🍄 The New Health Club #33 - Bia Labate: Using Ayahuasca for human beings is like an oil change for cars.


Brazil alert! My guest today is Bia Labate, anthropologist, ayahuasca expert, sociologist, author and cofounder of the Chacruna Institute.

Have you taken Ayahuasca? I have not, but I think it is fascinating, a new way of looking at our mental health education and toolset. So I talked to Dr. Bia Labate, one of the real experts in the field of plant medicine. And there is a lot to talk about, much more than just vomiting in a bucket, after drinking the psychedelic tea. Let’s ask Bia...

Bia is a queer Brazilian anthropologist who immigrated to the U.S. in 2017. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. When it comes to plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion, Bia is a pro. She’s also the Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines in San Francisco.

The Chacruna Institute is an organization that provides public education about psychedelic plant medicines and promotes a bridge between the ceremonial use of sacred plants and psychedelic science. Bia has written over 20 books and you can say she is the Brazilian to talk to when it comes to Ayahuasca.

With the Chacruna Institute, Bia’s plan is to “bring some Latin love to the US'', which really needs some love these days. 

Bia and I discuss Ayahuasca as a spiritual mentor, a teacher, a friend, as something that gives you homework to do with yourself and as something that is deeply rooted in South American culture. Bia has 23 years experience with Ayahuasca, a plant that gave her the feeling of “being at home for the first time”.

I love the idea of how Bia looks at Ayahuasca like a tool, and that “using Ayahuasca for human beings is the same as if a car needs an oil change once in a while”. We talk about mindfulness towards the indigenous people who are the ones providing the knowledge and the substances, diversity, and cultural appropriation. 

And we talk about Ayahuasca as the last straw for bored Westerners and as a tool for the new mental wellness consumer.  

News on Ayahuasca

I loved this piece in the NYT about veterans doing Ayahuasca to treat their post traumatic stress disorder and depression. A great read about how psychedelics save lives.

Also big biotech is also working on mental health drugs based on Ayahuasca.

I have two more recommendations for you on Netflix about Ayahuasca.

First, in the episode “Chelsea does drugs” my beloved Chelsea Handler goes to Peru with her friends to try Ayahuasca. Search for Chelsea does…

…and also there is the episode on Ayahuasca on (Un)Well, a new show on Netflix.

Talk soon!