Preparation & Guidelines
Before participating in this or any other plant medicine ceremony, we highly recommend that you get the approval of your primary healthcare practitioner.
Below is the safety diet. Please prepare yourself through dieta at least 1-2 weeks prior to your arrival date. Try to become aware of your purpose or intention of your participation, as it greatly enhances your process through this journey. Enjoy your dreams. :)
The team of helpers assisting Taita Juanito
Safety Dieta for Retreats at Finca Ambiwasi Healing & Retreat Center in Colombia
Important Requirements to participate in the Ceremonies asked by Taita Juanito:
3 days before ceremony have a light diet, basically avoiding non processed foods, unnatural foods, garlic, onions, heavy meats, lots of fats and junk foods.
Pregnant Women and Women on their Moon or Menstruation can not participate in ceremony with NO exception at all. If the woman starts menstruating during the retreat time then participation to the ceremonies will be limited, further explanation is available.
Avoid 3 days before ceremony all coactive substances such as marihuana, extasis, alcohol, ideally one week is better and it would enhance your experience with the Medicine Grandmother Plant.
If you have any medical conditions you MUST have authorization from the Taita, please contact us for further information here.
If you are under any medication, please let us know as well.
Important Medical Precautions
All the healers and Taitas who will be working at the Retreat at Finca Ambiwasi have many 100s of years of experience all together, in holding ceremonies, altogether and in the safe use of Ayahuasca in its traditional context. Please note that in certain cases working with Ayahuasca can carry health risks: if you have any heart, liver or kidney, or other serious medical problems, you should inform us at the first opportunity, and discuss the issues with a doctor who is aware of the issues Ayahuasca may raise. Our priority is your safety and well-being, within ceremonies guiding you to personal healing and growth. We will provide the most secure environment to work with Ayahuasca we possibly can, and will ensure your welfare as best we can at all times. In return we ask that you behave responsibly and do not endanger yourself or others.
It is necessary that you agree to disclose, in confidence, any known medical conditions and/or use of any medication, at the time of booking. By coming to this Retreat, you are declaring that you are in a physical and mental condition appropriate to the activities described in the programs, and agree that you participate at your own risk and that we cannot accept liability for any accident or injury. You should seek professional medical advice on preparations, including vaccinations, which you need for the journey to Colombia, such as Yellow Fever. We need to offer this advice and insist on these conditions in order to assure your personal safety and the overall welfare of the group.
Certain drugs and medications have been found to not be compatible with Ayahuasca. It is essential to stop taking the following substances, and give your system sufficient time to remove them from the body, before you begin a workshop. Please consult your doctor if you are in any doubt: you certainly should not suddenly stop taking prescribed medications (including antidepressants) without consulting your doctor.
The following medications are unsafe in combination with Ayahuasca:
Any medication that contains MAO inhibitors. These medications are known to cause dangerous side effects when taken in conjunction with Ayahuasca. It is critical that you stop taking these drugs and allow plenty of time for your system to be cleared of these substances.
Any medication which has an effect on the serotonin system, including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) (i.e. antidepressants such as Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, etc). Combining these medications with ayahuasca can induce serotonin syndrome – far more severely than with foods containing tryptophan, and with potentially fatal results. We advise you to stop taking SSRI medications six weeks prior to a workshop to allow the system to clear in time; some of these drugs may cause side effects when you stop taking them, and you should allow plenty of time for these to subside. You should not abruptly stop taking them without discussing the matter with your doctor. Please note that the herbal antidepressant St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) also must not be taken directly prior to working with Ayahuasca, although the system can clear this in 2 weeks before commencing a workshop.
Other medications you must suspend taking are decongestants, cold medications, allergy medications, antihistamines, sedatives, tranquillizers, amphetamines (including Adderall), some hypertensive medications, sympathomimetic amines including pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, carbamazipine, methylphemidate (Ritalin), macromerine, phenelanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, asarone/calamus, asthma inhalers and diet pills.
Although Ayahuasca has not been found to cause psychosis or other psychiatric disturbances, it can be dangerous to those with a history of psychological problems. Please tell us, in confidence, about any history of mental health problems.
If you have a heart condition or chronic high blood pressure please let us know inmediately.
It is not safe to drink Ayahuasca when you are pregnant.
