What is Ayahuasca?

The term “ayahuasca” (also sometimes called yagé ) denotes a tea-like brew used by shamans in the jungles of Amazon-basin countries such as Peru and Ecuador to enter into altered mental states. Historically this has been done for a variety of reasons: to diagnose patients with medical disorders, locate lost items, find the best hunting or fishing grounds, or resolve personal disputes.

In recent decades ayahuasca has been sought out by spiritual seekers for its visionary properties as well as for healing. Traditionally, village shamans would drink ayahuasca brew and then diagnose the “sober” patient, with the plant spirit directing the shaman to the correct plants and course of treatment for healing. Many visitors to ayahuasca retreats today seek this kind of healing, and may stay for weeks or months to be cured of afflictions that range from chronic depression, drug addiction or alcoholism to physical illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis and even cancer. Clinical researchers are investigating claims, some of which remain anecdotal, but there’s compelling evidence that shamanic healing works and is especially effective for emotional and psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is Kambo?

Kambo is a traditional Amazonian medicine derived from frogs, and is markedly different from hallucinogens such as ayahuasca and San Pedro. It’s main use is for the treatment of chronic pain.

Kambo is a secretion from the bright green giant monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicoloralso known as the giant leaf frog) that lives in the north-west area of the Amazon rain forest. Indigenous tribes have used it as a prophylactic against malaria, and also to boost strength and stamina. The frogs aren’t injured from the collection of their secretions, which are obtained via scraping onto wooden “Kambo sticks”.

Kambo has been studied for its pharmacological potential and found to contain several peptides that trigger extreme reactions in human beings. These include the potent opioids Dermorphin and Deltorphin —each many times stronger than morphine.

What is San Pedro (Huachuma)?

San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi) is Spanish for “St. Peter’s cactus.”Just as St. Peter guards the gates to heaven, the San Pedro medicine was named for its ability to give people a preview of heaven while still on earth.

Partly because of the cactus’s hardiness and ability to endure colder temperatures, San Pedro is a traditional Andean medicine dating back at least two thousand years to the Moche culture.

Traditional extraction of the psychotropic alkaloids involves slicing the cactus and simmering in water for five to seven hours.

The San Pedro cactus contains a variety of alkaloids, including the well-known chemical mescaline. Not surprisingly, therefore, psychedelic journeys are similar to those reported from peyote (Lophophora williamsii) and Peruvian torch (Echinopsis peruviana). San Pedro’s effects are generally reported as more gentle than, say, ayahuasca, which may derive from its chemical properties being similar to the catecholamine dopamine. Some drinkers report time spent with this medicine as like being held in the loving embrace of an ethereal goddess. As always there’s a price to be paid for entry into the divine realms: drinkers say the taste of the cactus juice is at least as repulsive as that of ayahuasca.

What is Nunu?

The medicine of Nunu is something we are also offering at our centre in the very beginning of your Amazon retreat.  Nunu is also known as the “Dust of The Elders”.  This medicine is native to the Matses tribe and has been used by their people for thousands of years.  We are now lucky and fortunate to have access to it as well.  Nunu is composed of tobacco, as its primary ingredient, macambo nut, cacao, as well as barks and leaves of numerous medicinal trees from the Amazon jungle.  The Matses shaman we are working with at our centre, collects all the ingredients himself and makes them into a very fine powder.

The physical benefits of using Nunu are the following:

It cleanses and unclogs the nasal breathing airways.  Even if you feel as though you are breathing just fine, wait until you do Nunu and notice how much better you start sensing the smells of the jungle around you, as well as breathing in more fully overall. It clears and heals sinuses, which is a concern a lot of people nowadays are dealing with.  Nunu also heals the inside of the nose, which could have been damaged by substances such as cocaine for example.  It has medicinal and healing properties to actually facilitate the growth of necessary tissues back.  It also helps to clean bacteria and fungus from the nasal pathways.  On some occasions, Nunu can trigger the bowel movement, cleaning the system through that way as well.