Was ist Ayahuasca – Hintergrund, Vorteile, Risiken, legal?

Was ist Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca – ein Begriff, auf den du in letzter Zeit möglicherweise immer häufiger gestoßen bist, besonders in der Welt der alternativen Heilung und Wellness. Du hast vielleicht von seiner Verwendung durch Prominente wie Megan Fox oder Will Smith gehört. Beide und viele andere (aus allen Lebensbereichen) haben ihre transformativen Erfahrungen offen geteilt. Neben solch faszinierenden persönlichen Geschichten gibt es zahlreiche berichtete Vorteile, wie die Verarbeitung von Traumata, Verbesserungen der psychischen Gesundheit, mehr Klarheit im Leben und verschiedene transzendentale Erfahrungen. Bei so unterschiedlichen Beschreibungen fragt man sich natürlich: “Was ist Ayahuasca?” In diesem Artikel werden wir uns eingehend mit diesem Thema beschäftigen, sodass du weißt, was es ist, welche Vorteile und Risiken damit verbunden sind und auch, ob dies etwas für dich ist.

Table of Contents

Was ist Ayahuasca?

Wie sieht Ayahuasca aus?

Visuell gesehen mag Ayahuasca nicht so geheimnisvoll oder exotisch wirken wie die Erfahrungen, die es hervorruft. Typischerweise handelt es sich um eine dicke, konzentrierte Flüssigkeit, die in der Farbe von tiefem Rotbraun bis fast Schwarz variiert.

Ayahuasca retreat booking

What does Ayahuasca taste like?

Ayahuasca has a bitter, earthy taste. Many people on the internet describe him as terrible, but that has more to do with the sensationalist nature of the internet. Different ayahuasca brews also have different flavors. Many of the participants in our retreat were pleasantly surprised by the taste, some even mentioning that it reminded them of dark chocolate. I wouldn’t go that far, it doesn’t taste great but it’s not as terrible as many people on the internet describe it.

How is Ayahuasca used?

Traditionally, Ayahuasca was always used as part of a ceremony. For the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, it is more than just a plant; it is a medicine. A medicine for the body, the mind, the feelings and in a way for the soul. Their use is deeply rooted in their culture and community structure. The indigenous people also see ayahuasca not just as a brew, but as something that has its own spirit that one can connect with by drinking it. This sounds a little “esoteric” but this is their belief system and when you experience it for yourself you will understand it.

Ayahuasca is now expanding its reach beyond the borders of the Amazon and is known globally. Ayahuasca is explored in spiritual and therapeutic settings around the world, offering people from all walks of life a unique opportunity to delve into their subconscious and support them on a transformative journey of self-discovery.

Some indigenous tribes oppose this expansion, but the majority see it as important. Because Ayahausca can bring about a shift in consciousness and priorities that the world needs in many ways. More on this in another blog.

What plants is Ayahuasca made of?

Ayahuasca is a brew of two different plants – Banisteriopsis caapi (often referred to as Caapi) and Psychotria viridis (commonly known as Chacruna) – which is the short answer to the question “What is Ayahuasca”.

How does Ayahuasca work?

Ayahuasca works by inducing an extraordinary state of consciousness through the dimethyltryptamine (DMT) contained in the chacruna leaves. However, DMT alone is quickly broken down in the stomach and neutralized by the presence of enzymes known as monoamine oxidases (MAOs).

This is where the Caapi liana plays its crucial role. It contains harmala alkaloids, which are MAO inhibitors (MAOIs). The MAOI inhibitors prevent the body from rapidly breaking down DMT so that it can enter the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes the effects of DMT last longer, usually around 6-8 hours.

Taking ayahuasca often results in physical cleansing through vomiting or diarrhea. These are an essential part of the cleansing process, not only physically but also energetically.

Blog worth reading: Ayahuasca Ceremony – What to Expect

What are Ayahuasca Retreats?

Ayahuasca retreats are a common way for people to experience ayahuasca. It usually involves a longer stay (2 – 7 nights) with multiple ceremonies (2 – 4).

Ayahuasca retreats offer people from Western cultures in particular a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the spiritual and healing traditions of Ayahuasca in a supportive and guided environment.

Typically, retreats are in natural settings that encourage introspection and healing. These retreats include not only the ayahuasca ceremonies themselves, but also a broader range of holistic experiences such as yoga, meditation, breathwork, nutrition and integration coaching. This structure allows participants to gradually explore the layers of their consciousness, delving deeper into their psyche with each subsequent ceremony. Participants can also learn additional methods and practices that they can use in their everyday lives.

