Oct 03, 2023

Having explored the power and allure of plant medicines in our previous blog (Click here if you have not read it yet), it is essential to also shed light on the other side of the coin. It is important to address the potential health risks and contraindications associated with the use of the ayahuasca vine specifically. But also using psychedelics in general. We will discuss who may not be suitable to use these plant medicines, such as individuals with certain medical conditions or mental disorders. Furthermore, we will examine potential risks such as interactions with medications, psychological complications, and physical reactions.

But first, what does contraindication mean?

A contraindication refers to a specific condition or circumstance in which the use is advised against. It implies that there will be adverse effects or interfere with health conditions, current medications, or overall well-being. Contraindications are important to consider as they help ensure the safe and effective use of plant medicine. By understanding contraindications, you will be able to make informed choices about joining a plant medicine ceremony and how to prepare yourself best. 

Several medical, physical, and psychiatric conditions can be a contraindication to participating in a ceremony. Or you can only participate under certain conditions. Such circumstances should always be reported. The Ayahuasca Vine is a MAO inhibitor and has some hard contraindications. MAOIs should be used with caution as they can alter the effect of foods and other substances (supplements, medicines, drugs), which are normally “harmless”. As a result, headaches, nausea, and an increase in blood pressure can occur in the least, but the consequences can also be more serious and even fatal. Clean eating and following a specific diet are therefore essential in your ceremony preparation.

If one of the contraindications below applies to you, it’s best to contact your doctor, the organization, and/or facilitator for consultation.


In our Western culture pregnancy and breast-feeding are seen as contraindications for the use of psychedelic plant medicines.

And if you wish to become pregnant, it is useful to let the people holding the ceremony know. Some organizations use substances that you should not consume if you want to become pregnant.


To ensure safety and effectiveness, it is vital to be aware of certain physical illnesses that can pose a risk when engaging with psychedelic plant medicines. Kidney diseases, for instance, may experience difficulties processing and eliminating the active compounds of plant medicines. This could potentially lead to adverse effects and further strain the kidneys. Other diseases like diabetes, epilepsy, cardiovascular (heart) problems, and high blood pressure are also contraindications with high risks.


In certain serious unstable mental disorders, the use of psychedelics is not recommended. If you have a diagnosis such as schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder, or borderline, then please contact the facilitator to discuss your situation.


Alcohol, designer, and prescription drugs are dangerous contraindications that should be eliminated at least several weeks prior to the retreat you attending. Always contact your attending physician, dentist, or pharmacy when taking medication. Ask whether the medication you are taking can be combined with an MAO inhibitor. And ask about how long before the ceremony you may need to stop taking your medicines.

Besides eliminating alcohol and drugs from your diet, its best to also follow a diet that avoids yeast and tyramines. Which translates to not eating soy products and aged- and blue cheeses.

Understanding these contraindications and considering your individual health circumstances are crucial before embarking on any psychedelic plant medicine journey. As mentioned earlier: consult a doctor and the organization and/or facilitator for advice.

The Vine of the Soul has a cleansing and healing effect on a physical, psychological-emotional, and spiritual level. But for working with plant medicines in general means; that the 'cleaner' your body and mind are at the time of the ceremony, the greater the chance that the medicine will work on the level of your intention instead of first cleansing on a physical or mental level.

So, here’s a short resume for the prepping steps you need to take when you are going to attend a plant medicine retreat:

  • Do some research about the plant medicine retreat you want to attend and with which plant medicine they work.
  • How is your health situation? Consult a doctor and plan an informative talk with one of the facilitators of the retreat.
  • Make sure you follow a diet for that valuable and life-changing experience you long for.


In this blog, we have provided an overview of the powerful and potentially healing experiences that ayahuasca can offer. However, we’ve also emphasized that there are risks and contraindications that people need to be aware of before engaging in ayahuasca ceremonies. It is of utmost importance to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and take responsibility for personal safety when exploring this journey of consciousness exploration.

Remember, responsible and informed use of psychedelic plant medicines is essential for ensuring your well-being and maximizing potential benefits. Prioritizing your health and safety should always be the foundation of any holistic healing journey.


Are You Ready for a Psychedelic
Plant Medicine Journey?

What does it mean to be fully ready on mental, spiritual, and physical levels? and how are you exactly standing on this journey? Find out by taking this short quiz.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.