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Psychedelics #4: Iboga

“Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. In the iboga plant (Tabernanthe iboga), the highest concentration of ibogaine is found in the root bark. Lower concentrations of ibogaine are found in the rest of the plant along with other indole alkaloids in the same family.

These plants are used for medicinal and ritual purposes in African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti religion in Gabon. It was first promoted in the West as having anti-addictive properties in 1962 by Howard Lotsof, who was a heroin addict himself. In France it was marketed as Lambarène and used as a stimulant. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also studied the effects of ibogaine in the 1950s.

Today, it is illegal in the United States as is considered a Schedule I drug. However, it’s available to varying degrees in many other countries, including Canada and Mexico, as well as several European countries. It’s primarily used in treating addiction for opiates and other highly-addictive drugs, though it is also becoming more common as a tool for personal and spiritual development. Recreational use of ibogaine is nearly non-existent.

Experience
Many factors contribute to the ibogaine and iboga experiences, including dose, mindset, setting, and method of consumption. With that in mind, each individual journey will be unique to the person, time, and place, and there’s no way to predict exactly what will happen. It’s also important to note the difference between iboga and ibogaine, each of which has a different makeup and use case. However, ibogaine and iboga do induce some common experiences and effects that can help you prepare for your journey.

Benefits
Like many psychedelics, iboga has traditionally been used in ceremonial and religious contexts to connect the user to a higher level of spirituality and a deeper understanding of the self. This usually comes about due to the personal insights gained in the egoless state that iboga can produce—people often receive powerful insights into the personal issues they’re facing and feel a greater connection to the world around them. In this context, iboga can help spark personal growth in myriad forms—it’s helped people deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, indulgent behaviors, and much more.

Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/thethirdwave.co/psychedelics/ibogaine/amp/

Psychedelics #1: Ayahuasca (Spirit Vine)

Ayahuasca: Spirit Vine

Scientific Name : banisteriopsis caapi
Common Names in the Amazon: ayahuasca; yagé; bejuco; caapi; nucnu huasca; shimbaya huasca; nishi; oni; népe; xono; datém; kamarampi; pindé; natema; iona; mii; shillinto; nepi.

Over 90 different indigenous tribes in the Amazon Rainforest have developed healing traditions based on the use of ayahuasca. This number becomes even more impressive when one considers the fact that many of these tribes live thousands of miles apart and would appear to have never had contact with each other. Within the philosophy of each tribe, one point remains consistent, which is that they originally learned about ayahuasca and the science of plant medicine from the plants themselves.

Both the plant and the medicine prepared from it are called ‘ayahuasca’

What is Ayahuasca?

The word “Ayahuasca” refers to a medicinal brew with the main ingredient being the ayahuasca vine (banisteriopsis caapi). The vine is cooked, usually in combination with at least one other admixture plant, to produce a brown liquid that is consumed in healing ceremonies led by Amazon healers, called ayahuasqueros. The effects of the brew vary greatly depending on which admixture plants are used in its preparation, how the curandero runs the healing ceremony, and a number of more complex and mysterious aspects.

The admixture plants most often used are the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria viridis) and yagé; also known as chaliponga, chagraponga, and huambisa (Diplopterys cabrerana). Ayahuasca is known and used throughout Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and western Brazil. The use of ayahuasca is rapidly gaining awareness and acceptance throughout the world thanks to retreat programs and organized religious movements such as Santo Daime and the União do Vegetal (UDV), who won a supreme court decision for the right of members to use the sacred medicine in ceremonies in the United States.

Ayahuasca has been used in the Peruvian Amazon for millenia, long before the Spanish came to Peru, before the Incan Empire was formed, before history. The oldest known object related to the use of ayahuasca is a ceremonial cup which dates to a culture that ended in the year 50 A.D. Carved out of stone with engraved ornamentation, it was discovered in Ecuador and currently rests at the Ethnological Museum of the Central University (Quito, Ecuador). In the Peruvian Amazon, its use dates back much further.

