Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic beverage that is prominent in the shamanism of indigenous Amazonian tribes. In the Amazon it is considered as a “plant teacher”, both a diagnostic tool and a force for healing. In urban Brazil, it is used as a sacrament by several churches (Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal), some of who have incorporated in the United States and Europe as well. The recreational and religious use of ayahuasca in the Western world, as well as “ayahuasca tourism” in the Amazon, is increasing.
Reports on therapeutic use
A considerable body of evidence coupled with a long history of traditional use use among people living in the Amazon, indicates that ayahuasca may be useful for the treatment of behavioural disorders such as alcoholism and substance addiction, depression, schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and senile dementias, as well as for physical disorders such as cancer.
The current legal status of ayahuasca is unsure, but one of its ingredients, Dimethyltryptamine, DMT, is a controlled substance under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotopic Substances. The use of ayahuasca for religious purposes has been decriminalised in Brazil and the Netherlands.
Clinical studies conducted in Spain have demonstrated that ayahuasca can be used safely in normal healthy adults, but have done little to clarify its potential therapeutic uses. Because of ayahuasca’s ill-defined legal status and variable botanical and chemical composition, clinical investigations are complicated by both regulatory and methodological issues.
Clinical investigations of the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca: rationale and regulatory challenges. By Dennis J. McKenna, Center for Spirituality and Healing, Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota, USA
The Globalization of ayahuasca: Harm reduction or benefit maximization? By Kenneth W. Tupper, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia, B.C. Canada.
The Magical Earth, by Ross HeavenRepublish