'Ayahuasca' refers to the combined preparation
of the 'Cielo ayahuasca' vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), leaves
of the 'Chacruna' shrub (Psychotria viridis) and several other
plants that can differ per region and shaman. The vine is harvested
after its diameter has reached a certain minimum size, which usually
occurs after three years. Apart from Chacruna, the recipe followed by
Shuña in Peru generally includes the older, dark-green leaves
of shrubs and herbs such as Canelilla, Mucura, Sacharuna, Chiricsanango,
Ajosacha and Toe. Dried leaves of Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) are
added as well. Still other plants, like epiphytes, can be chosen by
a shaman as admixtures depending on who will be taking the extraction.
On many occasions, the healer and the individual
that has come to be healed both take ayahuasca in each other's company.
Individuals in process to become healers themselves may experience and
learn with ayahuasca during periods of dieting (see also the page 'plantas
maestras'). The interaction of the extraction of these plants with
the human body has been defined and described from different points
of view. For information covering some of these, the reader is referred
to the sites listed on the 'links' page of this
All plants that are part of the general ayahuasca
mixture as prepared by Shuña, except for Tobacco, have been documented.
By clicking on the images surrounding this
text, the reader will find the plant's local name and its harvested