Effects of ayahuasca on physical and mental health: experiences from 70 participants of a specific therapeutic setting
Maria Groot, Lars Faber, Joost Waterborg
Ayahuasca is a entheogenic beverage which is used in ethnomedicine and shamanistic practice of indigenous Amazonian tribes and as a ritual sacrament in syncretic churches. Moreover ayahuasca is used for recreational and self growth purposes. To investigate the effects of ayahuasca on physical and mental health, the experiences of 70 participants of a specific therapeutic setting were evaluated. Therefore a questionnaire was sent to the participants of the setting which was used by “Sacred Voyage” during the last two years. Questions considered background, physical and mental effects during and after the ritual. Most participants described the experience as very healing (75 %) and transformational (74 %), but 9 % of the participants had a negative experience. Physical effects during the ritual included nausea and vomiting. Negative effects mostly disappeared after 14 days whereas the healing effects were considered to be lasting more than 3 months by 60 % of the participants. Most respondents, including those with negative experiences, considered the use of ayahuasca in this setting as healing for mental and physical health.
It is concluded that the use of ayahuasca in a specific setting can be a healing experience leading to an enhanced level of physical and mental well being.
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