Ayahuasca Dialogues Report presents new approach to Amazon conservation

Ayahuasca Dialogues Report presents new approach to Amazon conservation

New “Ayahuasca Dialogues” Report Highlights Novel Approaches to Amazonian Rainforest Conservation, Sustainable Growth, and Community Revitalization Research centers on benefits and challenges of improving the safe use and sustainability of the traditional Amazonian medicine ayahuasca. Report includes a foreword by Dr. Dennis McKenna. A new report from the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) demonstrates how improving the safe use and sustainability of ayahuasca can promote vibrant forests, strong communities, cultural revitalization, and sustainable economic development. Ayahuasca, as a pillar of Amazonian identity and culture, is rapidly gaining global prominence as a psychological tool, religious sacrament, and subject of multi-disciplinary interest. As a global influx of tourists meets local communities in the Amazon, and ayahuasca spreads around the world, safety and sustainability challenges are threatening the reputation and future of this ancient medicine. Based on hundreds of interviews from over a year of research, the report outlines a process to build consensus on ayahuasca safe use and sustainability practices from the ground up so that all voices are represented. The result of this consensus building process—the Ayahuasca Agreement—will provide a benchmark for ayahuasca centers, communities, and farms to be recognized for implementing safety and sustainability practices. The ESC expects that, by 2016, ayahuasca pilgrims in the Amazon will be able to find ayahuasca centers and communities that adhere to the Ayahuasca Agreement, demonstrating credentials in sustainable medicinal plant cultivation, sustainable tourism, and safe jungle experiences. “Every year, over 100,000 people are making pilgrimages to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca,” said Joshua Wickerham, ESC Co-Founder and Executive Director. “We have the chance to educate and improve the safety of these visitors while...
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...
Summary of first Ayahuasca Dialogues roundtable in Iquitos, Peru (Español and English)

Summary of first Ayahuasca Dialogues roundtable in Iquitos, Peru (Español and English)

Note: This preliminary summary will be updated and expanded after receipt of final feedback from participants. This roundtable is not representative of the issues the ESC is exploring elsewhere, but represents the ESC’s commitment to responding to local conditions and interests. With community support, the ESC will host dialogues elsewhere with more stakeholders. Donate now to help support the ESC’s work to develop consensus on the sustainability and safe use of ayahuasca. Visit the ESC’s Ayahuasca Dialogues crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.    Resumen Mesa Redonda: Modelos sostenibles y justos para el cultivo de la ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) y chacruna (Psichotria viridis) con beneficios económicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales   12 de Agosto, 2014 Iquitos, Región Loreto, Perú   Organizado por: Consejo para la Sostenibilidad Etnobotánica (Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council, ESC) Acogido y respaldado por: Dirección Regional de Comercio Exterior, Turismo y Artesanía. (Dircetura) Participantes: La mesa redonda dio la bienvenida a más de 25 participantes en representación de las partes interesadas como curanderos (healers), centros (albergues) Propietarios, empresas, universidades, investigadores, agricultores y productores.   Moderadores: Solange Pineda, Comunicadora Social , Dircetura; Joshua Wickerham, Director Ejecutivo, ESC   Coordinadora: Sra. Mariella Noriega, Consejo para la Sostenibilidad Etnobotánica (ESC) Resumen Ejecutivo: La Dircetura y ESC organizaron esta mesa redonda sobre todo para hacer frente a la escasez de chacruna (Psychotria viridis) en Iquitos y explorar modelos, o sistemas e implementación de un plan de manejo cultural para aumentar la producción de ésta y otras plantas utilizadas en la mezcla de la ayahuasca en Loreto, mientras que al mismo tiempo que ayuda a asegurar los beneficios sociales, ambientales y económicos a las comunidades...
ESC and local community agree to pilot test ayahuasca safety and sustainability guidelines in Peru

ESC and local community agree to pilot test ayahuasca safety and sustainability guidelines in Peru

Following meetings with village leaders at the Santa Rosa cooperative in San Martin, Peru, the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) has agreed to support the local community in implementing protocols for sustainable ayahuasca cultivation, ceremonial safety, and cultural sensitivity. After years of neglect of traditional ayahuasca culture in the region, this community has made a conscious decision to work to protect and enhance its relationship to ayahuasca and has asked for the ESC’s support to achieve safety and sustainability objectives. To date, the community has constructed a new ceremony building (maloca) and is working with local vegetalistas (healers) to administer ayahuasca ceremonies with the community and with visitors. This eco-tourism model is very connected with the community, as visitors stay in community members’ homes and get to experience village life on the river in an agricultural cooperative. The community has expressed three important needs: Cultural sensitivity: The community has experienced negative aspects of ayahuasca seekers who come to the community but do not interact with community members. The community wishes for visitors to understand the local way of life; Safety: The community wishes for ayahuasca seekers to feel safe and for the community to do all it can to reduce risks to safety at the site and during ceremonies. Therefore, the ESC has agreed to work with the community in early 2015 to implement and pilot test the Ayahuasca Health Guide, with its focus on visitor safety, the responsibility of ceremony organizers, and the ethical oath of healers to do no harm. The first version of the Ayahuasca Health Guide is being developed through community consultation. You too can read and contribute...
ESC hiring Ayahuasca Dialogues field researchers to interview stakeholders in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

ESC hiring Ayahuasca Dialogues field researchers to interview stakeholders in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

Update: All researcher positions have been filled. Please check back in the future for more opportunities to work with the ESC!       The ESC is hiring Ayahuasca Dialogues field researchers to interview stakeholders in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru   **Download the full job description in pdf format** Title: Field Researcher (Consultant, part time) Location(s): (at least one person will be hired in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) About the ESC: Our mission and work: The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) is a nonprofit organization launched in 2013 dedicated to transforming lives by assuring the sustainability and safe use of traditional plants. We believe that the best way to encourage people to work safely and sustainably with traditional plants is to help make best practice more visible and accessible to the market. We offer ESC members a voluntary assurance system whereby good work is recognized and rewarded. Assessment criteria are based on sustainability and safety principles and criteria developed by consensus through ESC’s Plant Dialogues. The Ayahuasca Dialogues: The flagship Plant Dialogue is the ESC Ayahuasca Dialogues to build consensus about the safe use and sustainability of ayahuasca in ways that protect seekers, benefit traditional knowledge holders, enrich local communities, and protect biodiversity and the natural environment. The Ayahuasca Dialogues will establish the Ayahuasca Agreement that outline principles and criteria for determining ayahuasca site safety and sustainability best practices and good cultivation techniques. Ayahuasca centers and practitioners can then request to have their performance assessed according to the content of the Ayahuasca Agreement. The voluntary assessment process and results will be transparent so as to encourage learning and...

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.

For a summary of our work, please see our 2014 financial report or our Dialogues Report.

If you are interested in learning more about ethnobotanicals, please visit ICEERS.