Advise on drugs and medications to avoid when working with Ayahuasca:
This is a comprehensive information page of medical, botanical and nutrition interaction guidelines provided by Ayahuasca Forums.
In general, from an Amazonian plant healers’ traditional perspective, when a patient or an apprentice is working with medicinal plants, especially Ayahuasca and some other important medicinal plants like Chiric Sanango, Wayracaspi, Toé etc., it is preferable to not take any other substances or medicines, as it may cause cutipado, or in other words interfere with the plants energy and provoke unwanted reactions.
It is important to suspend any kind of psycho-pharmacy and pharmaceutical depression treatments between 14 to 35 days before drinking ayahuasca. More specific advice is available subject to providing details of the particular medication in question.
Before booking to attend a workshop, it is important that we have full disclosure of all medications/drugs and the length of time any guest/volunteer has been taking them.
Guests/volunteers with hepatic conditions must first consult with the Taita and provide more information about the liver condition. People with tuberculosis must not take Ayahuasca.
These drugs and meds are potentially dangerous with MAOIs:
- Other MAOIs- SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)- Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)- Appetite suppressants (diet pills)- Medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems; antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, a These include Bromarest-DM or -DX, Dimetane-DX cough syrup, Dristan Cold & Flu, Phenergan with Dextromethorphan, Robitussin-DM, Vicks formula 44-D several Tylenol cold, cough, and flu preparations, and many others — any drug with DM or Tuss in its name.)- CNS (central nervous system) depressants- Antipsychotics- Barbiturates- Alcohol
Illegal or recreational drugs that are very dangerous to combine with MAOIs:
- Cocaine- Amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine), MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA, MDEA, PMA - Dextromethorphan (DXM)
Illegal or recreational drugs that may be dangerous to combine with MAOIs:
- Opiates- Mescaline (any phenethylamine) - Barbiturates
Other psychoactives that should not be combined with MAOIs:
- Kratom - Kava
Note about interaction with marijuana:
Smoking the marijuana before the Ayahuasca session may stupefy and darken the overall experience acting as a blockage for the visionary plant to manifest in the fullest way. Given the general amplified sensitivity of all participants of Ayahuasca session, marijuana negatively affects not just the person who used it, but also potentially other participants’ experiences as well as the overall energy level of the medicine circle.
CAFFEINE, SEX AND OTHER SACRED MEDICINES
In a few rare individuals, there may be a severe interaction with even small amounts of caffeine. Aside from that, the Grandmother medicine we work with has added medicinal plants and prayers in it specifically for calming and repair of the nervous system and to heal trauma; to cut out caffeine completely for at least one week prior, or preferably one month prior to the ceremony, will optimize your benefits. This also helps cut anxiety to an amazing degree during the ceremony, making the jobs of the helpers and facilitators much easier.
Re. other powerful medicines: Please do not engage with any other strong medicine plants for at least one week prior/after. (Grandfather Tobacco, Mama Ganja, etc. are examples of strong plant medicines that could affect your relationship with this new energy you are feeling called to work with.) A moon cycle before and after the retreat would be preferable, to give your body/psyche and the plant spirits time to adjust. You will get much more benefit from this retreat if you take it one medicine at a time.
Tobacco is thought by many of Turtle Island to be the Grandfather of all herbs; the sacred messenger of your prayers. If you choose to use Tobacco, please place it in a prayerful, positive context and change your habitual usage to ceremonial usage, such as at sunrise/sunset or in prayer only for the month prior to ceremony. Please do not smoke during ceremony, as the smell of tobacco breath from habitual usage is overwhelming to the heightened sensitivities of the other participants, whom you will be sitting very close to.
In Tantric and Taoist healing arts, bringing up sexual energy (and channeling it correctly) is considered to be a powerful and potentially "ultimate healing" Medicine. Therefore it is important to abstain from Sex Medicine (and all sexual activity) for at least one week prior to ceremony and one week after if you would like to feel the ceremony's effects more fully.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT SALT AND SODIUM
Although not contra-indicated on a pharmacological level, salt and sodium are traditionally avoided completely for 10 days prior to the retreats, and for one week after. (Or longer if your metabolism is slow, and takes a while to clear.) Salt can block the visual component of this medicine work. We've had many questions over the years about this salt issue; all we can say, is through many decades of direct experience with this medicine, we can “feel” viscerally that our absorption of the medicine, physically and psychologically, is not as deep or satisfying when we have consumed salty or sodium-laden foods. After experimenting on ourselves, we decided “why question 16,000 years of experiential wisdom, as well as our own?”
