Plant MedicineAyahuasca is a strong plant medicine that has been used by indigenous people in the Amazon basin for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is a brewed drink made of several different plants, namely Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. Banisteriopsis caapi contains a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) and Psychotria viridis contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT) a psychedelic mind-altering drug. The MAOI is required in the brew because otherwise the DMT would be broken down by enzymes in the stomach.

We believe that Ayahuasca can benefit many people, and substantial research is happening right now to study the effects of Ayahuasca, especially related to addiction, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Most people don’t realize that many common everyday drugs are derived from plants and have histories with indigenous populations. We thought it might be instructive to mention a few of these medicines and their origins.

Aspirin

Acetylsalicylic acid, commonly called aspirin, was first marketed by Bayer in 1899 and is on WHO’s list of Essential Medicines. Aspirin is derived from salicylic acid, which comes from the bark and sap of the willow tree, genus, Salix. There is written reference to it going back over 2000 years.

Morphine

Pure and natural morphine was first sold publicly by Merck in 1826. Morphine comes from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Today most opium-derived drugs are produced synthetically, but the use of opium also dates back thousands of years.

Quinine

Quinine is used to treat babesiosis and malaria and comes from the cinchona tree. It was “discovered” in 1826 and is now still used commercially although synthetic versions are available. If you have ever tasted tonic water, then you know what it tastes like. It is also on WHO’s list of Essential Medicines.

Digitalis

Digitalis is a common heart medication that comes from the Foxglove family of flowers recognized by their tall stalks of vertical flower clusters. Digitalis was approved by the FDA for heart failure in 1998.

Colchicine

Colchicine comes from the Autumn crocus, genus Colchicum. It was written about in Greek medicinal documents about 2000 years ago. Now it’s marketed and sold for the treatment of gout, Mediterranean Fever, and other illnesses.

These are just a few of hundreds of examples beyond the scope of this article. We hope and believe that one day, Ayahuasca will be a household word, and people far beyond the Amazon basin will reap its benefits.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.