Lemons vs. Pickles
Huasca Brew (Syrian Rue & M. tenuiflora)
Citation: R. Bart. "Lemons vs. Pickles: An Experience with Huasca Brew (Syrian Rue & M. tenuiflora) (exp34351)". Erowid.org. Jun 14, 2004. erowid.org/exp/34351
Brew 1 - Traditional Lemon Brew - Wednesday June 9, 2004)
50 g Mimosa hostilis Root Bark (Jurema)
25 g Syrian Rue Seed (Peganum harmala)
3 Vitamin C tabs, 500 mg
Bottled drinking Water (about 1 liter total)
1 tbsp (15 ml) ground Cinnamon
Rice cooker (3 cup pre-cooked capacity)
Watch with nag timer
Large funnel with bottom cut out
Small funnel intact
knee high nylon stockings (for straining)
750 ml water bottle
This was my first attempt at brewing ayahuasca. Because it was my first attempt, I was keeping everything pretty close to the received wisdom. Once I prove that I can do it (and the critics say I did), I can experiment.
My original intent was to cook this in a microwave oven, but my microwave had a broken turntable so I abandoned it when I moved, and I have not yet replaced it. I could have gotten a regular pot and cooked on the gas range, but I wanted superior temperature control. There is a nauseating smell and taste frequently found in Ayahuasca brews, which I believe is caused by scorching.
I don't mean to endorse a specific brand of cooking device, but the term 'rice cooker' might be vague, so I will note that it is a Panasonic SR-W06PC. It's a device for boiling water with a temperature sensor. It's designed limit the temperature to just above boiling. It has an inner pot which is removable.
I measured 50 g of Mimosa hostilis root bark on the scale. I ground the Mimosa in the coffee grinder in batches of about 10 to 15 g. Coffee grinders are designed for coffee beans. Sometimes a large pieces of bark got wedged under the blade and the grinder stopped working, then I needed to unplug the grinder and slowly force the big piece of bark out. It might be better to break up the large pieces first. I noted that the ground bark consisted of two distinct and easily separated parts: fiber and powder. The received wisdom was to use this all together, so I did, but in future I will use them separately. I dumped all the ground Mimosa in the rice cooker.
I measured 25 g of Syrian Rue on the scale. I ground the Rue in the same coffee grinder. Since Rue doesn't have any big parts, it ground easily. I ground for about a minute, waiting for the sound of 'sand' in the grinder to fade out. I was left with a powder notably coarser than the Mimosa powder. I dumped the Rue powder in the rice cooker.
First extract boil:
I poured in about 350 to 400 ml of water. I added one tab of vitamin C and the juice of three lemons (for acid to release the alkaloids). The received wisdom was vague on the amount of water and acid to use, so I figured no great precision was necessary. I turned the rice cooker on.
I set the nag timer on my watch to four minute intervals. In theory this means I stirred every four minutes. In practice...hey, it wasn't scorched. It took about ten minutes to reach a boil, then I let it boil about twenty to thirty minutes. At times a skin formed over the brew, which I stirred back in. I unplugged the rice cooker and let it cool a few minutes.
I put the large funnel in a stocking. At first I used the large funnel unmodified, but then I cut off the spout part, and eventually cut a bigger hole in the bottom. The idea is that the funnel is a tool for getting the mixture into the stocking. I put on a pair of runner gloves. Using the tongs, I lifted the inner bowl out of the rice cooker. I put the stocking in the large bowl, and poured the contents of the rice cooker into the stocking. A lot of liquid came first, then I used the tongs and teaspoon to scoop the rest into the stocking. I squeezed the stocking to get all the liquid out. This was a messy process, and a narrower deeper vessel would have worked better. I set aside the liquid in the large bowl.
Second boil and squeeze:
I dumped the contents of the stocking back into the rice cooker. I covered with water (about 300 to 350 ml) and added one vitamin C tab and two lemons. I turned on the rice cooker. It took about 10 minutes to reach a boil, and then I boiled it for twenty to thirty minutes. There was no skin in the second boil. I let it cool, poured it into the stocking in the large bowl, squeezed the stocking, and set aside the liquid in the large bowl.
Third boil and squeeze:
Just like the second.
I set aside the stocking with the fibrous remains. I took the large bowl and poured the results of the three squeezes back in the rice cooker. I added one tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon powder. I turned it on and let it boil for most of an hour. The skin which formed in the first boil returned (so whatever it is, it goes through the nylon stocking). I stirred the skin back in with the teaspoon. I turned it off and let it cool. The skin returned, and very thick. I stirred the skin back in. Using the small funnel, I poured the results into a water bottle. I had about 350 ml of liquid.
