the experiences they've had with the medicinal tea and the trips that accompany it. Read on to learn how some say it's changed their lives.
Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal or harmful activity, and would like to remind its readers that DMT is a Schedule I drug and illegal in the United States.
"Before this experience, I wanted to divorce but I was afraid a lot, and every day I had a different view about my marriage situation.
"After this experience I saw my partner and his struggles and fears, I felt empathy towards him, but I just felt that regarding us it's over. I do care about him a lot but this experience took my fear away and I saw that we are on different paths from now on.
"They said not to take big decisions in the first two weeks [after the ceremony], but I still feel the same. I feel it in my whole body... why am I not afraid anymore?"
- via Reddit
"I’ve been wanting children for some time. I’ve felt it in my bones since I was a young girl. Last night I drank [ayahuasca]. The entire experience was beautiful. Mostly comical with some introspective parts. The thoughts and visions would pass so quickly I sometimes couldn’t decipher or grasp what I was experiencing.
"A couple of times in the night there were clear messages. A voice that said 'twin boys,' 'you’re having twin boys.' I placed my hands on my womb and it was if I could feel them living in my body. The message was to ask my family or my partners family if there was a history of twins. My partner is still investigating but after speaking with my mother this afternoon, it turns out my grandpa's brother had fraternal twins. I literally felt like I was harboring children. Even though I just had my period. Perhaps I was planting the seed?"
- via Reddit
"No visions came. I couldn’t stop thinking about a recent disagreement I had with my dad. I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it, like hyper-focused on it. I thought about the real real root of the issue, which like many fights, was bigger than the actual disagreement itself. Thinking about it made me sad. I was so, so, so sad. I can’t feel this bad for any longer, I thought, but I did feel bad for longer. So, so sad and so, so nauseous.
For one, the next time I saw my dad I was furious with him and couldn’t hide it. It led to a real and difficult conversation, and our relationship has improved because of it. Things aren’t perfect, but I understand our issues better and don’t get so upset by them anymore."
- via Reddit
"I found myself thinking about my mom — who I was going to see the next day — how much I love her, and miss her, and all the things I wanted her to know/say to her. All the while knowing that I wouldn't share everything I felt, as it would be overwhelming for her to hear how I was thinking that her face is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life and that I never want to forget it.
"... This led me to realize that my parents probably felt like I do as a parent — like I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. As a kid, and even now in my fifties, I believed that everything my parents did they did because they knew what was best and that they were right. It never occurred to me before last Friday that they were people who got frustrated, sometimes did things as parents because they felt they had to do something, not because they knew what to do and probably regretted some of their decisions."
- via Reddit
"The main message that was repeating in my head [was]: You are here to give, give, give, give, give, give, give... Just like that, with many 'give's' repeating themselves. Images of my close friends kept coming by, and I felt i was being protected by their love.
"There is still a lot of processing to do. My main message, without a question, from this night was the give, give, give thing. I knew it before in some way, but the experience last night made it very clear to me that my mission and my focus in life should be about giving to others, and being in service of the divine."
- via Reddit