The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca

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Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar
Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 22, 2013 - Medical - 226 pages

This book presents a series of perspectives on the therapeutic potential of the ritual and clinical use of the Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca in the treatment and management of various diseases and ailments, especially its role in psychological well-being and substance dependence. Biomedical and anthropological data on the use of ayahuasca for treating depression, PTSD, and substance dependence in different settings, such as indigenous contexts, neo-shamanic rituals, contemporary therapeutic circles, and in ayahuasca religions, in both South and North America, are presented and critiqued. Though multiple anecdotal reports on the therapeutic use of ayahuasca exist, there has been no systematic and dense reflection on the topic thus far. The book brings the therapeutic use of ayahuasca to a new level of public examination and academic debate. The texts in this volume stimulate discussion on methodological, ethical, and political aspects of research and will enhance the development of this emergent field of studies.



1 Therapeutic Applications of Ayahuasca and Other Sacred Medicines
2 The Therapeutic Potentials of Ayahuasca in the Treatment of Depression
3 Ayahuasca as a Candidate Therapy for PTSD
A Cognitive Phenomenological Analysis
Notes on Therapeutic Rituals and Effects in European Patients Treating Their Diseases
6 Ayahuasca and the Treatment of Drug Addiction
7 Hypotheses Regarding Ayahuascas Potential Mechanisms of Action in the Treatment of Addiction
8 Therapist and Patient Perspectives on AyahuascaAssisted Treatment for Substance Dependence
9 Effect of Santo Daime Membership on Substance Dependence
10 Experience of Treatment with Ayahuasca for Drug Addiction in the Brazilian Amazon
A Pilot Study
An Interview with Taita Juan Bautista Agreda Chindoy
From Cancer to Addiction
Ayahuasca as a Candidate Therapy for PTSD

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About the author (2013)

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a PhD in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of psychoactive substances, drug policies, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is visiting professor at the drug policy program of the Center for Economic Research and Education (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, CIDE) in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She is also a research associate at the Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg University, co-founder of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and editor of its site ( She is author, co-author, and co-editor of eight books, two with English translations, one journal special edition, and several peer-reviewed articles. For more information, see:

Clancy Cavnar is currently completing her clinical postdoctoral hours in clinical psychology at the Marin Treatment Center, a methadone clinic in San Rafael, California. In 2011 she received a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California, with a dissertation on gay and lesbian people's experiences with ayahuasca. She attended New College of the University of South Florida and completed an undergraduate degree in liberal arts in 1982. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Master of Fine Art in painting in 1985. In 1993, she received a certificate in substance abuse counseling from the extension program of the University of California at Berkeley and, in 1997, she graduated with a master's in counseling from San Francisco State University. In that same year, she got in touch with the Santo Daime in the USA, and has traveled several times to Brazil since then. She is also co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of two books: Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond (Oxford University Press, in press), and Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use (Springer, in press).

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