Ayahuasca and purgatives – The Colombian Approach to the Ayahuasca Diet

Ayahuasca and purgatives

Different countries and different indigenous cultures have different ways of connecting and preparing for Ayahuasca

In Peru there is a lot of emphasis on the dieta, while in Colombia the tribes focus more on purgatives which help cleanse the body. 

It’s essential to note that no single approach is inherently superior to the others. Each tradition has its merits, developed over centuries, if not millennia, to suit the specific needs, environment, and collective wisdom of a community. 

We are fortunate to live in a time when these powerful plant medicines and ancient techniques are accessible to us.

 The key is to remain open to receiving the wisdom and healing that different traditions offer, even if the experience can be challenging or uncomfortable. 

In this blog you will learn how purgatives form an integral part of the process and what you can expect. 

The Power of Purgatives: The Foundation of Indigenous Medicines

In our modern lives, we’re continually exposed to toxins, be it through the air we breathe, the food we consume, or even the stressors that invade our mental landscape. 

These toxins accumulate in our system, hindering our body’s natural ability to absorb essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The result? A less-than-optimal state of health that can make us more susceptible to illness.

While Western medicine often focuses on treating symptoms as they arise, indigenous practices like those of the Kamëntsá tradition in Colombia take a more preventative approach. 

The idea is not to wait until you’re sick but to proactively cleanse the system. For many of us, detoxification is a rarity.

 We might try a lemon and olive oil cleanse once or twice in a lifetime, which pales in comparison to the accumulation of toxins we’ve ingested over the years.

In the Kamëntsá tradition, there are over 200 different purgatives, many of which are lesser-known and specific to their jungle environment. 

These purgatives are not just quick fixes but are part of a holistic approach to well-being, one that emphasizes the power of prevention. It’s no surprise that the elders in these communities, like Maria Chindoy’s grandfather, often live well past 100 years with remarkable vitality.

The philosophy here is clear: don’t just medicate, rejuvenate and prevent. By adopting such ancient practices, we can aspire to create a balance in our modern lives that honors our bodies.

Ayahuasca Diet: Peru vs. Colombia

When it comes to Ayahuasca diets, the approaches can vary significantly depending on the tradition and the region. 

In Peruvian traditions, the dietary guidelines are usually quite strict, with some recommending a specific diet starting as much as six weeks before the Ayahuasca ceremony. 

This strict regimen often involves cutting out various foods and substances, including salt, sugar, dairy, and caffeine among other items.

The benefits of this approach are multifaceted. For one, the stringent diet serves as a daily reminder that you are preparing for a significant spiritual journey. 

This can imbue your preparation period with a sense of purpose and seriousness, heightening your psychological and spiritual readiness for the transformative Ayahuasca experience. 

It’s a constant message to your subconscious: “I’m about to undertake something important.”

Contrast this with the Colombian approach, where there’s less emphasis on an extensive pre-ceremony diet, usually starting one week before the ceremony. 

In Colombian traditions like those of the Kamsá, the focus often leans more towards purification through other means, such as purgatives, rather than a rigid dietary regimen. 

Both methods have their merits, and the ‘best’ approach may depend on the individual, their background, and what they’re comfortable with. 

What is vital, though, is the intention and respect you bring to the Ayahuasca experience, regardless of the specific preparatory path you take.

Must read Blog: Ayahuasca Intention – Discover your Ayahuasca Intention

The Synergy of a Clean Body and Spirit in Ayahuasca Ceremonies

There’s a well-known adage that suggests a connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind—perhaps even extending to a healthy soul. 

The concept is that the cleaner your physical vessel, the more receptive you become to the spiritual insights and transformations that Ayahuasca can offer. 

For those who consume unhealthy foods, smoke cigarettes, or engage in other forms of substance use, the initial Ayahuasca experience can end up being more about physical purification than receiving comprehensions about one’s life.

 For some people, the first cup—or even the entire first ceremony—primarily serves to cleanse the body of toxins. This can be “skipped” by drinking a purgative before that cleans the body. 

By engaging in this level of preparation, you’re essentially optimizing your system to derive the maximum benefit from the Ayahuasca ceremony. 

So while six-week diets and extensive fasts have their benefits, sometimes a well-administered purgative can serve as a more direct route to preparing the body for Ayahuasca.

Must read Blog: Ayahuasca Preparation: – How to prepare for your Ayahuasca ceremony

The Amplified Experience: Ayahuasca After Purgatives

After participating in well over a hundred Ayahuasca ceremonies, I can attest to the varying intensity that each ceremony.

 These experiences can be influenced by numerous factors such as your current life phase, the frequency of your ceremonies, and other personal variables. 

However, one constant that has emerged in my journey is the noticeably enhanced quality of Ayahuasca ceremonies following a purgative.

When a purgative is taken prior to an Ayahuasca ceremony (the day of, or the week before), the spiritual and even visual dimensions of the experience gain a heightened clarity and focus. The visions are clearer, and there’s a sharpened understanding of the messages or lessons of the Ayahuasca.