Chemically speaking, the medicine usually contains both beta-carboline and tryptamine alkaloids. However, some indigenous Amazonian cultures, like the Yahua, prepare their ceremonial brew using only the ayahuasca vine. The ayahuasca vine contains the beta-carbolines (harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine). Harmine and harmaline are visionary at high levels, but at a modest dosage typically produce mainly tranquility and nausea. Tetrahydroharmine is present in significant levels in ayahuasca, which may be responsible for some of its more profound effects.

Even though all ayahuasca vines are botanically classified as Banisteriopsis caapi, the curanderos classify them further, in reference to their effects. An example is cielo ayahuasca, which means sky or heaven ayahuasca, implying that its effect is of bringing one to celestial realms. Negra ayahuasca, or black ayahuasca, would be used to work specifically with darker energies, shadow selves, or black magic.

Harmala alkaloids have the unique effect of temporarily reducing levels of monoamine oxidase in the body. Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that normally breaks down tryptamine alkaloids, among others. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) thus make tryptamines orally active. Therefore, the ayahuasca plays an essential role in the brew, opening the door for a host of powerful alkaloids to reach the brain before eventually being broken down by other means.

The principal tryptamine found in ayahuasca is DiMethyltryptamine, or DMT. This naturally-occurring biochemical substance is believed to be secreted by the human brain in the pineal gland, especially when dreaming. Rick Strassman, author of ‘DMT Spirit Molecule’ theorized that 49 days into the development of the human embryo, the pineal gland produces a much larger amount of DiMethyltriptamine than normal. The only other time this occurs naturally is at the moment of our death. Therefore, Strassman concluded that the production of DMT is a chemical expression of a spiritual event, namely the entering and exiting of the spirit into and from the physical body. DiMethyltriptamine can be found in countless plant and animal species throughout the world.

While some scientists might describe the Ayahuasca experience as merely an oral DMT experience activated by a beta carboline MAO inhibitor, this description is not accurate. The dynamics within the ayahuasca experience are far more complex, due at least in part to the ayahuasca vine itself which is often said to lend ‘wisdom’ to the experience. This idea is supported by nearly every culture that uses ayahuasca in the Amazon Rainforest. The truth is that ayahuasca forms part of a complex healing phenomenon which is multifaceted and mysterious and which defies reductive, chemical or scientific over-simplifications. Ayahuasca is not just a ‘drug’ or ‘medicine’ that acts on a passive recipient; it is a relationship involving many factors, including the intention of the drinker, and the role of the curandero, who uses his/her experience and relationship with the spirit of ayahuasca (as well as other plants) to increase, decrease, and guide the depth of the healing.

Here is a quote from Richard Evans Shultes, one of the earliest pioneers in ayahuasca research, describing the effects of drinking a brew made only from the vine without any admixture plant:

“To this day, the natives of the north-west Amazon in Brazil and Colombia use the Banisteriopsis drink for prophetic and divinatory purposes and also to fortify the bravery of male adolescents about to undergo the severely painful yurupari ceremony for initiation into manhood. The narcosis amongst these peoples, with whom I have taken caapi on many occasions, is usually pleasant, characterized by visual hallucinations in color, which initially is very often a shade of blue or purple. In excessive doses, it is said to bring on frighteningly nightmarish visions and a feeling of extremely reckless abandon, although consciousness is not lost nor is use of the limbs unduly affected”.

EFFECTS OF AYAHUASCA
For millenia, a science of healing has been evolving in the Amazon, passed on orally from generation to generation, and through the plants themselves. The sacred medicine is primarily used to heal, and patients often feel the following effects:

HEALING THE BODY
Nearly everyone describes a physical cleansing or purification process, often involving vomiting or purging. Another name for the brew is ‘la purga’ because of its powerful purgative effects. It is not necessary to throw up, however, and the curandero rarely throws up when leading a ceremony.

HEALING THE MIND
It is not uncommon to experience a regression back to the situation or source of a problem or trauma. To relive the experience is to gain new understanding and insights enabling resolution or closure. Dream-like scenes where personal messages from spirits are received cause ceremony participants to re-evaluate their life course with a deeper understanding of why they are here, and what it is they need to do to fulfill their purpose.

