In this fascinating article on Kaphi they research what are the many different Ayahuasca brews made from and why different Curanderos (healers) or Shamans put different plants in the brew.
In my years of working with the plants and different healers after finding Taita Juanito I knew that they way he and his lineage prepared this sacred medicine is what felt must in alignment with my heart and Spiritual Path. The Yage from this lineage is brewed from the vine of ayahuasca and leaves of chacruna but in a distinct way giving it incredibly healing power.
Its very important to know the source of your medicine, who makes it, where was it grown, what is the intention of the cook, the Shaman, where is the ceremony taking place, who are the facilitators, the participants, how studied are the people holding the space and do they come from a lineage and many other levels that go into a properly held ceremony that can lead to deeply healing results. Do your research properly.
This medicine can be very healing but with some additives of other plants it can as well be dangerous.
The Shaman’s Treasure: The Many Plants Added to the Ayahuasca Brew by Giorgio Samorini (full article at Kahpi.net)
"It is a known fact that ayahuasca and yagé drinks consist of a pair of plants: vine or leaves of ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) and leaves of chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or oko yagé (Diplopterys cabrerana). The last two contain the visionary DMT molecule, while the vine produces the harmine and harmaline alkaloids. The molecules of the vine, due to their property of inhibiting the MAO enzymes, allow DMT to be absorbed in the gut and to manifest its visionary effects. This is the basic plant formula, which we can define the mother brew of ayahuasca and yagé. To this mother brew the natives of the Amazon have added many other plant ingredients. This articles looks at the wide variety of plants that shamans add to their ayahuasca brews and considers potential elements of their effects.
The main reason for these additions is to enhance, modify, or modulate the visionary effect of the traditional drink.
Bringing together the data presented by the three main studies that have dealt with what plants shamans have added to ayahuasca (Pinkley, 1969; McKenna et al., 1986; Bianchi and Samorini, 1993), we have identified more than 80 plant species, but I suspect their number is greater, including perhaps between 100 and 200 species. Some of these plants are used extensively among the different Amazonian ethnic groups, while others are used as additives of ayahuasca or yagé by individual ethnic groups or even by individual vegetalistas, as a result of some local experiment and knowledge.
One could raise a complaint about the lack of scientific studies on these plants, observing how the little research developed so far has always confirmed and “justified” the enhancing or modulating use of these additives.
These plant additions are mostly carried out at the time the mother brew is cooked, adding the chosen plant directly to the pot. The main reason for these additions is to enhance, modify, or modulate the visionary effect of the traditional drink, choices and preferences that highlight a very original range of nuances and perceptive refinement of visionary effects. In the Peruvian Amazon the Sharanahuas add to ayahuasca the leaves of a species of Psychotria to “give the impression of coldness and to produce less visions,” thus seeking a precise modulation that reduces the “grandeur” of the visions and at the same time their emotional impact. Peruvian vegetalistas add a species of Euphorbia to ayahuasca that they give to the apprentice, with the aim of improving his voice while learning icaros singing. In other contexts, certain plants are added to the boiling pot of ayahuasca in difficult diagnostic cases, as an aid to identify the cause of the patient’s illness that the vegetalista is treating. This happens among the Makunas of the Colombian river Popeyaca, which in these difficult situations add to the mother brew some pounded leaves of Malouetia tamaquarina to “better see” the origins of the disease.
The ayahuasca/yagé cooking pot could be interpreted as a neuroalchemic crucible, intended as a material tool of what I have called “psychotropic complexes” in my studies; that is, those contexts of traditional use of intoxicant sources that start from a psychoactive mother brew assumed as a visionary default; a visionary base that is modulated with a wide range of additives, to enhance the effects of the mother-brew, or to vary the color spectrum of the visions (more purple, more red, etc.), or to change the emotional levels or the extrasensory perceptions, or to induce specific visionary and thought contents.
We can therefore speak of an ancient Dionysian psychotropic complex, where the mother-brew was the grape wine of classical Greece; or of pulque, the fermented sap of agave used in Mexico since pre-Aztec times; or of chicha, the Latin American beer made mainly with corn. It is safe to say that in chicha everything has been added, the most weird ingredients, even live frogs and toads. Similarly, we can speak of a “psychotropic complex of ayahuasca” and, unlike the previous examples, the ayahuasca/yagé mother-brews are not based on alcohol sources. In all these complexes, ancient and modern, the number of additive ingredients available is always high—from a few tens to several hundred—and is subject to continuous expansion. This is the case of the same ayahuasca, whose list of additive plants is expanding along with the activity of research and acquisition of new knowledge by the Amazonian vegetalistas."
Read the rest of the article at Kaphi.net