So, if you find yourself considering whether to incorporate a purgative into your Ayahuasca preparation, my recommendation leans strongly toward doing so. The opportunity to deepen and clarify your experience in this way is invaluable, offering you a more potent ceremony. 

Difficulties connecting with Ayahuasca – Purgative helps breaking down the barriers. 

Not everyone connects with Ayahuasca immediately or easily. There are participants who drink multiple cups during a ceremony and still experience minimal effects. This can be frustrating. In such cases, purgatives can serve as a vital tool for facilitating a more effective connection with Ayahuasca.

I would like to highlight the experience of a retreat participant. In his initial two ceremonies, he drank three cups of Ayahuasca each time, had some effects but he did not seam to really “break through” On the purging day he drank the Azuwactoto and things began to shift dramatically. In the following ceremonies, a single cup was enough to guide him into deeper, more profound ceremony and he received exactly what he was looking for. 

Purgatives help cleanse the body, breaking down barriers that may obstruct the Ayahuasca from performing its spiritual and emotional alchemy. It’s akin to clearing out debris from a blocked stream, allowing the water to flow freely. In the same way, a purgative can clear your physical and energetic pathways, 

So for those who find it challenging to connect with Ayahuasca a purgative will (most likely) enable the Ayahuasca to work more effectively within you. If you want to experience Ayahuasca in a traditional setting in Colombia, I invite you to check out our Ayahuasca Retreat Center Guacamayo

Kambo before Ayahuasca:

Kambo is a lot more well – known in many Ayahuasca ceremonies than the traditional purgatives of the Colombian Amazon. Kambo can be a great alternative as well before an Ayahuasca ceremony to clear stagnant energy in you and strengthen the body before Ayahuasca. We also offer Kambo sessions in our center close to Medellin.

Health Benefits of Purgatives Beyond Ayahuasca Ceremonies

The various purgatives used in the Colombian tradition offer numerous health benefits that go far beyond preparing the body for an Ayahuasca ceremony. 

For instance, the purgative known as azuwactoto is particularly beneficial for the lungs, digestive system, and prostate (for men). 

While some drink it to prepare for an Ayahuasca ceremony, these purgatives also work to resolve specific physical ailments. For example, azuwactoto can assist in expelling excess mucus that may be exacerbating infections.

The idea is that these purgatives can serve dual purposes—  preparation for Ayahuasca and physical cleansing— showcasing the indigenous approach to health and well-being.

The Challenges of Taking Purgatives

While purgatives offer significant benefits, it’s important to also acknowledge the challenges that come with them. In many cases, the taste of these purgatives is far worse than Ayahuasca itself. The immediate effects on the body can be intense; with azuwactoto, for example, one can expect to vomit between 2 to 5 times and make frequent trips to the bathroom—up to 10 to 15 times. 

The experience often involves alternating feelings of warmth and cold, and you’re required to stay seated throughout the process. Nausea is a common side effect, and it’s not uncommon to find yourself questioning why you chose to go through with this in the first place.

Undoubtedly, the challenges presented by these purgatives can make the process feel daunting. The discomfort and intensity may have you yearning for a simpler, less taxing solution, like popping a pill. However, it’s crucial to weigh these short-term hardships against the long-term gains. 

We’re talking about a half-day of discomfort for potentially months of improved health and well-being. Ultimately, the decision lies in whether you’re willing to make a small sacrifice now for long-lasting benefits later. Are you willing to truly invest in your own well-being, or are you looking for the easy way out?

Conclusion: The Indiginous Approach to Ayahuasca and Purgatives

Ayahuasca ceremonies are profound experiences that offer spiritual, mental, and emotional insights. However, to maximize the benefits, it’s essential to prepare your body as well as your mind. Different cultures have unique approaches to this, but what stands out in the Colombian tradition is the emphasis on purgatives as a form of bodily preparation. These purgatives serve to detoxify the system, making it more receptive to the Ayahuasca experience.

While the purgative process is not easy—often involving physical discomfort and challenges—it’s a small price to pay for the benefits that extend well beyond the Ayahuasca ceremony. From clearer visions during ceremonies to long-term health advantages, the power of purgatives is indisputable. 

FAQs to Ayahuasca and Purgatives: 

What can I do if I have difficulties connecting with Ayahuasca? 

If you have difficulties connecting with Ayahuasca it can be that there are a lot of toxins in your body or that you are emotionally not ready to confront certain aspects of yourself.

 Drinking a purgative can help with cleansing the physical body. Some purgatives like azuwactoto specifically prepare your body for Ayahuasca as well. Drinking a purgative before an Ayahuasca ceremony can help you connect more profoundly with Ayahuasca. 

Can purgatives help heal physical diseases

No, purgatives do not specifically heal physical diseases. They can clean the body, in return you will have less toxins and inflammation in the body. Also your body will be able to absorb nutrients better. Purgatives are more preventative. 

For what organs or part of the body are purgatives helpful? 

Different types of purgatives help for different organs or part of the body. In the tradition of the Kamëntsá there are more than 200 purgatives, depending of the need of the person. 

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