Substance use disorder and alcohol dependence 

Winkelman, M. (2014). Psychedelics as Medicines for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Evaluating Treatments with  LSD, Peyote, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca. Current Drug Abuse Reviews 7, pp. 101-116. 

  • Winkelman (2014) describes a successful addiction treatment center called Takiwasi. “For more than 20 years, Jacques Mabit and the Takiwasi center in Peru  has been a pioneer in the use of ayahuasca treatments for addiction. The  Takiwasi program incorporates ayahuasca in ritual treatments for addicts in  remote settings in the Peruvian Amazon. The Takiwasi program is known for its  work with cocaine and cocaine paste addicts, as well as a variety of polysubstance users."

Loizaga-Velder, A. and R. Verres (2014). Therapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of substance  dependence--qualitative results. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 46(1), pp. 63-72.  

  • Loizaga-Velder and Verres (2014) qualitative research findings indicate that ayahuasca can serve as a valuable therapeutic tool that, in carefully structured  settings, can catalyze neurobiological and psychological processes that support  recovery from substance dependencies and the prevention of relapse.  

Treatment-resistant depression 

Palhano-Fontes, F., Barreto, D., Onias, H., Andrade, K., Novaes, M., Pessoa, J., . . . Araújo, D. (2019). Rapid  antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression: A randomized placebo controlled trial. Psychological Medicine,49(4), 655-663. doi:10.1017/S0033291718001356

  • Palhano-Fontes et al. (2019) randomized placebo controlled trial found significant  decreased depression severity, which persisted two and seven days after the trial.  For example, on Day 7 the Hamilton Depression Rating scale remission rate was  43% in ayahuasca versus 13% in placebo, and the MADRS remission rate showed  36% ayahuasca and 7% placebo. 


Recurrent depression 

de L. Osório, F., et al. (2015). Antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca in patients with recurrent  depression: a preliminary report. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 37(1), pp. 13-20.  

  • de L. Osório, F. et al. (2015) preliminary report on the antidepressant effects of a  single dose of ayahuasca suggest fast-acting anxiolytic and antidepressant effects  in patients with a depressive disorder. 



González, D., et al. (2017). Potential Use of Ayahuasca in Grief Therapy. OMEGA—Journal of Death and Dying, pp.  1-26. 

  • Gonzalez et al. (2017) comparison between 6 (avg.) ayahuasca experiences  compared to 12 months of peer support found 83.3% (25/30) believed their  ayahuasca-drinking experience had a very positive influence on their grieving  process 16.7% (5/30) felt it had a positive influence. 


Neuroprotective and Parkinson’s 

Samoylenkoa, V., et al. (2010). Banisteriopsis caapi, a unique combination of MAO inhibitory and antioxidative  constituents for the activities relevant to neurodegenerative disorders and Parkinson’s disease. Journal of  Ethnopharmacology, 127 (2), pp. 357–367. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.10.030. 

  • University of Mississippi: Samoylenko et al. (2010) study shows inhibition of  MAO-B activity by β-carbolines harmine (7) and harmaline (6), in addition to  potent MAO-A inhibition responsible for antidepressant activity, provide  protection against neurodegeneration, and has a potential therapeutic value for  the treatment of Parkinson's diseases. 


Djamshidian, A. , Bernschneider-Reif, S. , Poewe, W. and Lees, A. J. (2016), Banisteriopsis caapi, a Forgotten  Potential Therapy for Parkinson's Disease?. Mov Disord Clin Pract, 3: 19-26. doi:10.1002/mdc3.12242

  • Djamshidian’s (2015) research proposes that harmine should be reconsidered as a  potential rapidly acting anti-Parkinsonian agent. 


Evidence of health and safety 

​Halpern JH, Sherwood AR, Passie T, Blackwell KC, Ruttenber AJ. Evidence of health and safety in American members of a religion who use a hallucinogenic sacrament. Med Sci Monit. 2008 Aug;14(8):SR15-22. PMID: 18668010.

  • Halpern et al. (2008) study shows physical exam and test scores revealed healthy  subjects. Members claimed psychological and physical benefits from ayahuasca.  19 subjects met lifetime criteria for a psychiatric disorder, with 6 in partial  remission, 13 in full remission, and 8 reporting induction of remission through  Church participation. 24 subjects had drug or alcohol abuse or dependence  histories with 22 in full remission, and all 5 with prior alcohol dependence  describing ayahuasca-based church participation as the turning point in their  recovery.  

Harris, R., and Gurel, L. (2012). A Study of Ayahuasca Use in North America. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 44(3):  209-215. 

  • Harris and Gurel (2012) qualitative study reveals that ayahuasca users reduced  their alcohol intake, ate healthier diets, enjoyed improved mood and greater self acceptance and felt more loving and compassionate in their relationships.  



Wang, P. et al., (2015). A high-throughput chemical screen reveals that harmine-mediated inhibition of DYRK1A  increases human pancreatic beta cell replication. Nature Medicine 21, pp. 383–388. 

  • Wang et al. (2015) study using three different mouse and human islet in vivo– based models, we show that harmine is able to induce beta cell proliferation,  increase islet mass and improve glycemic control. These observations suggest that  harmine analogs may have unique therapeutic promise for human diabetes  therapy. 



  • In 2013, volunteer therapists working with Acuda, a prisoner’s rights group based in Port Velho, Brazil, began integrating yoga, reiki, and ayahuasca ceremonies as  part of a wide-scale rehabilitation effort to help the half-million-plus inmates  scattered across the nation.