Ayahuasca

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of Ayahuasca . Ask questions or share tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this food, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

Hi @Zayess. Based on your comment it sounds like you have some issues with this Food entry. Could elaborate so that we might be able to address any issues you might have?

Thank you for replying @EricGrundhauser.

Would you write an article on receiving communion as a food entry? This is a religious ceremony not a food.

I would also say that most of the article is at best misleading. If you do a little reading most people are not immobilized, and they don’t vomit the whole time. It sounds like someone read a few Ayahuasca articles, and summarized the most shocking parts.

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@EricGrundhauser Although this article is well-written and there are many salient and balanced points covered, I do have an issue with the statement, “those who drink the bitter mixture will typically be immobilized for four to six hours.” What is the source for this assertion, please? This is actually not typical, to my knowledge, and “immobilized” specifically comes off as alarmist (as does saying the vomiting is “intense,” which it isn’t necessarily). The author obviously did a lot of research, however I am curious if they have had experience with or observation of the use of this medicine, as it would contribute a valuable firsthand perspective that might provide further contemplation of such a description.

Also, per @Zayess’s point, this tea is indeed generally considered a sacrament, not a food, so the categorization of this story under “food” is a bit misleading. It’s kind of like categorizing a story about the history and spiritual experience of receiving Catholic communion as a “food” story because of the wine and cracker involved.

Thank you.

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Hi again, @Zayess and @MelzBellz. Thank you guys for your feedback, and I really appreciate you reaching out. I understand your concerns, and have spoken with the editor. In terms of including ayahuasca in our database of food and drink, we do not feel that the tea’s psychoactive effects and ritual significance disqualify it from inclusion. We actually have a category for such items, Ritual & Medicinal, under which it is filed.

Regarding what seems to be the main point of factual contention, that ayahuasca does not cause the drinker to be immobilized or experience all of those negative effects, we understand your concerns, and have updated the wording to be more clear.

Thanks again for your patience and for reaching out! I hope this helps address your concerns, and please let us know if you have any further questions.

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Great, thank you! I appreciate the care and attention that was brought to this. And sorry I missed the “food” sub-categorization, but glad to know to be more mindful of it in the future.

It’s no problem at all! Thank you for your concern and for being an active part of the Atlas Obscura Community!

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As MelzBellz pointed out, Ayhuasca is not a food, but an entheogen. The studies in anthropology carried out here in Brazil are quite vast as to the use of this psychoactive one that reaches urban expression since the 1960s. As an anthropologist, I can say that the text that opens this topic does not press very much for the factual truth, many generalizations are made, although I am not an expert on the subject, even though I have taken ayahuasca a few times, both as part of an anthropological field experience and also for recreational purposes. To enrich our conversation, I would like to point out some sources of what is probably the greatest authority in this field of study in Brazil: Bia Labate and the NEIP- Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Psychoactives of University of Campinas-SP.
Al sources are in English:
Bia Labate website: https://www.bialabate.net/
NEIP
Regarding the commercialization of the ayahuasca, this video could be a good starting point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WIAtHKtRkg

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