akiwasi Center has been open since August 1992.
It is located in the Tarapoto jungle area in Northern Peru.
Drug addicts or drug-dependent patients are treated here in an integral way.
Human beings are bio-psycho-social entities and so patients at Centro Takiwasi are treated with consideration for these three aspects.
Following the tradition of Amazon shamanism, work is initially at the physical level.
Diets and using depurative plants that provoke vomiting accelerate de-intoxication and shorten the abstinence period.
Vomiting is an important part of the treatment.
Depurative or emetic plants help to clean the body. This favours the elimination of those substances consumed in excess and that have generated an addiction.
When the organism liberates those excess toxins, the emotional part of the individual starts flowing.
Work done by Ayahuasca regarding introspection and analysis of one's own life, also makes it easier for the patient to solve his or her emotional problems, which in many cases may have been the reason for drug addiction.
They thus learn to get involved with the original problem and it depends on them to solve it or not.
Ayahuasca, by sharpening intuition, allows the patient to perform a better analysis of his or her life and depending on how decided he or she is, to solve the problem.
1. Vomitive plants used in the treatment of drug addicts:
a. Yawar panga (Aristolochia didyma sp.)
It produces physical, mental and emotional depuration. It is taken during a ritual session 3 to 6 hours long, accompanied by relaxation chants with tobacco blowing or perfumes.
After this first session, the patient's dream activity is reactivated.
b. Nard (Amarilis sp.)
It produces short-lasting vomiting and works at the emotional level.
c. Sisa rose (Tapetes erecta)
It works on the respiratory tracts and sinus. Its main action is at cephalic and mental levels.
d. Elder-tree (Sambucus peruviana)
It is used to eliminate secretions, chronic bronchial congestion and sinus.
e. Huacapu (Schweilera mexicana)
It as a potent purgative. It is used as a general detoxifier.
f. Tobacco (Nicotina rustica)
It is used for tobacco addictions. It has an emetic effect; it stimulates dream activity and has a mild psychotropic effect. It must be used carefully with older patients.
g. Guayusa (Piper callosum)
It is an emetic used by some tribes on a daily basis for digestive cleaning and as a tonic, depending on its concentration. It is used to fight laziness and to favour fertility.
h. Purgahuasca or Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi)
It is pure and more diluted Ayahuasca. The patient must drink two to three litres of this potion.
For Amazon natives, the vomit therapy is of great importance to heal different illnesses.
In contrast with Modern Medicine that regards vomit as the effect of toxicity or as a merely physiological and in transcendent fact, for Traditional Amazon Medicine, besides physical depuration, vomit implies a depuration of subconscious contents which can be prejudicial and the main cause of physical illness.
In the case of drug addicts, these provoked vomits many times smell of drugs.
At the same time they vomit, addicts bring to their minds all the experiences that have degraded their life quality, under the form of successive images.
"Many patients feel they vomit vermin that represent for them hatred, sadness or "damage", while experiencing these emotions." Rosa Giove, La Liana de los Muertos al Rescate de la Vida, Tarapoto, 2002, 21.
2. Other treatments:
Magnesia with coconut water. It has a mild laxative effect and it is an energetic regulator. It facilitates the action of the rest of plants.
Camalonga (Strychnos sp. seeds), prepared with sun water. It is used to re-establish the energetic level and the nervous system.
Mucura (Petiveria alliaceas); and energizer and fortifier.
Ginger (Zengiber officinalis); a general depurative.
Individual sauna baths with aromatic plants (Ajosacha, Lemon verbena, Eucalyptus).
3. Plants for specific treatments:
-Liver and Bilious - Boldo, Hercampuri, Cordoncillo, Mallow, Manayupa, Canchalagua, Verbena, Amargón.
-Kidneyl - Chancapiedra, Mallow, Boldo, Flor de arena, Cordoncillo negro, Foster sacha.
-Respiratory.- Sauco, Eucalyptus, Tobacco, Lancetilla, Clove, Garlic, Turnip, Onion, Jagua.
-Blood.- Abuta, Pasuchaca, Nettle, Bolsa mullaca, Canchalagua, Ojo de pollo.
4. Fasting and mono diets:
To treat sleep and anxiety disorders. The treatment includes:
-Blowing and ikaros songs - Chants and blowing smoked tobacco, flower water, camphor and perfumes. The healer blows on the patient's energetic points (head, hands, back, and chest).
-Massages - Relaxation, reflexology.
-Plant baths - Aromatic and sedative plants are used such as Mucura, Shapiyoja, Toe, Lemon verbena, Rue, Basil and flowers. The baths can be taken in waterfalls or in the river. As far as possible, in a natural setting.
-Ishangueada - Rubbing with nettle (Urtica urens). It is known as "Ishanga" in the Quechua language.
After the rubbing, a bath in the river.
This treatment is applied to angry or apathetic patients.
-Sedative plants infusions - Valerian, Lemon balm, Sacha culantro, Aire sacha, Apple water.
-Floral extracts - Bach flowers, Essential oils.
-Coca leaves - Macerated in water. It is taken as an infusion before going to sleep. It is relaxing and it stimulates dream activity.
-Cold seat baths.
This type of treatment is accompanied by psychotherapeutically methods such as reading, music therapy, meditation techniques, dance and corporal expression, dramatization, mountain retreats, diets and representing feelings through drawings.
Something important rescued by this treatment is the patient's spiritual revaluation.
Even though the patient may be far away from religious beliefs, this encounter with nature and the cosmos in a state of purity and harmony generates an understanding of the value of something that goes beyond the material, taking him or her into a spiritual state that draws the person closer to the Creation and therefore to God.
The results seen in patients under this treatment have been positive. In most cases they have resulted in a stable situation and a disposition to continue with a normal life.
It is important to consider the role of society in the cases of drug addiction and so the work done at the Centro Takiwasi, despite being adequate, depends on good life management of cured patients and their disposition to avoid retaking a self-destructive attitude that generated, to begin with, their addiction.
I will now transcribe a poem written by Rudy, the first patient at Takiwasi, during his internment:
"I will not be anymore
an accomplice of dark things,
I will not walk anymore,
on the dark side of the moon,
where every crater is an abyss.
I will let the light inside me
join the exterior light,
and that heaven and earth join inside me.
I will start to explore the immensity of life,
so that everything becomes my teacher.
I will make the metal of my hope
be more valuable than all the gold in the world.
And then, hope will be enough to make me happy.
I will gather many human beings
to sing beautiful melodies to them,
even though my guitar is out of tune,
so that their mind of silence
gets full of music..."
And if that is still little, I will break my guitar
to make good wood, to lighten its immense darkness,
so that they can know themselves,
and so understand they are not alone.
I give thanks to life, which made me dream while I was dead.
Because it was enough to wake up to find the path of my dreams.
I stopped being a dry leaf, as all the leaves scattered by the wind,
and screaming when they are downtrodden.
I thank Takiwasi for presenting me nature,
and Ayahuasca for presenting me myself.
Plants are my hope,
now that I have discovered their language.
I feel excited,
listening to music in my mind of silence,
seeing lights in my mind of darkness,
and discovering happiness in my mind of sadness...
But everything has already passed..."
Sadly, Rudy was not able to win this battle against addiction and he is no longer among us.
As quoted by Rosa Giove in her book "La Liana de los Muertos al Rescate de la Vida": "Takiwasi works for all the suffering and lost Rudys, hidden in dark holes; and for those looking for the light within themselves, in others and in life, fighting day to day against their darkness, against emptiness."