Ayahuasca is generally a very safe substance to drink. There are some medical conditions (e.g. some stomach, heart, liver, kidney, colon or mental health problems, etc) where drinking ayahuasca could be potentially harmful.
Please check with your doctor and take their advice about participation.
Specific conditions with which one should definitely NOT drink ayahuasca are heart problems, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and any history of psychosis or psychotic breaks. Please take this seriously as the potential consequences are an extended trip to a psychiatric hospital or death. Also, any hallucinogen can trigger underlying emotional problems or exacerbate mental conditions. Anyone with a family history of poor psychological health, especially schizophrenic-type disorders, should be especially cautious about taking ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca ( Banisteriopsis caapi ) contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in the form of harmine and harmaline. Medications in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), which includes most anti-depressants, are dangerous to take with MAOIs and need to be stopped 1-4 weeks before drinking ayahuasca, depending on the half-life of the specific medicine being taken. This is very important, as mixing these two types of substances can lead to serotonin syndrome which can be fatal.
We have seen very strange and unpleasant experiences when clients drank ayahuasca while on medications for which no contra-indications could be found. As a result we do not allow any medications to be taken while attending the workshops or some of our ceremonies. Ideally all medications should be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to comming to the center.
TAITA INTI does not allow ANY medications to be taken while drinking ayahuasca IN OUR CEREMONIES.
The following classes of drugs are potentially dangerous when taken with MAOIs (Ayahuasca). If you are taking medications, please do your research into theiir half-life so you will know how long you should be off them before taking an MAIOI. Some require 4-6 weeks. The Ayahuasca Safety Council has a more complete listing of medications, drugs and herbs to avoid.
SSRIs and SNRis
Some asthma medications such as salbutamol
Opiates and opioids
Additionally, the following herbs and supplements should not be taken when drinking ayahuasca:
St. Johns Wort
If you have had a concussion within the last year it is not advisable to drink ayahuasca. People that drink ayahuasca after having a concussion frequently have very unpleasant experiences, often 'reliving' the event that caused it in highly distorted and frightening ways, or saying they felt they had gone crazy while under the effects. Please check with your doctor and take their advice about participation.
Non-prescription medicines such as antihistamines, dietary aids, amphetamines and their derivatives and some herbal remedies (e.g. those containing ephedrine, high levels of caffeine or other stimulants) should be discontinued for at least a week prior to and following work with ayahuasca. Please check with your herbalist or homeopath as even otherwise innocuous remedies like St John's Wort/hypericum may not be suitable in combination with ayahuasca.
Avoid all chemically-based recreational drugs, in particular MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, speed and heroin. The use of non-chemical recreational drugs such as marijuana should also be discontinued for a period of at least two weeks prior to and following work with ayahuasca.