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“About us

The Interdisciplinary Association for the Preservation of the Indigenous Traditions with Sacred Plants in the American Continent; NIERIKA AC, is an non-profit Civil Association that has as its objectives the research and biocultural preservation of the indigenous traditions, rites and ceremonies in which sacred plants are used, as well as elaborating proposals of regulation for the use of this plants in intercultural medicine contexts.

Anja Loizaga-Velder

Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder received a master’s degree in psychology (Dipl.-Psych.) from Koblenz-Landau University, Germany and a doctorate in medical psychology ( from Heidelberg University, Germany. Anja is a psychotherapist specializing in humanist and transpersonal psychology, the study of consciousness, music therapy and ethnopsychotherapy. As part of her scientific work she wrote her master’s thesis and her doctoral thesis on the use of Ayahuasca for the treatment of addictions and has published several articles in international academic journals and book chapters on topics of traditional medicine and mental health. She has been invited to exhibit her work in multiple international conferences. She is Co-founder of Nierika A. C. and director of psychotherapy and research at the Institute of Intercultural Medicine Nierika A.C. In addition, she is a professor and researcher in the postgraduate course in Medical and Health Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Armando Loizaga

B.S. CCDCR University of Minnesota-Hazelden Foundation Certified Chemical Dependency Specialist. He has worked in the field of treatment and prevention of substance abuse in Mexico since 1991. Armando was director and coordinator of various clinical treatment programs for addictions and has also collaborated with traditional medicine associations in the study of cross-cultural treatments. He is currently president of the Institute of Intercultural Medicine of Nierika AC, focusing his work on the advancement of multidisciplinary clinical research protocols to assess the therapeutic potential of psychedelic plants used in ritual contexts, the preservation of indigenous psychedelic culture and drug policy reforms.

Héctor Vargas Pérez

The main interest of Dr. Héctor Vargas Pérez focuses on the development of projects aimed at implementing treatments based on the advances of neurosciences for individuals suffering from mental illnesses associated with aversive motivation, such as depression, anxiety, addiction and post stress -traumatic disorders. His main contributions have been to the basic sciences, during his Postdoctoral stay at the University of Toronto, Canada, with his studies in animal models of dependence on substances of abuse; and, as Technical Director of the Federal Penitentiary System, where he developed methods of therapeutic intervention for the benefit of individuals deprived of their liberty based on the decrease of the neuronal inflammatory response. He is a Biologist graduated from the Faculty of Sciences of the UNAM, he completed his master’s and doctoral studies at the Institute of Neurobiology of the same institution. He belongs to the Mexican National System of Researchers (SNI), level 1. Its current project focuses on the study of neuronal plasticity, pathologies and potential therapy.

Mauricio Genet Guzmán Chávez

He is a senior research professor at El Colegio de San Luis, A.C., attached to the Anthropological Studies Program. He completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in social anthropology at the Autonomous Metropolitan University-Iztapalapa and at the Center for Research and Higher Studies-West, respectively. At the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, he obtained a doctor’s degree in Political Sociology, with the thesis The deepest is the skin. Cosmetic society in the era of biodiversity , in which it carried out an analysis on the appropriation of speeches and the implementation of practices on the value of biodiversity by two Brazilian companies dedicated to the production and sale of cosmetics. In general, its topics of interest address the controversial relationships between society and the environment: ecotourism, socio-environmental conflicts, use of psychoactive plants in ceremonial contexts and conservation in protected natural areas. The theoretical lines of discussion present in his work are linked to political ecology, constructivism and human ecology. He has published more than a dozen articles in Latin American journals and is editor of three books: Nature in context. Towards a Mexican political ecology (2012); In Search of ecotourism. Cases and experiences of sustainable tourism in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and Australia (2013) and Knowledge, environment and power (2017). He is a member of the Society and Environment Studies Network (RESMA); of the Network of Researchers on Semi-arid Areas (RIZA); founder and member of the civil association, La Tierra Respira, A.C. and member of NIERIKA, A.C. He belongs to the National System of Researchers /(SNI) Level I.

Rodrigo Pérez Esparza

Rodrigo Pérez Esparza is currently working as head director of the Addiction Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery (INNN) and as a professor at the Institute of Emotional Rational Therapy of Mexico. He received training as a surgeon, specialist in Psychiatry, subspecialist in Neuropsychiatry and master in Medical Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the INNN. He obtained the 2014 Research Funds award from the Pfizer Scientific Institute, as well as the award for best specialty thesis of the University Health Research Program UNAM-INNN 2015, for his research work on the therapeutic effects of psychoactive substances such as ketamine in the treatment resistant depression. He has worked jointly at the University of New South Wales and the New York Psychiatric Institute, in neuropsychiatric research. His current lines of research include the use of psychoactive compounds in the treatment of depression and addictions, as well as in the exploration of biomarkers of addiction.

The Institute of Intercultural Medicine Nierika AC deeply regrets the loss of Dr. Rodrigo Pérez Esparza , collaborator of our institute, whose research on the treatment of addictions and depression through psychoactive substances such as psilocybin and ketamine have been innovative and highly relevant in Mexico. We hope that such research can be continued so that those diseases resistant to treatment such as depression, addictions, among others, can find a solution, for the well-being of those who suffer. We will always remember Rodrigo’s humanistic spirit. (R. I. P.)

Javier Ignacio Martínez Sánchez

Since 1998 his research contributes to the reflection on the importance of the conservation of the symbolic territories of the Wixárika People (huichol) in Mexico, for the preservation and respect of their pre-Columbian custom. This through his studies in Agroecology and master’s degree in Social Anthropology in a portion of the northern region of the state of San Luis Potosí, called “Wirikuta” in the municipality of Catorce. Particularly it focuses on the problem arising from the restrictive framework that surrounds the consumption of peyote (lophophora williamsii) in our country and Wirikuta in particular, the events that occur there involve or define contradictory and tense relationships at various levels between authorities, indigenous and non-indigenous users, and people who live in the places where the sacred plant is collected. In his study, attempts are made to recover the conflicting aspects of the social process that are deflated from a series of efforts and proposals to conserve peyote, widely used by non-indigenous people. Of all this, this study highlights the enormous distance between a backward and inoperative legal framework and the heterogeneous and complex social dynamics of ceremonial use of peyote in Mexico.

After this period, Javier works for the federal government implementing support from the National Forestry Commission in the Potosino Altiplano region, managing to insert support for restoration practices in areas degraded by overgrazing. He currently coordinates at Nierika A.C. things concerning the conservation strategies of the territories and the practices of Mexican traditions regarding the ceremonial use of Peyote. Since 2016 he represents Nierika AC, forming part of an international indigenous initiative for the conservation of Peyote in America (IPCI).”

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