Scientists have found that a hallucinogenic drink named ayahuasca fights Alzheimer’s and Down Syndrome.
While previously being studied for its alleged abilities to help fight depression, ayahuasca has been found to have abilities to fight Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s.
While studying the effects of harmine, an alkaloid abundant in the drink, on neural cells, it was found to trigger neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue). According to a the report published PeerJ, the researched found that the substance prevented the protein encoding gene DYRK1A, which is over-activated in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome, from working.
Harime also produced effects identical to the those of antidepressants, but did not share any side-effects, according Stevens Rehen, a scientist involved in the study.
He added that the results opened up speculation about future studies on the drinks’s “potential therapeutic role over cognitive deficits observed in Down syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases.”
The brew, Ayahuasca, has been used by Amazonian tribes for hundreds of years. It was used in ceremonies to communicate with spirits and also to spread good and bad wishes to friends and enemies. It has also been used for medicinal purposes in some parts of Brazil.