ayahuasca

noun
aya·​hua·​sca | \ ˌī-yə-ˈ(h)wä-skə How to pronounce ayahuasca (audio) \

Definition of ayahuasca

: a psychoactive beverage containing dimethyltryptamine that is prepared especially from the bark of a woody vine (Banisteriopsis caapi of the family Malpighiaceae) and the leaves of a shrubby plant (Psychotria viridis of the family Rubiaceae) of South America

Note: Ayahuasca produces hallucinations and euphoria and is used chiefly for religious, ritualistic, and medicinal purposes. Alkaloids present in ayahuasca inhibit the breakdown of dimethyltryptamine in the liver and gastrointestinal tract by monoamine oxidase.

Ayahuasca has been traditionally used by indigenous groups and mestizo populations for getting in contact with the sacred or supernatural world, for political and artistic purposes, and also for healing.
— Rafael Guimarães dos Santos et al. In Europe and North America, those who want to use ayahuasca for religious purposes have pitted the issue of religious freedom against the fear that the potion might be diverted to recreational drug users.— Joanne Laucius

called also hoasca, yage

Examples of ayahuasca in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While many might connect the surreality of the collection with the revelation that Jean-Raymond came up with it while doing ayahuasca, that would be missing the point. Irina Grechko, refinery29.com, 12 July 2021 The team looked at the use of ayahuasca by 63 mostly white participants who attended a traditional Shipibo retreat, and its effects on their mental health. Amanda Siebert, Forbes, 28 June 2021 The Church will, among other things, file FOIA requests to figure out what happened to the seized ayahuasca and establish a legal process to return the sacraments to the churches. Madison Margolin, Rolling Stone, 23 Apr. 2021 Like willow bark and countless other ancient compounds, people have known for millennia that ayahuasca is doing something that adds value to their lives. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 10 Nov. 2020 But the plant can also be classified as an entheogen, or a psychoactive substance that’s used for spiritual purposes, in the same category as ayahuasca and peyote. Megan Gannon, National Geographic, 23 Nov. 2020 In a new study, researchers found the traditional psychoactive drug ayahuasca stimulates the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampi of research mice. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 10 Nov. 2020 Drinking ayahuasca can be dangerous, especially while taking antidepressants and hypertension drugs. Ernesto Londoño And Adam Ferguson New York Times, Star Tribune, 10 Sep. 2020 The ancient South American hallucinogen ayahuasca has become America’s psychedelic drug du jour, with everyone from Baby Boomers and Millennials to the Silicon Valley set seeking its potent revelations about harmony and interspecies unity. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, 29 Apr. 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ayahuasca.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ayahuasca

1870, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ayahuasca

American Spanish

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About ayahuasca

Time Traveler for ayahuasca

Time Traveler

The first known use of ayahuasca was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near ayahuasca

ayacahuite

Ayacucho

ayah

ayahuasca

ayapana

ayatollah

Aydın

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ayahuasca

Last Updated

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ayahuasca.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ayahuasca. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ayahuasca

ayahuasca

noun
aya·​hua·​sca | \ ˌī-ə-ˈ(h)wä-skə How to pronounce ayahuasca (audio) \
variants: also ayahuasco \ ˌī-​ə-​ˈ(h)wä-​(ˌ)skō, -​skə \

Medical Definition of ayahuasca

: a psychoactive beverage containing dimethyltryptamine that is prepared especially from the bark of a woody vine (Banisteriopsis caapi of the family Malpighiaceae) and the leaves of a shrubby plant (Psychotria viridis of the family Rubiaceae) of South America

Note: Ayahuasca produces hallucinations and euphoria and is used chiefly for religious, ritualistic, and medicinal purposes. Alkaloids present in ayahuasca inhibit the breakdown of dimethyltryptamine in the liver and gastrointestinal tract by monoamine oxidase.

Ayahuasca has been traditionally used by indigenous groups and mestizo populations for getting in contact with the sacred or supernatural world, for political and artistic purposes, and also for healing.
— Rafael Guimaraes dos Santos et al., Archives of Clinical Psychiatry Their fascination with ayahuasca stems from a little-known mind-altering compound called dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a substance the sacred tea contains by the bucketload.— Lisa Melton, New Scientist also : the woody vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) from which ayahuasca is prepared

called also caapi, yage

More from Merriam-Webster on ayahuasca

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ayahuasca

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!