DISCLAIMER: We do not suggest any information found on this website or this blog post is to be used as medical advice. Consult with your doctor before using ayahuasca - click here to better understand who could and should not take Ayahuasca.
1. Banisteriopsis caapi enhances neuroplasticity in your brain
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt, “rewire,” and heal. The three main alkaloids of the B. cappi vine (harmine, tetrahydroharmine and harmaline) are proven to stimulate neurogenesis (creation of new brain cells) and increase Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Think of BDNF for the brain like Miracle-Gro for your garden. It makes your neurons stronger, enhances your memory and learning ability, and is correlated with increased happiness.
2. Ayahuasca enables your brain to “sort out” past trauma
Ayahuasca activates a few sections of the brain that allow you to process emotions. Ayahuasca stimulates the neocortex (responsible for motor function, conscious thought, and language) which is what allows us to “know ourselves, perceive, reason, and make decisions. Ayahuasca simultaneously stimulates the amygdala which stores your long-term memories and the insular cortex which links emotional responses to decision making.
The activation of these three neural networks enables you to consciously evaluate your past experiences, override your stressful/fearful response to them, and interpret your past in new and healthier ways. This is why Ayahuasca users often describe gaining new perspectives on their past and behaviors that were difficult to change.
3. Ayahuasca Can Enhance Creativity
Ayahuasca has gained traction among entrepreneurs and creative individuals and is seeping its way into the mainstream of America. As one New Yorker article puts it, “If cocaine expressed and amplified the speedy, greedy ethos of the nineteen-eighties, ayahuasca reflects our present moment... It is a time characterized by wellness cravings, when many Americans are eager for things like mindfulness, detoxification, and organic produce...”
4. Tim Ferriss Claims Ayahuasca Solved Anger His Problems
After emerging from a strenuous ayahuasca trip, Tim Ferriss shared that “ninety per cent of the anger I had held onto for decades, since I was a kid, was just gone. Absent.” Business Insider reports that many other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have used Ayahuasca or other psychedelic substances at some point.
5. Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) is Credited For Healing Addictions
Piles of anecdotal evidence point to addiction treatment potential with ayahuasca. A recent study in Canada uncovered a significant impact on the treatment of addictive behaviors, particularly with substance abuse and addiction.
Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) may also help ameliorate serotonin deficiencies, which have been related to a host of different disorders, including alcoholism, depression, autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and senile dementia. Some small studies (e.g., see reviewed in McKenna, 2004 <2>) suggest that long-term ayahuasca use can possibly increase serotonin availability in the body.
6. Ayahuasca May Help Improve Serotonin Levels
Ayahuasca has potential to improve serotonin levels, which are related to an array of disorders, including alcoholism, depression, autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and senile dementia. Some small studies suggest that long-term ayahuasca use can possibly increase serotonin availability in the body.
7. Ayahuasca Showed “Rapid Antidepressant Effects In Treatment Resistant Depression”
The antidepressant properties of ayahuasca were recently tested in a controlled setting with 29 patients who had severe depression. One day after the sessions, the ayahuasca group scored significantly lower on depression tests compared to the placebo group. Seven days later, the placebo group returned to their normal depression level while the ayahuasca group still scored significantly lower.
This is especially impressive because in standard western medications “30–40% failure has been reported
NOTE: Do not take Ayahuasca while taking any SSRIs or MAOIs. Click here to better understand who could and should not take Ayahuasca.
8. Ayahuasca May Increase Mindfulness
A Frontiers in Pharmacology study suggested that weekly Ayahuasca consumption for one month was equally effective to taking an eight-week intensive mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Other studies have discovered similar results of Ayahuasca improving mindfulness, mood, and emotional regulation.
According to pubmed, “Ayahuasca intake increases certain mindfulness facets related to acceptance and to the ability to take a detached view of one's own thoughts and emotions. Ayahuasca shows promise as a therapeutic tool by enhancing self-acceptance and allowing safe exposure to emotional events. Ayahuasca could be of use in the treatment of impulse-related, personality and substance use disorders and also in the handling of trauma.”
9. Ayahuasca May Decrease Psychiatric Symptoms
Mental Health Clinician reviewed a number of short and long-term studies of Ayahuasca patients that have shown a decrease in psychopathology scores and lower acute psychiatric symptom scores. They also reported Improvements in “body image, satisfaction, serenity, and joy.”
