Date: Sun, 6 Jul 1997 07:36:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: "yatra-W.M. da Silveira Barbosa" <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Friends of the Forest

Amsterdam, july 6th, 1997

Beloved Friends,

Using a little of my sunday time (There is no break between work, five
children, journeys to the beyond, domestics, computer and a lot of joy), I
will post some info about us and our work in Holland with ayahuasca.         
                           WHAT  IS  AYAHUASCA?

                Ayahuasca is a tea made from two plants, used in rituals, and has proven
to be effective in the treatment of depression, drug addiction and related
disorders. In addition, it has been extremely successful for self
exploration and development of consciousness.

                       Psychoactive medicinal plants
                       from the Amazonian Rain Forest

The preparation generically called Ayahuasca contains B-carbolines (harmine,
harmaline, or tetrahydroharmine) and tryptamine (Dimethyltryptamine -DMT).
It has been extracted mainly from the psychoactive plants banisteriopsi
caapi and psycotria viridis, and it's widely used throughout the amazon
basin by indian tribes and shamans, for healing, developing spirituality,
and for magic powers. In the tribes from north-east of Brasil, the
psychoactive plant used for this extraction is mimosa hostilis, that has the
same content as the psychotria viridis (DMT). Plutarco Naranjo mentions that
the "oldest know object related to the use of ayahuasca, is a ceremonial
cup, hewn out of stone, with engraved ornamentation, which has been found in
the area of the Pastaza culture, Amazonian Ecuador), forming part of the
collection of the Ethnological Museum of the Central University (Quito).
This culture covers the period 500B.C. to 50 A.D.(Naranjo, P 1983). Under a
diverse variety of names (ne'pe, xono, date'm, kamarampi, pilde, natema,
yage', caa-pi, mihi, iona, mii, nixi, pae, etc.) tribes widely separated
from one another manifest an intimate knowlegde of ayahuasca use. How could
those people at those times draw the connection between the properties of
the banisteriopsi caapi and its ability to potentiate and render orally
active still DMT or other tryptamines containing plants? Early 1920's, the
indigena tradition arrived for the white man, and different churches were
founded in Brasil like the Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal and
Barquinha, and later brought to the urban environment. Chemically, the
compounds in ayahusca of current interest have an indole structure in
common, and through several mechanisms, they influence the actions of the
central nervous system (CNS). Most apparent here are their chemical
similarities to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT).`The harmala alkaloids
in ayahuasca, primarily harmine, reversibly inhibit the neuronal enzyme
monoamine oxidase (MAO). This allows for the oral activity of DMT as well as
the accumulation of biogenic amines, such as 5-HT, which are normally
metabolized by MAO.(Callaway) DMT can be a very powerful psychedelic agent
when consumed via ayahuasca. It is know to be 5-HT 1A agonist and a 5-HT 2
receptors (Deliganis et al 1991)
A study with 2 groups, one of ayahuasca drinkers from the UDV (Uniao do
Vegetal), and a control group took place in Manaus. This study included
physical as well as psychological evaluations of both groups, in addition to
the analysis of botanical and biological samples. To examine the possibility
of long term effects, blood platelets were collected from UDV members who
had used ayahuasca for at least 10 years, and who had not consumed the
beverage for at least one week. (In ceremonial usage, this beverage is
seldom consumed once every other week). Blood platelets were also colletcted
from the control group as well. 5-HT uptake activity was measured in
platelets by displacing [3 H]citalopram with unlabelled paroxetine. A
statistically significant (p= 0.006) difference was found between the two
groups; the tea drinkers had a higher density (Bmax) of 5-HT uptake sites
when compared to the control group and literature values, with an overall
"up-regulation" of about 25%. (Callaway et al.1994)
An up-regulation of the 5-HT uptake is of interest because of its
implications on our present understanding of depressive disorders. Increased
serotonergic activity is exactly what current medications attempt to provide
for such devastating states of mind. Should this neurological change be
precipitated by ayahuasca, then further studies on the minimal dosage needed
to induce this change, the time it takes for it to occur, and its durability
would be important questions to answer. Should it be so that individuals
with naturally high densities of the 5-HT uptake site are found to be
significant numbers among drinkers of ayahuasca, then a novel treatment
modality for depression disorders may be on the horizon which could include
other psychedelic substance as well.(Callaway 1994).
The combination of specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, such as
Prozac), and some other antidepressants, with ayahuasca or other MAO
inhibitors can and have resulted in death and life threatening
situations.(Callaway 1994)
In therapy, ayahuasca has, among other things, two great properties,
cathartic and abreactive. The cathartic property will work not only on the
physical level as a detox and cleansing agent, but also on a metaphysical
level as people throw up garbage from their entire life time. The abreaction
will take the person into a regression to the situation or the source from
where the problem or trauma has originated, and symbolicly reliving that and
gaining understanding through insights into the situation, he/her will be
able to free themselves and to reshape the consequent patterns. It enters
transpersonal areas with lots of focus on perinatal experiences and
psychodinamics. Its entheogenic property facilitates the link with
spirituality and the meeting with the divine within, fulfilling the
spiritual search from the ones who benefits from its ritualistic use.
Up to date, the ayahuasca compound has been investigated for use in the
treatment of drug dependency in Holland, by the Foundation "Friends of the
Forest", who has created rituals with the ayahuasca compounds to research
into different settings to introduce its clinical use, medical and
therapeutical applications and to integrate the culture of here and now into
the drink, to explore different belief systems, to attend to the
scientific/ educational/ informative needs and to support the new set of
values that follows the process and the community work. As with most
pharmacological agents, We believe that ayahuasca is indicated for use in
conjunction with therapy techniques in the treatment of drug addiction,
depression and other disorders.
There are three churches of the Santo Daime in Holland. They will also be
taking part in this new treatment for drug addiction in comunion with
"Friends of the Forest", and they will be participating in the program
towards the end of the treatment, where they will be giving rituals for the
patients that, by this time, are ready to enter any religious context
without conditioning buttons being pressed. The churches will have the
position of reintegrating those people into the community and to support
their new set of values based on spirituality and to follow their development.
Ayahuasca is the hope for the future on many levels, and I believe that the
addict is a shaman using the wrong carburator, lost in his own spiritual
search. With ayahuasca and Ibogaine together, we can cover the many needs in
the different stages of the treatment and face the cure of addiction,
fulfilling also the spiritual search.

