The ESC in the News. Stories about the ESC.

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”

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...

Listen to ESC Co-Founder on the Entheogenic Evolution

ESC Co-Founder Jonathan Thompson was featured on Martin Ball’s Entheogenic Evolution Podcast. The two discuss the ESC’s origins, the latest groundbreaking work with the Ayahuasca Dialogues, the World Ayahuasca Conference in Spain, the economics of how ayahuasca can help save the rainforest, ayahuasca safety, the prospects for future ESC Plant Dialogues, the ESC’s partnership to do sustainable ayahuasca and chacruna cultivation pilot tests in Peru, the ESC’s Indiegogo campaign, and many other topics. Download the podcast now. Visit the podcast...

New podcast: How to stay safe when trying ayahuasca

ESC Co-Founder and Executive Director Joshua Wickerham is featured on Amber Lyon’s Reset.Me podcast “How To Stay Safe When Trying Ayahuasca.” Listen to learn recommendations on how to choose a center that is best for you and the value of the “integration process.” Share this with your friends so they can gain from the podcast and learn about what the ESC is doing to work with communities and ayahuasca centers to improve safety and sustainability practices. Amber, an Emmy award-winning investigative journalist has shared the personal ayahuasca experiences which have transformed her...

Ayahuasca Dialogues podcast on Soundart Radio

The ESC’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Joshua Wickerham joins Soundart Radio host and ESC Research and Outreach Coordinator Ellen Percival to discuss the founding of the ESC, as well as the ideas, experiences, and principles that are growing the organization. As ayahuasca demand grows, the ESC aims to ensure that traditional knowledge holders and practitioners benefit economically, socially and environmentally while keeping seekers safe. Listen for a broad overview of how the ESC is stewarding Plant Dialogues with healers, ayahuasca centers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to develop consensus on good practices around the safe use and sustainability of this important medicine. Listen now: http://www.ethnobotanicalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ESC-SoundArt-Podcast.mp3 Download MP3 file: ESC SoundArt...

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...

Listen to the ESC on the Psychonautica podcast

The ESC Chief Advisor had the pleasure of sitting down with Psychonautica co-hosts KMO and Olga in Brooklyn to share the latest on the ESC’s work. Listen here. From the notes of the Psychonautica podcast website: KMO kicks off this month’s episode of the Psychonautica podcast by reading a classic LSD trip report from artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel. After that, Joshua Wickerham tells KMO and Olga about the mission of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council. According to their website, “The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring the sustainable and safe use of traditional plants, and enriching the communities who work with them.” Easier said than done. Listen in as the Psychonautica co-hosts press Joshua for the nitty gritty. Listen...

Ayahuasca Dialogues In a Perfect World Podcast

In this podcast, experimental journalist and “new wave entheogenic explorer” Rak Razam interview the ESC’s Chief Advisor. Discussion ranged from whether Goldman Sachs executives should drink ayahuasca, if we need a Trip Advisor for ayahuasca retreat centers, and how to build consensus around sustainability and safety issues in the ayahuasca community. Listen to the interview here or embedded below. Here’s the “In a Perfect World” description of the episode: As the Western resurgence in entheogenic shamanism grows, teething issues abound. The Enthnobotanical Stewardship Council is a new NGO dedicated to facilitating the safe and sustainable cultural use of ayahuasca, iboga and other plant sacraments. Here we chat about the need for a fair trade system for cultivating entheogens like ayahuasca, applying NGO standards to an emerging spiritual paradigm, navigating the huge political issues between curanderos, operators and the law, and the minefield of cultural and ethical considerations. How can the conservation of bio-diversity be balanced against the rapid growth of the shamanic community worldwide? What differences do sacred medicines make to running a Western NGO? Can shamanism be regulated into the Western experience without being commodified? Check out Rak’s amazing “Aya: Awakenings” documentary here. Here’s the...

ESC featured in cover story about ayahuasca’s therapeutic benefits

The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council was featured and the ESC’s chief adviser, Joshua Wickerham, was quoted in this well-balanced story about the therapeutic benefits of the traditional South American plant medicine ayahuasca. The story also features quotes from ESC supporters Rick Doblin and Dennis McKenna, along with therapists like Gabor Mate. Read more about the ESC’s plant dialogues model and our flagship “Ayahuasca Dialogues”. Read the entire article “How Ayahuasca Can Revolutionize Psychotherapy” here. Please help fund the Ayahuasca Dialogues by donating to the ESC...

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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.

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