It is necessary that you agree to disclose, in confidence, any known medical conditions and/or use of any medication, at the time of booking.
By coming to the Temple, you are declaring that you are in a physical and mental condition appropriate to the activities described in the workshop programs, and agree that you participate at your own risk and that we cannot accept liability for any accident or injury. You should seek professional medical advice on preparations, including vaccinations, which you need for the journey to Peru. We need to offer this advice and insist on these conditions in order to assure your personal safety and the overall welfare of the group.
Certain drugs and medications have been found to not be compatible with ayahuasca. It is essential to stop taking the following substances, and give your system sufficient time to remove them from the body, before you begin a workshop. Please consult your doctor if you are in any doubt: you certainly should not suddenly stop taking prescribed medications (including antidepressants) without consulting your doctor.
It is not safe to work with ayahuasca if you take the following medications or have any of the following health conditions:
- Any medication that contains Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s). These medications are known to cause dangerous side effects when taken in conjunction with ayahuasca. It is critical that you stop taking these drugs and allow plenty of time for your system to be cleared of these substances.
- Any medication which has an effect on the serotonin system, including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) (i.e. antidepressants such as Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, etc). Combining these medications with ayahuasca can induce serotonin syndrome – far more severely than with foods containing tryptophan, and with potentially fatal results. We advise you to stop taking SSRI medications six weeks prior to a workshop to allow the system to clear in time; some of these drugs may cause side effects when you stop taking them, and you should allow plenty of time for these to subside. You should not abruptly stop taking them without discussing the matter with your doctor. Please note that the herbal antidepressant St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) also must not be taken directly prior to working with ayahuasca, although the system can clear this in 2 weeks before commencing a workshop.
- Other medications you must suspend taking are decongestants, cold medications, allergy medications, antihistamines, sedatives, tranquillizers, amphetamines (including Adderall), some hypertensive medications, sympathomimetic amines including pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, carbamazipine, methylphemidate (Ritalin), macromerine, phenelanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, asarone/calamus, asthma inhalers and diet pills.
- Although ayahuasca has not been found to cause psychosis or other psychiatric disturbances, it can be dangerous to those with a history of psychological problems. Please tell us, in confidence, about any history of mental health problems.
- If you have a heart condition or chronic high blood pressure you cannot be accepted on a workshop.
- It is not safe to drink ayahuasca when you are pregnant.
Advice on drugs and medications to avoid when working with ayahuasca:
- This is a comprehensive information page of medical, botanical and nutrition interaction guidelines provided by Ayahuasca Forums.
- In general, from an Amazonian plant healers’ traditional perspective, when a patient or an apprentice is working with medicinal plants, especially ayahuasca and some other important medicinal plants like chirisanango, huayracaspi, Toé etc., it is preferable to not take any other substances or medicines, as it may cause cutipado, or in other words interfere with the plants energy and provoke unwanted reactions.
- It is important to suspend any kind of psycho-pharmacy and pharmaceutical depression treatments between 14 to 35 days before drinking ayahuasca. More specific advice is available subject to providing details of the particular medication in question.
- Before booking to attend a workshop, it is important that we have full disclosure of all medications/drugs and the length of time any guest/volunteer has been taking them.
- Guests/volunteers with hepatic conditions must first consult with the Temple and provide more information about the liver condition. People with tuberculosis must not take ayahuasca.
Family History of Severe Mental Illness
The right and appropriate use of ayahuasca in the tradition facilitated by the Temple of the Way of Light has been specifically utilized with significant results for the support and improvement of psychological trauma and its resultant symptomatology. At the same time, potential guests with a close / strong family history of bipolar mood disorder, schizophrenia and depersonalization should realize they themselves are at an increased risk for the expression of these symptoms and it is conceivable (although highly unlikely) that ayahuasca can unmask such symptoms in predisposed individuals. Consequently, people who meet this criteria should undertake this type of work with due consideration and at their own risk.
If you have history of psychosis in your family, we would firstly need to ascertain that you:
- Have no direct history of major issues of mania, psychosis or depersonalization.
- Have not previously taken any medication for these conditions.
- Are not currently taking any psychiatric medication.
Provided none of these three points are applicable, then you should be able to work with ayahuasca. However, please inform us if you have any history of severe mental illness in your family and we will then need to look into the possibility of attendance of a retreat on a case by case basis.