                      What is Friends of the Forest (FOF)

        Friends of the Forest is a non-profitable foundation engaged in the
research of psychoactive plants and rituals as well as to investigate and to
promote a drug dependency treatment through those agents & rituals and their
therapeutical applications. It's also part of our statute, to preserve the
cultures and traditions using ethnobotanicals agents and rituals as to
provide means for their survivel in the Forests of the world.
        Very little is known about the capacities of our brain and the unfolding of
the psyche, especially when it involves other dimensions and consequent
realities. To reach a level of knowledge and understanding in that
direction, a serious study need to be done where we can explore those inner
        To be able to bring relevant information about the brain network into
scientific consideration, and to map the internet of the psyche with the use
of psychoactive plants, Friends of the Forest realizes rituals with
ayahuasca and analogues open to the public, where we research with different
settings; we run and analyse Peak Experience Questionaire (PEP) and other
questionaire as well as sharings the day after the rituals, and keeping
records for investigation. 
        We are starting the first experimental treatment for drug addiction in
Amsterdam with those agents and rituals. The foundation has a group of
professionals with doctors, psychotherapists, psychiatric nurses,
therapists, drug researchers, seatters, etc… who have been drinking those
plants for some years, who are doing voluntary work at this moment to
realize this project. It is our objective to go beyond the hidden frontiers
of the psyche and to make available this fascinating study of ourselves to
the world as to help humanity to grow deeper into the knowledge of the many
possibilities of the brain and behaviour. This adventure into the depths of
ourselves does provide the information that might change the world and the
life of many of us who are entangled in the web of addiction, physical,
mental and spiritual disorders. We do count with your help for this
adventure, by answering the questionaires that will be handled to you at the
ritual in which you participate and by contacting us to give any donations
to any of our projects. 
        Friends of the Forest is also engaged in Ecologic projects inside the
forests of the world as well as a project with 7 universities in Europe and
South America to research ethno pharmacological agents & rituals and drug
dependency treatment through a multi-disciplinary study, with the Europian
        All funds collected during the rituals open to the public with the plants,
are to be directed to Friends of the Forest (FOF) projects. All the
professionals working at present in the Foundation are on a voluntaire
basis. FOF does not pay any wages yet.

