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Effects of ayahuasca Physical, mental and spiritual levels

The effects of ayahuasca vary most often based on who ingests it and how prepared they are for it. The effects of ayahuasca ritual have been studied so far mainly in South America, the United States, but also in the Netherlands and other European countries. Medics, psychologists, anthropologists, botanists and chemists are also interested.

Research on hallucinogens of this kind allows us to peer beneath the surface of the mystery surrounding ayahuasca and gives us an insight into how cultures approach the perception and use of the power of psychedelics.

The effects of ayahuasca are usually manifested on most often three levels, these are subjectively perceived changes on the physical, mental and spiritual levels.

Physical level

The effect of ayahuasca on the physical level comes within 30-60 minutes after ingestion. The effects last 2-4 hours and peak 60-120 minutes after ingestion. Ayahuasca affects blood pressure, can bring on vomiting, activates the frontal and paralimbic regions of the brain, in addition to increasing blood flow in the brain and affecting emotional reactions. The visions from ayahuasca are the result of activation of neural networks that are related to imagery, memory and provide a sense of reality to inner experiences. Studies show that ayahuasca can positively affect various health conditions and overall life satisfaction.

Mental level

Research also focuses on changes in the human psyche and inner experience. The experience of ayahuasca ceremonies varies on an individual level. The variety lies in several types of experiences that can be summarized in the subjective feelings of the ritual: 

  • Visual visions: vivid, colorful images with diverse themes
  • Aha moments or epiphanies: Understanding and illumination of certain issues.
  • Insights: Awareness of relationships between past events, recurring patterns, and understanding of present relationships.
  • Perceptions of the plant received: Feeling a dialogue with the plant through thoughts or visual imagery, perceiving communication with the “spirit of the plant”.
  • Identifying the Self: Feeling detached from one’s own consciousness and its identified self.
  • Emotional perception: experiencing emotions more intensely, whether positive or negative.


When we focus on the psychological level when ingesting ayahuasca, it is clear that this experience offers deep psychological and emotional experiences. The visual visions that ayahuasca evokes are often associated with intense colourful images. These images can range from symbolic representations of personal history to elements from the collective unconscious. The visions reveal hidden thoughts or memories that are repressed in everyday life.

Ayahuasca experiences also often include moments of deep insight, known as “aha moments.” In these moments, individuals can discover and understand the deeper context of their personal issues or challenges. These realizations can lead to a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

Spiritual level

This level, which many people experience when ingesting, can also be called spiritual or transcendental and leads to the development of a person’s personality, with research showing an impact and long-term changes on a person’s so-called “well being”.

The spiritual level after experiencing an ayahuasca ritual or ayahuasca retreat is a profound and often transformative experience that can significantly affect one’s perception and understanding of the world and oneself. Ritual participants often speak of feeling a deep connection with nature, the universe and the spiritual world that transcends the limits of their previous experiences. This experience often leads to a sense of unity and harmony, which can have a profound effect on personal life attitudes and values.

Many report that they feel more in tune with their true self after an ayahuasca ritual and feel they have achieved a greater understanding of their life’s mission and path. Some describe experiences in which they get in touch with spirit guides or receive profound life lessons and understanding.

Ritual with ayahuasca also often evokes deep feelings of love, compassion and forgiveness, both for oneself and for others. Participants may feel greater empathy and compassion for other beings and often gain a new perspective on their interpersonal relationships.

Shamanic rituals and spiritual healing with ayahuasca

It is important to mention that shamanic rituals and healing play a key role in the tradition of using this sacred plant. Banisteriopsis Caapi, the main ingredient of ayahuasca, is not only a means of achieving altered states of consciousness, but also a means of spiritual cleansing.

This practice, deeply rooted in shamanic traditions, transcends what we know in our environment and offers a unique perspective on healing, centering on a holistic understanding of the human condition.

In closing, it is important to emphasize that although ayahuasca can offer profound and transformative experiences, it is important to approach it with respect, caution and in the company of experienced shamans, given its powerful effect on the psyche and body.

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