Top 10 Psychedelic Support Articles About Ayahuasca

Discover top articles on ayahuasca experiences, including history, benefits, risks, and integration practices, from experts on psychedelics.
Ayahuasca experiences. The Psychedelic Support logo is in white in the center of the image. Behind it is a cross-section of ayahuasca bark. Behind that is a larger cross-section, but tinted in orange. All on an orange background.
Author: Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
By Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
July 8, 2024(Updated: July 9, 2024)

Over the years, Psychedelic Support contributors have created a robust library of resources about different plant medicines, applications, the latest research, and guidance—including ayahuasca experiences. We are the leader in evidence-based, patient-centered psychedelic therapy.

The Psychedelic Support team wants you to access our best articles quickly and easily. This list provides our top articles about ayahuasca. 

Brief Overview of Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a traditional South American brew used both spiritually and medicinally by indigenous tribes in the Amazon basin. Here’s a brief overview of its history, uses, benefits, risks, and legal status.


Ayahuasca has been used for centuries, possibly thousands of years, by tribes in the Amazon rainforest. It is made primarily from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leaf, the latter of which contains DMT, a powerful psychedelic substance. The brew was traditionally used in healing ceremonies and spiritual rituals led by a shaman or spiritual leader.


The primary use of ayahuasca is as a spiritual and healing sacrament. Participants in ayahuasca ceremonies often seek deep personal insight, emotional healing, or spiritual awakening. In recent decades, its use has spread globally, attracting those seeking to overcome personal traumas and mental health issues or simply to explore profound existential questions.


Users and some preliminary studies suggest several potential benefits of ayahuasca. These include:

  • Psychological Healing: Many report significant improvements in mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
  • Spiritual Insights: Users often experience profound spiritual revelations and a sense of interconnectedness with the universe.
  • Emotional Release: The intense emotional experience can cause individuals to experience significant cathartic releases, often described as therapeutic.


Ayahuasca risks include:

  • Physical Effects: Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common during ceremonies.
  • Psychological Distress: The experience can be intensely challenging and may surface traumatic memories or induce anxiety and paranoia.
  • Interactions: Ayahuasca can interact dangerously with various medications, especially antidepressants and substances, due to its MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) content.


The legality of ayahuasca varies significantly around the world:

  • United States: Ayahuasca is illegal under federal law because it contains DMT, a Schedule I substance. However, court rulings have allowed certain religious groups to use it legally under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  • Canada and Australia: Similar to the U.S., ayahuasca is generally illegal unless part of sanctioned religious ceremonies.
  • South America: Countries like Peru, Colombia, and Brazil have recognized ayahuasca as part of their cultural heritage. It is legal and widely used in spiritual and therapeutic contexts.

Ayahuasca is a complex and potent traditional brew with a rich history of use in spiritual and therapeutic contexts. While it offers potential benefits for mental health and spiritual growth, it carries significant risks and legal complexities that interested individuals must navigate carefully.

1. Triumph Over Darkness: Navigating Spiritual Emergencies and Ayahuasca Experiences

Ayahuasca and Black Magic. A person with their arms in the air standing on a rock with a blue sky with some clouds in the background, and a white border around the image.

Nina Izel is a healer, teacher, and author of the book Heart Medicine, Ayahuasca Assisted Therapy and the Integration Process. She wrote this piece to help you discover the connection between ayahuasca and black magic. It’s important to navigate spiritual emergencies safely and protect yourself on your journey. 

She shares why she believes psychedelics are powerful tools to open doors into spiritual realms. The article explains what black magic is and its connection with ayahuasca. Learn the red flags that indicate you may be a victim of black magic and whether you are vulnerable. 

Lastly, Nina shares the common gifts and biggest learnings people received while going through these very challenging experiences.

Read Now: Triumph Over Darkness: Navigating Spiritual Emergencies and Ayahuasca Experiences

2. Ayahuasca Traditions and Origins

Ayahuasca Ceremonies. Top-down view of four whole pieces of ayahuasca laid out atop shredded ayahuasca vine in the shape of a wonky square. In the center of the square is a bowl of traditional healing ayahuasca brew. To the left and the right of the whole ayahuasca pieces placed on the left and the right are graphics of some dreamy, pastel-colored flowers.

