Ayahuasca: The Vine and Leaf Combination Made in Heaven

Ayahuasca can be thought of not as a single plant, but rather a combination of two elements. Who would have thought this healing, natural medicine would have been born from combining the vine Banisteriopsis caapi also known as “Caapi” and the leaf Psychotria viridis which is known more simply as “Chakruna”? To put the perplexity of the situation into perspective: there are roughly 80,000 plants that grow in the lush Amazon rainforest where Ayahuasca originates from. Who would have even imagined that combining the vine caapi with the leaf chakruna would produce such powerful, healing effects?


Apparently, “ayahuasceros” (shamans that are trained in the art of administering ayahuasca; a practice that’s taken place for thousands of years) claim that the plants themselves told their elders to combine the two to create this magical, healing blend. If you think about it, it may seem crazy… talking plants? But, how else could the combination of these two particular species of vine and leaf have been united? Whether you believe it was a happy-go-lucky accident or it was truly the plants that told the indigenous South Americans to combine the two is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is how this powerful, natural medicine can heal you. That’s why it’s referred to as la medicina or “the medicine.”

“La Medicina”

There are many other natural plant medicines out there that are known for the hallucinogenic effects. Buy, ayahuasca should not be considered the same as other hallucinogenic. While it may have some similar effects and does in fact bring forward visions, it isn’t supposed to be “trippy” like an experience with acid. Rather, it’s profoundly healing. That’s why it’s called La Medicina.


Let’s break down how La Medicina works and the specific compounds that are in ayahuasca. Again, differentiating itself from other hallucinogens, ayahuasca involves two components: caapi and chakruna. This is completely different than other plants and fungi such as San Pedro cactus, Peyote, Igob and magic mushrooms. The vine and leaf “caapi and chakruna” cannot act without the other, in a “ying yang” sense.


That’s why caapi and chakruna is the ultimate pair. Like Batman and Robin or chips and guacamole. But clearly much more profound and rare. The paring of these two has made a powerful healing concoction that has swept the Amazon region and could potential health the world as a safe, effective way to treat a variety of ailments and heal.

Ayahuasca… Like Bonnie and Clyde or Peanut Butter and Jelly

What makes ayahuasca is the unique combination of two separate plants that cannot be active without the other. The odds of discovering this combination is probably one in millions because of the vast variety and biodiversity that’s found in the Amazon. There is nothing special in the appearance of the vine or the leaf. No special markers or colors that would make it stand out. Yet, it was paid. Almost as if it were paired by magic. Fortunately this magic duo has been found and can be enjoyed all around the world.


But how does this combination work? What are the factors that make ayahuasca such a potent healer?

Banisteriopsis caapi: The Vine of the Soul

The caapi part of ayahuasca is what contains a group of compounds called harmala alkaloids. Basically, their function is to relax the “monoamine oxidase” agents that naturally occur in our bodies. Monoamine oxidase, or MAO, are inhibited when you inject the vein of the soul. What this means is that the caapi vine tells the MAO present in the brain to take a break and relax briefly.


Why is it important that the MAO in your body relaxes? It acts as a guard. If the MAO were still active and you drank DMT, the active part of Chakruna, then nothing would happen as the MAO receptors would interfere and block DMT from reaching the brain.


Psychotria viridis: The DMT Containing Leaf

So now that you understand the role the caapi vine plays (inhibiting MAO in the body) it’s important to understand chakruna. Chakruna, the leaf portion of ayahuasca, contains DMT. DMT as you may know is responsible for some of the most powerful visions humans can experience. It’s a naturally occuring compound present in a variety of psychoactive plants and fungi.


But, one thing about DMT is that it’s not orally active. That’s where the caapi comes in. Caapi allows your MAO receptors to be temporarily disabled so that when you ingest the ayahuasca blend, the chakruna part of the ayahuasca can work its “magic” in the body and allow the DMT to roam free.


That’s why ayahuasca remains such a mystery: someone figured out that combining alkaloid containing caapi with DMT rich chakruna would create a powerful, vision-inducing concoction.

One of the Greatest Ways to Heal Yourself Naturally

Taking part in a “La Medicina” ceremony is one of the most life-changing experiences you can encounter. Whether you do it at home or with a shaman native to the Amazon rainforest, your life will be forever changed due to the ying-yang like combination of caapi and chakruna. The ceremony is quite simple but unique at the same time. There are certain variations, but many aspects of the traditional ceremony remain the same. For example, you’ll likely experience the shaman (or you, yourself, if you decide to make ayahuasca at home) boil the combination of leaves and vine for several hours (roughly eight). It’s then strained and served.


That’s the process that goes into creating “La Medicina” It’s a delicate balance between alkaloids and DMT rich leaves that somehow made their way into the culture of the Amazonian people almost by magic. This mysterious blend is a blessing on Earth and can answer many mysteries that remain unexplained in your life.


From there, let the journey of the ayahuasca plant guide you. They say that the plants led the Amazonians to this magic combination. So, trust in the plant and give yourself to the experience. Let the plants reveal what is best for you to see and experience.

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