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Ayahuasca Safety
& Medical Guidelines

An ayahuasca retreat presents immense potential for positive change and deep healing. It can be important to put your worries at ease in the preparation stage, knowing this is a safe medicine for you to use. Here you can find compiled safety protocols to ensure you will be in good hands on your retreat. As well, take a look at potential medical concerns, which we will dive deeper into during your application. Afterward, check out the current covid protocols for Peru and our travel tips.

Ayahuasca Medical Guidelines, Safety and Our Screening Process

Prior to being accepted onto our Ayahuasca retreat in Peru, you will be required to complete a comprehensive psychological and physical health questionnaire. Sacred plant medicines are not suitable for everybody and it is essential that you are as honest as possible in the screening process so as we can guarantee your safety whilst on retreat. Your information will remain confidential and only be used for reviewing your application and assessing your suitability for this work. Your information is used to ensure that we can offer you the safest possible experience. Our medical screening process has been developed in collaboration with the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS).

Your request to participate in one of our retreats is contingent on your being in good mental and physical health. In completing the medical screening questionnaire, it is expected that you will be honest and inform us of any current or past health conditions that may compromise your safety or the safety of others. In participating in one of our retreats you will be agreeing to do so at your own risk. While we endeavor to provide the safest possible experience for our guests, we will not accept liability, blame or responsibility for any accident or injury incurred during your time with us.

We encourage all our guests to seek professional medical advice before coming to Peru. This includes advice on travel vaccinations that may be required.

“It’s important to note that the purpose of our screening process is to ensure that you’re in good physical and mental health and aware of the risks that come with sacred plant medicine healing.  Plant medicine healing isn’t suitable for everyone, and that’s ok. We want to make sure that the plants are suitable for you, which should not be confused with you not being suitable for the plants.”

Is Ayahuasca Safe?

Ayahuasca is a very powerful medicine, and as such it should be approached with the utmost humility and respect. For most people, it is completely safe to consume – and can have immensely profound impacts on the dietero. The most common reports of “adverse effects” after drinking ayahuasca are of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea – which is considered part of the necessary purging process for ayahuasca to do it’s deeper work.

However, there are certain physical and psychological risks to consider which may mean ayahuasca is not the right plant medicine for you at this time. Please remember when deciding on the best ayahuasca retreat for you, to only book your retreat with professionals who understand how ayahuasca works and how to properly administer it.

Physical Risks

  • Not knowing source of your ayahuasca brew, and it’s exact composition. Some brews may contain additives which add more health risks, make sure you are confident in the ingredients you are consuming.
  • Beta Carbolines in ayahusaca which may inhibit the action of monoamine oxidase (MAO), responsible for breaking down monoamines. So you need to be aware of your diet as your digestive system will be functioning differently.
  • Combining MAOis (present in ayahuasca brew) with SSRIs (antidepressants, such as Prozac)

Psychological Risks

  • Going through a difficult psychological reaction. It is likely to occur, and your intent, the set & setting, faciltators and curanderos, can help guide you through more easily.
  • Fear or Anxiety due to psychedelic effects. This will be a transient feeling that will subside as the medicine wears off. 
  • Risk of unbottling seeded trauma without proper support and reintegration. This can be especially difficult if the environment was not safe, you did not feel supported, or you did not fully acknowledge the traumas.


Safety At AYA Healing

At Aya Healing Retreats, we have the highest level of ayahuasca safety standards in the industry. We are committed to providing the safest and most authentic sacred plant medicine healing modalities in the Peruvian Amazon. Together with the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS) we have created the most comprehensive screening process available for our participants. Our dedication to creating the safest possible plant medicine journey ensures that each participant is given every opportunity to reach their true healing potential during their time with us. 

Each retreat group consists of a maximum of 12-15 participants. Small numbers ensure that we can adequately guarantee everyone’s safety during their time with us. Your curandero or curandera of the Shipibo tradition, two English speaking facilitators and one ceremonial assistant will be present at each plant medicine ritual to fully supervise and support guests through the healing process.

Additional Ayahuasca Safety Precautions:

  • Equipping the camp with a superior grade first aid kit
  • Offering 24-hour emergency transport to a local medical clinic
  • Emergency outside assistance from medical staff in Iquitos
  • Rigorous medical screening for all guests
  • Ensuring an after-ceremony sitter is available to care for and watch over participants until 4am in the morning following all ceremonies
  • A Skype session 1 month following retreat with our qualified Somatic Experiencing™ therapist *
  • Facilitation by expertly trained and extensively experienced staff
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Interactions With Other Medications

Ayahuasca has been found to be incompatible with some drugs and medications. This means that should you have another drug or substance in your system when you take Ayahuasca and other medicinal plants, that it may lead to serious injury or even death. Please take the time to read through our medical guidelines. If you are unsure about anything that we have outlined, please contact us as soon as possible.

“For your own safety and the safety of others it is imperative that you give your body sufficient time to purge street drugs and certain medications from your system. We cannot stress how important this is to guarantee your safety and the safety of others.”

If you are currently taking prescribed medications that you are concerned will conflict with our sacred plant medicines, please consult the substances listed on our medical guidelines brief and speak with your doctor well before your departure for Peru.

If we suspect that you have taken a prohibited drug or consumed alcohol upon or immediately prior to your arrival we reserve the right to prevent you from participating in our programs. This is paramount to ensure the safety and well-being of all guests, including yourself.

Marijuana is a particularly important drug to avoid and thoroughly cleanse your system of in the weeks prior to your journey with us. Marijuana has been known to act as a blockage for Ayahuasca and has been shown to prevent the sacred medicine from healing the body. Given that throughout the Ayahuasca ceremonies you will be in close relation to other participants who are particularly sensitive as they open themselves up to the healing ritual, a person intoxicated by Marijuana can darken the energy field of the medicine circle and prevent others from experiencing what Ayahuasca has intended for them. In the interest of others and yourself, please abstain from using marijuana in the weeks before and after the retreat.

Likewise, Cocaine and Amphetamines, including MDMA (ecstasy) when used together with our sacred medicines can prove fatal. Stimulants such as those listed above contain Monoamine Oxidase inhibitors and when taken lead to an increased heart rate and raised blood pressure. Ingesting these alongside Ayahuasca can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and cerebral hemorrhaging. It is vital that you ensure your system is free from any street drug that may have the potential to cause you and others great harm when taken alongside our sacred medicines in the weeks leading up to retreat.

Ayahuasca Safety

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Book a free skype session and ask questions, or start your medical screening questionnaire. Prepare to be profoundly changed.


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