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    global mental health psychoactive plants indigenous ICEERS study

    Traditional Practices with Psychoactive Plants and Global Mental Health


    Traditional healing practices involving psychoactive plants and the Global Mental Health agenda: opportunities, pitfalls, and challenges in the “right to science” framework

    José Carlos Bouso, and Constanza Sánchez Avilés.

    Health and Human Rights Journal



    About the study

    This study is focused on reflecting about the challenges, pitfalls and opportunities that arise around the global mental health (GMH) agenda and the various traditional healing practices involving psychoactive plants.

    From biomedical and cultural misappropriation to the over-exploitation of natural resources for commercial purposes or the medicinal plant tourism that threatens the viability of local community rituals, these traditional social systems have experienced a severe disruption due to contemporary globalization.

    In this new trend, the GMH paradigm is also changing. Instead of expanding the Western mental health model, we are witnessing the expansion of traditional forms of healing beyond their native contexts.



    Rationale: The global mental health (GMH) movement aims to establish a world in which every human can access mental health services based on two fundamental principles: respect for human rights and evidence-based treatments. However, despite the vast anthropological literature supporting the importance of traditional health systems for the well-being of local communities, the recognition of traditional medicines and healers is highly marginalized within their agenda.

    Methods: Literature review and new reflections on the topic. 

    Results: The Western popularization of non-institutionalized, traditional healing systems implies multiple challenges that deserve in-depth reflection. These challenges can be overcome only if they are dealt with from a perspective of reciprocity that extends beyond the GMH agenda’s narrow recognition of traditional medical systems involving psychoactive plants.

    Conclusion: It is therefore necessary to invest in indigenous epistemological research and practices in order to truly protect indigenous peoples’ right to science, since this right involves much more complex economic and sociopolitical dimensions.


    Link to the article


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     Photo by: Pxhere.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Global Mental Health
    Tags: study , drug policy , global , indigenous , traditional medicine , psychoactive plants , mental health , Global Mental Health