Ilana Berlowitz

PhD, postdoctoral fellow at Clinical Anatomy Lab, University of Zurich & Psychopharmacology Lab, University Hospital Bern

Talk :

Transdisciplinary clinical research on Indigenous medicine traditions using psychoactives - the case of tobacco

Talk date & time :

Friday 14:00-15:00


Indigenous medicine systems are responsible for the discovery of several psychoactive substances studied in the psychedelic revival, and, in many ways, have provided foundational knowledge to the field. Yet, these medicine systems and its traditional healers are rarely participant in contemporary psychedelic research. This talk, adopting a transdisciplinary approach that is inclusive of traditional healers, describes clinical field research concerning a psychoactive ubiquitously found in Indigenous medicine traditions across the Americas, namely the tobacco plant. The talk focuses on therapeutic applications of tobacco as per Peruvian-Amazonian medicine, with a particular focus on liquid preparations for oral ingestion, applied for mental health in traditional ritual setting by specialized Amazonian healers.


PhD in clinical and health psychology, currently working at the University of Bern (Inselspital, Psychopharmacology Lab) and the University of Zurich (Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Anatomy). She specializes in traditional/Indigenous uses of psychoactives and has conducted extensive field research and transdisciplinary collaborations in Latin America. She has raised competitive grants and was awarded the Inger-Salling Prize for outstanding accomplishments in Swiss psychiatry research. She currently leads innovative research on therapeutic applications of the tobacco plant as per Indigenous Amazonian medical knowledge