Ayahuasca, or the Holy Medicine is prepared with the Holy Banisteriopsis Caapi Vine as the main ingredient. The Holy Medicine of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca contains Harmine, a naturally occurring harmala alkaloid which can be found in a number of Plants, including the seeds of Peganum Harmala, or Syrian Rue.
A few studies on the Holy Medicine suggesting that harmine, one of the non-hallucinogenic compounds in the Holy Medicine, may cure diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, people usually lost about 99 percent of their beta cells, which exist in the pancreas and produce insulin, which in turn lets the human body maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Without these beta cells, human blood sugar levels go up and down and cause havoc in the body.
But in type 2 diabetes, people usually lost 50 to 60 percent of beta cells, which in association with growing resistance to insulin that create a set of symptoms similar to those that can be observed in type 1 diabetes.
For a long time, scientists have been seeking for ways to regenerate these beta cells. Researchers, after screening thousands of compounds, finally found only one which worked, and it was harmine, the compound in the Holy Medicine of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca.
In the study published in Nature Medicine, researchers found that harmine had a strong ability to regenerate these cells, also known as beta islets. To test this, scientists implanted islets into mice and injected them with harmine. The number of beta cells regenerated three times in the mice which was given harmine, with significantly improved blood sugar levels.
Dr. Andrew Stewart, Director of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine, commented about the result of the study, “our results provide a large body of evidence demonstrating that the harmine drug class can make human beta cells proliferate at levels that may be relevant for diabetes treatment.” According to Dr. Patricia Kilian, the Director of JDRF, who supported the research team, beta cell regeneration will play an important key role in ultimately curing type 1 diabetes, and if successful in humans, this early research could lead to drugs which revive the beta cells in people with diabetes.
The research authors also indicated that this harmine might not the be best to give to people unaltered, as it produces psychoactive effects. However, according to Stewart, understanding the chemistry of how harmine causes beta cells to multiply could lead to discovering related drug which might produce similar results as harmine – causing beta cells to multiply.
- Nie, T., Hui, X., Mao, L. et al. (2016). Harmine Induces Adipocyte Thermogenesis through RAC1-MEK-ERK-CHD4 Axis. Scientific Reports, [online] Volume, 6,p. 36382. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep36382 [Accessed 4th July 2021].
- Wang, P., Alvarez-Perez, JC., Felsenfeld, D. et al. (2015). A high-throughput chemical screen reveals that harmine-mediated inhibition of DYRK1A increases human pancreatic beta-cell replication. Nature Medicine, [online] Volume, 21,p.383–388. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3820 [Accessed 4th July 2021].