ayahuasca

noun

aya·​hua·​sca ˌī-yə-ˈ(h)wä-skə How to pronounce ayahuasca (audio)
: 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 During his regular appearance on The Pat McAfee Show Tuesday, the New York Jets quarterback showed his appreciation for ayahuasca, but did not go so far as to endorse it to the greater public. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 2 Jan. 2024 The Chilean artist suggests that immersing oneself in whale songs has the potential to evoke transformative experiences, akin to those encountered through the consumption of plant medicines like psilocybin mushrooms or ayahuasca. Isabela Raygoza, Billboard, 27 Dec. 2023 At one point, Rodgers even seemed to credit ayahuasca with his on-field improvement between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times, 22 June 2023 The quarterback said that doing an ayahuasca ceremony — held in a maloca — with teammates had strengthened their bonds with one another. Victoria Hernandez, USA TODAY, 22 June 2023 Today, Heroic Hearts is part of a coalition of groups and advocates pushing for the regulated legalization of various naturally occurring hallucinogens including ayahuasca, psilocybin and mescaline — as well as other psychoactive drugs with promising therapeutic potential such as ketamine and MDMA. Connor Sheets, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2023 Does ayahuasca work? Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2022 In addition, international demand is driving people to unsustainably harvest iboga, the plants used to make ayahuasca, and the hallucinogenic cactus peyote. Bykeridwen Cornelius, science.org, 23 Feb. 2023 And then a couple of sort of heavier hitters are now being tested in primarily healthy control populations, including drugs like mescaline and ayahuasca. The Conversation, Fortune, 10 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ayahuasca.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

American Spanish

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ayahuasca was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near ayahuasca

Cite this Entry

“Ayahuasca.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ayahuasca. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

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
: 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

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