Sacred Teacher Healer Plants

of the
Peruvian Amazon

by Don Choque Chinchay

A most unusual discovery made thousands of years ago in this region has provided humankind with a powerful holistic purgative medicine capable of great healing and transformation.This medicine, best known as Ayahuasca, has been used and revered throughout the western Amazon for millennia. Other commonly used names for this ancient potion are yagé, natema, and caapi. Ayahuasca healing remains today a prominent and accepted shamanic practice in indigenous and mestizo communities throughout tropical South America.

The name “Ayahuasca” comes from the Quechua words “aya”, meaning “soul” or“spirit”, and “huasca” meaning “vine”.

Ayahuasca, “The Vine of the Soul”, is considered by many to be a holistic purge of body, mind, and spirit, cleansing and healing those who seek its rewards in good faith with open heart and mind.


It is the sacrament of several large and growing syncretic spiritual movements originating in South America and spreading to North America and Europe. The best known of these are the Brazilian-based Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal, and Barquinha.


Ayahuasca SpiritQuest shamanic healing retreats introduce you to the deeply rooted indigenous and mestizo shamanic Ayahuasca healing and therapeutic processes practiced in contemporary Amazonian culture.The classic Ayahuasca medicine of the Peruvian Amazon is made by combining two fundamental elements; the woody vine ayahuasca(Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria ssp., usually P. viridis), a small jungle tree, or other plants containing DMT (dimethyltryptamine) or related alkaloid compounds.Other medicinal or visionary plants are often added according to the formula of the presiding shaman, the purposes of the ceremony, or geographic locality.

Ayahuasca preparation…
soplando with mapacho


Ayahuasca is regarded as the supreme holistic plant medicine throughout the western Amazon. It is claimed to cure a wide range of physical, psychological, and spiritual maladies. Western scientists and traditional shamans classify different forms of ayahuasca according to botanical or functional characteristics.Western scientific studies are confirming beneficial medical and psychotherapeutic applications. For example, investigators in the Hoasca Project at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) are investigating the role of Ayahuasca as a vermifuge treatment for gastrointestinal parasites among natives of the Amazon region.


The Healing Power
(Banisteriopsis caapi)

The Light
(Psychotria viridis)

Toé Blanco
The Spice
(Brugmansia suaveolens)

Sacred Tobacco
(Nicotiana rustica)

The Heart Opener
(Calliandra angustiflora)

The medicine is properly consumed in a ceremonial setting which has been cleared of negative and harmful energy by sacred protective rituals called arkanas, the smoke of the sacred tobacco mapacho, the mysterious shamanic potion camalonga, and the scents of agua de florida, agua de kananga, and other perfumes deemed especially appealing to the spirits.Vomiting is a fundamental aspect of the holistic purge and is almost inevitable. Temporary diarrhea may also occur as the medicine cleanses the system. These effects are generally transient and experienced by most, but not all people partaking of La Medicina.

The generally negative western attitude toward vomiting is a culturally biased viewpoint not absolute in any biomedical sense. It is not solely a manifestation of illness.

In the shamanic culture of the Amazon, purging by vomiting and defecation is considered a positive and beneficial aspect of the cleansing process.

The shamans work cooperatively to protect the group from harmful energies and summon the healing spirits to aid each participant in their personal quest whatever it might be.

The magical icaros and gentle rustling rhythm of the schacapas (acoustical shakers made of the leaves of the schacapa plant) are integral in achieving the trance state enabling communion with the Spirit World and facilitating the healing.

The experience may at some point reveal remarkable visions, some beautiful, others frightening and cathartic, typically producing a positive, life-changing experience of renewal and rebirth.

Not everyone receives visions the first time they partake of Ayahuasca. Multiple sessions are usually needed to realize this gift. Work with Ayahuasca is a process which takes dedication, discipline, perseverence and time for fullest benefit.

Once effectively cleansed, the processes of renewal and transformation continue indefinitely. The greatest work with Ayahuasca comes later as we assimilate the experience in our daily life and become more aware of the subtle spiritual dimensions that are always with us.

Personal preparation and positive attitude are critical. Adherence to dietary and disciplinary requirements is essential to receive the greatest blessings possible.

This experience is greatly empowered by giving oneself fully to the teaching and healing energy with open mind and heart.