Is there ayahuasca in Colombia? Is it legit? What even is Yage – Ayahuasca? Is Ayahuasca in Colombia traditional and safe? I will reply to all these questions in this post.
When I first came to Colombia I was already curious about Ayahuasca, but like many I simply assumed that it is a tradition reserved to Peru. And even when I first heard about Yage I assumed it was something totally different. I could not be more wrong.
Not only is Ayahuasca as much Colombian as it is Peruvian, but it is often times better and stronger than its Peruvian cousin. Thanks to Colombia being largely overlooked by Psychedelic tourism, many more of the older and wiser ayahuasca vines were preserved.
But what is the difference between Ayahuasca and yage?
Ayahuasca or Yage is a brew made of 2 plants – Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and a DMT shrub. The vine is the same in both Ayahuasca and Yage (even there are many different subtypes – kinda like in coffee robusta, arabica…), but the DMT shrub used is different.
In Peruvian Ayahuasca they use Chacruna (Psychotria viridis) and in Yage they use Chagro or chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana) Ayahuasca vine serves as monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI—which makes the DMT orally active). And chagro or chacruna serve as the source of DMT. But in the end the difference in effects is negligible. So think of it as the same thing with different names. Kind of like you can have a similar hamburger but one will be called a Whopper and another Big Mac. For example we work predominantly with Taitas (shamans) from the Inga tribe and for them it is called Ambiwaska. In Colombia and Ecuador it is mostly known as Yage and in Peru and Brazil – Ayahuasca.
Is Colombian ayahuasca traditional?
Ayahuasca or Yage tradition is originated in North West Amazon, this is where Ayahuasca plants are found in the wild. There are 5 tribes in Colombia that are traditionally Yageceros (Ayahuascqueros). They have been guarding this tradition for hundreds if not thousands of years. Some day Ayahuasca tradition is 4000 years old. So in short Ayahuasca in Colombia is not only as traditional as in Peru, but might be stronger and more authentic, thanks to being largely overlooked by psychedelic tourism.
Is Ayahuasca in Colombia legal?
Yes, as long as you have a Taita (shaman) who is indigenous and has a permit from his tribe to give the medicine Ayahuasca is completely legal to consume.