Indo-plant vegetable hallucinogens and their cults are associated mainly with the tropics of the New World. The zone of subtropics and tropics of the New World is phenomenally rich in hallucinogenic plants. Similar ecosystems of the tropics of Southeast Asia and Indonesia cannot be compared in terms of the number of local species containing psychoactive indoles. Why are the tropics of the Old World, the tropics of Africa and Indonesia not so rich in hallucinogenic flora? Nobody can answer this question. But in the statistical sense, the New World seems to be the privileged home of more powerful psychoactive plants. Psilocybin tiny fungi of the Psilocybe species , although it is found, as is now known, among European species, but so far have not been able to convincingly prove that it had anything to do with European shamanism or European ethno-medicine. However, its shamanic use in Oaxaca (Mexico) is three thousand years old. Similarly, in the New World, there are still living cults based on the consumption of DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a beta-carboline group that includes the harmine, as well as an ergot-like complex contained in bindweeds.
The historical consequence of such a cluster of hallucinogens in the New World was rather late discovery of their existence by Western science. This may explain why psychedelics were not included in the list of Western psychiatric medications. Meanwhile, the impact of hashish and opium on the imagination of the romantics, dreams and dreams caused by them, became a model of the action of “psychic drugs” that have fascinated Bohemians since the end of the XVIII century. In fact, hallucinogens were initially considered in Western psychotherapy as substances capable of mimicking psychosis.
In the XIX century, naturalistic researchers began to return with more or less accurate ethnographic reports on the life of Aboriginal people. Botanists Richard Spruce and Alfred Russell Wallace set off on a journey to the Amazon in 1850. / Richard Spruce, Notes on a Botanist on the Rio Negro, AR Wallace, ed. (London: Macmillan. 1980) / In the upper reaches of the Rio Negro, Spruce watched a group of Indians make some unknown hallucinogen. He further noted that the main ingredient for this intoxicating drug was a vine — a woody vine that he called Banisteria caapi. A few years later, traveling around Western Ecuador, he saw the same plant used in the manufacture of a hallucinogen called Ayahuasca(ill. 25).
Ayahuaska continues to this day to remain part of the spiritual life of many tribes of the mountain tropical forests of South America. She also liked the settlers in the Amazon, who created their ethnobotanical medical system to use the psychedelic visions created by it for treatment purposes.
“Ayahuaska” is the word of the Quechua Indians, which roughly translates as “the wine of the dead” or “the wine of the soul”. This term refers not only to the prepared hallucinogenic drink, but also to one of the main ingredients – the wood vine. The tissues of this plant are rich in beta-carboline type alkaloids. The most important beta carboline.occurring in the vine, now called Banisteriopsis caapi, is a harmine. Garmin is indole, but it is not clearly psychedelic unless it is used in quantities approaching a dose that is considered toxic. However, significantly below this level, harmine is an effective short- acting monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor . Therefore, such a hallucinogen like DMT, which is usually inactive when taken by mouth, becomes highly psychoactive with this use in combination with harmin. The indigenous peoples of the Amazon brilliantly used these facts in their search for ways to access the magical dimensions that are key to shamanism. / Richard Evans Schultes. “The Beta-Carboline Hallucinogens of South America”, Journal of Psychoaciive Drugs 14. no. 3 (1982): 205-220 / Combining in ayahuysk plants containing DMT with plants containing MAO inhibitors, they have long used the pharmacological mechanism — the inhibition of MAO, unknown to Western science until the 50s of our century.
In the presence of harmon, DMT becomes a highly psychoactive compound that enters the bloodstream and eventually passes the blood-brain barrier and enters the brain. There, he very effectively competes with serotonin for a place in the liaison team. The state of slow release of DMT lasts from four to six hours and is the basis of the magical and shamanic vision of reality characteristic of ayakuaschero and their circle of initiates. The non-included, or so-called, objective style of anthropological description, is prone to insufficiently emphasizing the cultural-forming significance that these altered states had for the Amazon tribes. Experience the consumption of ayahuasca – organic DMT in combination withBanisteriopsis liana – has many characteristic features that do not resemble the experience of smoking DMT. Ayahuaska is softer and lasts much longer, the subject of its hallucinations is focused on the organic and natural world, which is noticeably different from the titanic, strange and extra-planetary motifs characteristic of the DMT outbreaks. Why there are so serious differences between compounds that seem to be very similar structurally, so far remains an unexplored problem. In fact, the entire relationship between specific visions and their conjunctions is not completely understood. In places of their consumption, ayahuasca is considered a multi-purpose healing elixir and is called in Spanish “la purga” – a laxative. Proven its effectiveness in combating intestinal parasites. Its effectiveness in combating malaria organisms is being investigated. And the long history of its successful use by shamans in folk psychiatry has been documented by Naraño, Dobkin de Rios, Luna and others .
The experience caused by Ayahua, consists of an extremely rich mosaic of visual hallucinations that are very susceptible to “actuation” and control of sound, especially voice. As a result, one of the legacies of cultures consuming ayahuasca is a variety of ikaros, the so-called magic songs. The effectiveness, sophistication and dedication of ayahuskaserodepends on the number of magical songs that he or she really remembers. In these healing sessions, both the patient and the healer take ayahuasca and sing magic songs. This common experience is mostly visual.
The effects of long-term consumption of hallucinogenic indoles on mental and physical health have not yet been fully studied. My own experience of living among the mestizos of the Amazon has convinced me that the long-term effect of ayahuasca consumption is an extraordinary state of health and integration. Ayahuschero use sound and suggestion in order to direct healing energy to different parts of the body and to unexplored aspects of an individual’s personal history, where some mental stress has accumulated. Often these methods are striking parallels with modern psychotherapy methods; and sometimes they seem to reflect an understanding of the possibilities and energies that have not yet been recognized by Western therapeutic theories.
The most interesting from the point of view of the argumentation of this book are the persistent rumors about the states of group intelligence or telepathy, which are among the tribes that are almost not attached to culture. Our skeptical and empirical past will make us reject such claims as untenable, but we need to think twice before doing so. The main lesson we could learn from a psychedelic experience is the extent to which the unchallenged cultural values and limitations of the language made us unwitting captives of our own assumptions.For it is impossible that for no reason the use of hallucinogenic indoles, no matter where they are used, is always equated with magical self-healing and rebirth. A small number of serious mental illnesses among such populations are also well documented.