Learn | 12.05.2023

Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Healing Quest: Overcoming Emotional Struggles With Ayahuasca

“Ayahuasca helped me. It gave me a new, intimate relationship with myself that I had never had before.”

Ayahuasca, the ancient psychedelic brew, has gained a compelling advocate in Jada Pinkett-Smith. As a celebrated actress, author, and Daytime Emmy Award winner for her impactful Red Table Talk show, Jada brings unique insight into this traditional practice. 

During her ‘Worthy’ book tour, she openly discussed her journey with ayahuasca, highlighting its pivotal role in her battle against intense emotional struggles, including suicidal thoughts.

Join us as we explore Jada Pinkett-Smith’s transformative encounter with ayahuasca, a journey that challenges conventional views on emotional recovery and well-being. 

Understanding Ayahuasca

Cultural Significance 

Ayahuasca is more than a brew; it’s a cornerstone of ancient wisdom. Held in high esteem by the indigenous communities of the Amazon basin, this sacred plant mixture has long been an integral part of shamanic rituals, serving purposes from healing and divination to deepening spiritual connections. 

Beyond its traditional roots, ayahuasca also plays a large role in the mestizo populations of South America, often used in rites of passage, to strengthen community ties, and as a vital element in Brazillian ayahuasca-based religions. 

Earning the moniker ‘Master Teacher,’ ayahuasca is now stepping into the global spotlight. The rise of entheogen tourism, where people travel across continents to experience psychoactive

substances like ayahuasca in religious or spiritual settings, is a testament to its growing appeal. Countries in South America, in particular, have become hotspots for entheogen tourism. 

Thus, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s journey with ayahuasca is more than just personal exploration; it aligns with a path taken by many for more profound spiritual insight, healing and self-discovery. 

The Brew 

The making of ayahuasca tea is an art deeply rooted in tradition. It involves a careful blend of the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), the primary ingredient, and chacruna leaves (Psychotria viridis), known for their psychoactive compound, DMT

The meticulous process, often lasting more than a day, combines boiling these plants to extract a potent brew that embodies their healing properties. 

Each community brings its unique approach to the brewing technique. It’s this richly symbolic and potent brew to which Jada Pinkett-Smith, like many others, turned in her search for personal healing and transformation.

Ayahuasca’s Healing Embrace: The Psychedelic Touch

Known for offering deep insights into the psyche, ayahuasca has become a focal point in the study of treating mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Its power lies in inducing altered states of consciousness, which is believed to facilitate healing, self-discovery, and spiritual awakening. 

Before ayahuasca, Jada Pinkett-Smith struggled with intense emotional pain, even grappling with suicidal thoughts. 

I went out, you know, I’m driving looking for cliffs. I can’t commit suicide in a way that my kids will know that it’s suicide. So I’m on my hunting, looking for cliffs. And then I remember Big Sur and I was like, cool, got it. I’m not making it out of that. And so I had my plan.– Jada Pinkett-Smith, Armchair Expert

Her journey with ayahuasca marked a turning point. 

After a 4-day deep dive into this traditional brew, Jada experienced a complete transformation. She walked away from her experience, reporting she no longer experienced suicidal thoughts and hasn’t to this day.

Introduced to ayahuasca by her son Jaden, Jada found the plant medicine to be a catalyst for “a whole new world of healing,” not just for herself but for her immediate family. The Smith family, including Jada, her husband Will, and their children Jaden, Willow, and Trey, have embarked on these journeys together, embracing the healing potential of ayahuasca. 

Experts like Jhoselyn Gaddy, co-owner of the Ecuador-based La Vida Divine Healing Institute, commend the Smiths for their approach, saying that she thinks what the family did was beautiful and that “seeing what they’re doing, coming together, and how they’re utilizing different methods – because everybody’s not going to heal in a church or a synagogue. Some people are literally going to go to the jungle, and that’s where it can happen for them.” 

Jada remains honest about the reality of ayahuasca: it isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. As she told TooFab magazine:

“Here’s what I’ll say: It was part of my journey. I don’t know if it’s the journey for everybody. I have to be honest with you. I definitely don’t think it’s something that should be approached without a veteran guide […] but I do know it is talked about more and there are a lot of people that have gotten really great benefits.” 

As Jada Pinkett-Smith’s journey with ayahuasca beautifully illustrates, the path to healing is not just a destination but a journey of rediscovering the harmony within our own spirit and the universe around us.

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