An important and provocative topic when discussing Ayahuasca is the common misconception that it has the miraculous ability to cure all disease. Investigative journalist Peter Gorman addresses in this informative blog article, that asking if ayahuasca offers a permanent cure to AIDS, Cancer and other serious disease, is simply the wrong question:


“I think the question should be: Can a good curandero really access a spirit world that can aid him/her in finding imbalances in a patient that, if corrected, will help eliminate physical illnesses on this plane of reality? And if extra work is needed, can that curandero really come back from his/her ayahuasca dream armed with the information about plants and diets for the patient to use to eliminate those illnesses?”


The idea that ayahuasca can heal all that ails us, stems from a misunderstanding of how whole-system (mind-body-spirit) healing works; a clearer way of looking at it would be to say that ayahuasca has the capacity to remove obstacles and thought patterns that impede our growth process, therefore empowering us to heal ourselves.


In traditional Shipibo medicine, there is a strong focus on healing and addressing problems in the spiritual world in order to cure what is manifesting in the mind and in the body. The modern medicine perspective on one hand, and the psychedelic perspective on the other, often overlook or isolate the spiritual component that is integral to true healing and personal growth. From these perspectives, ayahuasca is looked at based on pharmacology and specific effect on the brain or body; as a substance, rather than a spirit and a spiritual tool that is a part of a complete system and way of relating to the world.


Looking for a “quick-fix”, be it to heal disease or to experience a psychedelic substance, is an incomplete way of thinking that speaks to the disconnection of the modern world. This illusion of disconnection causes a narrow perspective, which limits the area where solutions can be found. Ayahuasca potentiates connection, and can open us up a realm of possibilities that can be accessed to empower our personal healing and transformation. In the Shipibo framework of addressing the spiritual root causes of a disease, miracles can and do occur. That said, Ayahuasca is a part of the wider practice of Shipibo medicine which uses other medicinal plants and methods to promote physical as well as spiritual healing.


The power of holistic modalities such as Shipibo medicine is that they can help us reframe our approach to healing and personal growth to be focused on a return to wholeness, which enables health and fulfillment on all levels of being.