Additionally, retreats often include sharing circles before and after the ceremonies. These communal gatherings serve as spaces where individuals can articulate their intentions, share their experiences, express their feelings, gain clarity on confusing parts of the ceremony, have their questions answered, and gain insights from others’ ceremonies. These group dynamics can contribute significantly to an individual transformation process by enhancing a sense of mutual support and shared experience.

We offer ayahuasca retreats in Colombia for 3.5 days or 7 days.

Preparing for Ayahuasca

Before drinking ayahuasca, it is important to prepare yourself on multiple levels – body, mind and spirit.

  1. Body : Adequate physical preparation often includes a healthy diet, free of red meat, lactose and garlic . It is also recommended to avoid alcohol, drugs, caffeine and sexual activity for a week before the ceremony. These practices help detoxify and prepare the body for the profound journey ahead.
  2. Mind : Mental preparation includes activities that promote relaxation, focus and inner balance . Practices like yoga, breathwork, and media withdrawal (including social media) can help calm the mind and promote a state of mindfulness and presence. It is also recommended to forego any coping mechanism you use to avoid having to deal with the anger, irritation, frustration, loneliness, laziness, boredom, etc. that you are probably suppressing. You know yourself what your coping mechanisms are (scrolling, sugar, etc.)
  3. Soul : This is about finding peace and connecting with yourself. This could be mindfulness exercises, meditation or a walk in nature. This will help you gain clarity about your intention for the Ayahuasca ceremony.  

Blog worth reading (in English) : Ayahuasca Intention – Find your intention for Ayahuasca

In conclusion, proper preparation is crucial to fully experience the healing potential that Ayahuasca has to offer. When the preparation is approached with intention and respect, the processes with Ayahuasca generally become deeper. 

Blog worth reading : Ayahuasca preparation – How do I prepare for Ayahuasca

Benefits of Ayahuasca:

Ayahuasca has many benefits, from processing emotional trauma, overcoming addiction and depression, changing one’s default emotional state, looking at circumstances from a new perspective, or generally gaining clarity in life.  

Processing trauma

Ayahuasca is very helpful in processing events that still haunt us from the past. Things that we haven’t found a solution to yet and that still influence us in the present and in our decision-making.

During the ceremony, participants are able to process past traumatic events, but this time with a different perspective and the support necessary to integrate these experiences. But reliving is not the only way trauma can be processed in ayahuasca. It can also be about staying with the feeling instead of having to relive it all again.

Ayahuasca has many ways to teach us (more on this topic in this video), and it can help us process traumas that we still carry in our subconscious and our bodies. Resolving past trauma can lead to significant emotional releases and a greater sense of healing and peace.


Research and testimonials suggest that ayahuasca may be effective in combating various forms of addiction. It can help people understand the causes of addiction, confront their fears and traumas, and gain the inner strength necessary to overcome their addictions.

You can find out more about the topic of ayahuasca and addictive behavior in this  blog  . 

There are also scientific studies on ayahuasca and its effects on addictive behavior.


Depression has become a part of life in the West, and many of the current Western methods are not sufficient to overcome depression.

There is a reason why you have depression, even though you may not realize it. Ayahuasca can show you this reason, help you make an emotional change, and give you the homework you need to begin overcoming your depression.

Of course, it’s not as simple as drinking Ayahuasca and your depression being over, but it has been proven numerous times to be a great catalyst for change and can help overcome depression.

I talk about this in more detail in this blog article: Ayahuasca Depression – Is Ayahuasca the Solution to Your Depression?

There are also scientific studies that support this claim that ayahuasca is useful for depression.

Several studies suggest that ayahuasca may be effective in relieving depression. It appears to do this by redirecting established neural pathways associated with depressive thoughts and behaviors, initiating emotional release and promoting a more positive outlook on life.

Seeing things from a different perspective / gaining clarity in life

The way we see the world influences how we interact with the world. And maybe certain perspectives aren’t beneficial for your mental health. By achieving an “altered state of consciousness” through Ayahuasca, you will be able to see things from a different perspective.

Things that were unclear to you will begin to make sense. It can give you clarity about the next steps in your life or show you the reason for certain (undesirable) outcomes in your life. This knowledge allows you to change what is causing the suffering.

Participants can gain deep insights into their life situations, relationships, career choices and personal ambitions. This clarity can serve as a valuable guide in life decision-making and personal development.

Changing one’s own emotional state

Ayahuasca can bring about a profound change in your emotional state. It’s one thing to understand something with your head, and another thing to feel it. And ayahuasca can provide that emotional shift so that you don’t have to convince yourself of certain things (“self-love, gratitude, etc.”) but actually feel that way.

