A Note on the Use of Ayahuasca among Urban Mestizo Populations in the Peruvian Amazon1


  • 1

    This study was conducted from June 1968 to May 1969 and supported by the Foundations Fund for Research in Psychiatry (in collaboration with 0. Rios) G67-395. A debt of gratitude is owed to Dr. C. A. Seguin, former director of the Instituto de Psiquiatria Social, National University of San Marcos, Lima.


The use of the psychedelic vine, ayahuasca (various Banisteriopsis species), in the Peruvian Amazon by mestizo folk healers is related to such variables as cultural expectations of drug experience and belief systems concerning illness. A subjective personal experience inherent in psychedelic use takes on cultural coloration, as determinants of hallucinatory experience show strong relationships to cultural data.