Health

Exploring the therapeutic possibilities of Ayahuasca

Why I Quit Ayahuasca Shamanism After 11 Years and 1,000 Ceremonies

I’m alive because of Ayahuasca. I am connected, soulful, expanded, and spilling over with self-love, mostly because of the blessing of attending around 1,000 sacred plant ceremonies. But if my intuition proves correct, I will never drink Ayahuasca or any other plant medicine again. Why? Because it worked too well. Let me explain. The Standard Story: Ayahuasca Saved My Life When I first found Ayahuasca – or rather, when she first found me – I was deeply depressed, though I pretended to be the happiest chirpy ass blonde LA girl you would ever meet. I had paralyzingly painful migraine headaches at least every 2 weeks. I drank alcohol almost every single day, as much as my body could handle. I did drugs most weekends to escape and to feel better, but increasingly, they were making me feel worse. I was fake. I was miserable. I was dying inside and out. In short, I was on a fast-track to total self-destruction, but I appeared as though I had the ultimate dream life. I had a famous …

The globalization of Ayahuasca: Harm reduction or benefit maximization?

This paper explores some of the philosophical and policy implications of contemporary ayahuasca use. It addresses the issue of the social construction of ayahuasca as a medicine, a sacrament and a “plant teacher.” Issues of harm reduction with respect to ayahuasca use are explored, but so too is the corollary notion of “benefit maximization.”

Food Medicine Life

This is a path of uniting stories. An invitation into deeper relation with the many things that fuel, heal, and energize us; that which is alive all around us, co-creates with us. This a path of dissolving separation. A path of connectivity.

Ayahuasca: Beyond the Amazon – Risks and Challenges of a Spreading Tradition

By Stephen Trichter, Psy.D.

As the use of ayahuasca shifts to use outside of its original cultural context, we must examine how the spread of this healing practice can not only bring the benefits for which it was originally intended, but how its transfer into a new cultural framework potentially can also cause distress and harm.
(Painting by Augustin Lesage)

By Yvonne McGillivray

Entheogens & Existential Intelligence: The Use of “Plant Teachers” as Cognitive Tools

The use of entheogens such as ayahuasca is exemplary of the long and ongoing tradition in many cultures to employ psychoactives as tools that stimulate foundational types of understanding. That such substances are capable of stimulating profoundly transcendent experiences is evident from both the academic literature and anecdotal reports. This article attempts to present these concepts in such a way that the possibility of using entheogens as tools is taken seriously by those with an interest in new and transformative ideas in education.

Therapeutic caapi tea: a prototype – Material and Method

More and more people are using or consider using ayahuasca tea as an alternative medicine for different therapeutic purposes: depression, Parkinson’s disease, ageing-related cognitive decline, etc.

Yet most of these actual or planned uses are relying on the rich pharmacodynamics of the caapi vine and don’t necessitate the preparation and use of a standard mix. Rather what is needed is a caapi tea specifically designed for these purposes.

Michael Winkelman

Psychointegration

Steve Beyer
Anthropologist Michael Winkelman, at Arizona State University, says that shamanic practices — drumming, chanting, and the ingestion of sacred plants — create a special state of consciousness he calls transpersonal consciousness, and that these practices create this state of consciousness through the process of psychointegration — that is, by integrating a number of otherwise discrete modular brain functions. Anthropologist Homayun Sidky, at Miami University in Ohio, says that this theory, despite a surface plausibility, is without empirical justification.

Blending Traditions – Using Indigenous Medicinal Knowledge to Treat Drug Addiction

Jacques Mabit, M.D.
Ancestral medical practices are based on a highly sophisticated practical knowledge and view the controlled induction of non-ordinary states of consciousness as potentially beneficial, even in the treatment of the modern phenomena of drug addiction. These ancestral practices stand in contrast to the clumsiness with which Western peoples induce altered states of consciousness. Drawing from his clinical experience in the High Peruvian Amazonian forest, the author describes the therapeutic benefits of the wise use of medicinal plants, including non-addictive psychoactive preparations, such as the well-known Ayahuasca tea. Within an institutional structure, a therapeutic system combining indigenous practices with contemporary psychotherapy yields highly encouraging results (positive in 2/3 of the patients). This invites us to reconsider conventional approaches to drug addiction and the role of the individual’s spiritual journey in recovery.

A Neurobiological Theory of ‘The Fall’

Dennis McKenna
In the book ‘Left In the Dark’, a culmination of over fifteen years of independent research into human evolution, the authors postulate that the universal myth of a pre-historic Golden Age is a racial memory that reflects our primate evolution in an arboreal, rainforest environment in which humans possessed mental and psychic abilities that have since become lost or atrophied in the profane ages that followed.

Deep ecology

Vomiting

There is no doubt that ayahuasca makes you vomit. There is some consolation in the fact that the vomiting will ease with continued experience; shamans seldom vomit. There is more consolation in the fact that the vomiting is considered to be cleansing and healing.

The Ayahuasca Effect

By Kirby Surprise
It is often reported that the tea breaks even profound depressive episodes in a single use. This positive psychological benefit is what I call the “Ayahuasca Effect.” That is, to produce an intense and positive integrative experience with lasting beneficial effects from use of the tea, with no side effects common to pharmaceutical antidepressants.