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Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
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rottenapple Offline
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Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I thought I'd make a post about experiences people have had with indigenous communities as well as with certain aspects they contain, such as shamanism, natural cures and basic life philosophy.

Recently I've had the luck to have 3 encounters with indigenous people here in Ecuador and in Colombia. Let me elaborate on them:

-In Colombia, I was travelling around with a local girl and she told me her father was diagnosed with Leukemia or blood cancer several years ago. He was put on chemotherapy, but it wasn't helping him and he was told he had 2 months to live. He got news of a local shaman in the mountains who had a gift and cured with natural plants. He went to see him and a little over a month the man was fully healed. I spoke to him personally and see no reason to not believe him. Also the shaman didn't charge him anything. Doctors told him he got lucky or didnt believe him.

So, interested by this, I decided to go visit the shaman myself. He lives in a small house on the flank of a mountain in rural South Colombia. You bring a sample of urine and he will tell you what you have ('he has a gift'). Then he recommends what plants to take which you buy there if you like at reasonable cost.

I went there and there were lots of people waiting outside, mostly very poor people from the region. The shaman was happy to see me. He said foreigners don't visit often. He explained to me the history of how he came to be the person he was and that he can cure nearly everything, except for very advanced cancers at times and HIV (although he will make life quality with HIV a lot better).

He looked at my urine for a while and then pretty much summed up things that I knew. Problems I have had since a long time with my stomach and for which I spoke to several doctors, who give them meaningless names like intolerable bowl syndrome and so on. He also told me about specific indicators like tryglycerides, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. All that from looking at my urine for 5 min and most pretty much spot on. One strange thing was that he told me I had a problem with acid reflux. I told him I didn't, I very rarely have that. He said ok. The next day I woke up with acid reflux.

I bought the plants he recommended and recently started treatment. Too soon to say if they work but I'd say so far promising.

-Second experience. I went to visit the Tsachilas indians in Ecuador for an ayahuasca ceremony (see the ayahuasca thread for more info). Besides the intense experience of the drug I also had time to talk to the Shaman apprentice for a while. He told me that the Tsachilas don't know cancer. None of them has it or has ever had it. People might get sick at times, but they always have a cure. No one dies of illness he said, only from old age or accidents. He says they avoid general society for it's dangers and toxic influences (both mentally and physically). People in their community are known for their longevity of life and general well-being. He also said they sleep very little. Afterwards we went for a walk to the jungle and we passed by several plants and threes, where he would stop and say 'this is a cure for the stomach', 'this is a sedative', 'this helps agains ...'. Basically the jungle was their medicine lab. They also truly believe in earths energy and how energy circulates between people, the earth, animals, the death, etc.

-Third experience. I went for a few days into the amazone to live with an indigenous community known as the 'quechuas'. My guide was a 51 year old guy who looked 35. Once again very similar experience. He stated that in his community not only do they not have cancer, he also stated they have cures for everything. In a discussion I had with him and some others, they went over how sometimes foreigners come to their villages very ill. They generally cure them within a month or max two. He went over many plants and threes and their effects. He showed me which ones cure cancers, stomach problems and so forth. Another person told the story of a prostitute who was found nearly dead on the street of a big city. A member of the community brought her in and they gave her a plant, which they say is like ayahuasca but 10x stronger. This is their last hope they say. When all other plants dont work, they will go to this one. It will bring you into a state of trance for 3-5 days in which you will be completely out of this world, near death as it seems. When you wake up, you will cured even of cancers and HIV, which they say is the hardest thing to cure.

These things where discussed among them as common knowledge. They were not only talking about things they heard. Fi my guide healed his fractured arm by several sessions of ayahuasca, combined with plants. They werent trying to sell anything. I asked and then said they can show me where to find these things in the jungle, nothing more. In addition, they don't use money, within their community they just do favours for eachother. People also reach very high age there, people in the 90's are not uncommon. They said the death causes are snake bites and old age, not much more.

Now, I'm a rational being. I have had lots of university education and off course some of these things make me very sceptical. But on the other hand I realize the filth of the medical industry and its patented medicine. I also know these indigenous people have nothing to gain and everything to lose by sharing info like this. A shaman told me he fears western people realizing the strenght of the jungle. He sees big industry coming over and ruining what they have held sacred for all their lives, just as the oil industry is already doing in some of their territory. They never write things down, which makes it more difficult to spread knowledge.

For me all of this is pretty fascinating. If I ever get a very bad disease, It will definitly be an option for me to revisit these people. People like that who live healthy lives in balance with nature, who dont use money and who are extremely peaceful. I think they can teach many of us a lesson or two on life.

When I asked them if sometimes doctors or researchers come visit them for info, they said 'no, almost never' , I asked 'why not', they replied ' we wonder about that as well sometimes'.

