What is Ayahuasca Tourism?

Ayahuasca Tourism

Herbal remedies are becoming more and more popular as individuals are seeking “all-natural” and “safe” alternatives to experience deeper spiritual understanding and awakenment. Many herbal medications are being illegally shipped to the United States, as many try to get their hands on something they feel will be beneficial for them, even if the U.S. government deems otherwise. One of those herbal remedies is called ayahuasca, also known as yage. Many Americans are also taking this herbal hallucinogenic tea concoction in other countries as a “rite of passage” for backpacking and as a wish to enter the “spiritual world” – but this drug can be deadly.

BBC News notes that ayahuasca is a blend of two plants – the ayahuasca vine and a shrub called chacruna, which contains the hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is illegal in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries and it has very dangerous implications for those with mental health problems. Despite this, many people are using this drug in South America both to “gain wisdom” and to learn more about shamanism, an ancient healing tradition and way of life where people enter altered states of consciousness perceive and interact with a spiritual world.

Compared to LSD or peyote, the drug is said to cause intense nausea and diarrhea; many people about to consume this concoction are often warned they may experience frightening visions of snakes, jaguars, or insects, but if they remain “confident and concentrated” they will be “just fine”. The LA Times described that for many serious shamans in South America, the ayahuasca ceremony is meant to be completed for a cure of depression, kidney stones, high blood pressure or satanic possession – but not simply for recreational use. Business Insider further notes that yage has been used to help cure opiate addiction. How can ayahuasca be harmful? Daily Mail, a UK-based website, states that ayahuasca has been linked to suicides, murders, cases of mental illness and insanity, and disappearances – all of which bring about so much heartache and pain for all involved. As a daughter of a woman who disappeared stated,

“It is a trip that you might not return from. Your curiosity could kill you, and cause suffering for your family. Please stay well away, you don’t know the danger you are putting yourself in.”

If you’re traveling, always be cautious of what you are about to consume. What may be considered a “safe substance” may not be – and being cautious could save your life. Always consult a licensed, trusted physician before taking any substance that you are unfamiliar with. It could very well save your life.

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