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Peruvian Jungle Vine May Help with Addiction Treatment

A new study suggests that a Peruvian rainforest jungle vine could be used to treat drug and alcohol addiction. The vine, ayahuasca, was found to affect the central nervous system when made into a brew with other plants. The vine is used in some religious ceremonies in South American jungles.

Erika Celeste of VOA News talked to shaman Alfredo Kayruna Canayo at the Onanyan Shobo spiritual retreat center, who explained that ayahuasca can be used to treat the mind, body, and soul. To make it drinkable, the vine is made into a pulp and combined with other plants, and then brewed for at least eight hours until it turns into a thick liquid. The shaman explained that the plant must be combined with another plant, the chacruna.

Dr. Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine, and a team of researchers are examining the clinical potential of the brew. Grob confirmed that separately, the plants have no effect on the central nervous system, but when taken together, the effect is powerful.

The active ingredients in the concoction are a natural antidepressant and DMT, a brain chemical similar to serotonin. When combined with the antidepressant, DMT is absorbed by the body. This can help with addiction treatment because the brew isn’t addictive and no withdrawal symptoms have been reported. The brew can also help prevent malaria lessen Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Because the active ingredient in ayahuasca is classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the Food and Drug Administration, the brew is currently illegal in the United States.

Source: VOA News, Erika Celeste, Potent Jungle Vine Brew Has Potential to Treat Addiction, March 23, 2010

Posted on March 23rd, 2010

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