In 1998, a man named Donald Topping wrote an article in the Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies entitled Ayahuasca and Cancer: One Man’s Experience. Topper was a retired professor of sociology and linguistics at the University of Hawai’i, a proponent of drug policy reform, an advocate for medical marijuana, and a founder of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i. He had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and been treated, apparently successfully, with surgery. But, in September 1996, he was told that the cancer had metastasized to his liver; the next month, the right half of his liver was surgically removed. A long-time believer in alternative medicine, he refused follow-up chemotherapy.
The knowledge and traditional uses of Ayahuasca practiced by the Amazonian indigenous communities, was declared a cultural heritage of the nation by the Institute of National Culture (INC). This announcement was made yesterday in the publication of Directorial Resolution 836 by that body, in the official government’s journal “El Peruano”.
According to the declaration, the ritual use of Ayahuasca is one of the fundamental pillars of the identity of the Amazonian people. It’s ancestral use in traditional rituals, with therapeutic benefits directly related to the qualities of the plants, has guaranteed its cultural continuity.