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A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy


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Explains how ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic tea, is considered a sacrament in South America but an illicit drug in the United States, and how the opposing views have heated legal battles here, including at the Supreme Court and the United Nations.

About the Author

MARLENE DOBKIN DE RIOS is a medical anthropologist who has conducted fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon and the coast on plant hallucinogens and healing. She is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, and Professor Emerita of Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton. De Rios has spearheaded research on the plant hallucinogen, ayahuasca in Peru, Brazil, and the United States. The author of six books and several hundred articles on hallucinogens and culture, she resides in Southern California.ROGER RUMRRILL is a well-known Peruvian journalist and author of 25 books. He is a recognized expert on Amazon themes, including narco-trafficking, biological wealth of the Amazon, and social and cultural issues of indigenous peoples in Peru and other regions of Latin America.


"Overall, I recommend this book to anyone interested in Cultural Anthropology, Shamanism, Amazonin Influences, Religions." -
"This book does far more than live up to its strange title. Anthropologist Rios (Univ. of California, Irvine) joins Peruvian journalist Rumrrill in revealing a peculiar, engrossing saga of recent changes and controversies centered around tea derived from the hallucinogenic vine ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi). [...] Summing Up: Highly recommended." - Choice
"This book represents an important addition to the current discussion about ways to use ayahuasca (and other drugs) to maximize the potential for benefit and minimize the possibility of harm. It is not a book for people who know little about ayahuasca, but one that should be read by those who wish to gain a fuller understanding of the perils and promise of contemporary ayahuasca use. While aficionados may take issue with some of the points raised by the authors, this does not diminish their importance. Anthropological research has shown that almost any psychoactive substance can be used for culturally constructive and integrative purposes if such use occurs in a socially sanctioned and culturally accepted context. In the past, such contexts have typically been provided by religions. While postmodern individuals might be justifiable skeptical of these religions, they would do well to understand the deeper nature of rituals and the ways they help to constructively contextualize both their participants' experiences and the things they learn from these experiences. Herein lies what is perhaps the most important message of this timely book." - Anthropology of Consciousness

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