CNN: ESC’s work is “one of six things to know about ayahuasca”

CNN: ESC’s work is “one of six things to know about ayahuasca”

Could Ayahuasca be the next medicinal marijuana? From CNN. Is ayahuasca a natural remedy for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder or just another drug fad? Lisa Ling goes inside an ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon on this week’s episode of “This Is Life With Lisa Ling: Jungle Fix” Sunday, October 26, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. (CNN) — Imagine discovering a plant that has the potential to help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and paralyzing anxiety. That’s what some believe ayahuasca can do, and this psychedelic drink is attracting more and more tourists to the Amazon. If you Google “ayahuasca,” you’ll find a litany of stories about Hollywood celebrities espousing its benefits, as well as the dangers of this relatively unstudied substance that triggers hallucinations. On this Sunday’s episode of “This Is Life,” Lisa Ling goes inside an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru and talks to the men and women who are drinking this potent brew in hopes that it will alleviate their mental and emotional traumas. Here are six things to know about ayahuasca, which some call a drug and others call a medicine: War Vets are seeking it for PTSD Former Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan LeCompte organizes trips to Peru for war veterans, like himself, who are seeking ayahuasca as a possible treatment for PTSD and other emotional and mental trauma suffered after multiple combat deployments. He says he’s aware of the risks, as there’s very little known about ayahuasca’s effect on the body, but he says “it’s a calculated risk.” “Ayahuasca is a way to give relief to those who are suffering,” says LeCompte, who says many veterans are...
ESC Advisors featured in BBC article on Ayahuasca

ESC Advisors featured in BBC article on Ayahuasca

ESC Special Advisor Dennis McKenna and Chief Advisor Joshua Wickerham were quoted in a BBC article “Why do people take Ayahuasca?” published April 29, 2014. This story copyright British Broadcasting Corporation, April 29, 2014: Why do people take ayahuasca? British student Henry Miller, 19, died in Colombia after apparently consuming the traditional hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca, or yage. Emma Thelwell, who took the drug herself, explains why it has become a rite of passage for some backpackers. I had never swallowed a pill at a party. Yet there I was in the depths of a Colombian bamboo forest, knocking back a liquid containing a psychoactive drug – under the supervision of a shaman who didn’t speak a word of English. During my month in Colombia I didn’t join the thousands of backpackers indulging in the country’s most famous product – cocaine. But I was sold on ayahuasca. I was intrigued by the fact that for centuries, South America’s indigenous societies have used this “teacher plant” in regular rituals. Ayahuasca, also known as yage, is a blend of two plants – the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and a shrub called chacruna (Psychotria viridis), which contains the hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT – and therefore ayahuasca – is illegal in the UK, the US and many other countries. Ayahuasca could have serious implications for somebody who has a history of mental health problems, warns the UK’s Talk To Frank website. The drug could be responsible for triggering such a problem in those who are predisposed but unaware of it. But in South America ayahuasca is an integral part of some tribal societies. In 2008, Peru’s government...

Correcting the New York Times about Ayahuasca

Just as we were finishing up an initial stakeholder mapping and dialogue visit to Iquitos in August, the New York Times ran this travel piece “Iquitos, Peru: Wet and Wild” by Nina Burleigh. We wrote two letters to the editor and they ran neither. We share them here to show we tried.   This to the corrections editors: Dear Editors, Correction: In Friday’s article “Iquitos, Peru: Wet and Wild”, it should be noted that Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) is a vine and the part of the plant used in ceremonies is the vine, not the root as stated in the article. Ayahuasca itself is not a hallucinogen as claimed in the article. Ayahuasca is almost always mixed with at least one admixture plant, usually the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or other plants that contain the visionary chemical Dimethyltryptamine. Vomiting and diarrhea are not always experienced and do not always precede hallucinations, as stated in the article. Alfredo Cairuna was not likely speaking an “Indian dialect,” as he does not and has never lived in India. Sincerely, JW, Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council     This to the letters editor: Dear Editors, In Ms. Burleigh’s article “Iquitos, Peru: Wet and Wild”, her prominent and negative portrayal of Ayahuasca perpetuated biased coverage of one of the Amazon’s most important traditional plant medicines. A growing boom in Ayahuasca tourism means many more people are drinking this powerful brew, and yes, a few have ended up hurt or dead. More numerous are the Ayahuasca seekers who understand Ayahuasca’s minimal risks, drink with trusted healers, and return happier and healthier with mental and spiritual insights. My recent research expedition to Iquitos and other parts...
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Due to sustained opposition from a small but significant portion of stakeholders, we have dissolved the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council.

We are grateful for your support in increasing dialogue, learning with one another, and raising awareness about safer, more sustainable, and more reciprocal traditional plant use practices.

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