An Amazonian Tea Containing DMT Stimulates the Formation of New Brain Neurons


Preparation of ayahuasca in Ecuador. Credit: Terpsichore

One of the main natural components of ayahuasca tea is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which promotes neurogenesis — the formation of new neurons — according to research led by the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

In addition to neurons, the infusion used for shamanic purposes also induces the formation of other neural cells such as astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.

“This capacity to modulate brain plasticity suggests that it has great therapeutic potential for a wide range of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases,” explained José Ángel Morales, a researcher in the UCM and CIBERNED Department of Cellular Biology.

The study, published in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature Research journal, reports the results of four years of in vitro and in vivo experimentation on mice, demonstrating that these exhibit “a greater cognitive capacity when treated with this substance,” according to José Antonio López, a researcher in the Faculty of Psychology at the UCM and co-author of the study.

Changing the receptor eliminates the hallucinogenic effect

Ayahuasca is produced by mixing two plants from the Amazon: the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the chacruna shrub (Psychotria viridis).

The DMT in ayahuasca tea binds to a type-2A serotonergic brain receptor, which enhances its hallucinogenic effect. In this study, the receptor was changed to a sigma-type receptor that does not have this effect, thus “greatly facilitating its future administration to patients.”

In neurodegenerative diseases, it is the death of certain types of neurons that causes the symptoms of pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Although humans have the capacity to generate new neuronal cells, this depends on several factors and is not always possible.

“The challenge is to activate our dormant capacity to form neurons and thus replace the neurons that die as a result of the disease. This study shows that DMT is capable of activating neural stem cells and forming new neurons,” concluded Morales.

Reference: “N,N-dimethyltryptamine compound found in the hallucinogenic tea ayahuasca, regulates adult neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo” by Jose A. Morales-Garcia, Javier Calleja-Conde, Jose A. Lopez-Moreno, Sandra Alonso-Gil, Marina Sanz-SanCristobal, Jordi Riba and Ana Perez-Castillo, 28 September 2020, Translational Psychiatry.
DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-01011-0

4 Comments on "An Amazonian Tea Containing DMT Stimulates the Formation of New Brain Neurons"

  1. Akawi Mipaunetucu | November 6, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Reply

    “This study shows that DMT is capable of activating neural stem cells and forming new neurons,” concluded Morales.”
    Now that’s what we wanted to hear

  2. cheryl Balderston | November 10, 2020 at 9:33 am | Reply

    Im hoping some one reads ThiS. Im really think this would help people with als my friend is dying from this horrible disease.

  3. I don’t like pop-up ads one bit.

  4. Great article!

    I suggested that before because DMT is a psychedelic drug, just like LSD and the (re)founder and user of LSD (Prof Albert Hofmann from Switzerland) worked until age 102 and spoke at international conferences.Thats why the government of switzerland said:LSD can’t be that toxic so we should change law to allow research and therapy with psychedelics

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