Celina M. De Leon, MPH (cand.)

Celina M. De Leon, MPH (cand.)

Yagé, Traditional Medicine of Columbia; Ayahuasca & Women’s Health.

Celina De Leon is an MPH candidate at UC Berkeley in Public Health and an MDiv candidate at the Graduate Theological Union’s Starr King School for the Ministry.

She received a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and was a US/India Fulbright scholar, studying traditional medicine.

She also has been apprenticing in the Kamentsa indigenous lineage of Colombia since 2009.





Presentation Abstract:

Yagé as Traditional Medicine among
the Kamentsa of Alto Putumayo, Colombia

This presentation aims to enhance our understanding of the diversity of ayahuasca use by exploring less internationally known modalities. It will focus on the therapeutic use of yagé (ayahuasca) from the perspective of the Kamentsa indigenous medical tradition of the Sibundoy Valley, of the Alto Putumayo of Colombia. It will offer an overview about both the ceremonies and the core considerations that inform treatment approaches. Philosophical underpinnings that are different than other lineages will be discussed such as the lack of emphasis on diet, use of purgatives, and the specific style of the limpia (cleansing). It will also argue that including the perspective of traditional healers may offer an important contribution to facilitate understanding of ayahuasca’s mechanism of action and therapeutic potentials. In an effort to bridge worldviews and enhance understanding and access to ayahuasca treatment, a brief overview of the ATOP (Ayahuasca Therapeutic Outcome Project) will be offered. This presentation is based on the presenter’s fifteen years of experience with ayahuasca and seven-year ongoing apprenticeship with Taita Juan Agreda Chindoy, a Kamentsa traditional healer. Taita Juan is perhaps best known internationally for having been detained by U.S. Customs officials and charged with possession with intent to distribute a Schedule 1 drug (ayahuasca) in 2010.

Panel Discussion:

Ayahuasca and Women’s Health
Panelist: Celina M. De Leon, MPH (cand.)

Ayahuasca offers distinct contributions to the field of women’s health. At the same time, specific factors should be considered to insure that women are well informed of ways that their experiences with ayahuasca may be optimized or hindered. Specific topics such as ayahuasca and menstruation, safety measures, contra-indications, and after-care will be addressed from multiple perspectives. In addition, a brief overview of general topics such as the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca for eating disorders, fertility, and other women’s health conditions will be covered. This presentation will offer an interactive dialogue between various practitioners and experts in the field. The goal is to offer a well-rounded overview that includes the perspective of different indigenous traditions as well as the lived experience of non-indigenous women that have an established relationship with the tea.

Panelists: Celina M. De Leon, MPH (cand.), Cvita Mamic, Sitaramaya Sita
Moderator: Kenneth Tupper, PhD

More About Celina De Leon:

The ceremonies are the easy part, our daily lives are what bring the teachings of the plants to life.

–Celina De Leon

Supported Projects:

The Ayahuasca Treatment Outcome Project (ATOP)

Ayahuasca Research Project: Ayahuasca and Eating Disorders Research