HEALING THE SOUL
Most people who experience Ayahuasca report some sort of spiritual experience. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to describe the spiritual effects due to the lack of spirit in our language. Western culture is simply ignorant of the science of spirit that is still practiced today in the Amazon, but it is common for people to feel something that could be described as spiritual.

A truly authentic ayahuasca experience cannot be fully realized outside the natural and cultural environment of the Amazon rainforest. The tremendous plethora of medicinal plants that contribute to the healing process are only present in the Amazon region. The spirits of numerous powerful plant allies are called into the ayahuasca ceremonies by the curanderos. Their relationship with these plants is strongest in their physical presence, meaning that when surrounded by the plants of the Amazon rainforest, their presence and power is much more profound. This is not to say, of course, that highly beneficial personal results cannot be achieved using Ayahuasca in other areas of the world, but the benefits of receiving treatment involving a variety of medicinal plants in addition to ayahuasca in the Amazon rainforest is most likely to produce the deepest levels of benefit.”

Source: https://www.ayahuascafoundation.org/ayahuasca-information/

Plants #1: House Plants

Studies have shown indoor house plants can:

-Boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity

-Reduce your stress, fatigue, sore throats and colds

-Help clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity & producing oxygen

-Add life to a sterile space, give privacy and reduce noise levels

-Are therapeutic to care for

Adaptogens

What are adaptogens?

None of us are immune to the pressures of modern life, whether it be work deadlines, the daily commute or just simply never having enough hours in the day.

The Health & Safety Executive estimate that in 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

Our bodies are also regularly exposed to physical and toxic stress too – from household chemicals, pesticides in our foods, pollutants in the air, intensively farmed meats and refined sugar to name but a few.

All this can overwhelm the body’s ability to cope leading to insomnia, tiredness, anxiety, depression and even physical illness.

Thankfully there are some incredible rejuvenating herbs that can help. These are the amazing adaptogens.

So what are adaptogenic herbs?
Well, the clue is their name. They literally help the body to adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on our emotional and physical surroundings. So, for example, they can help calm in times of stress. They can bring peace to a racing mind in the middle of the night. They can give clarity when everything around is in turmoil. They can give energy when we are tired.

The term adaptogen was introduced into scientific literature by Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1957 to refer to ‘substances that increase the state of non-specific resistance’ in stress. Broadly, an adaptogen must have the four ‘Ns

●Nourishing – bring nutritive strength
●Normalising – raise what is low and lower what is high (eg energy, stress)
●Non-specific – act on multiple parts of the body at the same time
●Non-toxic – be completely safe when used over extended periods of time.

So, how do adaptogenic herbs work?
Adaptogens relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. As biological response modifiers (BRMs) adaptogens restore the body’s innate immune function and help the body adapt to different stressors. This gives them preventative and protective as well as curative activity in compromised immunity.

By replenishing our deeper immunity and regulating our response to stress, adaptogens replenish the wellspring of health and vitality and are true rejuvenative tonics helping to:

●Improve overall wellbeing
●Increase energy
●Optimise organ function
●Reduce stress response
●Increase inner strength
●Improve blood sugar levels
●Optimise protein synthesis
●Reduce inflammatory cortisol levels
●Improve cholesterol ratios
●Regulate the hormonal balance

We often marvel at the fact that there are plants that can do all, yes, ALL of these things – and there are plenty. Soke examples:

1. Ashwagandha
The perfect herb for the 21st century as it both calms and energises, helping us to adapt to the stresses of everyday living. It’s helpful for assisting deep sleep and calming nervous tension. Its ability to replenish the blood, enhance nutrients and build bone strength make it indispensable in disorders of degeneration and ageing. Its affinity for the adrenal, endocrine and nervous systems point to its use in any imbalances affecting our energy or vitality.

