Somewhere between a doctor, an herbalist, a priest, an advisor, a therapist, a guide, a psychic, and a dealer, the shaman
not only provides the remedies people need to heal, but he journeys into the spirit world to help find solutions to disorders that conventional medicine can’t reach. By addressing the energetic and spiritual aspect of the patient’s illness from another realm, even complex health conditions like depression, addiction, and anxiety have been successfully cured.
One of the most famous herbal treatments is Ayahuasca
— used for centuries among indigenous tribes as a diagnostic tool for mental, emotional, psychological, or energetic disorders.
In a ceremonial ritual that takes place over an entire night, the shaman
begins by blending the Ayahuasca into a potent mixture for the patient to drink. The healing process begins with a “scorched earth” purging including extreme diarrhea and vomiting to release built up negative energy. From there, powerful hallucinations lead to psychological introspection, elation, and illumination.
Far beyond riding unicorns across strawberry fields, this chemical conduit takes patients to an outer realm where they have reportedly made contact with spiritual beings who helped them uncover underlying sources of their pain, resolve emotional-spiritual imbalances, and discover revelations on the true nature of the universe.
Freaky? Kinda— but reports of success are common. According to the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS), clinical trials
showed Ayahuasca to be “physiologically very safe,” with the potential to change life attitudes for the better in cases of drug addiction, depression and trauma.
And not a moment too soon. Americans are becoming more stressed, depressed, and anxiety-ridden
than ever before.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health
, 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders, and an estimated 8.3 million suffer from serious psychological distress. Teen anxiety
is at an all-time high, and with Internet addiction and social media fostering a culture of constant comparison, nobody can ever feel “good enough.” As American society struggles to cope with everything from schedule overload to the steady drumbeat of mass shootings, sexual assaults, and the existential threat of climate change, pharmaceutical companies happily find new ways to medicate, mask, and manage our pain.
Morphine. Fentanyl. Oxycodone. Percocet. Vicodin. Ambien. Intermezzo. Thorazine. Imipramine. Desipramine. Chlorpheniramine. Nardil. BuSpar. Prozac. Zoloft. Paxil. Wellbutrin. Effexor. Celexa. Lexapro. Cymbalta. Luvox. Trazodone. Levoxyl. Inderal. Tranxene. Serax. Centrax. Zolpidem. Valium. Librium. Ativan. Xanax. Klonopin. Dramamine.
The list goes on.
Even though the US has less than 5% of the world’s population— Americans consume more than 80%
of the global opioid pill production. Sales of prescription opioids have passed $11 billion annually— enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.
Even more ironic? While the volume of pain meds prescribed in the US has quadrupled
over the past 20 years, self-reported depression isn’t
No surprise, Peru’s shamans have been steadily gaining cred from the outside world as Americans continue their search for wellness. For the past two decades, Westerners have been teaming up with shamans to form Ayahuasca healing retreat centers
to help patients face the causes of their conditions and take part in the healing equation in a whole new way.
warn— these retreats are not
about psychedelic tourism. “Most of the treatment we’re carrying out is for trauma,” says Matthew Watherston, founder of the Temple of the Way of Light
, a “The drive is often the crises that people feel in day-to-day life, manifested on a psychological, emotional or physical level. Ultimately, these are all symptoms; the origin, typically, comes from an energetic imbalance or disorder.”
Either way, this brew is a trip. Have a look below: