Blanco Otorongo - Therapeutic potential of Ayahuasca

Author : Blanco Otorongo
Title : Therapeutic potential of Ayahuasca : how it works, an overview of an extraordinary holistic medicine
Year : 2004

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Ayahuasca presents at least three potentially beneficial therapeutic and personal growth applications. It is important to consider that most of what is known about Ayahuasca is drawn from anecdotal and empirical knowledge accumulated over millennia in the Amazon region of South America. Over the past twenty years, the socio-anthropological and popular contemporary literature has increasingly addressed the many dimensions of Ayahuasca use, culture, and spirituality. It is interesting to note that Ayahuasca is among many "folk" medicines with a history of centuries of human use without apparent negative consequences so long as specific dietary and other preparatory guidelines are followed. Such a lengthy trial period with human subjects substantially exceeds the standards of contemporary drug approval studies conducted by the FDA and other regulatory agencies. In most Amazonian cultures even today, the majority see Ayahuasca as a beneficial holistic medicine when applied by those knowledgeable in its use and effects. Sadly, only limited scientific research has been conducted to date due to the western cultural stigma attached to substances producing visionary experiences. It is often erroneously assumed that such experiences are undertaken primary for recreational or frivilous purposes and therefore lack redeeming value. As anyone who has taken Ayahuasca can attest, it is far from a recreational experience. The normal course is one of personal challenge and struggle punctuated by flashes of agony and ecstacy as one works through the process of purgation and renewal. Physical discomfort is common and one often is besieged by inescapable images and thoughts of matters and issues one would prefer to avoid. This forced confrontation brings catharsis, and eventually closure to many of the psychological burdens most of us carry with us in our lives. The character and rigors of the Ayahuasca experience are simply not amenable to the kind of abuse that has occurred with other so-called "psychedelic" substances. ...

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