Participants often report emerging from the experience with an increased sense of inner peace, joy, and self-compassion. This emotional transformation can lead to improved mental health, greater resilience, and a more optimistic outlook on life.

Connection with yourself

I believe we all have the answers we seek within us. However, these are hidden under many layers of conditioning. Conditioning from our parents, school, university, society, etc. on how we should live our lives or behave in certain situations.

By peeling back these layers with Ayahuasca, you can begin to feel what you actually want and need from life in certain situations or in general.


Ayahuasca can be a powerful tool for forgiveness. Be it towards others or yourself. During the experience, people often gain deeper insights into previous conflicts, misunderstandings or hurts. This allows them to view these situations with compassion and understanding. The newfound perspective can facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, leading to healing and release of pent-up resentment.

Hier spielt wieder die Veränderung des emotionalen Zustandes eine Rolle, welche letztendlich notwendig ist, um tatsächlich von Lebensereignissen loszulassen, die uns heute noch beeinflussen.


Ayahuasca kann Menschen, die an einer posttraumatischen Belastungsstörung (PTSD) leiden, weiterhelfen. Die Pflanzenmedizin beginnt den Prozess, tief verwurzelte traumatische Erlebnisse aufzudecken und zu verarbeiten, wodurch die Menschen diese früheren Traumata integrieren und heilen können.

Viele Militärveteranen fühlen sich von Ayahuasca angezogen, weil es ihnen (und ihren Kameraden) geholfen hat, wo andere Heilungsmethoden vielleicht nicht das Maß an Veränderung bieten konnten, das sie suchen. Mehr über die Wissenschaft und den Zusammenhang von Ayahuasca und PTSD kannst du hier finden.

Die beste Version von dir selbst werden

Ja, Ayahuasca kann viel dazu beitragen, Dinge aus der Vergangenheit zu verarbeiten. Ayahuasca geht jedoch nicht nur um die Vergangenheit und die Wunden und emotionalen Schmerzen. 

Ayahuasca kann dir auch helfen, die beste Version von dir selbst zu werden. Um eine Vision für das Leben zu schaffen, das du leben möchtest. Um klar über die Werte zu sein, die du verkörpern möchtest, und im Allgemeinen, um ein besserer Mensch zu werden.


Natürlich gibt es dort, wo es Vorteile gibt, auch Risiken. Schauen wir uns das genauer an.

Psychologische Risiken bei Ayahuasca

Obwohl Ayahuasca tiefgreifende therapeutische Wirkungen haben kann, ist es wichtig, die möglichen psychologischen Risiken zu verstehen. Die Erfahrung, oft intensiv und tief introspektiv, kann beunruhigende Erinnerungen oder Emotionen hervorbringen, die für einige Menschen schwer zu verarbeiten sein könnten.

Es ist entscheidend, dass die Entscheidung, an einer Ayahuasca-Zeremonie teilzunehmen, von dir selbst getroffen wird und dass du dir bewusst bist, dass es eine Reise ist und dass du bereit bist, diesen Weg zu gehen.

Darüber hinaus kann der Integrationsprozess – das Verstehen der während der Erfahrung gewonnenen Erkenntnisse und ihre Einbindung in das tägliche Leben – Zeit in Anspruch nehmen und herausfordernd sein.

Unterstützung von erfahrenen Betreuern, die wissen, was Ayahuasca ist, von Fachleuten im Bereich der psychischen Gesundheit oder einer unterstützenden Gemeinschaft, kann diesen Prozess erheblich erleichtern.

Physische Risiken bei Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca birgt auch bestimmte physische Risiken. Es wird normalerweise nicht für Menschen mit ernsthaften Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen, wie einem schwachen Herzen oder hohem Blutdruck, empfohlen. Die Wirkung des Ayahuasca kann die Herzfrequenz und den Blutdruck erhöhen.

Menschen, die kürzlich operiert wurden ist es besser kein Ayahuasca zu trinken.

Nicht Verträglichkeit mit Medikamenten und Drogen

Bestimmte Medikamente und Substanzen können gefährlich mit Ayahuasca interagieren. Antidepressiva, insbesondere solche aus der Klasse der Monoaminoxidase-Hemmer (MAOIs) oder selektive Serotonin-Wiederaufnahmehemmer (SSRIs), können in Verbindung mit Ayahuasca einen potenziell tödlichen Zustand namens Serotoninsyndrom verursachen.

Recreational drugs, including cocaine, MDMA, and LSD (and others), can also have dangerous interactions with ayahuasca. It is critical to abstain from these substances for a significant period of time before participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony.

Consult a medical professional

Ayahuasca is no joke, and if there are health concerns, it is important to take them very seriously. If in doubt, consult a doctor, and it is better not to drink ayahuasca than to risk your physical or mental well-being.