Anyone else had some time with indigenous communities and interesting experiences to share? Or some insights on plant medicine?
10-10-2014 10:59 AM
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FPT Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
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10-11-2014 09:01 AM
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Moto Offline
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I don't have any first-hand experience like what you've had. It sounds like a helluva adventure.

In my high school days I got really heavy into the Carlos Castaneda books. He basically was working on his anthropology thesis for UCLA in the 60's and, according to his supposed non-fiction books, became the apprentice of a Yaqui medicine man/brujo/shaman. His early books read like chronological journals of his experiences with different psychotropics and the philosophizing of Don Juan, the shaman. His later books were less linear and more like literature. I became so fascinated and these books really turned me into a reader and I later began researching all kinds of things related to philosophy, mythology, the occult, etc... (no summoning demons or sacrificing animals for me though, thankfully.)

Later I researched Castaneda for an author study for a university class, and eventually had to swallow the pill that I had been duped, along with millions of cult fans from the 60s onward. On the very day that he claimed to have been in the desert with Don Juan, Castaneda was in fact checking out books in the UCLA library on psychotropic drugs. There are all kinds of other pieces of evidence that Castaneda made it all up, and he was simply a con-man with an eclectic knowledge of the occult and some knowledge of native american tradition.

To live the real thing, however, would be a dream.
10-11-2014 12:15 PM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
Very interesting. How did you find guides that the shamans knew well enough to trust and let you in? I have to imagine if a western just showed up they wouldn't be told all of these things.
10-12-2014 08:13 PM
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rottenapple Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry
(10-11-2014 09:01 AM)FPT Wrote:  This is really interesting, thanks for sharing. Do have an idea of what their diet is like? Do they eat all pretty much the same things?

They eat almost everything from their own soil. In general they will eat fruits, vegetables, meat & fish (although some of the higher spiritual ones will be vegetarian) and rice/ fewpotatoes. So low in processed foods. They drink thee, water, fruit juices and some of their own breweries. Alcohol as well. Sodas hardly ever I think.

Quote:Very interesting. How did you find guides that the shamans knew well enough to trust and let you in? I have to imagine if a western just showed up they wouldn't be told all of these things.

Well a variety of factors come into play.

-I'm not really a tourist, I live and work here and I speak the language, know the customs etc.
-I don't go through tourism channels. I don't stay in a fancy lodge, I don't come in a private bus, ... In general I get connections to local people I know and then I make direct contact and go visit them where they live. I also stayed with them within their village. I also don't pay a lot, for visiting the jungle and going on the treks I pay less than others because I make it clear that I don't want no fancy treatment, I just want to learn from their culture and see the nature.
-A lot of these indigenous people are under heavy pressure from the government, mainly in a conflictual situation and in general countries from western world sort of side with the indigenous putting pressure on the gov to leave them in peace, preserve their environment etc. I work a bit in a similar field, so this makes that they appreciate my being in their country and they know that it's always good to leave a good impression to foreigners who might have some influence here and there.
-I ask a lot of questions to the people I meet and if you are generally interested, you will find many of them are happy to share knowledge and culture with you.
-Luck

But with this being said, these people are accesible. Any one of you can go out and find them. The guides are even on fb these days and if they like you and you want to know more, they can get you to meet other people. It is true though that the highest shamans, don't take visitors easily. I haven't met those, but someone I know did, because she became friends with a local shaman apprentice. About the information: most I met are more than willing to share their knowledge if they think you are a good person and you come to better yourself or other people. Hpwever they also say that there are more 'secrets' they hold, that they will not tell people from outside, because they fear the power of western society and the influence it can have on their small and unprotected communities, rightly so I believe.
10-13-2014 08:53 AM
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Al Sahab Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
(10-10-2014 10:59 AM)rottenapple Wrote:  Anyone else had some time with indigenous communities and interesting experiences to share? Or some insights on plant medicine?

rottenapple I don't have any experiences or insights on plant medicine, however I do have a book recommendation:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. He was a dentist who surveyed the diets of indigenous peoples around the world (in the 1920s I believe). I believe it is the only book on nutrition anyone needs to read. It includes cross-generational comparisons of the older generations who grew up on a native diet and the younger generations who were fed the modern western diet.
10-13-2014 07:34 PM
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rottenapple Offline
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
(10-13-2014 07:34 PM)Al Sahab Wrote:  
(10-10-2014 10:59 AM)rottenapple Wrote:  Anyone else had some time with indigenous communities and interesting experiences to share? Or some insights on plant medicine?

rottenapple I don't have any experiences or insights on plant medicine, however I do have a book recommendation:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. He was a dentist who surveyed the diets of indigenous peoples around the world (in the 1920s I believe). I believe it is the only book on nutrition anyone needs to read. It includes cross-generational comparisons of the older generations who grew up on a native diet and the younger generations who were fed the modern western diet.

