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Ayahuasca (usually pronounced / aɪ j ə ˈ w æ s k ə / or / ˈ aɪ j ə ˈ w ɑː s k ə / ), also commonly called yagé ( / j ɑː h eɪ / ), is a brew of various psychoactive infusions or decoctions prepared with the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. It is usually mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing species of shrubs from the genus Psychotria . The brew, first described academically in the early 1950s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes , who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru , is known by a number of different names (see below ). It has been reported that some effects can be had from consuming the caapi vine alone, but that DMT-containing plants (such as Psychotria ) remain inactive when drunk as a brew without a source of monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as B. caapi .