The science of Ayahuasca and its constituents

Michael Winkelman


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.

Ayahuasca and Mental Health Among the Shuar

Steve Beyer
We have talked before about the Grob, McKenna, Callaway, et al., psychiatric study on the long-term effects of drinking ayahuasca in the ceremonies of the União do Vegetal church. I noted that the study had not clearly disentangled any bias that might have resulted from the fact that the ayahuasca drinkers — but not controls — had been preselected for their orderly churchgoing habits. Here is a study that may shed some light on that question.

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.

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.

Basic scholar readings on ayahuasca

It is a relevant query of kreepmusic that prompted me to post a list of some of the readings I consider basic to think ayahuasca. This is a selection from our (Partner and I) own modest collection of documents. Stock and choice are personal and I assume the indicative rather than comprehensive nature of this list. In order not to restrict too much the panel of good quality informative readings, I did prefer to put the following commented bibliography under the broader heading adjective “scholar” rather than “scientific”. For example Wizard of the Upper Amazon and its sequel Rio Tigre and Beyond, the first person autobiography of the famous mestizo ayahuasquero Manuel Córdova-Rios, narrated by Bruce Lamb, have not been written and published like academic/scientific works. Yet, two anthropologists specialists of ayahuasca, who have met Don Manuel (including LE Luna), and I, consider this story as a valuable piece of ethnographical work, worth to be included in scholar and scientific bibliographies (the early critics of Amahuaca specialist Robert Carneiro, relayed by Jonathan Ott, are largely …