Brew 2 - Pickle Brew (Thursday June 10, 2004)
Same as above, except the water and lemon is replaced with pickle brine. I figured that I was buying lemons to produce an acid solution, and I toss out multiple jars of acid solution every week, so experiment with the available substance. In each extract boil I poured in the remains of one 32 jar of kosher dill pickles, which is about 16 oz (470 ml) of liquid. For the first round, I poured in everything that didn't stick to the sides of the jar, but I thought better of that, and the second and third times I filtered with my fingers so not much more than the liquid got through. I put a tab of vitamin C in the first boil, but forgot about it in the second and third boils.
Again there was skin on the top of the first boil and the reducing boil. The color was darker and it looked thicker than the previous batch. When it cooled down and I poured it in the water bottle, I was surprised to discover I had a lot more liquid, nearly 500 ml. I arrogantly thought this was because the pickle brine had extracted more from the bark. I know think the darker color was the green from the pickles.
The Drinking - Saturday June 12
Only five people showed up to test my first venture into Ayahuasca brewing. We also had a sixth person who stayed on the ground. I gave everyone the choice of which brew to try. Three people took the lemon brew, while one other person and I tried the pickle brew. I poured the brew into tea cups, and honey was available to sweeten to taste. I neglected to bring anything to stir the honey. Hey, I brought tea cups, I brought insect repellant, I brought toilet paper. I can't remember everything. Some grabbed sticks off the ground, some stirred with a finger. I just swished it around and drank it, so most of my honey clung to the bottom of the cup.
I was calling each batch enough for five, but really each should be enough for six. With the lemon brew, I gave two people somewhat more than a sixth, and one (the first timer) just about a sixth or slightly less. With the pickle brew I was still possessed of the notion that I had extracted more active ingredients from the plants, so we each got about an eighth.
We all found that it went down as easily as ayahuasca ever goes down. I found the pickle brew was a bit too salty (well duh). The first timer downed his cup very quickly. When he found that others were still nursing a cup, he asked if he had done something wrong, but we told him the idea is to down it quickly so you don't have to taste it much. I can't chug. I would definitely gag if I tried to down the stuff quickly. It took me about two minutes to drink all but the honey stuck to the bottom, which is very fast for me. Then I added Diet Dr Pepper and finished off the honey.
Only one person puked, the first timer, who puked about 15 minutes in. He did not puke because the brew was nauseating; he puked because it was hitting him hard. For the next hour and a half he had a Dan. He writhed around on the grass, he stuck his face in the sand, he flopped down hard on the ground. At all times, he seemed to be aware of his body. When sand or grass was in his mouth, he spit it out. He shut his eyes as he rolled his face on the ground. It was somewhat concerning to watch, but we did watch him, and at no time did he appear to be a danger to himself or others.
An hour in I realized I hadn't gotten such a big dose, and I would have drunk more at this point, but with one person having a Dan and only one person on the ground, I decided to limit the extent of my trip. As it was, I ended up going in quite deep. I ate some oranges about two hours in, and that seems to has stirred something in my intestines, because I then went in pretty deep. I didn't get a whole lot in visuals, but I got some very intense voices. I took out my computer and started taking dictation. I was typing things like 'sispyqwidular epfstrintions, zafudafrains.' Unfortunately, this is my new computer which replaced my computer which was stolen. Either the battery was bad, or something is set wrong in my low battery settings, because the computer didn't auto-hibernate, it just shut down and I lost everything. I will have to go back and try taking dictation again. During a trip last Summer, I used the expression 'Tripping past twelve Wednesdays' and I have used that expression since. I have noted that the Wednesdays my not have been days, but they were rectangular things which I saw turning over in unison. I now know that they are not Wednesdays. The word should be spelled more like 'wengastraimns'.
In the future I will separate the Mimosa powder from the fiber. I think the powder makes the skin that was on the top of the first boil and the reduction boil, which is then the scum which sticks to the bottle and the cups. Next time I will save the powder and just use the fiber. I really had no idea how much cinnamon to use, but next time I will increase it. I should take note of amounts and time. I tend to use intuition in this sort of process, and that is good, but knowing the numbers can serve as a useful reference.
I think we need a slightly bigger safety margin. I want two people on the ground, at least if someone is doing it for the first time. Our one and only ground person had to go out to her car for something, and that left me concerned that I would be beyond giving assistance when someone needed assistance. I hate to not do drugs, but next time may be my time to stay on the ground.
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