Very interesting, thanks a lot for the suggestion. I will def check it out.
10-13-2014 10:13 PM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
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10-14-2014 02:40 AM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Right now I'm in Bali and I've been learning a lot about the medicinal use of massage therapy. We're not talking about 20 year old girls yelling massssaaaaageee as you walk past them on the street.

I've been having a series of lymphatic massages and they've had profound effects on my health.

I'll post in more detail when I'm not on a mobile.
10-14-2014 05:13 AM
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rottenapple Offline
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
Any update on the lymphatic massages? What health impact are we talking about here?
12-30-2014 10:11 AM
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Duke Castile Offline
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
Rottenapple I don't know how I missed this but its fascinating. I would love to spend some time doing this.

We were meant for far more than to suffer in our self created prisons only to die alone. It doesn't have to be that way. It never did.
12-31-2014 03:27 AM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
(12-31-2014 03:27 AM)Fisto Wrote:  Rottenapple I don't know how I missed this but its fascinating. I would love to spend some time doing this.

I think almost any person in western society would benefit from experiences like this. It is when you take a step back from our society, when you realize how bad some things got. Genuine basic conversations, self grown food, interconnectedness with nature, with a community, absence of money, etc. Its almost like going back in time. It makes you wonder who is the advanced society here; western world or these indigenous communities.
12-31-2014 06:39 AM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
(12-31-2014 03:27 AM)Fisto Wrote:  Rottenapple I don't know how I missed this but its fascinating. I would love to spend some time doing this.

I'd like to do this as well. Rottenapple, if I visit Columbia or Ecuador would you be willing to share your contacts?

There's still many unknown medicinal properties of plants. I also work in a somewhat related field, and I can tell you that many species are not well studied at all in terms of what's could possible be effective.
12-31-2014 01:22 PM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I think what this really shows is just how little modern society understands about our body. This is also why I don't have much respect for doctors, they're usually just highly-trained technicians.

This reminds me of Ayurveda, an Indian indigenous medicine system. India, being known to have many plants, herbs and spices has a very rich tradition of using these plants for medicine.

It's really funny, since a US company tried to patent turmeric for its healing properties. The patent got thrown out because turmeric is known for its healing properties in India. India is actually on a quest to catalog its entire Ayurvedic knowledge to avoid further patent issue.

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12-31-2014 03:47 PM
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rottenapple Offline
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I would have no trouble sharing contacts. I think indeed as 'Genghis Khan' mentioned, many flaws in medecine we have now is because the various world cultures didn't cooperate on this at all, mainly due to money/patenting issues. If we would bundle all knowledge from western, indigenous, chinese, indian medicine and so forth, hell im sure Africa has a shitloads of secrets as well, we could greatly benefit from such an effort.
01-03-2015 08:51 AM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I am really cautious about jumping into things like this, but that doesnt mean there are no legitimate methods. A lot of medication is made from synthesising naturally occurring substances. Aspirin was a synthetic willow bark extract. People would notice injured animals eating it, and realized it help with pain, and eventually made a synthetic version.
I would advise to avoid curezone, its all nuts. If you have something very serious, lets remeber what happened to steve jobs.
Germany in fact allows doctors to prescribe herbal remedies, thats something I wish we did in the states, on top of stressing a healthy life rather than throwing pills at problems. Placebo can also be very powerful.

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01-03-2015 06:48 PM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I have a friend who recently came back from an ayahuasca retreat in Peru, and he echoes everything rottenapple says re the knowledge of local shamans.

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01-04-2015 05:37 AM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
One word... Ganga

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01-04-2015 07:50 AM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
Ganga and shrooms are great, but somewhat limited in the scope of meditative experiences you can gain. LSD was powerful for me.

DMT however is something I really want to try, especially since i've read shamans in both the Amazon and tibetans have identified the "spirits" as being the creatures they communicate with. The experiences people mention are all strangely similar. Unlike shrooms and LSD which are more subjective, the DMT dome is a very real experience.

My experiences with these drugs have changed my whole perception on spirituality, reality, and the brain. I feel very blessed for being able to see how fragile our reality really is.

Have you guys ever tried to meditate on shrooms or LSD? I had an experience recently that has really changed my perspective on life. I'm not sure i'm ready to post about it yet.

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01-04-2015 10:46 PM
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RE: Indigenous experiences and the lessons they carry (Shamanism, herbal medicine, ...)
I'm not so sure about the transcendental stuff, but legitimate canadian indian treatments are great. A drunk indian laying in the street or an old white woman who wants to be 'cool' or is 1/32 indian is not.

- Their medicinal treatments for minor ailments are fantastic. White cedar tea destroys colds, just don't overdo it or you'll get poisoned and know which leaves to take as are various barks and poultices for minor cuts, poison ivy and raw feet/blisters.
- Sweat lodges, are more like a super sauna/meditation. They also use it for drug detox...which makes sense in concept but once those guys get back on the street they are back into it.

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01-05-2015 06:52 AM
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