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Ayahuasca – potential therapeutic properties in psychiatry. Research review

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Abstract

Ayahuasca, also known as “the liana of the soul” and “the vine of the soul” is a ritual psychedelic traditionally administered in the form of plant decoction, used by the indigenous people of South America for centuries, and in the last 25 years also in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Its biological activity results from the content of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), acting mainly as a non-selective agonist of serotonin receptors and beta-carboline alkaloids, which are strong and short-acting monoamine oxidase type A(MAOI-A) inhibitors. For many years there have been reports of both the anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, as well as indications of the possibility of its use in the treatment of addictions. The results of studies of its effectiveness in drug-resistant depression seem to be promising, comparable in the opinion of some authors with the effect of therapeutic action of ketamine. In the article, we try to explain the complex profile of action and the resulting potential benefits, but also the risk of interaction and adverse effects associated with the taking of ayahuasca, which is important given the high variability of herbal mixtures used to produce the decoction.

Barabasz-Gembczyk, A., & Kucia, K. (2020). Ayahuasca–potential therapeutic properties in psychiatry. Research review. Psychiatr. Pol.. Pol54(2), 381-389., https://doi.org/10.12740/PP/103364
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