#12 - Ayahuasca

Dr Simon Ruffell was a psychiatrist working for the NHS to help stabilise child soldier’s mental health. Years later, a research project to South America exposed Dr Ruffell to the world of shamanistic healing using the entheogenic brew commonly made out of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis shrub.

Whilst in South America, Dr Ruffell uncovered the churches giving their congregation psychoactive drugs; the dangers of drug tourism and the ayahuasca diet. Dr Ruffell also explores the cultural history of DMT from a shaman’s pocket to Vogue magazine.

Simon graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Sheffield before specialising in psychiatry. He has an interest in transcultural psychiatry, working overseas in Northern Uganda. He has a special interest in psychedelic research, namely ayahuasca and has spent the last four years conducting research into the use of ayahuasca in an adapted traditional setting in the Peruvian Amazon. Simon is currently based at The Maudsley Hospital in South London, as well as working as a Senior Research Associate at King’s College London looking at the use of psilocybin in treatment-resistant depression.

Santo Daime church

Ayahuasca tourism

Ayahuasca foundation

Ayahuasca diet

Shaman’s pouch containing DMT

Kings college

Imperial college psychedelic research group

Brazil Ayahuasca RCT

Barcelona brain imaging trials