The Ayahuasca tea (or Ayahuasca brew) is commonly made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub, but many different medicinal plants may be added to the mix, depending on the indigenous tribe, lineage, or background and intention of the Shaman.
Mind also that individual cooks use different plant strains (types) and dosages of the Ayahuasca vine and/or different dosages of the leaves, which makes for variations in potency and psychoactive effects of the tea. Moreover, some brews only contain the Banisteriopsis caapi vine (the actual Ayahuasca vine).
The process of preparing the liana and brewing Ayahuasca takes many hours (the boiling process alone already takes about six to ten hours) and can span two days. The exact preparation and recipe of the tea varies in its details, depending on the tribe, Shaman, or cook, but goes more or less as follows:
- The Banisteriopsis caapi liana is cut into small pieces, washed, and then smashed with a wooden mallet or hammer to separate the bark from the branch and create even smaller strands for optimal active surface area.
- Subsequently, the vine (liana) segments are placed at the bottom of a big cooking pot.
- This then is covered with Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana leaves, and then again covered with the bark of the vine, to finally once more layer it with Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana leaves.
- Then water is added, and the brew is boiled (simmered) on a low fire for about six hours or more while stirring it occasionally until the content is reduced to a thick slush.
- After that, the brew/liquid is strained, and further filtered through a cloth and saved.
- Then water is again added to the remaining slush and once again cooked (simmered) to extract more active material, until the preferred consistency is achieved, a process that may take another three hours.
- Again the brew is strained, and further filtered through a cloth and saved. This process may be repeated.
- Once all reductions and filtering are done, only the saved liquids are combined and again simmered to reduce it even further. This is the final step, determining greatly the strength of each dose.
- The end result is usually a very bitter, dense, and dark brew.
When ready, the brew is taken off the fire to cool down. The tea is then filtered again with a fine cloth to remove any remaining plant material, and saved in bottles for use in the Ayahuasca ceremony.