ayahuasca


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ayahuasca

or

yagé,

drink made by boiling various South American plants, used for centuries by shamans of traditional societies in the Amazon region in religious and healing ceremonies. It is usually made with the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), which contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and the leaves of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis) or of the chacropanga plant (Diplopterys cabrerana), both of which contain N,N-dimethyltriptamine (DMT), in addition to other plants. DMT is a psychoactive compound that acts as a hallucinogenic drughallucinogenic drug
, any of a group of substances that alter consciousness; also called psychotomimetic (i.e., mimicking psychosis), mind-expanding, or psychedelic drug.
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 when MAOIs prevent the body from breaking it down. The drink also is a powerful emetic. In more recent years, ayahuasca has been used by many Westerners seeking altered states of consciousness, often as a means of personal growth, and has been investigated by scientific researchers for possible psychotherapeutic and other medicinal uses.
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