Guy Borgford has written numerous articles for Psychedelic Support. Ayahuasca has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years. Despite an increased exploration of this plant medicine, individuals need to approach ayahuasca with respect, caution, and awareness of the potential risks and cultural sensitivities involved. 

In this one, Guy explains the spiritual significance of ayahuasca ceremonies practiced by Indigenous peoples. He writes about the traditions and variations of ayahuasca and Yagé that have been practiced across the Amazon Basin and throughout South America for centuries. 

The article provides a helpful summary of various traditions associated with ayahuasca and yagé including the Mestizo Tradition, Shipibo-Conibo Tradition, Shuar Tradition, Siona Tradition, Tukano Tradition, and Vegetalismo Tradition.

Read Now: Ayahuasca Traditions and Origins

3. Heart Medicine — Teachings from the Mother Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca-Assisted Therapy. A person's hand holding up a disc of ayahuasca bark, which has a greaphic of sunbeams behind it, and some twinkly stars around it. The background is a full ayahuasca plant.

Nina writes about how we can explore ayahuasca-assisted therapy for profound healing. She encourages us to embrace plant medicine’s power for love, acceptance, and renewal. She shares how the transformative experience of working with Mother Ayahuasca opened her eyes, expanding her awareness so she could see herself from a higher perspective. 

Nina writes from her heart, revealing how plant medicine allowed her to love and accept all parts of herself, the beautiful and the ugly. She encourages all of us to embrace ourselves as spiritual beings.

“The more conscious you are, the more beautiful what you create is. This is true both individually and collectively because everything is connected. Everything is conscious and alive, and everything you do affects the life of all,” shared Nina.

Read Now: Heart Medicine — Teachings from the Mother Ayahuasca

4. Integrating Ayahuasca Experiences: Common Themes, Challenges, and Practices

Integrating Ayahuasca Experiences. Gloved hand holding a disc of the tree that Ayahuasca is made from, with more discs increasing in size cascading into the distance over a web-like blue spacey background.

Currently, there is a lack of research on what happens to people after an ayahuasca experience. Researchers refer to this phase as ayahuasca integration. This article provides pertinent information about the ongoing research on integrating ayahuasca experiences. 

It describes the results of a study published in the journal Psychoactives in June 2023. The study conducted a qualitative analysis of the integration experiences of ayahuasca drinkers. The findings explore common themes of ayahuasca integration, practices, and challenges that applied to these users.

Read Now: Integrating Ayahuasca Experiences: Common Themes, Challenges, and Practices

5. How to Change Your Core Beliefs With Ayahuasca?

core beliefs

Core beliefs are a vital part of how we understand and move through the world. Nina Izel teaches you how core beliefs, behavior, and psychedelic-assisted therapy are connected. She explains how we can really change our behavior by going into our unconscious and changing the connected core belief.

Nina shares how our unconscious manifests in our everyday lives and how shadow work can make us more aware of this. The article describes how ayahuasca can help accelerate the expansion of our awareness, changing our minds and our lives.

“Once you create change deep in your unconscious mind, in the core belief system, you are changing your software. As your operating system changes, your behavior will naturally change, your actions will be different, and so the consequences will change, too,” writes Nina.

Read Now: How to Change Your Core Beliefs With Ayahuasca?

6. Ayahuasca in a Pill and Cultural Appropriation

ayahuasca and cultural appropriation

At this moment, drug companies are studying ayahuasca. This interest puts the sacred plant medicine at risk for exploitation and cultural appropriation. Nina shares her personal opinion on why she thinks ayahuasca shouldn’t be available to everybody. 

She has worked with this medicine in a therapeutic context for over ten years and believes that ayahuasca is not the best solution for everyone. Nina describes the ancient rituals that need protection, such as the strict guidelines on conducting an ayahuasca ceremony. She shares that “making an ayahuasca healing experience into a standardized pill is a perfect example of linking ayahuasca and cultural appropriation.”

Read Now: Ayahuasca in a Pill and Cultural Appropriation

7. Emotional Healing with Ayahuasca

Emotional Healing with Ayahuasca. Image is a person with different versions of themselves extending from the one in the center, in varying degrees of fragmented focus. The version on the left is clearly in agony, and the version on the right is laughing, and the two in the middle make it a gradual transition from the one extreme to the other.