OKAY, SO IF I CAN'T HAVE SEX, DRINK ALCOHOL, OR SMOKE GANJA, WHAT CAN I EAT?
In the MAOI safety diet, we recommend eating foods that are as fresh as possible and not overripe, preserved, smoked, cured, salted or spoiled in any way.
In terms of aiding your comfort level during the ceremony cycles, meals of stir-fried, steamed, or raw vegetables work well to keep your body alkaline, therefore maximizing your cleansing and de-toxification. Millet, brown rice, quinoa, and other whole grains, especially sprouted grains, are beneficial. If you digest raw foods well, emphasize salads, raw fruits and vegetables and raw juices. If you digest eggs, chicken, fish, and other white meats well, small amounts of these foods will serve to keep you strengthened as you clean up other areas of your diet. Please make sure of your sources for food, especially meat, as the energy of the animal's life experiences will be readily apparent to you both during Dieta and ceremony. Fresh dairy products such as locally-made cultured fresh soft cheeses, yogurt, and cottage cheese is fine. Keep in mind that the aging process of any food is what produces the contra-indicated substance.
If you consume Kombucha, simply ask the manufacturer if the Kombucha contains the amino acid Tyramine. If not, consume with pleasure.
Keep in mind that at certain events of ours involving combination sweatlodges and aya-ceremony, there may be a "victory dinner" of the Northern Native American tradition, which could include bison, elk, deer or antelope. These are considered sacred foods and are okay on Dieta if you have prayed to the animal and prepared it with prayers and the sanctity that you deem appropriate; but repeated meals with these rich foods are not suggested during Dieta.
Some specific pharmaceutical drugs that should not be combined with MAOIs (some are mild risks, others serious):
Actifed- Adderall- Alaproclate- Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)- Amantadine hydrochloride (Symmetrel)- Amineptine- Amitriptaline- Amoxapine (Asendin)- Atomoxedine- Befloxetone- Benadryl- Benylin- Benzedrine- Benzphetamine (Didrex)- Bicifadine- Brasofensine- Brofaromine- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)- Buspirone (BuSpar)- Butriptyline- Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol)- Chlorpheniramine- Chlor-Trimeton- Cimoxetone- Citalopram- Clomipramine (Anafranil)- Codeine- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)- Cyclizine (Marezine)- Dapoxotine- Desipramine (Pertofrane, Norpramin)- Desvenlafaxine- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)- Dextromethorphan (DXM)- Dibenzepin- Dienolide kavapyrone desmethoxyyangonin - Diethylpropion- Disopyramide (Norpace)- Disulfiram (Antabuse)- Dopamine (Intropin) - Dosulepin- Doxepin (Sinequan) – Duloxetine- Emsam- Ephedrine- Epinephrine (Adrenalin)- Escitalopram- Femoxitine- Fenfluramine (Pondimin)- Flavoxate Hydrochloride (Urispas)- Fluoxetine (Prozac)- Fluvoxamine- Furazolidone (Furoxone)- Guanethedine- Guanadrel (Hylorel)- Guanethidine (Ismelin)- Hydralazine (Apresoline)- 5-Hydroxytryptophan- Imipramine (Tofranil)- Iprindole- Iproniazid (Marsilid, Iprozid, Ipronid, Rivivol, Propilniazida) - Iproclozide- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)- Isoniazid (Laniazid, Nydrazid)- Isoniazid rifampin (Rifamate, Rimactane)- Isoproterenol (Isuprel)- L-dopa (Sinemet)- Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa)- Linezolid (Zyvox, Zyvoxid)- Lithium (Eskalith)- Lofepramine- Loratadine (Claritin)- Maprotiline (Ludiomil)- Medifoxamine- Melitracen- Meperidine (Demerol)- Metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel)- Metaraminol (Aramine)- Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)- Methyldopa (Aidomet)- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)- Mianserin- Milnacipran- Minaprine- Mirtazapine (Remeron)- Moclobemide- Montelukast (Singulair)- Nefazodone- Nialamide- Nisoxetine- Nomifensine- Norepinephrine (Levophed)- Nortriptyline (Aventyl)- Oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan)- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)- Orphenadrine (Norflex)- Pargyline (Eutonyl)- Parnate- Paroxetine (Paxil)- Pemoline (Cylert)- Percocet- Pethedine (Demerol)- Phendimetrazine (Plegiline)- Phenergen- Phenmetrazine- Phentermine- Phenylephrine (Dimetane, Dristan decongestant, Neo-Synephrine) - Phenylpropanolamine (in many cold medicines)- Phenelzine (Nardil)- Procarbazine (Matulane)- Procainamide (Pronestyl)- Protriptyline (Vivactil)- Pseudoephedrine- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)- Quinidine (Quinidex)- Rasagiline (Azilect)- Reboxetine- Reserpine (Serpasil)- Risperidone- Salbutemol- Salmeterol- Selegiline (Eldepryl)- Sertraline (Zoloft)- Sibutramine- Sumatriptan (Imitrex)- Terfenadine (Seldane-D)- Tegretol- Temaril- Tesofensine- Theophylline (Theo-Dur)- Tianeptine- Toloxatone- Tramidol- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)- Trazodone- Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Elavil) - Trimipramine (Surmontil)- Triptans- Vanoxerine- Venlafaxine (Effexor)- Viloxezine- Yohimbine- Zimelidine- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Also avoid the following herbs:
St. Johns Wort, Kava,Kratom, Ephedra, Ginseng, Yohimbe, Sinicuichi, Rhodiola, Rosea, Kanna, Boswellia, Nutmeg,Scotch Broom, Licorice Root, Ginseng, Yohimbe, Sinicuichi.
Using stimulants with MAOIs is particularly dangerous and can be potentially fatal. Using cocaine, amphetamines or MDMA (Ecstasy) with MAOIs may cause a severe increase in blood pressure, increasing the chances for stroke and cerebral hemorrhage and making it possible to overdose on a relatively small amount of cocaine. (A fatality has been recorded involving combining Peganum harmalaand cocaine. Fatalities resulting from combining amphetamines with pharmaceutical MAOIs are recorded in the medical literature.)
Using other serotonin agonists or precursors with an MAOI can lead to serotonin syndrome. The main symptom of serotonin symptom may be a severe and long-lasting headache (the same symptom as MAOI tryptamine interaction) and/or fever (as high as 40 °C / 104 °F or more) Other symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include rapid heartbeat, shivering, sweating, dilated pupils, intermittent tremor or twitching, overactive or overresponsive reflexes, hyperactive bowel sounds, high blood pressure. Severe serotonin syndrome may lead to shock, agitated delirium, muscular rigidity and high muscular tension. renal failure, seizures, and can be life-threatening.
Using Tricyclic antidepressants within two weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects including sudden fever, extremely high blood pressure, convulsions, and death.
Using Fluoxetine (Prozac) within five weeks of taking MAOIs may cause high fever, rigidity, high blood pressure, mental changes, confusion and hypomania.
Using Benzedrine, Benzphetamine, Desipramine, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Dopamine, Ephedrine (contained in Marax, Quadrinal, and other asthma drugs), Epinephrine, Guanadrel, Guanethidine, Hydralazine, Isoproterenol, L-dopa, Metaraminol, Methyldopa, Mirtazamine, Norepinephrine Oxymetazoline, Phendimetrazine, Phentermine, Phenylephrine, Phenylpropanolamine, Pseudoephedrine, Ritalin, or Venlafaxine with MAOIs may cause a hypertensive crisis (severe spike in blood pressure).
Using Adderall with MAOIs can result in high body temperature, seizure, and in some cases coma.
Using Bupropion (Wellbutrin) within two weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects such as seizures.
Using Buspirone (Buspar) with MAOIs may cause high blood pressure and increased sedative effects.
Using Carbamazepine (Tegretol) with MAOIs may result in fever and may increase seizures, especially in epileptics.
Using Clomipramine with MAOIs may cause high fever (hyperpyrexic crisis) and seizures.
Using CNS depressants with MAOIs may increase the depressant effects.
Using Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane) with MAOIs may result in hypertensive crisis.
