As his bombshell memoir Spare was released in the UK this week, Prince Harry revealed in interviews that he had dabbled in psychedelic drugs while dealing with the death of his mother Princess Diana.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, told 60 Minutes interviewer Anderson Coooper that substances like ayahuasca and magic mushrooms were like “medicine” after Diana died in a car crash in 1997.
But ayahuasca, a South American psychoactive drink consumed in line with shamanic practices, can cause hallucinations, anxiety, and severe nausea. Earlier this year, a coroner warned of the potentially deadly consequences of shamanic “healing” rituals after hearing how a young artist, Katie Hyatt, 32, suffered a nervous breakdown and took her own life after her parents told the inquest that she was dying who they believed she had consumed ayahuasca.
Harry told Cooper he wouldn’t recommend people taking the substances “for recreation” but added: “But if you do it with the right people, if you’re going through a huge amount of loss, grief or trauma, then they have things a way of working as medicine.’
A drink native to South American countries, ayahuasca is made by boiling vine stalks together with leaves of a chacruna bush and has hallucinogenic properties
The drink, which is illegal in Britain, is made by boiling vine stalks together with leaves from a chacruna shrub, both native to the Amazon.
The psychedelic brew contains the compound N,N-dymethyltriptamine (DMT), which is one of the most potent known hallucinogens in the world.
Similar to drugs like LSD and psilocybin, DMT has proven its ability to increase connectivity between different brain networks and increase synaptic plasticity.
The Duke of Sussex spoke to 60 Minutes interviewer Anderson Cooper about his experiences drinking ayahuasca and using other psychoactive drugs
The powerful psychedelic combination affects the central nervous system, causing the user to feel another powerful psychedelic brew affecting the central nervous system, resulting in a different state of consciousness.
In addition to hallucinations, people who have tried the drink have reported out-of-body experiences and feelings of euphoria.
Speaking of his experience with the psychedelic, Harry said: “For me, they removed the windshield, the windshield, the misery of loss. They cleaned up this idea I had in my head that… I had to cry to prove to my mom that I missed it [my mother]. Actually, she just wanted me to be happy.”
Prince Harry’s account of using the drug is not uncommon, as addicts and people who have experienced trauma in their lives also claim the hallucinogen has helped them, but doctors have raised concerns about using the drug.
Last year, actor Will Smith revealed during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he drank the brew over 12 times during a retreat in Peru while he was having marital troubles with his wife Jada.
Mike Tyson said ayahuasca and other psychedelics saved his life, while Hunter Biden said deep trips helped him sober.
While ayahuasca’s properties are now being studied in relation to healing trauma, medical professionals have raised concerns about its safety.
Just last week, an inquest learned how a young artist took her own life after drinking the hallucinogenic “tea” at a retreat in Malvern, Worcestershire.
According to emails sent to Miss Hyatt and seen by the Chron, the retreat was to include Wachuma, described as a “teaching plant” that allows participants to “dive deep into ourselves”.
In addition to Wachuma, which is made from a “sacred” cactus and contains illegal hallucinogenic mescaline, Miss Hyatt’s parents told the inquest that they believe she also ingested ayahuasca – another Class A drug – during the retreat.
Now, Miss Hyatt’s parents want to warn others interested in alternative medicine to avoid the mind-altering beverages.
“These aren’t benign drugs — they have to be used in carefully controlled studies,” said her father, Ray, a retired hospital consultant.
“The kind of advice she got from the retreat organizers when she realized she was unwell was frankly useless.
“We don’t want anyone else’s health to deteriorate the way Kate did.”
Many physicians are concerned that the rise of hallucinogens into the mainstream will result in vulnerable people taking them without proper preparation and psychological support.
The effects of Ayahuasca can be divided into three levels.
First, users have a sense of increased relaxation. You feel sleepy and start yawning a lot.
The second phase is the purge, which causes users to vomit repeatedly. This is said to have a cleansing effect on the body.
The third stage is an altered state of consciousness in which users can have hallucinations in which they see living and lucid beings, commonly “mechanical elves”. Some people see and converse with people from their past.
This week, a British couple was arrested in Murcia, Spain, accused of hosting unlicensed shamanic healing sessions using ayahuasca and other psychedelics.
Spanish police said the couple, aged 47 and 52, offer their services online while also offering accommodation for up to 16 people, and arrested them after interrupting a “healing session” for seven people of different nationalities.
A Murcia Civil Guard spokesman confirmed: “The Civil Guard arrested two people who were capturing clients for alleged shamanic healing sessions, in an operation codenamed Kambo.
“They are a 47-year-old British man and a 52-year-old woman.
“A number of pollutants have been seized which have been administered to Spaniards and people from other European countries without health checks.
“The British couple offered their services online with promotional material promoting their rural property as a home of healing, oriented towards support groups and things like addiction detox.
“They had no license or permit. Still, they charged people £40 a night for a minimum stay of three nights, with group deals from £450 a day for 16 guests.
In May last year, Spanish police raided a luxury villa on the Costa del Sol after a British holidaymaker claimed he had been offered ayahuasca when complaining about his accommodation.
The tourist told detectives he was invited to relax by consuming the hallucinogenic brew after discovering he was expected to share a bedroom with strangers.
Police officers discovered an illegal party of 40 people being held at the villa in the upscale resort of Marbella when they investigated.