Lansing man describes experience with South American psychotropic

Dec 11, 2014

According to the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council website, ESC works to assure 'the sustainability and safe use of traditional plants'.

“It’s as if a well has been sunk deep into the sediment of my life, an artesian well drilled into the stratified, impermeable bedrock of the past, and every memory that is forced to the surface breeds another ten in front of my eyes.” Those provocative words come from Sting’s 2003 memoir, "Broken Music." They recall his 1987 experience with a South American psychotropic brew called ayahuasca.

Elsewhere, Sting describes the experience in less rapturous terms:  “I have never felt this bad in my entire life, nor do I remember having been so afraid.”

Ayahuasca is a brew made from vines and plants native to South America.  It’s been used as a sacrament for centuries by native tribes of the Amazon River system.  For many, the experience is hallucinogenic, wrenching and sickening. But many others emerge from it claiming to be transformed for the better:  more loving, forgiving and with a profound sense of peace.

So what is ayahuasca? Current State speaks with Jonathan Thompson, co-founder of an organization called the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council.