In the 16th century, Christian missionaries from Spain first encountered indigenous western Amazonian basin South Americans (modern Peru/Ecuador) using ayahuasca; their earliest reports described it as “the work of the devil.” Early in the
Known to bring about optic and auditory hallucinations, the drink made from the so-called “vine of death” or “yagé” is used primarily for healing and spiritual awakening. Ayahuasca
In Brazil a number of modern religious movements based on the use of ayahuasca have emerged and have been ruled legal, the most famous of them being Santo Daime. Ayahuasca is legal in the United States per a unanimous 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision called Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal. However, the court established narrow provisions for ayahuasca’s ritual use—mainly that the sacrament must always be served in the context of an unambiguously spiritual ritual that would be viewed as being protected by the First Amendment under Freedom of Religion.