Safety Guidelines

All medications taken within the past year must be disclosed in confidence to Soul Quest Church of Mother Earth prior to completing the registration process.
Failure to do so will put you and your health at risk.
**In general, one should not be taking any other substances or medications, including herbal medicines, when taking Ayahuasca
or other medicinal plants, both for your safety and in the interests of not interfering with the efficacy of the plants or their energies.
Remember to consult your doctor when ceasing any prescription medication, and to specifically tell your doctor you will be taking a reversible MAOI.**

Following is some guidance about our policy on the use of medications with Ayahuasca:

All prescription medications, certain supplements, and illegal drugs should be ceased at least 2-8 weeks prior to drinking Ayahuasca
depending on the specific type of medication or supplement (see details below).
Synthetic hormones taken for hypothyroidism are an exception. You may continue to take your hypothyroid medication during your
course of Ayahuasca,  but are still required to inform Soul Quest that you are taking it. Many over the counter medications, such as antihistamines,
 require only 48 hours of non-use prior to Ayahuasca, although we still recommend ceasing them 2 weeks in advance.
Specific medications, such as MAOIs and SSRIs, pose substantial health complications in conjunction with Ayahuasca
and therefore require a longer cessation period. Please consult the comprehensive list below for detailed descriptions of specific medications
and the recommended period of cessation. Some medications have moderate to serious withdrawal effects, so added time
might be necessary to safely ween yourself off your medication(s).
You should consult your doctor to inform them that you will be taking a reversible MAOI.

Below is more specific guidance on these medications to be avoided with Ayahuasca.

(Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Cease using 4 to 6 weeks prior.)
Ayahuasca is a very potent, natural MAOI, and should not be used in combination with other MAOIs. Combining MAOIs can lead to complications
in the regulation of neurotransmitters and digestion, such as hypertensive crisis, convulsive seizures, fever, delirium, coma, and circulatory collapse.
Withdrawal symptoms are possible when ceasing prescription MAOIs, so it’s important to consult a doctor as to how to taper off one’s dosage.
(Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Cease using 6 or 8 weeks prior, and for at least 4 weeks after.)
The combination of Ayahuasca and any SSRI is potentially life-threatening Ayahuasca is an MAOI which allows for certain neurotransmitters,
such as serotonin, to become more available in the brain, while SSRIs inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin. The combination of these two substances,
This can lead SSRIs to induce serotonin syndrome when used in conjunction with Ayahuasca, which is an excess and/or overload
of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system and peripheral serotonin receptors. You should stop using most SSRIs
6 weeks before ceremony, but you must cease using Prozac 8 weeks prior to drinking Ayahuasca due to its longer half-life. To avoid side effects,
it’s important that you give yourself time to adjust to not being on the medication before participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony,
and you should not stop taking your medication without first consulting your physician.
(Other Anti-Depressants: Cease using 6 weeks prior, and for at least 4 weeks after.)
Anti-depressants other than SSRIs can pose serious complications in conjunction with drinking Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is an MAOI
which allows for certain neurotransmitters to be more available in the brain, and anti-depressants also alter brain neurochemistry.
If these anti-depressants are combined with an MAOI, it can lead to an overload of neurological activity, leading to serious health complications.
These anti-depressants include serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRI), serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitors (SARI)
, norepinephrine inhibitors (NRIs), norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRI), tricyclic antidepressants (TCA),
tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCA), noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSA), and serotonin modulator and stimulators (SMS).
As with all medications, it’s important to give anti-depressants ample time to leave your system in order to avoid unwanted side effects.
*Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your physician.*
(Benzodiazepines, Central Nervous System Depressants, and Sleeping Pills: Cease using 3 to 4 weeks prior.)
Drugs that depress the central nervous system (CNS), such as certain anti-anxiety medications and sleeping aids,
should not be used in conjunction with Ayahuasca, as they pose a serious health risk. The use of Ayahuasca can increase the effects
of these medications, leading to slower brain activity, heart rhythm, and labored respiration. CNS depressants include benzodiazepines,
sleep medications, and barbiturates. Dependency on CNS depressants can arise easily, so withdrawal symptoms may arise
when ceasing your medication. *Please consult your doctor for help before stopping your medication.*
(Anti-Hypertensives: Cease using 2 to 6 weeks prior, depending on medication and physician consultation.)
There are many classes of anti-hypertensive medications that lower blood pressure by different means; among the most important
and most widely used are thiazide diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and angiotensin II receptor antagonists.
*Please consult your doctor before ceasing your medication.*
(All other medications: Cease using for at least 1 week prior, and for at least 1 week after.)
Medications such as Valium, Xanax, and similar Benzodiazepines
Antibiotics, antihistamines, systemic vasoconstrictors or decongestants, cold and flu medicine, asthma inhalers, and drugs with high caffeine content
Narcotics, sedatives, and tranquilizers
Antihypertensive agents used to treat high blood pressure
Analgesics
Medications used to treat heart conditions
Neurological or anti-seizure medications
Hormonal therapy and sympathomimetic drugs, including amphetamines and tyrosine

Medical Conditions

If you have any kidney, liver, heart, other serious medical condition; if you or an immediate family member has a history of seizures;
or if you suffer from a particular medical condition that is not covered below, you must contact us to discuss your particular situation
prior to booking a retreat at Soul Quest.
Although Ayahuasca use under supervised conditions is generally considered safe, some medical conditions can have moderate
to very serious complications when used with Ayahuasca. These include:
Epilepsy/Seizures: If you or an immediate family member has a history of epilepsy and/or seizures, you must inform Soul Quest prior to booking a retreat.
Use of Ayahuasca, if not properly managed and monitored, can induce a seizure if you have a prior family history of epilepsy.
Diabetes: People with diabetes have extra risk involved with the consumption of Ayahuasca. This is because the use of the MAOIs present
in Ayahuasca can alter blood sugar levels via hypoglycemic effects. In addition, MAOIs like Ayahuasca may change the amount of insulin
or oral anti-diabetic medication that you need. People with severe, unstable diabetes should not take Ayahuasca because of this risk.
People with less severe diabetes should contact us prior to booking a retreat
to discuss the particulars of the case, including the possibility of a modified dieta.
Heart/Cardiovascular Conditions: If you have any chronic heart condition or high blood pressure, we do not advise you to participate
in the drinking of Ayahuasca. The use of Ayahuasca can elevate the blood pressure, which can pose serious and/or fatal risk
to those with serious heart conditions or high blood pressure. *Having such serious conditions prohibits you from participation
in one of our Ayahuasca retreats.* If you have a minor heart condition, please discuss the matter with the staff at Soul Quest prior to booking a retreat.
Liver and Kidney Conditions: The liver and the kidneys play essential roles in the metabolism of exogenous and endogenous chemicals,
and the use of the MAOI Ayahuasca can be stressful and impede their proper functioning.
Hypothyroidism: It’s generally safe to partake in the use of Ayahuasca if you have a hypothyroidism condition, but you must inform Soul Quest
of your condition, so that we can closely monitor your dosage during your course of Ayahuasca. You also may continue using your hypothyroid medication
during your retreat experience without complication.
The Ayahuasca Safety Council lists the specific pharmaceutical drugs that should not be combined with Ayahuasca (some are mild risks, others are more serious).
Please consult this complete list of drugs that are contraindicated for use in combination with Ayahuasca if you are interested in participating in a ceremony.
If you have any questions about the above policies on the contraindicated use of most medications with Ayahuasca,
or if you would like to discuss your particular health condition(s), please contact us.