A very recent early-stage study in the field of Psychedelic research asked the question which no one has asked before: “how does the Holy Medicine of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca impacts the expression of human DNA?”. This is the first time researchers thought of looking into the expression of human DNA under the influence of the Holy Medicine. Despite limitations, the study has shown some promising results with the Holy Medicine of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca.
Dr. Simon Ruffell, Senior Research Associate at King’s College, London, and a psychiatrist at Maudsley Hospital, led the observational study with fellow researchers WaiFung Tsang and Nige Netzband. The team observed the consumption of the Holy Medicine by 63 mostly white volunteer participants who attended a traditional Shipibo retreat and the effects of the Holy Medicine on their mental health. The study was conducted with the association of the Ayahuasca Foundation in Iquitos, Peru.
The research team collected information through several surveys before and after participants’ had consumed the Holy Medicine.
To measure the long-term effects, they also surveyed the participants’ experiences after six months. They primarily looked at depression, self-compassion, and anxiety, as well as general well-being, mindfulness, the perception of traumatic memories, and other minor measures. They also collected participants’ saliva samples. “We collected saliva samples in order to assess potential changes in gene expression – a field called epigenetics”, says Ruffell.
During this research, his team observed three genes related to neuroplasticity, trauma, and the brain’s ability to make fresh connections.
According to Ruffell, based on the existing body of research on the Holy Medicine and mental health outcomes, it was not surprising to learn that participants had exhibited decreased anxiety and depression and had developments in mindfulness, general well-being, and self-compassion.
In addition, they had also found that the participants were perceiving memories less negatively. The study also found that the more significant the participants’ mystical experiences were during the Sacred Ceremony, the more depression was cured, similar to the findings from other Psychedelic researches.
According to Carlos Tanner, Director at “Ayahuasca Foundation”, the most jaw-dropping outcome of this research was the long-term impacts of the Holy Medicine. It is usually expected that when treatment is stopped, there would be some return of symptoms, but they observed a lasting affect which continued long after the Sacred Ceremony.
Collected saliva samples show an alteration in gene expression, but the sample size is still small, according to Ruffell. He said that this was the first-ever study which looked at any Psychedelic and epigenetics and caveated the statement with a note about the study’s limitation, small sample size. The team observed a statistically significant change in the expression of the gene SIGMAR1, which is assumed to be involved in how traumatic memories are stored. The team also warned that it is too early to generalize the results with this result, and they are currently awaiting additional funding to continue the current research and increase the sample size in the future.
Swiss-Canadian Anthropologist Dr Jeremy Narby, in his famous book ‘The Cosmic Serpent’, mentioned that the secrets of the DNA may have been known by the indigenous people for thousands of years, and that shamans were able to access information at the molecular level through consuming the Holy Medicine of the Holy and Divine Mother Ayahuasca.
In the coming years it is surely hoped that, with more funding as well as development of research technologies as well as greater collaboration among researchers, the positive affect at the DNA level – which has been assumed for long by many experts and scientists- will have been identified with greater scientific evidences and such studies taken forward for the benefit of Humanity.
- Ruffell, Simon G. D., Netzband, Nige., Tsang WaiFung., et al. (2021). Ceremonial Ayahuasca in Amazonian Retreats—Mental Health and Epigenetic Outcomes From a Six-Month Naturalistic Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, [online] Volume, 12, p. 898. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.687615 [Accessed 3rd July 2021].