Many people are unaware of the Ayahuasca benefits for mental health issues. With the need for better treatments in this area, the option deserves a closer look.

In case you didn’t know, Ayahuasca is a beverage concocted from two different plants native to the Amazon region of South America. The bark of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and leaves from the Psychotria viridis are the principal ingredients of the substance. Both these plants contain psychotropic properties that alter the brain.

The Ayahuasca brew originated in spiritual communities, notably the Santo Daime, in both Brazil and North America. Shamans led ceremonies as early as 3000 years ago, healing and promoting health using Ayahuasca.

Now, research finds the same beverage provides promising results for physical and mental health issues as well. For those who struggle with mental health disorders, this could be life-changing.

Little-known Ayahuasca Benefits for Mental Health

Scientific studies find that Ayahuasca benefits could indeed contribute to mental health improvements. The main issue is that Ayahuasca contains DMT, which is a psychedelic compound, and a schedule 1 drug. It is illegal in many areas and still not openly used in Brazil, where many studies have suggested its usefulness.

However, if future studies continue to provide promising results, this could change. So, what are the benefits of mental health when it comes to Ayahuasca?

1. Treatment-resistant depression

Treatment resistant depression is a type of condition that doesn’t respond as favorably to common antidepressants. This severe form of depression can be resistant to many natural options as well, thus being treatment resistant.

A publication in the journal of Psychological Medicine suggested ‘The vine of the Spirits’, or Ayahuasca, could lessen forms of treatment-resistant depression.

Researchers in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil’s Federal University, found 218 patients who have depression. Twenty-nine people offered their time in the study, and 50% showed improvement. In the long-term, 64% showed improvements in both depression and anxiety. It seems that Ayahuasca increases blood flow to regions of the brain that regulate mood and improving cognitive function.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety disorder can be debilitating, and there are few permanent solutions, if any. The disorder usually comes from past trauma, making it difficult to treat and heal. Anxiety comes with ‘triggers’ that can be a multitude of stimuli, and so understanding this illness means tracing symptoms back to the root of the problem.

In the Netherlands, Ayahuasca is being studied for many treatment options, including anxiety. In a study with 377 participants, results show that 98.7% had more confidence and felt calmer and more peaceful.

Only 8% showed any side effects pertaining to anxiety. Ayahuasca can actually help the neurons communicate in the brain, thus balancing chemicals. Unbalanced chemicals contribute to anxiety and panic.

3. Addiction

One of the most concerning problems in the world is addiction, and there is always a need for help in this area. Could Ayahuasca be the answer?

Another Ayahuasca study that included 12 participants in a 4-day treatment session reported a decline in alcohol, tobacco, and cocaine use. The participants suffered from behavior and psychological issues related to substance abuse, and this was the target of the Ayahuasca brew.

When it comes to addiction, unlike other mental illnesses, we can attribute part of the healing to the ceremonial or spiritual aspect of the brew. Substance abuse decreases when psychological and physiological methods are combined. Not only does Ayahuasca treat addiction by balancing chemicals, but it also promotes a sense of community, where lack of this communion often triggers addiction.

4. PTSD

PTSD is closely related to anxiety, but can be a temporary mental condition. Currently, medications prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder are taken every day. Scientists believe that synergistic medicine and psychotherapy could help process past traumatic events that caused the disorder, thus providing long-term benefits instead.

Ayahuasca can promote cognitive rewriting of memories responsible for post trauma stress. This option can provide monumental benefits for those suffering from mental damage from warfare and childhood trauma. You might want to learn about ayahuasca for PTSD, which might prove a possible solution to long-lasting symptoms.

5. Trauma

Past trauma causes many mental health issues that can last for years. Beta carboline and DMT combined can restore the brain, healing and also preventing unhealthy coping mechanisms.

While post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most common issues that originate from traumatic experiences, there are other symptoms and conditions born from traumatic circumstances.

Trauma can also hinder the ability to enter a mindful state and deter the regulation of emotions. In an MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction) training, participants reported an increase in overall mindfulness. Ayahuasca seems to ultimately stimulate neural cell growth and protect brain cells from damage.

The future of Ayahuasca

It seems that the Ayahuasca benefits are a game-changer. But keep in mind that all scientists and researchers conduct tests in a controlled environment, producing these positive results. And the powerful beverage is still in its early stages.

The news of Ayahuasca having benefits for mental health continues to spread, giving us another option for treating psychological issues. So, watch for updates about this treatment option, and maybe you can experience the next breakthrough.

Featured image by Apollo, CC BY 2.0

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