Jungle tea drinkers care for the jungle

June 19, 2017

Here is my monthly newsletter — a roundup of the ayahuasca news as seen from the northern hemisphere. 




Caged rats given unlimited access to amphetamines — think: meth — got all hooked. But rats given aya did not.


One key molecule in ayahuasca, harmine, is anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory molecules are thought to be good for your health.


Brain scans of aya users showed that it reduced a substance in your brain, glutamate, associated with self-judgment. Reducing self-judgment has been linked to happiness and wellness. The aya users in the study were, in fact, less judgmental of themselves two months later. 


People that drink the jungle tea take excellent care of the jungle.


People grieving over the loss of a loved one who drink aya see their painful feelings fall away. The aya drinkers "described experiences of emotional release."


Aya seems destined to someday be prescribed by a doctor. A renowned psychedelic research group, MAPS, has a protocol for getting ayahuasca approved as a medicine.


The world's largest survey of drug users says aya gives bad "bad trips." Twelve percent of people who have tried aya have had a "difficult / negative" experience. That's about twice as high as LSD, peyote, or smoked DMT. In fact, in one new case report, a drinker's anxiety got way worse. But psychosis after using aya "appears to be rare."


Psychedelics, including aya, draw people closer to nature and instill "we're-all-equal" political views. Cocaine and alcohol don't.



A Canadian court ruled a Brazilian religion could use the tea.


Nearly a year ago, a woman collapsed and died after a ceremony at an aya church in Kentucky. This month, the woman's mother filed a lawsuit against the church. The church, Peaceful Mountain Way, had schismed off from an older aya church in that same county, called AyaQuest. The head of AyaQuest had said he "was concerned (Peaceful Mountain Way) were not ready" to lead sessions.


[Photo Thomas Verbruggen on Unsplash]




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Ayahuasca is a  jungle vine that allows your brain's natural psychedelic, DMT, to persist and affect you. I first encountered it when Karla took me to visit her family in the Amazon nine years ago. Her tribe, the Shipibo, has used it for hundreds, thousand of years, and her mom drank it for stomachaches as a little girl. So it's either children's Tylenol or uber-LSD, or both. But for unknown reasons, it helps depression, drug addiction and acedia — at least it did for me.

Reilly Capps // reporter
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