These drugs and medications are potentially dangerous with MAOIs:
- Other MAOIs
- SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
- Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
- Appetite suppressants (diet pills)
- Medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems; antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz. These include Bromarest-DM or -DX, Dimetane-DX cough syrup, Dristan Cold & Flu, Phenergan with Dextromethorphan, Robitussin-DM, Vicks formula 44-D several Tylenol cold, cough, and flu preparations, and many others — any drug with DM or Tuss in its name.)
- CNS (central nervous system) depressants
Illegal or recreational drugs that are very dangerous to combine with MAOIs:
- Amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine)
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
Illegal or recreational drugs that may be dangerous to combine with MAOIs:
- Mescaline (any phenethylamine)
Other psychoactives that should not be combined with MAOIs:
Due to a very limited number of of past guests who have not adhered to dietary restrictions before and / or after leaving a workshop, we need to emphasize that maintaining the diet is an absolutely essential factor in the healing process. The three most fundamental restrictions before and after a workshop are street drugs (cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, etc), sexual activity and pork. If a guest decides to not adhere to this critical advice after leaving the Temple, we cannot be held liable for the consequences (which can be severe psychological and energetic damage).
For the safety and well-being of all guests, if we suspect that street drugs have been taken or if it is clear that alcohol has been consumed immediately prior to arrival at the Temple, we reserve the right to refuse admission to a workshop.
Note about interaction with marijuana:
Smoking marijuana before the ayahuasca session may possibly stupefy and darken the overall experience acting as a blockage for the visionary plant to manifest in the fullest way. Given the general amplified sensitivity of all participants of ayahuasca session, marijuana can sometimes negatively affect not just the person who used it, but also potentially other participants’ experiences as well as the overall energy level of the medicine circle.
Some specific pharmaceutical drugs that should not be combined with MAOIs (some are mild risks, others serious):
- Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)
- Amantadine hydrochloride (Symmetrel)
- Amoxapine (Asendin)
- Benzphetamine (Didrex)
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Buspirone (BuSpar)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol
- Chlor Trimeton
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Cyclizine (Marezine)
- Desipramine (Pertofrane, Norpramin)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Dienolide kavapyrone desmethoxyyangonin
- Disopyramide (Norpace)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Dopamine (Intropin)
- Doxepin (Sinequan)
- Epinephrine (Adrenalin)
- Fenfluramine (Pondimin)
- Flavoxate Hydrochloride (Urispas)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Furazolidone (Furoxone)
- Guanadrel (Hylorel)
- Guanethidine (Ismelin)
- Hydralazine (Apresoline)
- 5 Hydroxytryptophan
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Iproniazid (Marsilid, Iprozid, Ipronid, Rivivol, Propilniazida)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Isoniazid (Laniazid, Nydrazid)
- Isoniazid rifampin (Rifamate, Rimactane)
- Isoproterenol (Isuprel)
- L dopa (Sinemet)
- Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa
- Linezolid (Zyvox, Zyvoxid)
- Lithium (Eskalith)
- Loratadine (Claritin)
- Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel)
- Metaraminol (Aramine)
- Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)
- Methyldopa (Aidomet)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
- Montelukast (Singulair)
- Norepinephrine (Levophed)
- Nortriptyline (Aventyl)
- Oxybutynin chloride (Ditropan)
- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
- Orphenadrine (Norflex)
- Pargyline (Eutonyl)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Pemoline (Cylert)
- Pethedine (Demerol)
- Phendimetrazine (Plegiline)
- Phenylephrine (Dimetane, Dristan decongestant, Neo Synephrine)
- Phenylpropanolamine (in many cold medicines)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Procarbazine (Matulane)
- Procainamide (Pronestyl)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
- Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
- Quinidine (Quinidex)
- Rasagiline (Azilect)
- Reserpine (Serpasil)
- Selegiline (Eldepryl)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
- Terfenadine (Seldane D)
- Theophylline (Theo Dur)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Elavil)
- Trimipramine (Surmontil)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Also avoid the following herbs:
- St. Johns Wort
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Scotch Broom
- Licorice Root
Additional Information and Contraindications
Using stimulants with MAOIs is particularly dangerous and can be potentially fatal. Using cocaine, amphetamines or MDMA (Ecstasy) with MAOIs may cause a severe increase in blood pressure, increasing the chances for stroke and cerebral hemorrhage and making it possible to overdose on a relatively small amount of cocaine. (A fatality has been recorded involving combining Peganum harmala and cocaine. Fatalities resulting from combining amphetamines with pharmaceutical MAOIs are recorded in the medical literature.)
