A Canadian woman died last month after drinking a nicotine-based tea during a spiritual ceremony with a shaman in the Peruvian jungle.
Jennifer Joy Logan, of Saskatoon, died Jan. 17 at a rain forest retreat near Puerto Maldonado, which offers ceremonies using the psychedelic brew ayahuasca – which is used for spiritual and healing purposes by Amazon natives.
The 32-year-old Logan and her sister, Amy, went to Peru, their mother said, to meet with others from the Canto Luz center before taking part in a purge prior to drinking ayahuasca, reported The Star Phoenix.
“She had a drink, and it was a nicotine-based tea for purging for a spiritual ceremony,” said her mother, Berdeena Logan. “She was vomiting, which was to be expected, and then she started convulsing and went unconscious.”
The shaman’s assistants performed CPR on Logan before attempting to take her by motorcycle for medical help about two hours away from the remote retreat.
Logan died en route, her mother said.
“This has never happened to them,” her mother said. “They were good people but something terrible, terribly went wrong.”
An autopsy revealed the cause of death as a pulmonary edema – an abnormal buildup of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs.
Peruvian authorities are continuing to investigate her death and whether it was linked to the nicotine tea.
They had intended to keep her body in Peru for a year as part of a possible murder investigation and then exhume her remains if necessary, her mother said, but the Canadian embassy was able to return her cremated remains to her family.
An 18-year-old American, Kyle Nolan, died during an ayahuasca ritual at another retreat in Peru, although the cause of death was never determined.
The shaman at that center was later convicted of homicide and lying to authorities and sentenced to five years in prison.
Logan had traveled throughout the world, including lengthy stays to train in meditation and yoga in India, and worked with women who were victims of human trafficking in Nepal.
“She was a seeker and a searcher always,” her mother said. “She was so committed to making a difference. This offered indigenous plants, you could go in the jungle and (there was) naturopathic healing, but she was a very healthy person. This was just in pursuit of knowledge, natural.”