This piece explains how we can emotionally heal with ayahuasca as a powerful ally. It describes how emotional expression helps us navigate the world as it is part of our internal guidance system. However, in our early years, we are taught that certain emotions are bad and certain are good. This misconception has created a basic misunderstanding because all emotions are valid and meant to be felt and expressed.

The article shares what happens to suppressed emotions and how we can reclaim our right to feel. It explores how Mother Ayahuasca can help open our hearts, connect us to our higher selves, and heal all emotional pain. 

Read Now: Emotional Healing with Ayahuasca

8. LSD vs Ayahuasca Experience: Which Psychedelic Therapy Is a Good Fit for You?

LSD vs Ayahuasca

This article explores the distinct therapeutic benefits of LSD and ayahuasca. It provides a valuable overview of LSD-assisted therapy and ayahuasca-assisted therapy, including some of the most recent research findings for each psychedelic. The article directly compares the LSD and ayahuasca experiences with a table with the following information:

  • How people describe the experience
  • How long the experience lasts
  • Their use in trials
  • Legality

Lastly, it helps you figure out which substance is suitable for you.

Read Now: LSD vs Ayahuasca Experience: Which Psychedelic Therapy Is a Good Fit for You?

9. Ayahuasca for Eating Disorders: New Perspectives From Ceremony Leaders

image of ayahuasca root and tea

Ayahuasca could be a breakthrough treatment for eating disorders. This article dives into a research study published by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, “Getting to the Root:” Ayahuasca Ceremony Leaders’ Perspectives on Eating Disorders. The researchers gathered insights from 15 ceremony leaders with experience in delivering ayahuasca ceremonies.

The article provides a helpful overview of the results, including the three leaders’ theories of eating disorders and their perspectives on ayahuasca for eating disorders, including how it promotes healing and integrates the “root” of the condition.

Read Now: Ayahuasca for Eating Disorders: New Perspectives From Ceremony Leaders

10. Can Ayahuasca Tell Me My Life Purpose?

Can Ayahuasca. A colorful rainbow fractal in the baground, with a circle of Ayahuasca tree filling the image. There is a person overlaid over the image in a zen meditation pose with their eyes closed. They have short hair, and are wear a white shirt with tan pants.

Many of us want to understand and discover our life’s purpose. This article explores whether ayahuasca can help answer that profound question. Nina shares how our internal compass is strongest during childhood, allowing us to follow our natural joy and excitement. 

However, as we grow, our success is defined by society, environment, and family pressures, which hijack us from pursuing our original dreams. The article delves into how ayahuasca can help clear blockages and steer you toward your highest gifts, life’s purpose, and expression.

Read Now: Can Ayahuasca Tell Me My Life Purpose?

Follow your Curiosity

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Alcohol and Drug Foundation. (2024). Ayahuasca.

Bouso, J. C., Andión, Ó., Sarris, J. J., Scheidegger, M., Tófoli, L. F., Opaleye, E. S., Schubert, V., & Perkins, D. (2022b). Adverse Effects of Ayahuasca: Results From the Global Ayahuasca Survey. PLOS Global Public Health, 2(11), e0000438.

Malcolm, B. J., & Lee, K. C. (2017). Ayahuasca: An Ancient Sacrament for Treatment of Contemporary Psychiatric Illness? The Mental Health Clinician, 7(1), 39–45.

Perkins, D., Pagni, B. A., Sarris, J., Barbosa, P. C. R., & Chenhall, R. (2022). Changes in Mental Health, Wellbeing and Personality Following Ayahuasca Consumption: Results of a Naturalistic Longitudinal Study. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 13.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Legal Status of Ayahuasca by Country.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Dec. 2019,

Wikipedia contributors. (2024, June 11). Legal status of ayahuasca by country. Wikipedia.

The content provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should be a substitute for medical or other professional advice. Articles are based on personal opinions, research, and experiences of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Psychedelic Support.

Published by:
Author: Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
Katharine has over 15 years of experience working in British Columbia's healthcare system, leading patient safety incident investigations, quality and systems improvement projects, and change management initiatives within mental health, emergency health services, and women's health. She has published in scientific journals and co-authored health research books. Her bylines include Verywell Mind, CBC Parents, Family Education, Mamamia Australia, HuffPost Canada, and CafeMom. Check out her books at Sum (心,♡) on Sleeve.

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