University of Sao Paolo researchers, after an initial trial involving a hallucinogenic herb, ‘ayahuasca,’ concluded brew’s anti-depressant effects.
Ayahuasca is a century-old herb of jungle vines and shrubs, which have been used in religious and spiritual ceremonies, according to Scientific American.
The brew shows promising results in terms of depression treatment, especially for people who don’t respond well with traditional medications.
In the trial, patients started feeling better only after a couple of hours, as compared to conventional medications, which effects usually kick in after a couple of weeks. Best part, its beneficial effects lasted for three weeks, while its psychedelic effects wore off within five hours.
But how does ayahuasca brew work, anyway? Research reveals, it provides immediate and lasting relief from any depressive symptoms and just like other anti-depressants, it can alter the mood-boosting neurotransmitter (serotonin) concentration in the brain.
According to Dr Brian Anderson, a psychiatrist not involved in this particular study but in his own medical anthropological research on the herb, it was an area that really needed further work as well as serious consideration. There was a need for effective treatments that could work in the short term, he added. And many of the current depression treatments take weeks to use, he concluded. (Think of pills or psychotherapies).
Anderson also said that like any traditional anti-depressants, ayahuasca’s chemical compounds seemed to change the brain’s serotonin level, a type of neurotransmitter regulating mood.
In a related story, Popular Science highlighted that it was a ‘one-grain of salt’ research and study because it only involved six participants and no placebo group.
But it also noted that there would be further studies underway—a much larger group at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte—to finish this year.
Looks promising, but definitely there will be more to come with ayahuasca and depression treatment and that’s something good to look forward to. Stay tuned for more of this news story soon on this blog.
Photo Credit: Vibration of Awesome