The ayahuasca liana, also known as Banisteriopsiscaapi, and by the natives as jagube, caapi, or yagé, is a powerful master and ally plant that can help open the intuitive capacities, improve neurological health and serve as a support to better navigate the challenges of life.
Ayahuasca is commonly known as “the vine of the soul,” the “umbilical cord,” and “the mother.” All these names are indications of the high regard it has in traditional societies.
Although many people are familiar with the psychedelic concoction of ayahuasca, the liana itself (also called ayahuasca) is not as well known. But did you know that many shamans consider the vine to contain the “spirit” of medicine? Microdosing the ayahuasca vine is an incredible way to commune with the spirit of this amazing master plant on a daily basis. Used for prayer, meditation, deep reflection, and as a general tonic for mood and energy.
Microdosing the vine by itself can be an ideal way to receive the benefits of ayahuasca, without participating in a ten or twelve-hour ceremony. While microdosing the ayahuasca vine alone cannot teleport you into the infinitely colorful realms of DMT, it can help repair brain cells, relieve depression and anxiety, and be a gentle medicine for the heart and the soul.
Whether you’ve already traveled deep with the mixture in a ceremonial setting, or are using it for the first time, microdosing ayahuasca has a number of potential physical and spiritual benefits to explore.
Banisteriopsiscaapi is a plant that is traditionally used throughout the Amazon region, alone or in combination with mixtures such as Psychotriaviridis to form the psychedelic concoction of ayahuasca. B. caapi is not the component that contains DMT, although most shamans consider the liana to contain the essence of ayahuasca, and ayahuasca takes its name from the liana. Let’s explore some of the benefits and uses, as well as the precautions to take when microdosing B. caapi.
Is the liana psychoactive?
Yes and no. There are three main alkaloids in the ayahuasca vine, known as the “harmala alkaloids”: they are harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydro harmine. Before these alkaloids were named, ayahuasca gained popularity in traditional communities for helping the user develop telepathic powers, and harmine was originally called “telepathine.” Although this has not been scientifically verified, these powerful alkaloids were recognized early on as having unique effects!
The experience of intuitive, psychic and telepathic abilities increase with caapimicrodoses, but very gradually. Sitting in an ayahuasca ceremony with all the hallucinogenic power of the concoction can feel a bit like going from being in a very dark room to suddenly being in a room with all the lights on at high voltage and intensity. Microdosing with the plant is more like having a regulating switch. The increases in your higher faculties are more subtle, more gradual, and less shocking to your system.
Returning to the alkaloids in harmala, these alkaloids are “reversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors,” meaning that they inhibit the enzymes that normally break down DMT. When you combine an MAOI like B. caapi with a DMT-containing plant like chacruna, the DMT is allowed to remain intact and can access the central nervous system. This is what creates the complete visionary experience that is commonly associated with ayahuasca.
Although monoamine oxidase inhibitors alone are not considered visionary, the alkaloids in harmala are known to be psychoactive in certain doses; just not as intensely as when combined with DMT. For example, the tetrahydroharmine from B. caapi is also a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and has some mild psychoactive effects. In general, the psychotropic aspects of the vine are much lighter, more etheric, and less intense than a real DMT trip.
That said, if you have traveled with ayahuasca in a deep way and have developed a connection with it, you can have a more vivid experience. If the vine does indeed contain the “spirit” of medicine, then even taking it alone in small doses can help you tune into the messages and insights that come from the plant, perhaps even in the form of visions.
After all, the brain has been shown to potentially produce DMT endogenously, so microdosing with the liana may help increase the vividness and clarity of dreams, or even produce light visions in meditation. We don’t know enough about the alkaloids present in liana to be sure. Personally, I have experienced both as a result of microdosing with B. caapi, but each experience will be different.If your question is whether you are going to “travel” with a microdose of ayahuasca, the answer is no.
