Ayahuasca, or “The God Vine”, has been used for centuries if not millennia in the Amazonian jungle to treat a variety of ailments, one of them being severe depression. While the vine and its preparation with other plants and herbs has now spread across the globe, so have the ceremonies that are meant to cure deeply seated issues.
A new study in Psychological Medicine found that traditional pills used for depression were found ineffective for about one third of patients; even with switching medications to try and achieve better results, they seem to be treatment resistant.
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Encouragingly, however, the study also found that some psychedelics are making breakthroughs where pharmaceuticals have failed. “…recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca and psilocybin, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant patients.” The study then goes into great detail on the spread of ayahuasca to urban centers in Brazil and then around the world, its healing reputation thrusting the anti-establishment medicine into the mainstream.
An ayahuasca treatment lasts several hours and though severe vomiting and sometimes diarrhea are reported during most trips, it has been proven to be a safe experience. Damaging thoughts and practices are often addressed while seeing visuals such as snakes pouring out of one’s mouth while purging or perhaps a communal meeting with an ayahuasca produced puma that could last for hours.
For the “double-blind parallel-arm randomized placebo-controlled trial” the doctors assessed the changes in the severity of depression, comparing a baseline of seven days after the experience. “Data from 29 patients were included in the analysis: 14 in the ayahuasca group and 15 in the placebo group.”
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The depressed persons had been so for approximately 10 years and had all tried using antidepressants. The study analyzed many different data points, but the result that mattered most was, “patients treated with ayahuasca showed significantly reduced severity [of depression] when compared with patients treated with placebo.”
The world at large is finally opening its eyes to the benefits of plants that can seem scary or overwhelming on the surface, but that have potential and actual clinical usages that help a variety of ailments. Severe depression can be deadly and if you’re experiencing symptoms, be sure to reach out to your doctor, family and friends whether or not you are able to get yourself an ayahuasca treatment quite yet. Just know that the doors of perception are opening wider and wider and the results are speaking for themselves.