Publisher: Los Libros de La Liebre de Marzo (Spain)
Estimated date of publication: 2011
This collection brings together perspectives from the social and biomedical sciences as well as personal accounts of ayahuasca users in order to address diverse indigenous, mestizo and Western concepts of health, illness and curing related to the use of ayahuasca. Through a comparative analysis of the different contexts in which this psychoactive substance is consumed, this work investigates the boundaries between shamanism, religion and medicine while examining hybridization across the diverse boundaries knowledge-bases of ayahuasca practices. The diversity of cultural and regional situations is reflected in, for example, different traditions of governmental regulation of ayahuasca consumption: while Brazil permits religious (but not medicinal use) of ayahuasca, Peru has recently enshrined indigenous medical traditions surrounding ayahuasca as part of the national heritage. This work also presents some of the latest biomedical findings concerning the medical and therapeutic possibilities of ayahuasca. Numerous contributions highlight both agreements and disagreements between the “traditional” and the biomedical approach to health and health risks.