Ayahuasca, an entheogenic tea, was until relatively recently unheard of by most people in modern Western societies, despite a long history of use among indigenous people of the Amazon. The “psychedelic” 1960s saw an explosion of interest in plant-based spiritual healing tools such as cannabis, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms. However, for a variety of reasons, ayahuasca remained known only to a few anthropologists and travelers to remoter regions of South America and was not among the panoply of substances that began to be used recreationally at that time.
At the end of the 20 th century, a rapid rise of interest in and use of ayahuasca began outside its native environment. Although some syncretistic religions had been using ayahuasca as a sacrament for a number of decades in Brazil, by the 1990s these practices had spread both to urban centres within Brazil and to communities beyond its borders. At the same time, ayahuasca tourism to Amazonian regions has started to become a significant industry, and assorted plant materials to make home-brewed “anahuasca” mixtures have become readily available online.