By December 31, 2015 4 Comments Read More →

Ayahuasca Can Relieve Serious Depression Faster than Antidepressants

Ayahuasca Brew

Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Waking Times

A new clinical study out of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil has tested the effects of the ayahuasca healing brew on six volunteers suffering from serious depression. The treatment demonstrated that a mild dose of ayahuasca was able to alleviate symptoms of depression from within three hours to up to three weeks.

Neuroscientist Jaime Hallak and a group of researchers at the University examined if the psychotropic brew mixture of the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the leaves of the shrub Psychotria viridis could treat depression. The World Health Organization estimates that about 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and global usage of antidepressants is rising.

The Nature journal of science reported on the details of the experiment:

After their drink, the participants sat in a quiet, dimly lit room. Physicians used standard clinical questionnaires to track their depression symptoms. Improvements were seen in two or three hours (though the psychedelic effects of an oral dose take around five hours to wear off) — a rapid effect, as conventional antidepressants can take weeks to work. The benefits, which were statistically significant, continued to hold up in assessments over the next three weeks. Three of the participants vomited, a common side effect of ayahuasca, but otherwise the procedure was well tolerated, Hallak says. [1]

For years, South American medicinal plants have been used by indigenous people for spiritual and physical healing. Now the ayahuasca brew has become more available to Westerners and the people seeking out new therapies to lessen the burden of depression and other mental health issues. Ayahuasca ceremonies in Costa Rica and Peru are quite common, yet finding an authentic experience such as authentic council gatherings with the Secoya Elders, whose cultural tradition of healing with this medicine extends back thousands of years.

With increasing interest in the possibilities of this medicine as a clinical treatment for mental health issues, especially depression, scientific research continues into the mysteries of these tropical plants. In Brazil, for example, using neuroimaging technology, Hallak’s team made the following discoveries:

Neuroimaging of the brains of the participants eight hours after ingesting ayahuasca revealed increased blood flow in areas of the brain whose diminished activation is usually associated with depression and increased activation is commonly associated with antidepressant effects.

The researchers attribute the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca to DMT, the principal psychoactive ingredient in ayahuasca, as it is an activator of serotonin receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems. [2]

Hallak’s co-author of the research, Draulio d Araujo, a neuroscientist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil, has already begun a larger randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effect ayahuasca has on depression.

Scientific studies help to validate the effectiveness of Ayahuasca as a proper medicine, but the reasons that it works so well at triggering positive personal transformation may always be impossible to rationally understand. This medicine is more than a chemical that alters brain chemistry, it’s a holistic body, mind and spiritual experience that brings one into contact with the spirit of Ayahuasca, offering a genuine and very direct spiritual experience.

In his book, Rainforest Medicine: Preserving Indigenous Science in the Upper Amazon, author Jonathon Miller-Weisberger likens the transformative experiences of Ayahuasca to a celestial university, calling this an ancient science, and “the original education system of the inhabitants of the Amazon region.” He explains further that, “when adhered to correctly, this system’s curriculum provides a complete development of all the aspects of the self – intellectual, physical, and spiritual.

About the Author

Anna Hunt is a staff writer for and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She and her husband run a preparedness e-store outlet at, offering GMO-free storable food and emergency kits. Anna is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Read more of her excellent articles here. Visit her essential oils store here.




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This article (Ayahuasca Can Relieve Serious Depression Faster than Antidepressants) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Anna Hunt and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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  • Edward Smith

    The situation with despair is that it certainly makes you feel as you don’t have any energy. Even getting out of bed can take a monumental effort, therefore it can be hard to imagine exercising at all when you’re depressed.

    You are able to google it for treatment depression Jake Brown guides to get the method which we made usage of to get rid of depression.

    Liked it!

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    If Ayahuasca is to make any headway as a treatment for anything it will have to be refined so that it becomes palatable. In it’s current usage it’s more or less a caveman medicine. It’s understood that the ceremony and interaction with nature is part of the Aya mystique, but the awful taste and vomiting are a bit much for many to get enthused.

  • Rachel Thompson

    anything is better than antidepressants. The RX industry has long corrupted the FDA with industry to government revolving door leadership. The FDA has never done more than eight week trials, long term effects have never been tested and when they are by industry, it’s secret. They really don’t know how this medication works or why when it does work, which is not that often. The side effects are worse than the mental trauma. It’s been shown that talk and time are the best treatments for depression. Mind altering drugs like the above are better because they open one’s mind, and it isn’t ongoing. The RX people do nothing but shut down your mind and prevent you from thinking which is your best medicine.

  • Hp B

    But laughter is still the best medicine!

    Perhaps this is why giddiness, laughing, ROFLOL are experienced as almost a preliminary default with psychotropics.
    A joyful trumpeting of the arrival of a Mr. Mescalito, or perhaps even a Mr. Mxyzptlk..

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