What does
Ayahuasca mean?

Peruvian and Ecuadorian meanings

APL Shamanic Journeys retreats blog
In Quechua language Ayahuasca can be translated as "Vine of the Soul".
Aya (spirit/soul) Huasca (vine) is a name of a vine Banisteriopsis caapi / Ayahuasca vine as well a brew that is made out of the B.caapi and one of the DMT contained plants, such as:
Chacruna (for Peruvian Amazon), Chaliponga (for Ecuadorian Amazon) or Jurema (For Brazilian Amazon).

In our western culture we usually use the term "Ayahuasca" to refer to the brew that contains Ayahuasca vine and one of the DMT contained plants.
Meanwhile in the Amazon before the Ayahuasca boom, the term was mostly used to refer to Banisteriopsis caapi (Ayahuasca vine) only.

Before we continue, let's deal on terms we are going to use:

Ayahuasca brew - a mixture of two plants.
The first one is the Ayahuasca vine (B.Caapi) that contains B-Carbolins (MAOIs) and allows DMT to be orally active.
The second plant is Chacruna (Chaliponga / Jurema) that contains DMT that lights up your ceremonial experience.

Ayahuasca tea - a remedy that is made only out of Ayahuasca vine (B.Caapi) and does not contain any DMT

Chacruna (Psychotria viridis) leaf and Ayahuasca (B.Caapi) vine

For how long people drink Ayahuasca?

Until today no one knows for sure for how long indigenous peoples on the Amazon knew how to prepare the brew that is so widely spread nowadays across the globe.
When in 19-century anthropologists started to catalog Ayahuasca use, only a few tribes were using a mix of Ayahuasca vine and Chacruna leaves meanwhile the majority of local people were drinking a tea made out of Ayahuasca vine (b.caapi) only for physical healing as well as for spiritual journeys.

Nowadays no one can claim for sure since when indigenous peoples found out the recipe of the Ayahuasca brew, but due to the latest research of mummies in northern Chile that were dated by 10 B.C. (2000+ years old), we can claim that pure Ayahuasca vine has been supplied to them from the Amazon (what is a big deal due to the distance) and has been used as a medicine.
The way from the Amazon (where Ayahuasca vine grows)
to Atacama desert
To figure it out scientists analyzed mummies' hair and traced B-Carbolins (MAOIs) - the main active compounds of the Ayahuasca vine.
Today if you visit tribes living deeper in the Amazon you can notice that they rarely drink Ayahuasca brew and prefer to host special ceremonies that are named Purga Ayahuasca (Ayahuasca for purging) or Natemamu ceremony.
During this type of ceremony, participants drink tea made out of the pure Ayahuasca vine in big quantities for a few days. Sometimes just in 3 days, a person can drink up to 60 liters of Ayahuasca vine tea.
Meanwhile, an average portion of Ayahuasca brew with Chacruna is rarely exceeding 40-50ml.

Because of the presence of B-Carbolins (MAOIs) and the huge spiritual power of the vine, the experience is usually described as the most powerful journey you can have with the Ayahuasca vine even if you compare the effect with the classic Ayahuasca ceremony with DMT contained plants.
Different strains of the Ayahuasca vine as well as its age will also change the strengths of the experience.

What is Natem?

Natem is a word that comes from the Shuar tribe, that lives in Ecuador.

We believe it is important to mention this particular name of Ayahuasca (you remember the Natemamu ceremony?) as the translation of this term in our opinion describes the way Ayahuasca works in the best way possible.

In one word Natem means - to live, to die, and be reborn.
Usually, in one way or another, these are stages that a participant should pass during his/her journey with Medicine.

- First Natem shows your life, your past, present, and the possible future.
- Then Natem separates your ego, what people usually perceive as the death of illusions about ourselves.
- Finally, Natem brings us back into our bodies with a new understanding of ourselves and the relationship we have with the reality around us.

This process may take several ceremonies as Ayahuasca / Natem is not a silver bullet but a tool that we can use to learn how we can balance our lives and be the best version of ourselves.
Inauguracion of Ayahuasca temple in Shuar Tribe
Thanks for reading :)
Enjoy your life.
Written by Boris
2021