by John Summerly
Banisteriopsis caapi, also known as ayahuasca, caapi or yaje, is a South American jungle vine used to prepare a decoction with a long history of entheogenic uses as a medicine and “plant teacher” among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Rainforest. It has unique properties found to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurogenerative disorders.
B.caapi contains harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, all of which are both beta-carboline harmala alkaloids and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The MAOIs in B. caapi allow the primary psychoactive compound, DMT (which is introduced from the other primary ingredient in ayahausca, the Psychotria viridis plant), to be orally active.
The name ayahuasca means “vine of the soul”and the shamans of the indigenous western Amazonian tribes use the plant in religious and healing ceremonies. In addition to its hallucinogenic properties, caapi is used for its healing properties as a purgative, effectively cleansing the body of parasites and helping the digestive tract.
Harmala alkaloids are short term yet powerful MAOIs which render tryptamines orally active by temporarily reducing levels of monoamine oxidase in the body which otherwise rapidly destroys them. Their effects are more powerful and less toxic than pharmaceutical SSRIs since they do not lead to suicidal tendencies and other side effects which detrimentally affect human behavior.
The principal ayahuasca compounds have a common indole structure which, through several mechanisms, influences certain functions of the central nervous system (CNS). The relevant factor is the biochemical similarity of these compounds to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT). The harmala alkaloids in ayahuasca, primarily harmine and tetrahydroharmine, reversibly inhibit the neuronal enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO).
This allows DMT to be active when ingested orally. It also facilitates accumulation of biogenic amines, such as 5-HT, which are normally metabolized by monoamine oxidase enzymes. DMT is a naturally-occurring biochemical substance secreted by the human body in the pineal gland. It occurs in hundreds of plant species worldwide. It can produce very powerful visionary effects when smoked in its pure form or taken orally in Ayahuasca.
The Ayahuasca Experience
People who have consumed ayahuasca report having spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight into how to be the best person they possibly can. This is viewed by many as a spiritual awakening and what is often described as a rebirth. In addition it is often reported that individuals can gain access to higher spiritual dimensions and make contact with various spiritual or extra dimensional beings who can act as guides or healers…