Plant diets are a traditional form of Amazonian medicine. They are used by the shamans of Peru as the primary means of learning from the spirits of the plants and to enable their clients to heal and find new power by forming a strong bond with a plant ally (the energy or spirit of a plant) so they have its strength always within them.
Diets like these are able to heal a variety of conditions, such as:
After being on pain medication and lacking sensation in her feet for years, one 45 year old client left her diet pain-free, flexible, with full sensation and walking normally after two weeks of treatment.
One client went from using 10mg of valium daily to 0mg in 10 days, something Western medicine would say is impossible.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
For a number of clients stomach problems were resolved and they were able to eat normally for the first time in years.
Having been confined to a wheelchair as a result of a brain tumour and given six weeks to live by her doctor one young woman was able to leave her chair and enjoy a richer life with greater personal freedom for a further six years.
Anxiety and Depression (a common complaint of Western clients)
Several people who have undertaken diets report a stronger sense of self, inner calmness and a renewed excitement and optimism for their futures.
A trauma-induced problem, it was healed by dieting the appropriate plant.
Plant diets are always useful and in cases like these they have achieved remarkable results. Many people however have felt excluded from them simply by virtue of the fact that – until now – traditional shamanic diets have only been available in the rainforests of Peru. For many this has meant considerable (sometimes unaffordable) cost in long-haul plane journeys and greater stress and inconvenience.
For these reasons, we have decided to offer traditional diets in Spain. This is the first time we are aware of that such diets have been available outside the Amazon.
Their availability here offers the benefits of cheaper travel (and less time spent traveling) as well as a convenient location and less stressful surroundings, making plant healing more accessible to a greater number of people.
The term ‘dieta’ is simply Spanish for diet but in fact is used more in the sense of the Greek word dieta, meaning a change in lifestyle rather than simply the ingestion of (or abstention from) certain foods. Diets are undertaken for two primary reasons (which are not mutually exclusive):
- As a form of shamanic apprenticeship by people who are looking to deepen their relationship with the medicine of particular plants, to understand shamanism better, to become healers themselves or who want to learn how to work with teacher plants like ayahuasca and San Pedro. Here they provide a means of connection with the spirit of the plants, the greater spirit of the universe and a method of purification so that greater communion with the intelligence of ayahuasca or San Pedro can be achieved.
- As a method of healing, a complete regime so that the power (or energy/spirit) of a plant can be fully absorbed and this can then work as an ally within that person to provide greater strength, fortitude, understanding and protection.
To develop the healing connection between patient/apprentice and plant, the diet has many facets:
- Privacy and quiet so you can focus without distractions on the essence and intentions of the plant you are dieting and absorb its healing effects.
Dietas at our Centre are arranged on an individual basis and are for 10 or 14 days (the minimum length for any healing plant diet). We keep participant numbers low so that individual attention can be given and the relationship between patient and plant can be fostered. Diets are often solo ventures but in any case we do not take more than three people at a time (much lower than other healing centres).
- Cleansing flower baths and/or vomitivos (purges using special plants to rid the body of toxins) may also form part of your program in order to cleanse and purify your system.
- You will also follow a restricted food diet in order to detox and strengthen your body. The food is nourishing but, in keeping with all shamanic diets, very bland so that the spirit of the plant you are dieting is not overwhelmed and you can make a stronger connection to it.
- During the dieta you will also ingest the specific plant (or plants) that you are working with, usually in the form of a tea made from the leaves, bark or roots, depending on the plant and your needs.
- Regular consultations are scheduled to discuss your healing, assess your progress and offer counseling and shamanic guidance to (for example) identify and address the true nature and origin of your illness or problem. This typically results in greater clarity about the issue and deeper insights into your path to wellness. Following your consultations other treatments and/or plant medicines may be recommended.
- In all cases a dieta will begin with a formal consultation to hear of your needs and aspirations and to assess your energy. This is normally followed by an ayahuasca ceremony so we can better evaluate the spiritual processes in operation and make recommendations based on the guidance received from the mother-spirit. Further ayahuasca ceremonies typically (although not always) take place during your diet.
- In addition to ayahuasca we may suggest that you participate in San Pedro ceremonies to facilitate your healing process and support your journey back into the world.