Posted 11 months ago on March 24, 2013, 12:38 a.m. EST by quantumystic
from Memphis, TN
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Ayahuasca Effect By Kirby Surprise Psy.D
The world’s most powerful antidepressant and psychotherapeutic agent may be a natural herbal tea. As many as 40 million Americans will suffer from some form of depression during their lifetimes. For some depression will be a mercifully short episode in their lives, for millions it becomes a chronic experience of emotional pain that devastates all areas of their lives. Depression is notoriously difficult to treat, especially in its chronic form. Talk therapy is often ineffective, and anti-depressive medications sometimes have unwanted side effects. Medications such as Webutrin, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft often leave the client with sexual dysfunction, agitation, sleeplessness and alterations in their personalities. These medications can and do save lives, but for some the side effects make them less than satisfactory answers to long term clinical depression.Ayahuasca is a tea made from a combination of legally available plants that produces a profound alteration in consciousness. It has been used for thousands of years by South American shamans, and is currently used as a sacrament in at least two Christian based religions in with world wide memberships. It is noted for the power of the experience it produces, and the tendency for it to facilitate positive personal change in those that consume it. It is non-addictive, non-toxic, and in its classical forms, produces no physical or psychological harm to the users. The primary drug involved is N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a natural substance that is in the bodies of all mammals, and one of the most powerful hallucinogens known. DMT is extracted from any one of the plant that contain it by brewing it in water that has been made slightly acidic, in effect making tea. Once the tea is made it is considered illegal in most western countries because it contains DMT, which was made illegal as a manufactured hallucinogen before it was known it existed in natural form in the plants used to make ayahuasca.
Normally the DMT in the tea would be destroyed in the digestive system by a chemical called mono amine oxidase, rendering the tea completely inactive. With the addition of a second plant containing a mono amine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), either in the tea with the first DMT containing plant or taken separately, The DMT survives the digestive process and reaches the brain where it alters the persons state of consciousness.
The most common anecdotal reports from use of the tea are of profound psychological and spiritual healing, accompanied by personal insight and integration. It is often reported that the tea breaks even profound depressive episodes in a single use. This positive psychological benefit is what I call the “Ayahuasca Effect.” That is, to produce an intense and positive integrative experience with lasting beneficial effects from use of the tea, with no side effects common to pharmaceutical antidepressants. The following one such personal encounter with ayahuasca;
“Sometime during graduate school, while holding two jobs and trying to raise a family, I fell into a major depression. It was the kind of illness that one could fight through to lead a normal life, but it sapped the joy and light from every experience. My wife and I fought often, the world seemed a dark and difficult place.
There should have been the relative leisure of just work and family to enjoy, but the depression hung like a dark resentful fog on every day, coloring it with hopelessness and undeserved despair. In order to keep working I sought medical help, which came in the form of anti-depressant medications. After two years of trying different medications, Zoloft was the final choice. I was told to reconcile myself to having to take this medication every day for the rest of my life. I was grateful for having a chemical floor under my feet, it saved my life, both figuratively and literally, but there were side effects. The medication left me sleepless and mildly agitated much of the time, feeling like a constant infusion of caffeine. It made sex difficult, which played hell with my self-esteem, and it did not make me able to experience happiness or joy. I had been to years of talk therapy, taken the drugs western medicine had to offer, followed the known treatment courses, they had not restored me to wholeness.
Finally, even with the medication, the illness was winning. My ability to make a meaningful connection with my wife was gone, my work was an endless parade of despair, my attitude was permanently dark and agitated. This was not who I wanted to be, not the life I had worked hard to live. I decided I was not going to be healed by taking the advice of others, I would have to do it from within, I would look for a miracle, I would go back to the study of shamanism and find a way to heal myself. After months of research on shamanic cultures and their use of native plants I learned about ayahuasca, an herbal tea made from plants native to the Amazon basin. I read everything on the web, the books, the articles I could find, and went to an Ayahuasca conference with experts from many fields from all over the world.
What I learned was that studies had been done on members of the UDV, one of the religions that use the tea as a sacrament, which indicated ayahuasca was a powerful anti-depressant which treated the cause of the condition rather than the symptom. In short, most depression is caused by problems with the way the brain processes serotonin, which could be called the “mood” neurotransmitter. Prescription antidepressants work by various means to keep serotonin in the synapses longer. Ayahuasca contains DMT, which bonds to the 5-htp receptor sites, the same sites as serotonin. The DMT bonds at a higher rate, and the body adapts to this by increasing the number of 5-htp receptor sites, making better use of natural serotonin levels.
The UDV studies stated regular drinkers of the tea were less depressed, more social and more organized than the control groups, and that there were no physical or mental side effects to long term use in healthy individuals. Ayahuasca seemed to be an anti-depressant that treated the cause, had a better psychological outcome, and no side effects. The final factor in my decision was some of the people who I met at the conference. Many of them were long term drinkers of the tea from countries where it has been legalized. I found them to be some of the most grounded, sane, kind, and generally healthy people I had ever met.
Anecdotal evidence from users of the tea treating depression suggest it can be effective in treating serotonin based depression, but it is not a magic bullet or cure-all. The tea tends to lift depression, but does not change the underlying personality. If the user was depressed because of trauma or had other personality issues before the depression, these issues will still be present if the tea lifts the depression. I have known people who were depressed with many somatic symptoms, took the tea, and had their aliments and depression replaced by anger. The anger was what the depression was keeping repressed, in some cases the anger was over incest or other traumatic abuses. The people were generally then able to move on into doing the work of healing and restructuring the way they think about their experiences. Ayahuasca gave them the opportunity and ability to do the work, but did not do it for them. My personal experience was the tea broke the cycle of depression and medications that prevented me from moving on to actual healing. Ayahuasca is potentially one of the most powerful antidepressant and psychotherapeutic therapies ever seen. At present the legal issues and lack of medical support and understanding around its use leave much of that potential unexplored. It is my hope that an understanding of the “ayahuasca effect” may someday allow direct research studies to be done of it’s effectiveness as an antidepressant treatment and tool of self awareness. http://www.ayahuasca.com/science/the-ayahuasca-effect/ edited read complete.