Indigenous medicine in the medical setting of Colombia – ayahuasca-rituals in the city
Five case studies exemplify the ayahuasca-practice in a medical and psychotherapeutic setting in Bogotá. An intercultural symbiosis of knowledge and practice is taking place with the collaboration of physicians and indigenous healers. Ayahuasca can facilitate reflective processes which can lead to an improved coping and healing of diseases. Establishing research in complementary and traditional medicine, as well as implementing social and cultural approaches, can facilitate the de-stigmatization of ayahuasca as a drug and the acceptance of traditional ways of gaining knowledge. The interest of Western mainstream culture to this potential medicine is increasing. How can we conduct research while respecting traditional knowledge and culture? In order to preserve traditional education, knowledge of medicine and ecosystems, we should work in collaboration with the indigenous communities to spread the use of this old world medicine.
Heiner Dörfler conducted a qualitative field study in Colombia about the medical use of yagé and how the medicine is applied by medical and psychotherapeutic professionals, in cooperation with traditional healers (2008-2010). Recently he studied the use of yagé in Inga (Mocoa), Siona (Puerto Asis) and Cofán (Orito, Sucumbios) communities in Colombia (2015-2016). He was research assistant at the Beckley Foundation in England in 2014 and currently is working as a resident physician at the Psychiatric University Clinic Zurich/Switzerland.