We’re all coming to understand the benefits of cannabis, but are you aware of the advantages of other plant medicines? Say, Ayahausca for example?

Native to the Amazon rainforest, Ayahuasca is a psychedelic and medicinal beverage brewed from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing chacruna leaves. Often referred to as “Mother Ayahuasca” and typically consumed in a ceremonial setting, South American shamans have been using the brew for millennia with divinatory and healing purposes, effectively treating conditions ranging from depression to cancer. With the brew’s ability to provide clarity about life and our universe, many Westerners have called it “thirty years worth of psychotherapy in a cup.”

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Photo credit: greenMe

According to shamans, plants have a double function: they can be used medicinally to treat various illnesses, or as plant teachers. Ayahuasca is said to have a female spirit, and a specific diet of no salt, spices, red meat, pork, alcohol, drugs, or sex should be practiced for a week or two leading up to its consumption.

Drinkers are encouraged to enter each ceremony with an intention—something that the Ayahuasca and shamans will guide them through. For example, a drinker might intend to find clarity on his career path, or to overcome an addiction to alcohol. Participants often purge—whether in the form of diarrhea, vomit, sweat, tears or heavy breathing—as a means of clearing negative energy and fear.

On the more pleasurable side of the equation, drinkers sometimes report traveling to different dimensions and interacting with beings that reside there. Usually, the exchange between human and other-dimensional beings is telepathic and filled with love. While anyone who hasn’t engaged with the medicine could easily dismiss such reports as hallucinations or crazy talk, most who’ve had the experience will suggest that the places they travelled to are objective and real.

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Photo credit: Anderson Debernardi

Author Graham Hancock uses a telescope analogy to make these reports more intelligible: consider an unfocused telescope pointing to the sky. When you look through the eyepiece you see nothing but darkness. Adjust the focus though, and you’re exposed to stars upon stars. Perhaps we’re simply not focused on these higher dimensions, and when the Ayahuasca adjusts our lenses a little, we access something that’s always been there.

Upon the completion of ceremonies, drinkers typically leave feeling rejuvenated with a desire to live well and improve the world.

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Photo credit: CSUSB

I can attest to all of these experiences. At the end of 2013, I trekked through the Amazon and partook in three ceremonies. Ayahuasca shattered the paradigm of reality in which I formerly operated and opened my mind to new ways of thinking about life and the universe. The medicine deepened my bond with nature, which has led to me becoming a partner in a clean energy startup, and inspired me to fulfill my lifelong desire of writing a book, which you can pre-order here. Ayahuasca: An Executive’s Enlightenment takes you through the psychedelic and healing journey—other-dimensional beings and all.

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Photo credit: Sidney Smith

Important to note is that Ayahuasca isn’t a cure all for everyone, nor is it necessarily an enjoyable experience. If you’re considering the medicine, I encourage you to do some research and find trustworthy shamans. is a great place to start.


Header photo credit: Wikipedia


Michael Sanders is a partner and the Vice President of Marketing for clean energy startup SunMoon Energy, and the Vice President of advertising agency. He’s a passionate traveler, athlete, mover, meditator, and an avid Burning Man participant committed to fostering human connection and improving the world.

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