Here in Colombia we work with medical professionals who know what ayahuasca is and who also drink it themselves. Write us an email if you have questions about your personal medical situation and would like professional advice.

Ayahuasca side effects

It is important to be informed about the side effects of ayahuasca.


One of the most common side effects of ayahuasca is vomiting and possibly diarrhea. This physical cleansing is viewed by many traditional cultures and practitioners as an essential part of the healing process. And not just physically but also as an energetic cleansing that can begin to dissolve negative energies, emotions or past traumas. It is so integral to the Ayahuasca experience, and is often referred to as “la purga” – the cleansing.

More about this in our blog (in English): Ayahuasca vomiting explained – why you vomit with Ayahuasca

Although it may be uncomfortable, vomiting is usually short-lived. 


The combination of sweating, vomiting, and possible diarrhea during an ayahuasca ceremony can lead to dehydration. Participants may experience symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth and fatigue.

It is also important not to drink too much water during the ceremony itself, so as not to overly dilute the stomach contents. After the ceremony, it is important to rehydrate; Electrolytes are also recommended for this.

Remember, these experiences can vary greatly from person to person, and while some people experience these side effects, others may not. The key is to approach the ceremony with an open mind, a prepared body and under the guidance of experienced caregivers.

Is Ayahuasca legal?

Ayahuasca is not legal in most countries, including Germany. There are countries in South America where ayahuasca is part of the indigenous culture and in these countries ayahuasca is legal, including Peru and Colombia

What do research and science say about Ayahuasca?

Research on ayahuasca and its potential benefits is still in its early stages. Given the legal status in many parts of the world, conducting large-scale, controlled studies is challenging.

The studies carried out so far have included relatively small control groups. Despite these limitations, the existing body of research has yielded some intriguing and largely positive results.

Initial research suggests that ayahuasca may have therapeutic benefits in treating mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and addiction. These studies often report significant symptom reductions after ayahuasca ceremonies.

There is also a growing body of research suggesting that ayahuasca may promote personal growth, improve emotional regulation, and increase overall psychological well-being. These studies often rely on self-reported results from participants who report improved moods, increased self-acceptance, and personal transformation following their experiences with ayahuasca.

A fascinating area of ​​research is the possible neurobiological effects of ayahuasca. Some studies suggest the substance may promote neuroplasticity by helping the brain form new neural connections. This could explain some of the profound psychological changes reported by participants.

Is Ayahuasca Right for You?

Only you can answer whether Ayahuasca is right for you. It is important that there are no medical concerns for your Ayahuasca ceremony. It is also important that you drink ayahuasca for the right reasons and that you make this decision. 

It is helpful to talk to different caregivers and see if the messages and the way the leaders conduct their retreats/ceremonies are consistent. It’s important that you get along with them and feel confident throughout the process. 

Listen to what your body is telling you. See if it feels like something you could benefit from. In the future I will write a blog article specifically on this topic.


Conclusion: What is Ayahuasca 

It is important to remember that ayahuasca is considered medicine for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Accordingly, humility and respect is very important towards Ayahuasca and the tradition behind it. 

An Ayahuasca Experience (Ceremony) This should always be done in a ceremonial context with people who have a deep knowledge of Ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca can help you make significant changes in your life and help you in areas where you are struggling. However, you must remember that it is a tool and not a magic pill. All your problems won’t go away. In a way you will become aware of it, it will show you a way. And if you follow the homework, it can be a transformative experience and a catalyst in your life.


Menschen trinken Ayahuasca aus verschiedenen Gründen, meist, um Traumata zu verarbeiten, ihren emotionalen Zustand zu verändern, Klarheit zu gewinnen, Depressionen zu überwinden oder die beste Version von sich selbst zu werden.

Es gibt Religionen in den USA, die Ayahuasca verwenden, aber Ayahuasca selbst hat nichts mit Religion zu tun. In bestimmten Stämmen und Ländern können religiöse Elemente in einer Zeremonie vorhanden sein. Ayahuasca handelt jedoch nicht von Dogmen und Vorschriften, wie Menschen leben sollen, sondern hilft Menschen, die Antwort in sich selbst zu finden.

Ayahuasca wird immer in einem zeremoniellen Kontext getrunken, weil es Teil der indigenen Kultur ist. Es ist nicht etwas, das Menschen aus Ablenkung trinken oder um „einen Trip zu haben“, sondern weil dahinter eine tiefere Absicht steckt. Das Verständnis, dass man im Begriff ist, eine Zeremonie zu betreten, verleiht dem gesamten Prozess mehr Bedeutung.

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