Usually the mixture of the stem of the banisteriopsis caapi (jagube or mariri) and the leaves of the psychotria viridis (chacrona or queen) results in the ayahuasca tea, or as it is better known, the Santo Daime tea. This drink is used by indigenous peoples, in religious rituals and for medicinal purposes. However, there is controversy about its consumption, which is associated with several psychoactive reactions capable of producing hallucinogenic effects. In addition, continued and heavy consumption of tea can cause acute side effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Liberation of drinking for religious purposes

The use of tea used in religious cults was released in early 2010 by the National Council for Drug Policy (Conad). However, while there was a license authorized by the agency, it also recognized that consumption is dangerous, as it is a hallucinogenic drink. In the same resolution, the consumption of tea by people with a history of mental disorders or who are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or other psychoactive substances would be prohibited.

However, the big question about this infusion is who oversees this consumption. Would it be the religious leaders themselves who would identify who has and who does not have mental disorders? Whose fault would it be for an accident after an inappropriate consumption? Or who would inspect the religions that use their followers, in order to know if they are following the rules?

For specialists, the responsibility for supervising the use and consequences on consumers should lie with the competent public health agencies, such as Conad itself, the Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) and also the Federal Police. As well as religions that use ayahuasca tea.

What are the effects of the drink on the body?

Currently, the main religious groups that make use of ayahuasca tea in Brazil are: Santo Daime, Barquinha and União do Vegetal (UDV). Faced with this, scholars published in the magazine “Drug and Alcohol Dependence”, a survey carried out with two groups of people who, in addition to living in the same region, have the same practices, ages and characteristics. The only aspect that sets the teams apart is the fact that one is made up of people who use tea, while the other is not.

The result showed that those who consumed the drink had a decrease in the use of drugs and alcoholic beverages. However, those who consume tea in excess, present neuropsychological disorders and alterations, incidence of psychopathologies and psychiatric disorders.