Could it be Set to Revolutionize the World of Modern Medicine?
Ayahuasca ceremonies form the foundation of an ancient medical tradition, one that is still currently employed and developed in the Amazon region, especially Peru. ‘Ayahuasca’ is the most common name for a medicinal plant beverage used by indigenous tribes. Although the botanical, chemical, and pharmacological aspects of the plant have been studied and the results have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, little to no research has been done on the healing tradition within which the medicine is employed. This profound tradition is called curanderismo, and ayahuasca is a mere part of it.
The Riosbo Ayahuasca Research Center seeks to better understand the ideology and methodology of this indigenous healing tradition so that new models can be developed that integrate ancient traditional principles into modern medical practices to enhance the healing benefit of any and all treatment. The Center is currently attempting to complete its funding for this project via the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Within the tradition of curanderismo, ayahuasca is taken in healing ceremonies, where shamans sing particular songs, called icaros, to communicate with the spirits of plants and animals. It is believed that the ayahuasca ceremonies enable people to have out of body experiences, to see inside the physical body to diagnose conditions, to relive past events and release emotional traumas, to find solutions or cures for afflictions using various plant treatments, and to better understand one’s life, path, and existence.
Previous research has demonstrated that ayahuasca can be used to treat depression, panic disorders, substance addiction, and a whole host of other ailments, meaning that its medicinal properties are not mere conjecture; they are backed up by scientific study. It will be interesting to see how the ceremonies that are conducted in conjunction to the administration of this drug affect its usefulness for these purposes. There is clearly potential for great benefits to be unlocked from the wider study of the practices associated with this tradition. Perhaps this project will help to merge together two medical worlds and improve our current understanding of human healing.
The real question is whether or not these traditions will be practiced in the West even if they are revealed to have therapeutic potential. There is a stigma associated with drugs with psychedelic properties that might prevent its adoption. Some might argue that this stigma is warranted, given the harmful effect that some psychedelics can have upon the user. Whether or not ayahuasca ceremonies will ever be carried out legally on Western soil remains to be seen. This is an interesting study that raises numerous cultural, ethical, and pharmacological questions. Do Western doctors possess a cultural bias towards homegrown forms of medicine and therapy, to the point where they are unwilling to consider those that have been developed by indigenous peoples over the course of centuries? It is possible that they do, and that this research will end up being carried out for nothing. Whether or not this proves to be the case, it’s still well worth checking out at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ayahuasca-research-center#/
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