Psychedelic Medicine


Ayahuasca Practitioner Methods with Dr. Joe Tafur


In today’s ayahuasca practitioner episode, Dr. Joe Tafur shares his vast experience learning about this plant medicine. For the last decade, family physician Dr. Tafur, author of The Fellowship of the River, has been exploring the role of spiritual healing and modern healthcare. In Peru, Dr. Tafur learned how the ceremonial use of ayahuasca could be used to heal the emotional body, and in turn, the mind and physical body. He is co-founder of Modern Spirit, a non-profit organization dedicated to demonstrating the value of spiritual healing in modern healthcare.

Dr. Tafur describes the traditional origins and uses of ayahuasca. Throughout the Amazonian basin, hundreds of tribes and religious groups incorporate ayahuasca in their healing and sacred practices. This naturally has led to quite a diversity in how this plant medicine is used. Many of these traditions stretch back countless generations and researches are still learning about their processes.

There is a vast range of ailments that ayahuasca has been used to address. To treat these, ayahuasca is seldom used in isolation. With the diverse vegetation found in the Amazon, ayahuasca is often combined with specific plants to treat specific conditions. This has made it very versatile in its traditional uses.

Related to his work with ayahuasca, Dr. Tafur explains what is meant by the emotional body. He has recognized many spiritual healing techniques that have value beyond plant medicine treatments. Dr. Tafur explains that addressing the emotional needs of the individual can have a profound impact on many of their physical ailments.

In This Episode

• The traditional origins and uses of ayahuasca in South America
• What to expect during various traditional ayahuasca ceremonies
• The important role of music and communication during ayahuasca ceremonies
• The many different conditions that ayahuasca has been used to treat
• Addressing the emotional needs of the patient in order to treat their physical conditions


“In the wide world of nature, the plants, and tribal culture there’s a lot of variation. It’s very much dependant on the individuals.” [15:04]

“It’s a very present practice. That’s part of the key to the engagement and the energy.” [28:29]

“What the psychedelic therapeutic experience opens up for a lot of people is an opportunity to work through the emotional and spiritual dimensions of their health.” [44:50]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.