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The cultural heritage of Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca has also been declared a cultural heritage of Peru and Brazil to offer greater protection to the plant, the rites and the culture associated with its use. The use of ayahuasca in countries such as Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and the United States of America is legally protected by the recognition of its traditional and religious uses within the framework that serves as legal recognition of the rights of native tribal groups as well as religious institutions such as Union do Vegetal or Santo Daime.

The government of Peru declared the traditional knowledge and uses of ayahuasca as a cultural heritage of the nation, practiced by indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest. The decision of the Peruvian government, commented by the director of the National Institute of Culture, Javier Ugaz Villacorta, was published in the Saturday edition of El Peruano, the official newspaper of the country.

In the declaration of recognition, the Peruvian government affirms that ayahuasca has psychotropic qualities, that is, that act on the psyche, mental activity, behavior, perception, being known throughout the world as an indigenous plant that transmits wisdom to all the initiates in the proper foundations of the world.

He also states that the effects produced by its consumption are equivalent to the entrance to the secrets of the spiritual world. According to the National Institute of Culture, the ritual of ayahuasca has established itself as the center of traditional medicine and is one of the pillars of the identity of the Amazonian peoples, being its necessary and indispensable use for all members of the Amazonian society Peruvian

Ayahuasca is a drink obtained from cooking the jagubé vine (Banisteriopis caapi), next to a leaf of chacrona (Psichotria viridis). According to the Peruvian government, ayahuasca has an extraordinary cultural history, by virtue of its psychotropic qualities.

Therapeutic virtues
The National Institute of Culture states that the use and results obtained with ayahuasca were necessary for all members of Amazonian societies at some point in their lives and indispensable for them to assume the role of being privileged carriers, either through their communications with the spiritual world or to express themselves in a plastic way.

The Peruvian government affirms that the effects produced by ayahuasca have been widely studied because of their complexity and are different from those usually produced by hallucinogens.

'Part of that difference consists in the ritual that accompanies its consumption, which leads to different effects, but always within a culturally delimited margin and with religious, therapeutic and cultural affirmation purposes', affirms Javier Villacorta.

For the Peruvian government, the practice of ritual sessions of ayahuasca constitutes one of the pillars of identity of the Amazonian peoples and their ancestral use in traditional rituals, which guarantee cultural continuity, is linked to their therapeutic virtues.

'Protection of the traditional and sacred use of the ritual of ayahuasca is sought, which differs from decontextualized, consumerist and commercial Western uses,' says the declaration of the National Institute of Culture.


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