1.) Why Ayahuasca?

A personal answer: Because it is a medicine that has led me to deal with my shadow, also to illuminate the dark sides of myself. This is not always an easy process, but it makes you see through the play of your ego and conditioning more easily and feel less separate from the world. Ayahuasca also has a strong physical component – it cleanses (vomiting is not an unwanted side effect, but an important part of the process!) strengthens the immune system and can free you from addictions.

My recommendation: Ayahuasca is not a party drug and the visions are only part of the very complex healing process. The whole process is the medicine!

2.) What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is an indigenous brew of psychotropic plants. In our country it is the popular Syrian tumbleweed. Among other things, it contains harmine and harmaline alkaloids, which act as MAO inhibitors to ensure that DMT reaches the brain. The harmaline of the vine is itself psychoactive and, among other things, responsible for vomiting when taking ayahuasca.

My recommendation: Trust as pure ayahuasca as possible. It is not about faster, higher, further, but about an authentic interaction with the intelligence of the plant.

3.) How do you prepare for ayahuasca?

Imagine you have an appointment with an infinitely old, wise female energy. Do you come drunk from last night and with a slight hangover? Do you come in full of food and with ketchup on your shirt? Or do you prepare yourself for the meeting, make your intention clear, clean yourself up inside and prepare yourself? I suggest you do that. But ultimately it’s up to you whether you meet a loving energy or one that first has to read you the riot act.

My recommendation: Whatever you want from and with Ayahuasca – if you approach her with trust and an open heart, she will take you in her arms.

4.) What to eat before Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca contains the MAO inhibitor harmaline. As this is also responsible for the breakdown of tyramine, it can lead to high blood pressure. An ayahuasca diet can protect you from this and be an essential part of your preparation. The ancient ayahuasca shamans recommend a strict diet: 14 days before an intense ayahuasca experience, no pork, no alcohol, no spicy food, no ice-cold food, no sex and no drugs. One week before: No refined sugar, no red meat, no salt or pepper, no sweets, no fermented food, no animal fat (cheese & co.), no coffee.

My recommendation: On the day of the ceremony only light, vegetarian food, no food at all 4 hours before Aya!

5.) What happens during Ayahuasca?

You may vomit. But it doesn’t have to be. You may relive old traumas. But it doesn’t have to be. You may feel warm and born. But it doesn’t have to be. You may be able to speak directly to the intelligence. But you don’t have to. It may be that you have intense and colourful visions and psychedelic experiences, but it doesn’t have to be. Many things can, but nothing has to be.
Ayahuasca is not an instant soup that always reproduces the same taste. Your experience with ayahuasca consists of two essential components – you and the brew. Both of you are day-to-day. The crux with expectations is that they are rarely fulfilled.

My recommendation: open your heart and trust. Accept whatever happens to you!

6.) How long does ayahuasca last?

Depending on the dose and strength, an ayahuasca ceremony lasts 4 – 6 hours. The exciting thing about ayahuasca is the integration of the experience. The more and often you share it, the longer and more intense it stays with you. The longer you maintain your intention afterwards, perhaps continuing to follow the diet, the deeper and more transformative your experience with the plant will be.

My recommendation: The deeper you engage with the experience, the longer you will feel it and the greater its effect in your everyday life.

7.) How does Ayahuasca heal?

I am no shaman, no biochemist and no medical doctor. I can “only” share my experiences from 100 ceremonies of my own with hundreds of participants. I feel that Ayahuasca dissolves the illusion of separateness and makes us feel that we are part of everything – we are made of stardust, we are vibration first and we share our atoms with all things, animate or inanimate, around us. This experience is so deep and touching that it initiates an extensive psychological and physical healing process that restores your trust in yourself and the world.

My recommendation: Feel the effect of the plant in your body – so you know what it does for you.

8.) Where should you take Ayahuasca?

The best way to encounter ayahuasca is in a retreat – a protected space with people you trust and whose intentions you know. Enjoying ayahuasca at home without accompaniment and ceremony and a protected and supervised setting will never be able to reveal the depth and wisdom of the plant to you. It remains a quickie. You can do it, you have something to tell your friends. But if the sensation is in the foreground, intelligence has little chance.

My recommendation: Choose a setting in which you can participate in a ceremony on at least two consecutive nights. Give yourself and ayahuasca the time to get to know each other.

In conclusion: Ayahuasca is in the world. The spirit does not return to the bottle. But the more carefully and mindfully we make use of the possibilities that ayahuasca offers us, the more we will be able to learn and experience from this intelligence and heal not only ourselves but also this world around us.