Ayahuasca brings Rapid antidepressant effects – linked to changes in inflammatory biomarkers

After discovering Ayahuasca, the Holy Medicine, by the Westerners, much research and studies have been undertaken.

Many of the studies are bringing significant results with tremendous potentialities which are changing and shaping the minds of the Westerners about the effects and usages of the Holy Medicine of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca. Repeated research results have already shown the antidepressant effects of the Holy Medicine many times, but this time some Brazilian scientists found out that the antidepressant effects of the Holy Medicine appear to be connected with anti-inflammatory activity. This published study result is providing new insights into the biological mechanisms behind the observed antidepressant effects from the Holy Medicine.

According to the lead author of this study Nicole Leite Galvao-Coelho, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, one-third of patients with depression usually do not show a satisfactory response to antidepressants which lead to a large proportion of patients developing Major Depression Disorder (MDD) with multiple depressive episodes.

About 350 million people worldwide are suffering from MDD, which has made it one of the most prevalent mood disorders. In this study, the researchers briefed 45 healthy individuals and 28 patients with treatment-resistant depression about the psychological and physiological effects observed from the Holy Medicine. The participants were then arbitrarily given either a single oral dose of the Holy Medicine or a placebo substance which looked like and taste like the Holy Medicine, which the scientists created with zinc sulphate. The placebo liquid could also induce nausea that is one of the common side effects from the Holy Medicine.

After consuming the individual dose, the participants rested for about six hours in a comfortable room at a hospital, where they listened to specially curated music playlists. The researchers collected and analyzed blood samples from the participants before allowing them to consume the Holy Medicine, and again took their samples after two days. The research team was mainly interested in two inflammatory blood biomarkers: interleukin 6 and C-reactive protein.

Galvao-Coelho and her team detected significant antidepressant effects among patients who had consumed the Holy Medicine. These improvements in depressive symptoms were linked with reductions in inflammation and compared to the control group, participants with treatment-resistant depression inclined to have higher C-reactive protein levels at baseline. About 48 hours after consuming the Holy Medicine, the team found that C-reactive protein levels were reduced in both patients and healthy controls but did not reduce in participants who had consumed the placebo drink.

In one of her interviews, Galvao-Coelho told PsyPost, “besides changes in emotions, MDD also induces biological changes. A better comprehension of these biological changes can help in the development of more efficient treatments. For instance, treatment-resistant depression has been associated with mild chronic systemic inflammation. In this study, a single dose of Ayahuasca, and not the placebo, reduced both depressive symptoms and systemic inflammation of treatment-resistant depressive patients two days after the treatment.

According to her, the current commercial antidepressants usually need around 15 days to show the first signs of reducing depressive symptoms. She also confirms that there is no clear agreement on the action regarding the anti-inflammatory activities. In the study, they also found that there were no changes in the levels of interleukin 6 in both patients and controls.

Galvao-Coelho reminded with caution, that as the Holy Medicine does not induce physiological toxicity or addiction or compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, the Holy Medicine influences acute and mild sympathetic activity. So, the patients who have mania or psychosis and cardiovascular disease must not consume the Holy Medicine.

Regarding the potentialities of this study, she further added by concluding that the next step in this study is to experiment with multiple sessions of the Holy Medicine associated with psychotherapy as a treatment for depression. According to her, all these recent studies with Psychedelics for mental disorders have already represented incredible possibilities, but the researchers need a deeper understanding of these possibilities to convert them into accessible treatment for mass population.


Galvao-Coelho, N. L., Glvao, A. C. de M., de Almeida, R. N., et al. (2020). Changes in inflammatory biomarkers are related to the antidepressant effects of Ayahuasca. Journal of Psychopharmacology, [online] Volume, 34(10), p. 1125-1133. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0269881120936486 [Accessed 4th July 2021].