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Updated by Vivienne Tang on Nov 07, 2020
Headline for 5 Plant Medicines You Need to Know Now
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5 Plant Medicines You Need to Know Now

Entheogen plant medicine has been used for spiritual development for thousands of years in indigenous ceremonies around the globe.

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Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca comes from more than a single source. Numerous plants are combined and may vary depending on the desired outcome. Primarily, it is a stew consisting of leaves from the Psychotria viridis shrub and strips of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, which both contain psychedelic properties and are native to the Amazon basin. Historically, it has been used by indigenous tribes in sacred ceremonies and rituals for community building purposes, rites of passage and as a way to communicate with the spirit world.

Ayahuasca is a very potent hallucinogen. It can create strong psychological and emotional reactions, both positive and negative, as well as some physical reactions such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. "The Purge" is considered to be part of the experience. Many people who have taken ayahuasca say it is a life-changing experience and studies are being made into how it can benefit sufferers of depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction.

Photo: Destination Deluxe

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Mescaline

Mescaline

Mescaline or 3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenethylamine is the psychedelic element that occurs naturally in a certain family of cacti that are native to America. These include the peyote, San Pedro and Peruvian torch varieties, which have been used by indigenous people in native American ceremonies to treat a variety of ailments. Mescaline is mostly encountered in the form of a powder, which is loose, in a capsule form or in a liquid solution. It is best taken on an empty stomach to reduce the possibility of vomiting and nausea.

Mescaline is a strong hallucinogen and often reported to produce empathic feelings making it a possible useful tool for self-exploration. The hallucinogenic effects mostly include seeing geometric shapes, patterns and colours (synesthesia).

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Psilocybin

Psilocybin

Psilocybin is the psychedelic compound that occurs naturally in over 200 species of fungi. Psilocybin mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years by native African, Mayan and Aztec communities to create trance-like states that are conducive to divination and producing visions.

The effects of psilocybin can produce long-term benefits for people with depression by helping to restructure thought processes in a similar way to cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Cannabis

Cannabis

Also known as marijuana, cannabis is the most used plant drug for recreational, medicinal and spiritual purposes, normally consumed by smoking, vaping or ingesting. The plant has 500 chemical substances. Its two main active ingredients are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive component, and cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce a “high” effect and has been used to treat epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.

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Ibogaine

Ibogaine

Ibogaine is a psychedelic alkaloid extracted from the root bark of the African plant, Tabernanthe iboga. Ibogaine is used to assist in psychotherapy to treat substance addiction, and is ingested by chewing the roots or brewing the root bark into a tea and drinking it. In traditional west African communities, Ibogaine is used as a healing medicine and in rites of passage ceremonies. In small amounts, it is also taken as a stimulant during hunting to help maintain alertness.

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Retreats where they are legal

Retreats where they are legal

People are becoming more interested in entheogen plant medicines and the way they can induce new modes of thought and ways of seeing the world. A new wave of retreat centers provide guidance and support for entheogen experiences in countries where they are legal. Behold Retreats offers personalized plant-based medicine services in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Though this treatment is not for everyone, it can be life-changing for those who are willing to do the work. Some people use plant medicines to achieve mindfulness or find a new perspective through psychedelic experiences. Others seek entheogen plant medicine to treat addiction, anxiety and depression. More information about Behold Retreats and the science behind entheogens is available here.

  • Vivienne Tang is the founder of wellness and travel publication Destination Deluxe, which handpicks the best resorts, retreats, spas and beauty brands for the global nomad. She has made a name for ...

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