10. Ayahuasca May Decrease Disordered Eating
Pubmed published a study showing that an Ayahuasca experience catalyzed a dramatic decrease in disordered eating thoughts among a set of patients. They claimed that it helped them to heal the foundational cause of their disordered eating, increased their internalization of greater self-love, and inspired them spiritually.
11. Ayahuasca May Decrease Perceived Stress
A 2018 study in Psychopharmacology discovered a correlation with Ayahuasca consumption and a decrease in perceived stress and depression in people who were not diagnosed with depression. In other words - “normal” people who wouldn’t consider themselves depressed felt a decrease of stress when consuming Ayahuasca.
12. Ayahuasca May Increase Confidence and Optimism
A 2011 study of new Ayahuasca users in Brazil discovered statistically significant increases in confidence, optimism, and independence while using Ayahuasca.
13. Ayahuasca May Increase Joy, Assertiveness, and Serenity
A 2005 study found increases in joy, assertiveness, and serenity among new Ayahuasca users. They implemented the setting of traditional Ayahuasca use rather than clinical trials, noting the importance of set and setting (how and where the treatment was administered).
14. Ayahuasca May Help People to Worry Less
Long-term Ayahuasca users score significantly lower in their tendency towards negative and obsessive worry in anticipation of future problems, and they scored higher in the quality of self-transcendence.
15. Ayahuasca May Improve Sleep Patterns
This 2008 study found that daytime use of Ayahuasca promotes slow-wave sleep and had no negative effects on perceived quality of sleep. This may be because Ayahuasca could interact with serotonin to modulate REM sleep, although more observational studies would be needed to make this claim.
16. Ayahuasca May Reverse Chemical Dependencies
A 2013 Western Canada-based study found statistically significant improvements in hopefulness, empowerment, mindfulness, and quality of life following Ayahuasca use. Further research shows Ayahuasca can help substance-addicted individuals reverse their chemical dependency on alcohol, tobacco, and even cocaine.
17. Ayahuasca May Support Recovery From Substance Addiction
A qualitative study analyzed data from 13 therapists who use Ayahuasca professionally in the treatment of addictions (four indigenous healers and nine Western mental health professionals). They discovered that Ayahuasca has positive effects on reducing drug use frequency, and has potential for therapeutic applications to stimulate physiological and psychological processes that promote recovery from substance addiction and prevent relapse.
Although addiction specialist Dr. Gabor Mate maintains that science hasn’t been able to prove why or how it works, there are enough anecdotal stories about healing to suggest something powerful happening. In this study conducted at a retreat for recovering addicts, statistically, significant reductions in cocaine use were documented among participants, as well as improvements in hopefulness, empowerment, mindfulness, and quality of life in follow-up surveys.
18. Ayahuasca May Support Healing From PTSD
Over 300 studies have been published since 2015 on the potential of Ayahuasca to ease the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. A Frontiers in Pharmacology article suggests that Ayahuasca could allow patients to access repressed memories to be worked with and healed in a facilitated process.
Rachel Harris, PhD., discusses how Ayahuasca can disrupt the Default Mode Network and activate the parts of the brain that govern interoception and emotional processing. In this way, it is possible that working with Ayahuasca could stimulate the necessary emotional and neurological processing that gets shut down during a systemic traumatic response.
The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca suggests, “The Ayahuasca journey… takes individuals into a realm where they can be without pressure to explain what is beyond their intellectual capacity. In this realm, victims can be fully present to experience all emotional and sensational elements of their traumatic patterns, allowing them to finally find resolution with their past without the distraction of having to articulate details they struggle to comprehend on a conscious level” (Nielson and Megler, pg 42).
PTSD remains a mysterious disorder to many in the medical field, leaving patients often misdiagnosed and without adequate treatment. Ayahuasca could provide an avenue for those who don’t find success in the traditional system.
19-21. Banisteriopsis Caapi (Ayahuasca Vine) Supports the Circulatory System, Brain Health, Reduces Bone Loss, and MUCH More
A 2013 study published in Pharmacognosy Review concluded that harmine alkaloids can decrease systemic arterial blood pressure and act as a vasorelaxant; serve as a bronchodilator; produce antidiabetic effects; act as a neuroprotective for diseases like Parkinson’s; act as an antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic compound, and antiprotozoal treatment; and treat some bone diseases by reducing bone loss.