2. Tulsi – Holy Basil
This leafy member of the mint family is known in Hindu mythology as an incarnation of the Goddess Tulsi, offering divine protection. As well as increasing circulation, aiding digestion and helping to protect against seasonal malaise, holy basil is also good for calming busy minds.”

Source: https://www.pukkaherbs.com/uk/en/wellbeing-articles/what-are-adaptogen-herbs.html

Psychedelics #1: Peyote

Peyote has been front and center of pop culture for many years. In fact, if you’ve ever taken the time to see the movie The Doors about the iconic band of the same name, you’ve probably heard ‘peyote’ heavily mentioned. From movies to music, peyote has been part and parcel of a burgeoning culture that valued freedom of expression. In spite of this, many people are unfamiliar with what exactly peyote is, what it does and how it may affect users.

A Short History of Peyote
Peyote is a hallucinogenic substance native to Mexico and parts of Texas. It can be found mostly in Mexico’s desert regions, specifically in the areas of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. It is known scientifically as Lophophora williamsii.

However, its common name is a Spanish derivation of the Aztec word “Peyoti,” meaning “glistening,” or “shining.” It is a short, stubby plant with bulbous formations that contain the active ingredient, mescaline. It has a strong and bitter taste that keeps it safe from predation from other animals.

Mesoamerican cultures including the Aztecs utilized peyote in their religious practices. Archeologists date its use back at least 5000 years. Shamans or priests used peyote to induce a state of altered consciousness and to communicate with divine spirits or powers.

Peyote has been reported to cause mystical hallucinations and experiences. Users would typically cut the cactus plant from the root and dry it. After it is dried it is either chewed or soaked in water. The water can later be imbibed. Much like cannabis, it can also be smoked.

It also has a long history of being used in Native American religious ceremonies. While illegal in most states, peyote is permitted within the confines of the Native American Church according to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. Today, it is considered a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are noted for their high potential of abuse and are not considered to have an accepted medical use.

How Does Peyote Work?
Peyote is defined as a psychedelic. Psychedelics are a group of substances that can affect the brain in ways which change how external stimuli are interpreted. Peyote derives its mind-bending capabilities from the chemical mescaline. Mescaline accounts for 0.4% in fresh cactus and up to 6% in dried cactus.

It has extreme psychoactive effects that can often be felt as little as thirty minutes after consumption and can last for as long as eight hours. Mescaline can also be artificially synthesized, but can only be used for scientific and medical research.

How Does Peyote Work?

Peyote is considered a serotonergic substance and affects serotonin (5-HT) receptors in the brain. These receptors are largely responsible for inducing feelings of happiness, joy, and well-being. In an imaging study[1][2], it is indicated that mescaline activates several different parts of the brain and reduces activity in the default mode network, a part of the brain that is involved in the perception of the self. Peyote activates areas in the prefrontal cortex, which is dedicated to mood and cognition.

Other compounds in peyote include lophophine and homopiperonylamine. Both lophophine and homopiperonylamine are considered analogs or substances that share a common chemical structure and yet have important morphological differences.

Ingestion of peyote produces vivid hallucinations, and users may see or hear things that aren’t there. There have been reported instances of synesthesia, a condition in which one of the senses (including taste, touch or smell) is activated but another responds. This may cause users to “see” music or “hear” colors. Users have indicated having intense mystical experiences when under the influence of peyote.

Similar Substances
Peyote is part of a group of substances that can affect cognition and the ways in which we perceive. Peyote is considered a substance that is psychedelic or psychotropic. Substances in this category are noted to have an impact on brain function, thus producing mind-altering experiences. They can be placed into three main categories:

Serotonergic: This group activates the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is largely responsible for feelings of contentment, happiness, and well-being. It can also influence how sexual desire operates along with appetite, sleep patterns, and even temperature.
Empathogens: These substances are also known as entactogens and also activate the neurotransmitter serotonin. Empathogens can affect perception, cognition and cause auditory and visual hallucinations. They also influence feelings of empathy, emotional connection, and kinship.
Dissociatives: Psychedelics in this category can influence feelings of detachment and are often associated with “out of body experiences.” They can also alter perception and cognition.
These categories describe any number of psychedelic substances, including:

LSD
Toad Venom
Psilocybin mushrooms or ’shrooms
PCP
Ecstasy
Psychedelics affect the brain by activating the 5-HT2A receptors, also known as 2ARs. These receptors work in conjunction with serotonin and can profoundly alter the way individuals perceive the world around them.

