About The Series

Naturally occurring psychoactive substances have been considered sacred by indigenous communities and used in a ritualistic fashion since ancient times to identify and address the root causes of many physical and psycho-spiritual ailments and, as a way to communicate with the spirit world. 

By becoming aware of the significance that these substances have had in shaping the history of primitive cultures, many scientists around the globe have been extracting these substances’ beneficial properties and studying their effects in human control studies for many years, in order to uncover their true healing potential and how could they someday be integrated in Western medicine.

Documentarian Javier Prato takes the audience on a groundbreaking journey through the world of natural psychedelics —from the Peruvian Amazon to the heart of Africa—  immersing himself in various indigenous cultures and shamanic rituals, while interviewing distinguished scientists and key figures in the psychedelic community.

Every episode of “Ancient Medicines” takes the viewer into a different psychedelic trip, beginning with the traditional preparation processes required to activate each compound, to the sacramental ceremonies in which they are consumed.

The series feature exclusive interviews with Dennis McKenna (ethnobotanist), Gabor Maté (clinical psychologist and addiction expert), Claudio Naranjo (psychiatrist, writer and pioneer in integrating psychotherapy and the spiritual traditions), Ralph Metzner (consciousness researcher and psychologist), Jordi Riba (pharmacologist and researcher of the pharmacology of ayahuasca), Rick Doblin (founder & executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies),  David Jay Brown (science writer and consciousness researcher), Daniel Pinchbeck, (author & Journalist), as well as several neuroscientists, shamans and plant medicine practitioners.

The actual medicinal effects of psychedelics and their effects are just now beginning to be documented formally by science, and further study needs to be done in the subject in order to integrate these ancient plants into modern medicine. This documentary aims to open the conversation, and inspire other medical professionals to turn their attention to these miraculous natural medicines.

“Ancient Medicines” provides an original, scientific approach juxtaposed with a spiritual perspective on the ceremonial use of psychedelics, demystifying and bringing to the surface preconceptions imposed by mainstream media, our culture and even ourselves, that influences all of our decision making and consumption habits, while at the same time, respecting all indigenous narratives. In short, it provides an objective view without overlooking the subjective spiritual experiences of every human being.

“Ancient Medicines” aims to break the taboo given to hallucinogens, which are usually taken for recreational use by westerners and for medicinal and spiritual purposes by indigenous peoples. In other words, it deals with the dilemma of whether such substances are positive or a scourge for mankind.