Ayahuasca is a herbal tea which causes a hallucinating trip. An ayahuasca trip is known to help people heal from their trauma's. However this is not without any risks, the consumption and selling of the tea is illegal in The Netherlands. In this documentary we are researching if the effects of Ayahuasca can improve your mental health. We will also follow someone with trauma who is going to attend an Ayahuasca ceremony to see what effects this has on her mental health.
We are living in a world where we are constantly looking for who we truly are. Nowadays, it is really easy to lose yourself in being busy, being overworked and the pressure to succeed in society. More and more people see their mental health being worsened and struggle with burn-outs, anxiety or depression.
We, the makers, are also actively searching for ways to better our mental health. Throughout the years we have had experience with psychologists, medication, yoga and meditation. Now we are wondering if - and how - Ayahuasca could help and benefit us.
In our own community, we notice that regular healthcare doesn't always extend the right help to people who struggle with their mental health. Are there any alternatives that could help us more effectively? Is Ayahuasca really dangerous, or should we trust the wisdom of the Amazon shamans and the healing powers of nature? Could we ever legalize Ayahuasca in The Netherlands if research shows that we could use it safely for therapy purposes?
In our documentary we go on a search for these anwsers. We will have conversations with ceremonial masters, experts and scientists. With their knowledge we want to dig into the core of what Ayahuasca exactly is and what it can offer to us.
When people think of Ayahuasca, they often think about 'the tea that makes you vomit'. Ayahuasca causes hallucinating trips, due to the substance DMT that one of the plants contains. DMT has been added to the 'Opiumwet', which makes the drink a hard drug. That means serving and consuming the drink is illegal in The Netherlands. However, a lot of healers still host ceremonies, where they serve the illegal and hallucinating drink.
Indigenous Amazon shamans have worked with Ayahuasca for over centuries. They believe that people not only have a pyschical, but also an emotional body. In the emotional body, people have stored all of the pain they have collected in their entire life. Ayahuasca is supposed to heal the trauma's burried deep down in these parts of ourselves.
The Amazon shamans combined these two plants, but how did they know - amidst thousands of plants - which exact two plants to combine to create Ayahuasca? They believe the plants told it them theirselves. They believe every plant has a spirit or soul. For them, this plant is sacred.
The tea itself takes around four days to make. The making of the tea itself is sacred as well. During the ceremonies with the plant, the hallucinating effects give us insights to our energies and our connection to the 'self'. This could help people heal their trauma's and find a way to deal with pain from the past. Meanwhile, Ayahuasca is now also being served in Western countries, and Western people have become ceremonial masters as well.
Kim van Oorouw, Neuropsychologist and professor at Maastricht University
In our documentary we speak to Kim van Oorsouw. Oorsouw has been working as a professor at the University of Maastricht for years. Here she teaches forensic psychology, clinical psychological science, psychology and neuroscience, among others.
Oorouw has started a study at the University in which she and students will look for the answers to the question whether ayahuasca helps against stress and depression. Some of these results are astounding. For example, Oorsouw told us about a case of someone who had been depressed for eight years and recovered from his depression after a single ayahuasca trip.
In our documentary, this assertion is substantiated by Oorsouw. We speak to her in her office at Maastricht University, where she explains how the effect of DMT affects our brains. Oorsouw is the scientific thread in our film, something that we as makers find very important. Without her knowledge, our own research in the documentary has no support.We wanted to work with professionals, especially on the subject of ayahuasca. We are therefore very happy that Oorsouw wanted to share the results of her research in our film.
Why do we need your help?
To produce this documentary, we could really use your help. We are incredible thankful to be welcomed into the Ayahuasca community and want to capture their stories with the justice and beauty they deserve. We want to approach this documentary and the people that we encounter with a lot of vulnerability and honesty of our own. In this journey we won't shy away from critical questions, to others and ourselves. To maintain this level of objectivity, we need tools to support this approach. We want to hire an editor and an animator to really capture what Ayahuasca is. And we could also use the help of audio/video techinicians to help us fine-tune the movie.
Are you intrigued by our documentary and are you curious about where our journey will take us? Support us by sharing a donation. As a thank you, we have some awesome rewards we want to give you. Go check them out.
Dit project wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door de Provincie Limburg.