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Ayahuasca articles

Ayahuasca: An Ethnopharmacologic History

Of the numerous plant hallucinogens utilized by indigenous populations of the Amazon Basin, perhaps none is as interesting or complex, botanically, chemically, or ethnographically, as the hallucinogenic beverage known variously as ayahuasca, caapi, or yage.



The Alternative of Indigenous Knowledge to the Therapeutic “All or Nothing”


Physician, founder of Takiwasi Center

Ancestral medicines respond to the clumsiness with which Western peoples induct altered states of consciousness with a highly sophisticated practical knowledge, according to which not only is the controlled induction of non-ordinary states of consciousness not harmful but it may even confront the modern phenomena of drug-addiction. From his clinical experience in the High Peruvian Amazonian forest, the author describes the therapeutic benefits of the wise use of medicinal plants, including non-addictive ones with psychoactive effects such as the famous Ayahuasca vine. The elaboration, within an institutional structure, of a therapeutic system combining indigenous practices with contemporary psychotherapy yields highly encouraging result (positive in 2/3 of the patients), pointing beyond the cultural context that produces drug-addictions and therapies. This invites us to reconsider the conventional approaches towards the universal notion of initiation. Forgotten in the West, this archetype seems to resonate with the drug-addict’s spiritual journey.




Designation as Cultural Patrimony of the nation extended to the Knowledge and Traditional Uses of Ayahuasca as practiced by native amazon communities

National directorial resolution Number 836/INCLima, June 24 2008-07-14
Having read Report No. 056-2008-DRECP/INC dated May 29, 2008, prepared by the Directorate of Registration and Study of Contemporary Culture in Perú.



Ayahuasca and Human Destiny 
Dennis J. McKenna, Ph.D. 

My good friend and colleague, Dr. Charles Grob, has extended a kind invitation to submit a contribution to this special edition of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, devoted to the topic of ayahuasca, for which he has been selected as guest editor. I'm pleased to be asked and happy to respond, particularly since I have collaborated for many years with Dr. Grob and other colleagues who are represented here, on various aspects of the scientific study of ayahuasca. For most of the last 33 years, ayahuasca has been one of the major preoccupations of my life.




Ayahuasca and the concept of reality. Ethnographic, theoretical, and experiential considerations.

 By Luis Eduardo Luna

Ayahuasca, a psychotropic preparation created by upper Amazonian people since time immemorial, has been the subject of an increasing number of scientific and popular publications. Today, thousands of people from many countries and walks of life have had experience with it. Ayahuasca is the Quechua name, widely used in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, and to a lesser extend in Brazil, where it has been adopted by religious organizations that refer to the beverage either as Santo Daime or Vegetal.



The Therapeutic Potentials of Ayahuasca: Possible Effects against Various Diseases of Civilization

By Ede Frecska, Petra Bokor and Michael Winkelman

Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychoactive brew of two main components. Its active agents are β-carboline and tryptamine derivatives. As a sacrament, ayahuasca is still a central element of many healing ceremonies in the Amazon Basin and its ritual consumption has become common among the mestizo populations of South America.



Exploring the therapeutic potential of Ayahuasca: acute intakeincreases mindfulness-related capacities

Joaquim Soler. Matilde Elices. Alba Franquesa. Steven Barker. Pablo Friedlander.  Amanda Feilding. Juan C. Pascual & Jordi Riba 

Ayahuasca is a psychotropic plant tea used forritual purposes by the indigenous populations of the Amazon.In the last two decades, its use has expanded worldwide. Thetea contains the psychedelic 5-HT2Areceptor agonist N,N-di-methyltryptamine (DMT), plus β-carboline alkaloids withmonoamine-oxidase-inhibiting properties. Acute adminis-tration induces an introspective dream-like experiencecharacterized by visions and autobiographic and emotionalmemories. Studies of long-term users have suggested itstherapeutic potential, reporting that its use has helped in-dividuals abandon the consu mption of addic tive drugs.Furthermore, recent open-label studies in patients withtreatment-resistant depression found that a single ayahua-sca dose induced a rapid antidepressant effect that wasmaintained weeks after administration. Here, we conduct-ed an exploratory study of the psychological mechanismsthat could underlie the beneficial effects of ayahuasca. 



Ayahuasca: Toxicity and Limitations on its Use

Dr. Jacques Mabit, MD and President of the Takiwasi Center.
Takiwasi, Center for Treatment of Addiction and Research into Traditional Medicines, Tarapoto, Peru August 2014

At this time, let us remember that the human body secretes its own "endo-ayahuasca", and therefore ingestion of ayahuasca only reproduces a natural mechanism of human physiology.

The usual scientific nomenclature categorizes ayahuasca as a "hallucinogenic" preparation.. This typology derives from the beginning of the XXth. century and continues by tradition, even though it does not correspond to an objective reality. Hallucination refers to an erroneous perception of reality, leading the subject to perceive things that do not exist. This definition assumes that only one objective, material, and perceivable reality exists. Advances in science, especially in quantum physics, have demonstrated that no reality exists independently of the observer, and when consciousness functions in a quantic manner, subjectivity imposes itself, leading each subject to interact with reality in such a way that there are as many ways of perceiving reality as there are human subjects. Theories in these disciplines consider the possibility of many realities, or levels of reality, as well as the possible existence of parallel universes.


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