Last update Aug. 23, 2021


High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Ayahuasca is a decoction made with the bark of the yagé or ayahuasca liana (Banisteriopsis caapi) that contains beta-carboline alkaloids or harmalines (harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine or THH, harmol and harmalol) mixed with leaves of the “chacrona” shrub (Psychotria viridis), or “chagropanga” or “chaliponga” (Diplopterys cabrerana) or other plants such as Brugmansia or jurema (Mimosa hostilis) that contain N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) (Hamill 2019, Neyra 2017, Gambelunge 2008, Santos 2007).
It is a hallucinogenic drink used since ancient times by Andean and Amazonian populations of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela for religious and medicinal purposes. Its use has spread to several countries of the world in recent times for recreational and potentially therapeutic purposes of addictions, drug addiction and other psychiatric disorders (Domínguez 2019, Hamill 2019, Neyra 2017, Santos 2007) and forming part of some Ayahuasque religions of Brazilian origin (Labate 2012).
The β-carbolines harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine are inhibitors of the enzyme monoamine oxidase.
DMT has hallucinogenic and sympathomimetic properties similar to LSD but of shorter duration, being an agonist of serotonin receptors (Lanaro 2021); it produces increased levels of prolactin, cortisol and growth hormone (Santos 2013)
The administration is mainly oral in the course of a ceremony or ritual preceded by a special diet low in salt that includes the abundant ingestion of vomitory-purgative drinks. Consumption can also be smoked or inhaled.

At the date of the last update, there was no available published data on its excretion in breast milk.

The published pharmacokinetic data does not allow prediction of possible passage into breast milk. The low molecular weight and the basic pKa of the alkaloids would favor their excretion, while their high volume of distribution would make it difficult.

Apart from some deficient description (Santos 2013, Labate 2011, Giove 1998) there are no anthropological or medical reports that adequately report on its possible consumption and effects on nursing mothers, children or pregnant women from indigenous populations in which its use is traditional.

Observed side effects include hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, anxiety, euphoria, tachycardia, agitation, hypertension, mydriasis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypernatremic dehydration, psychotic attacks, instability, tremors, seizures, cardio-respiratory arrest and death (Palma 2021, Neu 2020, van den Berg 2020, Bauer 2018, Heise 2017, Vallersnes 2016).
The risk of serious poisoning and death is higher in recreational use, with the use of synthetic tryptamines and smoking or inhalation (Lanaro 2015, Araújo 2015).

Various practice guides and associations consulted that organize ayahuasca ceremonies-retreats or are interested in its dissemination formally advise against taking ayahuasca during pregnancy and lactation (ICEERS 2019, Ayahuasca Retreat Peru, ConsumoConCiencia, OM-Mij, Mistical Ayahuasca).
There are times during the ayahuasca retreat when the mother and/or father will not be in a position to properly care for their baby.

It is known from Pharmacokinetics that after 5 elimination half-lives (T½), 96.9% of an ingested substance is eliminated from the body and after 7 T½ the plasma concentrations of the substance are negligible and would constitute the safe waiting period to return to breastfeeding after having taken ayahuasca.

Taking as reference the longest published T½ (5.5 h) of DMT and the harmalines found in ayahuasca (Lanaro 2021, Riba 2003, Callaway 1999), these 7 T½ would correspond to a day and a half. Meanwhile, breast milk must be expressed and discarded regularly and the infant should be fed, ideally with a reserve of breast milk previously expressed days before or, failing that, with an artificial formula.

It is not recommended to share a bed with the baby if you are taking this drug (UNICEF UK 2018, 2014, 2013 2006, Sachs 2013, Landa 2012, ABM 2008).

See below the information of this related product:

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Ayahuasca is also known as

Ayahuasca in other languages or writings:


Ayahuasca belongs to these groups or families:


Variable Value Unit
Molecular weight DMT 188. Harm. 212 - 214 daltons
VD DMT 35 - 55. Harm. 50 l/Kg
pKa DMT 17,16. Harm. 13,5 - 15 -
Tmax DMT 1,3 - 1,8. Harm. 1,0 - 2,9 hours
T1/2 DMT 1,5 - 4,3. Harm. 2,1 - 5,5 hours


  1. Lanaro R, Mello SM, da Cunha KF, Silveira G, Corrêa-Neto NF, Hyslop S, Cabrices OG, Costa JL, Linardi A. Kinetic profile of N,N-dimethyltryptamine and β-carbolines in saliva and serum after oral administration of ayahuasca in a religious context. Drug Test Anal. 2021 Mar;13(3):664-678. Abstract
  2. Palma-Álvarez RF, Grau-López L, Ros-Cucurull E, Abad AC, Dualde J, Robles-Martínez M, Roncero C. Psychosis induced by abuse of ayahuasca: a case report. Rev Colomb Psiquiatr. 2021 Jan-Mar;50(1):43-46. Abstract
  3. Neu P. [Ayahuasca - religion, life-style or drug?] Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2020 Oct;88(10):669-673. Abstract
  4. van den Berg A, van Eeghen EE, Kooter AJ, Tuinman TH, Tuinman PR. [Ayahuasca in the Netherlands: what the doctor should know about its side effects]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2020 Aug 20;164. pii: D4501. Dutch. Abstract
  5. Hamill J, Hallak J, Dursun SM, Baker G. Ayahuasca: Psychological and Physiologic Effects, Pharmacology and Potential Uses in Addiction and Mental Illness. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2019;17(2):108-128. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. Domínguez-Clavé E, Soler J, Pascual JC, Elices M, Franquesa A, Valle M, Alvarez E, Riba J. Ayahuasca improves emotion dysregulation in a community sample and in individuals with borderline-like traits. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019 Feb;236(2):573-580. Abstract
  7. ICEERS. Londoño D, Mazarrasa J, Aixalà MB. Hacia mejores prácticas en el uso de la ayahuasca. Una guía para quien organiza y participa. Agència de Salut Pública de Catalunya. Sub-direcció General de Drogodependències. 2019 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. ICEERS. Londoño D, Mazarrasa J, Aixalà MB. Towards better ayahuasca practices. A guide for organizers and participants. Agència de Salut Pública de Catalunya. Sub-direcció General de Drogodependències. 2019 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. UNICEF UK. Caring for your baby at night. A guide for parents. 2018 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Bauer IL. Ayahuasca: A risk for travellers? Travel Med Infect Dis. 2018 Jan - Feb;21:74-76. Abstract
  11. Ball H, Blair PS. (For UNICEF UK). Caring for your baby at night. Health professional´s guide. 2017 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Heise CW, Brooks DE. Ayahuasca Exposure: Descriptive Analysis of Calls to US Poison Control Centers from 2005 to 2015. J Med Toxicol. 2017 Sep;13(3):245-248. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  13. Vallersnes OM, Dines AM, Wood DM, Yates C, Heyerdahl F, Hovda KE, Giraudon I; Euro-DEN Research Group., Dargan PI. Psychosis associated with acute recreational drug toxicity: a European case series. BMC Psychiatry. 2016 Aug 18;16:293. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  14. Araújo AM, Carvalho F, Bastos Mde L, Guedes de Pinho P, Carvalho M. The hallucinogenic world of tryptamines: an updated review. Arch Toxicol. 2015 Aug;89(8):1151-73. Abstract
  15. Lanaro R, Calemi DB, Togni LR, Costa JL, Yonamine M, Cazenave Sde O, Linardi A. Ritualistic Use of Ayahuasca versus Street Use of Similar Substances Seized by the Police: A Key Factor Involved in the Potential for Intoxications and Overdose? J Psychoactive Drugs. 2015 Apr-Jun;47(2):132-9. Abstract
  16. UNICEF UK. Statement on co-sleeping following publication of new NICE postnatal guidance. Infosheet. 2014 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  17. Sachs HC; Committee On Drugs. The transfer of drugs and therapeutics into human breast milk: an update on selected topics. Pediatrics. 2013 Sep;132(3):e796-809. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative statement on Bed-sharing when parents do not smoke: is there a risk of SIDS? An individual level analysis of five major case-control studies. 2013 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  19. dos Santos RG. Safety and side effects of ayahuasca in humans--an overview focusing on developmental toxicology. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2013 Jan-Mar;45(1):68-78. Review. Abstract
  20. L.Landa Rivera, M.Díaz-Gómez, A.Gómez Papi, J.M.Paricio Talayero, C.Pallás Alonso, M.T.Hernández Aguilar, J.Aguayo Maldonado, J.M.Arena Ansotegui, S.Ares Segura, A.Jiménez Moya, J.J.Lasarte Velillas, J.Martín Calama, M.D.Romero Escós. El colecho favorece la práctica de la lactancia materna y no aumenta el riesgo de muerte súbita del lactante. Dormir con los padres. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 14:53-60 2012 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  21. Labate BC, Feeney K. Ayahuasca and the process of regulation in Brazil and internationally: implications and challenges. Int J Drug Policy. 2012 Mar;23(2):154-61. Abstract
  22. Labate BC. Consumption of ayahuasca by children and pregnant women: medical controversies and religious perspectives. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2011 Jan-Mar;43(1):27-35. Abstract
  23. ABM - Comité de protocolos de la Academia médica de lactancia materna (Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine). Protocolo Clínico de la ABM #6: Lineamientos sobre la práctica de dormir al bebé junto con la madre y la lactancia materna Revisión, marzo de 2008. Breastfeeding Medicine 2008 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  24. ABM - The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM Clinical Protocol #6: Guideline on Co-Sleeping and Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Medicine 2008 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  25. Gambelunghe C, Aroni K, Rossi R, Moretti L, Bacci M. Identification of N,N-dimethyltryptamine and beta-carbolines in psychotropic ayahuasca beverage. Biomed Chromatogr. 2008 Oct;22(10):1056-9. Abstract
  26. Santos RG, Landeira-Fernandez J, Strassman RJ, Motta V, Cruz AP. Effects of ayahuasca on psychometric measures of anxiety, panic-like and hopelessness in Santo Daime members. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jul 25;112(3):507-13. Epub 2007 Apr 25. Abstract
  27. UNICEF UK. Compartiendo la cama con tu bebé. Guía para madres que amamantan. Folleto 2006 Full text (in our servers)
  28. Riba J, Valle M, Urbano G, Yritia M, Morte A, Barbanoj MJ. Human pharmacology of ayahuasca: subjective and cardiovascular effects, monoamine metabolite excretion, and pharmacokinetics. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Jul;306(1):73-83. Epub 2003 Mar 26. Abstract
  29. Callaway JC, McKenna DJ, Grob CS, Brito GS, Raymon LP, Poland RE, Andrade EN, Andrade EO, Mash DC. Pharmacokinetics of Hoasca alkaloids in healthy humans. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Jun;65(3):243-56. Abstract
  30. Om-Mij. Participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony is not suitable for everybody. 0 Full text (in our servers)
  31. Ayahuasca-Retreat-Peru. Quienes no deben tomar ayahuasca? 0 Full text (in our servers)
  32. Mystical Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca contra-indications. 0 Full text (in our servers)
  33. ConsumoConCiencia. Ayahuasca. Contraindicaciones. 0 Full text (in our servers)

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