Ayahuasca
Ayahuasca

Background

Ayahuasca is an herbal drink used during certain rituals in countries in the Amazon. It contains chemicals that affect the brain and might be unsafe.

The word "ayahuasca" comes from the words, aya, meaning spirit or soul, and huasca, meaning rope or vine, in the Quechua language. Ayahuasca is often made from the plants Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. The chemicals in ayahuasca are of interest for reducing symptoms of depression and improving mood.

Ayahuasca is used for suicide prevention, depression, grief, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
When taken by mouth: Ayahuasca is possibly unsafe. Ayahuasca contains chemicals that can cause hallucinations, tremors, dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting. Life-threatening side effects and death have also been linked with ayahuasca use.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Ayahuasca is likely unsafe when taken while pregnant and breast-feeding. Along with causing hallucinations and other serious side effects, ayahuasca might be toxic to the fetus if used during pregnancy. Avoid using.

Anxiety: Ayahuasca might increase the risk of various mental health effects in people with anxiety. Don't use ayahuasca if you have anxiety.

Bipolar disorder: Ayahuasca might increase the risk of having a manic episode in people with bipolar disorder. Don't use ayahuasca if you have bipolar disorder.

Hallucinations and delusions (psychosis): Ayahuasca might increase the severity of hallucinations in people with psychosis. Don't use ayahuasca if you have psychosis.

Effectiveness

There is interest in using ayahuasca for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Ayahuasca is an herbal drink. The contents of the drink vary depending on the plants used and how they are prepared. Ayahuasca contains the chemical dimethyltryptamine (DMT) which might be unsafe. There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of ayahuasca might be.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Ayahuasca might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Ayahuasca might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Medications used for Parkinson disease (Dopamine agonists)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ayahuasca contains chemicals that can affect the brain. Taking ayahuasca with medications used for Parkinson disease might increase the effects and side effects of these medications

Serotonergic Drugs

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ayahuasca might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications also have this effect. Taking ayahuasca along with these medications might increase serotonin too much. This might cause serious side effects including heart problems, seizures, and vomiting.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements with serotonergic properties: Ayahuasca increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Taking it along with other supplements that have this effect might cause serious side effects, including heart problems, seizures, and vomiting. Examples of supplements with this effect include 5-HTP, black seed, L-tryptophan, SAMe, and St. John's wort.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 30/03/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 13/08/2022 08:07:39. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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