Ayahuasca, also known as “Vine of the Soul,” is a psychoactive brew that has been used for shamanic healing in the Amazon for thousands of years. Made by combining the Banisteriopsis caapi vine with one or more other plants containing the compound dimethyltriptamine (DMT), most often Psychotria viridis, it produces in the user a powerful visionary and healing experience.

The Experts

Draulio B. de Araujo, Ph.D.
Brain Institute
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
Natal, Brazil

Jordi Riba, PhD
Human Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group
Sant Pau Hospital
Barcelona, Spain

Chris Kilham
Author of Ayahuasca Test Pilots handbook
Founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc.

The Videos

How does the pharmaceutical treatment of depression compare to that of ayahuasca? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, explains that ayahuasca works in a more complex and comprehensive way.

How can ayahuasca be used to further the treatment of depression and PTSD? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, says it promotes an individualized approach vs. one of catch-all, prescription-based therapy.


Why do the visions under the influence of ayahuasca seem so real? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, describes what brain imaging studies reveal.

How can the ayahuasca experience be explained in psychological terms? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, describes it as an altered state of consciousness similar to dreaming.

Should ayahuasca be used frequently? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, draws insight from the churches that use ayahuasca as a sacrament.

How do meditation and ayahuasca compare? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, breaks down what is known so far from a neuroscientific perspective.

What goes on neurochemically in the brain under the effects of ayahuasca? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, describes the “lock and key” mechanism that exists between brain receptors and the chemicals contained in ayahuasca.

What is the role of purging in the ayahuasca experience? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, explains how it can benefit the user.

Why is there so much variability in the ayahuasca experience? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, on the complex interaction that takes place between the individual, the set, and the setting.

What can the study of ayahuasca contribute to the treatment of depression and PTSD? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, explains how, contrary to traditional medicine, the approach needs to be individualized, more like psychotherapy.

Is ayahuasca for everyone? Draulio de Araujo, PhD, on why certain people should not take this medicine.

Why do deep memories often emerge under the influence of ayahuasca?
Jordi Riba, PhD, describes the connectivity between the emotional and cognitive regions of the brain that appears in neuroimaging studies.

What are the risks of taking ayahuasca? Jordi Riba, PhD, offers some cautionary advice.

How can ayahuasca help with PTSD? Jordi Riba, PhD, explains how re-experiencing traumatic memories can help healing.

Are meditation and ayahuasca similar in their psychotherapeutic effects? Jordi Riba, PhD, shares what he and his colleagues are discovering through brain imaging.

Will ayahuasca gain acceptance as a treatment of mental disorders? Jordi Riba, PhD, draws a parallel with the use of ketamine for depression.

How often does one need to take ayahuasca to improve their mental health? Jordi Riba, PhD, shares his observations with clients who struggled with addiction.