Any medication which interacts with the Serotonin Receptors of the brain will be problematic when combined with Ayahuasca. Common contraindications are medication for depression, altitude sickness, some malarial medications but is not limited to these.
Notably, there are other health concerns and issues associated with drinking Ayahuasca. You should not drink Ayahuasca when,
- You are taking a medication which is contraindicated with it as described above. Common contraindications are medication for depression, altitude sickness, some malarial medications
- You suffer from bi-polar.
- You suffer from psychosis – either personally or in your immediate family.
- You have a serious health issue – especially related to your heart.
- If you are unsure about any of these or want to be more precise speak to the person who is leading the ceremony.
What is a contraindication?
In the case of a substance that you ingest like Ayahuasca, a contraindication is something which interacts poorly (either highly so or to a lesser degree) with drinking the physical substance that is Ayahuasca.
Degree of Contraindication:
medicinenet.com draws a line between contraindications which are ‘absolutely’ a contraindication and those that are ‘relative’. The former basically means ‘definitely do not mix these two things’ and the later means ‘avoid it but under some instances it might be deems ok’. We’ll talk about these in relation to Ayahuasca also.
How can you tell if something is a Contraindication?
The most assured way is to consult your doctor or GP. Note that this should be done months in advance of your planned Ayahuasca ceremony as it is possible that you will, in some cases, need to remove certain pharmaceuticals from your diet weeks or months before you drink to ensure that they are completely out of your system.
If you want to get a quick idea of how to check if something is dangerous to combine with Ayahuasca then you could also consult webmd.com. How you ask?
- Go to webmd.com
- Search for the substance you are looking for and go to the page for that particular substance.
- There will be a tab on this page labeled ‘Interactions’ which will tell you what it interacts poorly with.
- If it mentions that the substance is a contraindication of something known as MAOI’s (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) then IT IS dangerous to consume with Ayahuasca and you should take steps to safely remove this from your system before you drink Ayahuasca.
- NOTE: You should consult a doctor about how to remove this medication from your system as, in the case of SSRI’s for depression, your health may be at risk if you don’t do it in a supervised fashion.
- You may need to stop taking the substance several weeks or months before the ceremony date as how long this stays in your system (it’s half life) is something that you should probably consult your doctor on.
Common absolute Contraindications:
Some common pharmaceuticals which are absolutely not to be taken with Ayahuasca are,
- Depression/Anxiety Medication: These usually act on the same receptors as DMT (the active psychedelic ingredient in Ayahuasca) and as such can lead to Serotonin Syndrome. This can be deadly or at the least make you very very sick for week(s).
- Note: Some deaths from Ayahuasca are suspected to be when someone has not taken this advice.
- Even if you do not die from the initial interaction you may indeed be in a remote part of the world drinking Ayahuasca or be in an illegal ceremony someplace where they access to emergency healthcare may be the final hurdle which could lead to death.
- Other common absolute contraindications are certain types of malarial drugs and altitude sickness pills.
Common relative Contraindications:
These are also less dangerous, but ill advised, substances to take with Ayahuasca. This section can be summed up very quickly – it is best to avoid all pharmaceutical s whatsoever when drinking Ayahuasca.
Even if something isn’t strictly dangerous with Ayahuasca you should be aiming to have as little un-natural substances in your body as possible. This will not only reduce purging but also mean that the Ayahuasca can work more meaningfully on you.
It’s still possible to have a great and fulfilling Ayahuasca experience without this aspect but be aware that you should be making an effort to sacrifice something.
Natural foods which are also considered contraindications with Ayahuasca:
There are certain foods eg, ripe avocado, which can raise the levels of Norepinephrine in your system — because they contain Tyramine. The levels of Norepinephrine in your system are also raised by the contents of Ayahuasca which creates a potentially dangerous level of Norepinephrine.
When there is too much Norepinephrine in your system it may lead to hypertension aka ‘High Blood Pressure’ has been known to cause heart attacks in those susceptible. As such there is a need to reduce this possibility by reducing the total overall Norepinephrine in your system by removing Tyramine containing foods.
These will be taken care of when you are preparing for your dieta but, are good to mention in the framework of contraindications also.
The Ayahuasca Dieta will take care of most of the possible contraindications. This article is not meant to replace a Dieta or the advise of your shaman but simply to help those who are looking for additional info when it comes to a specific contraindication.
Also note that an Ayahuasca Dieta will ask you to be more restrictive of your diet (both energetically and physically) and as such will rule out certain foods also.