This is a simple ayahuasca recipe that's tried and true, and works for me.

I put around 80 grams of yellow banisteriopsis caapi (the shredded vine part) and around 80 grams of psychotria viridis (also called chacruna or yage — these are leaves) into my 6-liter pressure cooker.

The mix of b. caapi and chacruna is 50/50 or something close to that.

The yellow banisteriopsis caapi vine shreds and the psychotria viridis leaves I used were both in their dried form (b. caapi vines were dried under the sun, and chacruna leaves were dried under shade).

A 50/50 mix may seem high to some, but it suits my needs best. The proportion of the two key ingredients makes a big difference.

A 50/50 mix of b. caapi amd chacruna is less likely to cause nausea and more likely to give stronger visions. Lower mixes are the opposite — you tend to get high nausea and less strong visions. So it’s a personal choice. I tend to go hard because I have so many issues. Plus the experience of drinking ayahuasca is difficult for me and I figure since it’s going to be hard either way, I might as well try and get the most out of every experience that I can.

An extract from ‘Ayahuasca: The Visionary and Healing Powers of the Vine of the Soul’ By Joan Parisi Wilcox

I top off the mix of vines and leaves with water up to the maximum level for my pressure cooker and toss in a few capfuls of apple cider vinegar. 

This is completely optional, but if I have it, I sometimes add a couple sticks of ajo sacha and/or chiric sanango (brunfelsia grandiflora). It depends on how I’m feeling. Additives/admixtures are purely optional. To make ayahuasca, all you really need is b. caapi and chacruna.

I leave this to cook for 4 hours. 4 hours in the pressure cooker is equivalent to 10-12 hours of cooking on a stove. 

After 4 hours, I take the lid off the pressure cooker and start boiling it down. I let about 1/3 of the brew evaporate before turning off the pressure cooker. More will evaporate as it cools.

Once the ayahuasca brew is cooler and easier to handle, I sieve it using a colander. This gets the big stuff out, but leaves behind a bit of powdery blackish residue. From my personal experience, this residue is important. I’ve strained the brew with a very fine sieve to remove all the residue before, and I found that my ayahuasca experience was a lot weaker with it.

The resulting liquid after straining is opaque, chalky brown and much thicker than it was before I started boiling it down. The smell is unmistakably ayahuasca. Meaning, it makes me gag and my eyes water a little.

The smell of ayahuasca reminds me of it’s taste, which is unfortunately very, very hard for me to take. Even as I write this, I gag a little because the physical memory is so vivid.

I then divide the ayahuasca brew into single-serve batches using small jars, which I then keep in the freezer. This way, when I’m ready for an ayahuasca experience, all I have to do is take out 1 or 2 jars, leave them to thaw on the counter and it’ll be ready for me within a couple hours. Also, before ladling some brew into each jar for freezing, I stir the mixture with the ladle so each jar will have some residue in it. Otherwise, my stored ayahuasca will vary in strength depending on the jar.

On the day when I’m preparing to drink ayahuasca, I’ll boil down the thawed brew a bit more. I do this in a small saucepan on the stove and it doesn’t take long.

The goal of evaporating more water out of the brew is to leave behind a smaller (though more concentrated) amount that I have to down. I can usually only take one or two swallows of ayahuasca (i.e. 1 or 2 shots worth). I’ve tried taking a larger amount before, but it made me gag so bad and everything I drank came out almost immediately.

So I’ve learned to work within my limits. After all, it only works if it stays in my stomach for enough time.