Using other serotonin agonists or precursors with an MAOI can lead to serotonin syndrome. The main symptom of serotonin symptom may be a severe and long-lasting headache (the same symptom as MAOI tryptamine interaction) and/or fever (as high as 40 °C / 104 °F or more) Other symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include rapid heartbeat, shivering, sweating, dilated pupils, intermittent tremor or twitching, overactive or over-responsive reflexes, hyperactive bowel sounds, high blood pressure. Severe serotonin syndrome may lead to shock, agitated delirium, muscular rigidity and high muscular tension. renal failure, seizures, and can be life-threatening.
Using Tricyclic antidepressants within two weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects including sudden fever, extremely high blood pressure, convulsions, and death.
Using Fluoxetine (Prozac) within five weeks of taking MAOIs may cause high fever, rigidity, high blood pressure, mental changes, confusion and hypomania.
Using Benzedrine, Benzphetamine, Desipramine, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Dopamine, Ephedrine (contained in Marax, Quadrinal, and other asthma drugs), Epinephrine, Guanadrel, Guanethidine, Hydralazine, Isoproterenol, L-dopa, Metaraminol, Methyldopa, Mirtazamine, Norepinephrine Oxymetazoline, Phendimetrazine, Phentermine, Phenylephrine, Phenylpropanolamine, Pseudoephedrine, Ritalin, or Venlafaxine with MAOIs may cause a hypertensive crisis (severe spike in blood pressure).
Using Adderall with MAOIs can result in high body temperature, seizure, and in some cases coma.
Using Bupropion (Wellbutrin) within two weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects such as seizures.
Using Buspirone (Buspar) with MAOIs may cause high blood pressure and increased sedative effects.
Using Carbamazepine (Tegretol) with MAOIs may result in fever and may increase seizures, especially in epileptics.
Using Clomipramine with MAOIs may cause high fever (hyperpyrexic crisis) and seizures.
Using CNS depressants with MAOIs may increase the depressant effects.
Using Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane) with MAOIs may result in hypertensive crisis.
Using Dextromethorphan with MAOIs may cause excitement, high blood pressure, and fever, or brief episodes of psychosis.
Using Fenfluramine with MAOIs may result in fever (hyperpyrexic crisis).
Using Kava with MAOIs may result in hypotensive crisis (severe blood pressure drop).
Using Lithium with MAOIs may cause fever and serotonin syndrome.
Using Meperidine (Demerol) with pharmaceutical MAOIs has resulted in deaths from a single dose.
Using Metaproterenol or other beta-adrenergic bronchodilators with MAOIs may cause blood pressure elevation and rapid heartbeat.
Using Mirtazapine (Remeron) with MAOIs may result in hypertensive crisis.
Using Nefazodone (Serzone) may result in high fever.
Using Temaril with MAOIs may increase chance of side effects.
Using Terfenadine with MAOIs may cause an increase in MAOI blood levels.
Using Theophylline with MAOIs may cause rapid heartbeat and anxiety.
Using Trazodone (Desyrel) with MAOIs may result in high fever.
Using Tryptophan or L-tryptophan with MAOIs may cause disorientation, confusion, amnesia, delirium agitation, memory impairment, hypomanic signs, shivering.
Using Venlafaxine (Effexor) with MAOIs may result in hypertensive crisis.
Using Ziprasidone (Geodon) with MAOIs may cause serotonin syndrome.
Using alcohol with MAOIs may cause side effects like angina (chest pain) or headaches. The headache may mask or be mistaken for hypertensive crisis caused by MAOI interaction. MAOIs can also increase the sedative effect of alcohol.
Using opiates with MAOIs carries a risk of respiratory depression.
Using diuretics with MAOIs may cause a greater drop in blood pressure than normal and increase in MAOI blood levels.
Using anesthetics with MAOIs may potentiate the anesthetic effect.
Using sleeping pills, tranquillizers (major or minor), or barbiturates with MAOIs may increase the sedative effect.