Bernd Brabec de Mori, Ph.D

Much has been speculated about the origin and the actual age of ayahuasca. Some scholars attribute thousands of years to this brew, while others, including me, assume a much more recent discovery of ayahuasca. Up front, I wish to underline that origin stories seldom tell us what actually happened in the past—shrouded in the fog of time— but they reveal much about the people who talk about it in the present. It makes a difference, indeed, whether we report to the public that we are investigating a hallucinogenic drug that was spread relatively recently through Catholic missions and rubber camps, or whether we report that we are working with a traditional remedy that has been used by forest Indians for at least five thousand years. Plus, I perceive it much more rewarding to “enable” indigenous people to discover an important new item in colonial times, and therefore to get rid of a popular image of “traditional” indigenous people who are only “reproducing” what had been discovered by mythical forefathers in ancient times… continue reading.

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