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Health Canada orders doctor to stop using traditional Amazonian medicine to treat addicts

Monday, November 14, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: ayahuasca, Amazon, health news

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(NaturalNews) For the past several years, Dr. Gabor Mate of Vancouver, Can., has been facilitating the use of a traditional Amazonian hallucinogenic tea in his patients with very serious addictions. But Health Canada considers the tea to be a controlled substance, and has thus ordered Dr. Mate to stop using it.

According to The Star, ayahuasca is a psychedelic tea derived from a woody vine that grows in the Amazon basin. This tea alters areas of the brain associated with emotional memory and insight, allowing those who take it to recall past memories and identify events that may have led to their addictions.

The idea behind the treatment is to help adults revisit past traumatic events that occurred during childhood in order to reprocess them as adults. And Dr. Mate says he has helped as many as 150 addicts over the past couple years that decided on their own to begin taking the tea.

Ayahuasca tea is very hallucinogenic, however, which means that someone trained in guiding those who take it must be present. It is definitely an "alternative" form of addiction treatment in every sense of the word, especially because of its connection to ritualistic religious practices. But it is one that Dr. Mate has seen result in incredible success.

"People have given up sex addictions. People have given up cocaine addictions. People have given up their heroin and crystal meth use. People have reconciled with their families and that kind of thing," said Dr. Mate to The Star. "If you understand that there is nothing wrong with you but that you have just been hurt, you can begin to let of it."

But until ayahuasca is formally approved by Health Canada as an acceptable form of addiction treatment, authorities insist that Dr. Mate cannot continue to use it. And it appears highly unlikely that the health ministry will approve ayahuasca tea anytime soon.

"I wish it was otherwise because I have seen how I can help people with this and now it is going to be much longer to seek approval if we even get it," added Mate.

Sources for this article include:


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