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Word Count: 853
Throughout the history of medicine we find that many cures have been effective despite the irrational concepts of disease that members of a society might hold To the Western observer it might appear in fact that ayahuasca use is totally irrational in terms of the magical worldview in which such healing occurs Yet to the Amazonian man or woman whose beliefs are thus oriented ayahuasca can only be viewed as a valuable adjunct in reaffirming ones own suspicions about illness and its etiology Once the premises concerning the philosophy of causation are accepted the system of healing itself has an inner rationale that is quite in accordance with a richly developed historical tradition Some of the many questions that observers have on the ayahuasca is how is it used What effects does it have on the body And should it be brought over to the United States The use of ayahuasca to heal does not include a well-defined sense of the hallucinogen as a curative agent per se Rather the vine is seen to operate as a powerful means to a desired end it gives the healer entry into the culturally important area of disease causality enabling him to identify the nature of the illness from which a person is suffering and then to deflect or neutralize the evil magic which is deemed responsible for illness Needless to say drug healers do not accept all patients who come to them for help nor are they able to cure everyone with an infusion of ayahuasca But many of the patients who do find their way to the jungle sessions are precisely those whose anxieties fears projections of hostility and hatred toward others would in Western medicine be grist for psychiatric help Drug healing in the Peruvian jungle in many ways represents a very old and honored tradition of dealing with psychological problems that predates Ayahuasqueros often make an immediate diagnosis by taking a patients pulse
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