Abstract Title:

Behavioral profile of constituents in ayahuasca, an Amazonian psychoactive plant mixture.

Abstract Source:

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1999 May 3 ;54(3):183-94. PMID: 10372792

Abstract Author(s):

C S Freedland, R S Mansbach

Article Affiliation:

C S Freedland


Ayahuasca is a psychoactive plant mixture typically composed of the beta-carboline-rich Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the hallucinogenic plant Psychotria viridis. Ayahuasca has long been used by aboriginal populations for its putative spiritual and medicinal benefits. Although the presumed primary chemical constituents of ayahuasca have been identified, little is known about the basic in vivo pharmacology of the extract. Two principal constituents of ayahuasca, the beta-carboline harmine and N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) were selected for detailed study in mice using the Functional Observational Battery (FOB). The B. caapi extract was then examined alone and in combination with DMT. Harmine and the B. caapi extract produced similar effects in the FOB, particularly in the open field. Clonic and tonic motor movements were augmented by DMT administration. Harmine and B. caapi decreased acoustic startle amplitude without significantly affecting prepulse inhibition. DMT appeared to attenuate startle-decreasing effects of harmine and B. caapi, although these effects fell just short of significance. These results suggest that the behavioral effects of B. caapi in mice may be attributed in large part to its principal alkaloid species, harmine, and related beta-carbolines in the extract. Hence, the presence of the banisteriopsis vine in the admixture may directly contribute to the unique subjective effects of ayahuasca.

Study Type : Animal Study
Additional Links

Print Options

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get Nature's Evidence-Based Pharmacy

Our newsletter serves 500,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Download Now

500+ pages of Natural Medicine Alternatives and Information.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2022 GreenMedInfo.com, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.