Ayahuasca microdosing for depression
If you are microdosing for depression, the ayahuasca vine can be a great avenue to explore. Many people have reported that sitting ceremonially with ayahuasca helped ease their depression. Stories are heard that ayahuasca heals their relationships, or of people having profound clarity about the purpose and direction of life. Although the visions and perceptions of the shamanic journey may have a lot to do with it, the alkaloids in B. caapi could be primarily responsible for this antidepressant and spiritually uplifting effects.
An in vitro study has shown that B. caapi is capable of stimulating neurogenesis (1). Neurogenesis refers to the growth and development of neurons. At the cellular level, the action of antidepressant drugs has been related to their ability to stimulate adult neurogenesis.
We also know that the monoamine oxidase inhibitors present in B. caapi allow the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine to stay in the brain for longer, which can lead to feelings of well-being, calm, and even euphoria.
Precautions and side effects
Microdosing B. caapi probably does not require you to maintain a strict ayahuasca diet, as the levels are so low that there is minimal risk of the hypertensive crisis that the diet is intended to prevent. But if you want to follow the dietary guidelines that are usually recommended for an ayahuasca diet, this could help you get into the spirit of it.
If you want to follow a traditional diet, you should avoid aged cheeses, aged meats, soy sauce, fermented foods (such as tofu), pickled vegetables, spicy foods, alcohol in general (especially red wine) , aspartame and large amounts of dark chocolate.
Keep in mind that there are no well-designed clinical studies on the safety of Banisteriopsiscaapi, so less is always more when experimenting with this plant extract. Make sure to consult a doctor about any potential side effects based on your health conditions or drug interactions. Do not mix it with any other drugs, especially recreational drugs, or with tramadol and lithium.
Current studies have shown that the use of high doses of B. caapi can lead to adverse effects, including moderate or severe nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, agitation, confusion / hallucinations, and involuntary movements (2). These effects show up at higher dosages and you really shouldn’t worry about this microdosing, but it’s important to be aware and cautious anyway. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking it or significantly reduce your dose to see if there is any improvement.
Microdosingayahuasca as a spiritual practice
If you have ever worked with ayahuasca, you will know that the insights and awareness of the plant can be powerful and life changing. One night of ayahuasca ceremony can feel like ten years of psychotherapy. For some people, that kind of download can be difficult to integrate. Microdosing allows you to work with the liana at a more subtle level, and integrate the spiritual lessons and teachings of the plant more gradually.
These medicines have been used in Amazonian shamanic traditions for hundreds of years, and it is important to approach them with a high level of respect. Make sure you get B. caapi from a well-respected source, who is taking the plant with the permission of the land, and from any native people who may make use of the plant in their local area.
Although the effects of microdosing B. caapi are extremely subtle compared to a full dose of ayahuasca, the messages can still be profound and powerful. Creating a sacred ritual around the intake of the drops can help maintain that connection with the spirit of the liana. B. caapi is not a party drug, nor is it something for fun, but should be used to aid your physical, mental and spiritual growth and evolution. When you use it in this way, the benefits will be exponential.
Where to get ayahuasca microdose
Ayahuasca liana extracts specially prepared for microdosing are available to buy online. EntheoNation only recommends ayahuasca extracts that have been sustainably sourced.
How much is a microdose?
A typical starting microdose of ayahuasca will be less than 0.1 grams of dry plant matter. With microdosing, it is always best to start with as small a dose as possible, and gradually work your way up from there. If you are nervous about microdosing yourself, you can buy extracts online.
For example, Sage Extracts recommends taking 1 to 3 drops of their B. caapi extract up to three times a day under the tongue. Personally, I would recommend starting with one drop a day and working your way up until it works for you. Each person will have a different degree of sensitivity.
The beauty of microdosing is that you can take it at your own pace. You can increase or decrease the dosage to suit your needs. Microdosing for two weeks and another two weeks off is a good way to see if you have any noticeable effects. Go slow, go deep and enjoy the trip with microdoses of ayahuasca.