                                 PROJECTS 1997

1 - Drug dependency treatment through ethnopharmacological agents & rituals
with ayahuasca compound (30% of the clients will be enroled free of charges
to attend to the poor). Project and Protocols (all ready and signed) will be
delivered this week (july 8th,97) to the Minister of Health here in Holland
to be aproved)
____ Needs funds to rent a clinic where we can receive those patients on a
residential basis as well as to attend ambulatory patients. To pay wages for
the staff to work full time. We do have the professionals we need already,
the workes and the plants for the treatment, but not the place.

2 - Alpha Project - network Beija-flor            
____ This project unites 7 universities in Europe and South America to
research drug dependency treatment through ethno pharmacological agents &
rituals (ayahuasca); a multi-disciplinary study in the areas of health,
medicine, pharmacology, medical anthropology/sociology, etc… submited last
april 97 to the Europian commission for funds. In order to receive the funds
for this project, we will have to provide 20% of the budget presented to the
Europian Commission.
__(This project has been fulfilled. Friends of the Forest made available ECU
4500 (FL. 10.000) collected from the rituals with ayahuasca compounds and
ICORI (International Cocaine Research Institute) covered ECU 5200.

3 - Atkum, Caimbe, Truka  and other indian tribes. North East of Brazil
(Those tribes furnish Friends of the Forest with plants for research and the
knowledge to use them.)
____ Supply of clothes (high rate of children death with pneumonia),
medicine and school needs.
____ Friends of the Forest provided funds last june (US$ 700,00) for the
church to be build in the Atkum Tribe where they practice the Jurema's Cult
(Mimosa Hostilis).

4 - Colibri - Community Ceu do Mapia - Amazon Forest
____ Project created by the Santo Daime church in Amsterdam to attend to the
school needs of the children from the community Ceu do Mapia, in the Amazon

5 - Reforestation - Ceu do Mapia - Amazon Forest
____ Project created by Cefluris, the organ that administrates the Santo
Daime Doctrine, to re-plant the forest with Banisteriopsi Caapi and
Psychotria Viridis to attend to the demand of its religious use, that is
spreading worldwide, and for cientific/medical research.             
          We will be glad to receive, with many thanks, any donation, with
the number of the project you would like to help at:

   "Friends of the Forest"
Ethno Pharmacological Agents & Rituals
and Drug Dependency  Treatment Research

Amstelveenseweg  27 - 1st etage
1054 MC Amsterdam - Netherland   
Tel: Fax: 31(0)20-6830129
ABN-AMRO Bank (branch Surinamplein-Amsterdam): acc. nr. 4 9. 9 3. 8 6. 3 4 5 or
POST BANK (Amsterdam): acc. nr. 4 6 5 4 0 15

At present, we are running a research with the interaction of methadone and
ayahuasca, and it has been succesfull. With the methadone cut down (Kick
off), the daily dose can be taken in the morning, and the ayahuasca ritual
can be hold in the evening (following many other steps).
We do not advise anybody to try this treatment without the help of
professionals who are currently working with this subject, as it is not just
to ingest a substance, there is a lot more to it, and for a succesfull
outcome, the treatment has to be complete, followed by specific therapies,
dietary supplements, medical follow ups and other ethno-pharmacological agents.
The minimum time for the treatment is four months on a residential basis.
We have the first experimental treatment scheduled for september 97, but it
seems that it is to early for the aproval from the Minister of Health, and
while we wait on the decision, we are already seeing the people who are
lined up, waiting with us, to start their treatment.
By next month we should have also the decision from the Europian Comission
for the Alfa Project with the Universities.

Beloved Friends,
To avoid congestion of requests and posts not answered, I like to inform all
of you that from july 10th till september 1st, there will be nobody
available at Friends of the Forest. Most of the staff will be gone for
holidays or doing their own work.
I'm taking off again myself, between journeys to the beyond, tribes,
communities, researchs, five children for holidays and many rituals with
ayahuasca in Ibiza Island, Spain, in the open air this summer, to collect
funds for FOF Projects. 
By the way, in one of the stormy messages with Re:yatra, someone said:
"perhaps a little young and over-extended". Well, Bob, I will take that as a
compliment as my first grand-child will be born in january. That means the
ayahuasca did not only cure my 20 years heroine addiction, but it is also
keeping me young too. Isn't it wonderfull!!!
Love and light to you all, and thank's from my heart for your interest and
any cooperation in our work.
Yatra-W.M. da Silveira Barbosa
    (Executive Director)