Using Dextromethorphan with MAOIs may cause excitement, high blood pressure, and fever, or brief episodes of psychosis.
Using Fenfluramine with MAOIs may result in fever (hyperpyrexic crisis).
Using Kava with MAOIs may result in hypotensive crisis (severe blood pressure drop).
Using Lithium with MAOIs may cause fever and serotonin syndrome.
Using Meperidine (Demerol) with pharmaceutical MAOIs has resulted in deaths from a single dose.
Using Metaproterenol or other beta-adrenergic bronchodilators with MAOIs may cause blood pressure elevation and rapid heartbeat.
Using Mirtazapine (Remeron) with MAOIs may result in hypertensive crisis. Using Nefazodone (Serzone) may result in high fever.Using Temaril with MAOIs may increase chance of side effects.Using Terfenadine with MAOIs may cause an increase in MAOI blood levels. Using Theophylline with MAOIs may cause rapid heartbeat and anxiety. Using Trazodone (Desyrel) with MAOIs may result in high fever.
Using Tryptophan or L-tryptophan with MAOIs may cause disorientation, confusion, amnesia, delirium agitation, memory impairment, hypomanic signs, shivering.
Using Venlafaxine (Effexor) with MAOIs may result in hypertensive crisis.
Using Ziprasidone (Geodon) with MAOIs may cause serotonin syndrome.
Using alcohol with MAOIs may cause side effects like angina (chest pain) or headaches. The headache may mask or be mistaken for hypertensive crisis caused by MAOI interaction. MAOIs can also increase the sedative effect of alcohol.
Using opiates with MAOIs carries a risk of respiratory depression.
Using diuretics with MAOIs may cause a greater drop in blood pressure than normal and increase in MAOI blood levels.
Using anesthetics with MAOIs may potentiate the anesthetic effect.
Using sleeping pills, tranquillizers (major or minor), or barbiturates with MAOIs may increase the sedative effect.
Special note to diabetics: MAOIs may change the amount of insulin or oral antidiabetic medication that you need.
Pharmaceuticals to be avoided include some OTC pharmaceuticals such as antihistamines, decongestants, and cough medicines, but more dangerous are many antidepressants (including OTCs like St Johns Wort). If you are taking prescription medication (including antibiotics), are subject to high blood pressure, have a heart condition, or are under treatment for any health condition, consult your physician about the use of temporary monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). Medical consultation is especially important if you are taking Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Zoloft or other antidepressants affecting serotonin levels, i.e. serotonin selective re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI). These medications may require a period of up to six weeks to completely clear the system and must be reduced gradually.
DO NOT go off any medication abruptly, without supervision of a licensed health practitioner. ****Keep in mind that MAOI and therefore the vine itself is not illegal; therefore you should be able to talk to a health professional about the contra-indications of the MAOI-containing Caapi without fear...just don't mention the "A word".****
Some meds may clear the system in a shorter period of time. But they still require more lengthy abstention than food. For example, be clear of anti-depressents for five weeks (35 days) with SSRIs other than fluoxetine (Prozac), 8 weeks (56 days) with the latter. Caapi itself is an effective anti-depressant.
The plant medicines lower your blood pressure in order to do their repair and reconstructive work; so please notify your host or inviter ONE MONTH PRIOR TO CEREMONY if you are on blood-pressure medications.
There was a report several years ago of a death relating to a steroid drug interaction, so please notify your inviter if you have been using steroids within a month of the retreat. This was not related to any of our group's activities. We screen our participants for these contra-indications.
CONTRA INDICATED MEDS LIST:
* other MAOIs
* SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
* amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine)
* antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
* appetite suppressants (diet pills)
* medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems
* antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, etc.)
* CNS (central nervous system) depressants
* alcohol & marijuana
NOTE NEW INFORMATION:
Although antibiotics are considered safe as far as drug interactions, note that there is a new antibiotic being prescribed that is actually an MAOI:
Linezolid is a reversible monoamine oxidase inhibitor-based antibiotic that was developed as an antidepressant but marketed as an antibiotic after it was found effective against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus and other infections. Like other monoamine oxidase inhibitors, linezolid can interact with presser or serotonergic agents to cause serotonin syndrome or, more rarely, hypertensive crises. All available antidepressants interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.