Popular drug ayahuasca “holds a merciless mirror’

Popular drug ayahuasca “holds a merciless mirror’

Photo: AFP

The brew is already hundreds of years drunk in the Amazon rainforests of South America, but in recent years it seems ayahuasca in the Netherlands to gain popularity. What is it, what does it do for you, and what are the possible risks?

Ayahuasca usually consists of two components: parts of a climbing plant, and leaves of a shrub that DMT (a hallucinogen means that the observation can greatly affect).

It makes for strong psychoactive and physical effects, according to the Trimbos institute, including altered perception (possibly with visual effects), an increase of the blood pressure and heart rate and different experience of thoughts and emotions. Experiences can be as therapeutic, spiritual, but also sometimes as frightening or confusing as described.

Although in the western world in recent years more attention is paid to the means, lack data about the use. According to a Trimbos-spokesman in the Netherlands there is no known research done.

Miguel San Martin accompanies the past ten years ceremonies in the Netherlands. “When I started, it was difficult to find a place where your ayahuasca could use,” he says to “Now, you have a tsunami of ceremonies, with all the pros and cons.”

“There are places where I have my worst enemy do not go forward, because the escorts not the good intentions, knowledge or skills to the ceremony energetically in the right direction.”


San Martin recommends that people who are interested in ayahuasca or she is now in the Netherlands or in South America want to use it – also always good research to do.

“Talk to people, search online for information. Even in places in South America, where the use of ayahuasca is an ancient tradition, there are many shamans that you can not trust. Many are so-called ” black shamans, which black magic work. There is also a regular sexual violence: if your ayahuasca, you’re basically at the mercy of those who the ceremony guide.”

Although training courses exist in the field of shamanism, and was followed by San Martin that are not. He immersed himself seventeen years ago in Buddhist energy work and found the use of ayahuasca is very easy to connect. Himself, he attended many ceremonies before he went to accompany. “The word’ shaman ‘ does not say as much. It offers no guarantee on a good ceremony.”

“In any case, you can little give guarantees, except that the guidance is as optimal as possible”, San Martin further. According to him, it is essential that you as a facilitator can deal with the “heavy energies” released at a ceremony and that you truly to yourself to consider why you want to do. “I hear regularly from people who a few times ayahuasca have used that they also have a ceremony to want to support. But your ego would have no role to play. It must be from the right intentions to happen.”

He himself has always an urge to help people, says San Martin. “I want people like to have a ‘greater truth’.”


According to the Trimbos institute is the use of resources is never safe, and ayahuasca. It can have strong mental effects and would be disadvantageous for people with psychiatric problems, while often as a therapeutic means is provided.

San Martin imposes strict requirements on people who have a ceremony to attend. So they need to act in advance on a special diet. That means that they have no red meat, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine may enjoy at least a week, no drugs must have used.

“If participants will not have taken, I send them home,” says Martin. Further, he is not a people with a mental disorder like bipolarity or schizophrenia. Also people on antidepressants or allergiemiddelen swallowing are not welcome.

“Dangerous, I would be ayahuasca, not to mention,” says San Martin. “There is a small chance that you have a predisposition for psychosis, and that itself does not know. I had never experienced, and I see, I think about 500 people per year. Most of them are between 25 and 60 years old, so usually you know it or you have a predisposition for psychosis.”

“In principle, I say: crossing the street is more dangerous than taking ayahuasca. But it means means you have to be a merciless mirror, and that is not always nice.”

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