and Serotonin Normalization
study conducted with 2 groups, the first composed of ayahuasca drinkers
from the União do Vegetal (UDV), and a second control group was
undertaken in Manaus, Brazil. The study included physical and psychological
evaluations in addition to analysis of biological specimens.
were collected from UDV members who had used ayahuasca for at least 10
years, and who had not consumed the drink for at least one week. Ayahuasca
is rarely consumed more frequently than every other week by most practitioners.
were also collected from the control group. 5-HT uptake activity was measured
in platelets by displacing [3 H] citalopram with unlabelled paroxetine.
A statistically significant (p= 0.006) difference was found between the
two groups; the tea drinkers had a higher density (Bmax) of 5-HT uptake
sites when compared to the control group and literature values, with an
overall increased regulation of about 25% (Callaway et al.1994).
of 5-HT uptake is significant because of its implications regarding contemporary
medical theory of depressive disorders. Increased serotonergic activity
is exactly what current medications attempt to provide for depressive conditions.
Inasmuch as this neurological change appears to be precipitated by ayahuasca,
further studies are urgently needed to determine minimal effective dosage,
onset time, and post-treatment effectiveness.
Should it be
found that ayahuasca produces a normalization of the 5-HT (serotonin) uptake,
then an important new treatment for depression disorders may be on the
horizon which offers lasting benefit from occasional medication with virtually
no negative side effects. Full and lasting remission from severe chronic
depression has been frequently noted empirically from treatment with Ayahuasca
but has not been documented scientifically due to inadequate research.