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Santo Daime Tea – What is this tea for?

by Dianna Leon

Santo Daime tea, also known as ayahuasca (in the Quechua language, “aya” means “spirit or ancestor” and “huasca” means “wine or tea”), is a drink traditionally used by indigenous peoples of the Amazon for medicinal and religious, since 2000 BC It is also known as yajé, caapi and god’s wine. The drink was exported by Brazil to 38 countries, where units of the main religious groups that use ayahuasca in their rituals operate: Santo Daime, União do Vegetal (UDV) and Barquinha.

The tea is prepared from the infusion of plants, usually the stem of the jagube or mariri ( Banisteriopsis caapi ) and the leaves of the chacrona or queen ( Psychotria viridis ). These plants are responsible for the psychoactive effects of ayahuasca tea.

Tea properties and effects        

Santo Daime tea contains substances that cause a hallucinogenic effect. According to specialists, the composition of ayahuasca is quite complex, including four important substances: three of them act in the transmission system of serotonin (neurotransmitter that acts in areas of the brain linked to feelings of pleasure and well-being), and the fourth , called N ,N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT, activates the brain region that induces hallucinogenic visions.

According to the results of research presented in the interior of the state of São Paulo, Santo Daime tea activates a brain region related to memory and another linked to vision, even if the person has their eyes closed. This could clarify, for example, the spiritual visions or images that ritual practitioners report.

The herb controversies in literature

In the literature, there are still many controversies on the subject: while some studies suggest that the use of Santo Daime tea can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, others indicate the opposite: ayahuasca would have a therapeutic effect in the treatment of users of alcohol and other drugs.

Ayahuasca consumption and side effects

The way to prepare the tea varies according to the tradition of each region and the occasion when consumption takes place, but, in general, the process is long and takes almost a day to prepare. The effects of tea are related to the religious rituals where it is consumed, based on the belief in the possibility of contact with other spiritual planes.

Drinking tea can produce acute side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea, which have been reported by people who have already ingested the drink.

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