Researchers suggest that the serotonin receptors have more than one way to be switched to the “on” position. Psychedelics often offer an alternative means of turning on serotonin receptors in the brain, leading users to have experiences that can be defined as mind-bending and/or mystical in nature.

Psychedelics have often been used in rituals and tribal traditions by indigenous peoples. They are increasingly being used to address such issues as depression, anxiety, and pain management. Those who take psychedelics do not report having the same experiences. Each user will have their own unique effect due to the user’s own cognition levels, mood, and their environment.

Other Psychedelics and Their Effects
LSD: LSD is shorthand for lysergic acid diethylamide. It is one of the better-known psychedelics and has many street names, including acid, dots, and mellow yellow. It can cause a number of physical and psychological effects, including changes in perception and thought, synesthesia, and hallucinations.

Toad Venom: This substance is known as the “God Molecule,” due to its powerful hallucinogenic effects. Users often report having intense feelings of well-being and contentment, along with having spiritual or mystical sensations and impressions.

Toad venom comes from two plant sources: Anadenanthera peregrine and Virola theiodora. It also comes from the secretions of the Bufo alvarius toad. This toad is typically found in the southwestern areas of the United States and northwestern Mexico.

Other Psychedelics and Their Effects

Psilocybin mushrooms, or ’shrooms: Psilocybin mushrooms are a family of fungi often referred to as “magic mushrooms.” Users who ingest these mushrooms have reported intense feelings of euphoria, distorted cognition, visual and auditory hallucinations, lack of coordination and confusion.

PCP: PCP, or phencyclidine, is a dissociative substance that was originally created as an anaesthetic. It was first brought to mainstream attention in the 60s and was known as the “the Peace Pill.” PCP may cause users to experience feelings of detachment from their surroundings and their general sense of self. PCP is packaged as a white crystalline powder and can be dissolved or broken down in water or alcohol. PCP is defined as a Schedule II drug.

Ecstasy: Ecstasy, or MDMA, is a stimulant that induces feelings of exhilaration and extreme joy or happiness. Ecstasy can cause a user to “crash,” after the psychoactive effects have gone away due to the reduction in serotonin. Ecstasy is often taken as a pill and is heavily associated with the club culture.

Psychedelics may be useful in treating a host of conditions and ailments. Many of these ailments include depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Recently, a number of stories have indicated psychedelics as a viable alternative to traditional medical treatments.

Researchers are also beginning to study psychedelics that can function in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments and for use in addition to recovery programs. Psychedelics may be an option for limited use in addiction programs. They are also useful in studying brain damage, as they may increase brain connections and neuronal growth.

Final Thoughts on Peyote
Peyote and other psychedelic substances can have a profound effect on how users see, hear, touch and taste. They are also reported to cause an increase in feelings of happiness, joy or possibly detachment and hallucinations. They can also contribute to feelings of kinship and emotional connection.

Peyote is a schedule I drug and like most other psychedelics is illegal to use and distribute. However, peyote is legal for use only in regards to religious practices related to the Native American church. Its use in religious ceremonies has been exempted by law.

Peyote has been popular in mainstream culture and has been covered in music and film. It has been used to undergo experiences deemed mystical or spiritual. Users have reported a number of effects including strong hallucinations, and synesthesia, a crossing over of senses.

Peyote is typically ingested by drying out the cactus plant and chewing it. It can also be soaked in water and then ingested through drinking. Similar to cannabis, it can also be smoked. Research results have indicated that peyote and other similar substances may be an alternative to traditional medicines and treatments. Information is constantly emerging on how peyote can be of medical value and use.”

Source: https://wayofleaf.com/psychedelics/what-is-peyote