Disclaimer: Consult with a doctor before deciding on a treatment plan for cancer or any other disease.
Quick Summary

Ayahuasca has been used by a number of cancer patients as a cure, but it is not a panacea. Ayahuasca is a sacred indigenous medicine that works to cure cancer on metabolic, biological, and spiritual levels.

Detailed Introduction

Ayahuasca is an entheogenic brew made from a variety of herbs combined with the Banisteriopsis cap vine. It is an indigenous medicine used by the Incans and other tribal groups. Ayahuasca roughly translates as “vine of the soul”.  The vine grows in the Amazon rainforest and it has been used as a sacred indigenous medicine by tribal cultures who live there. But more and more people today are taking the Ayahuasca brew to treat medical conditions and to access other, more spiritual states of mind [1][2][4].

 

Ayahuasca contains DMT, a substance that causes people to feel a profound sense of connection to other people and their surroundings along with other powerful hallucinogenic experiences.

Politics

Ayahuasca is a prohibited substance in the United States where the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has labeled it a Schedule 1 drug. Because ayahuasca is a Schedule 1 drug, it is very difficult to do medical research on it to learn how and why it can cure cancer [1].

 

While the recreational use of Ayahuasca has been prohibited, there are Brazilian-based churches in the states that have won the right to import and use ayahuasca in their ceremonies [1].

 

Ayahuasca is legal in Brazil where it is being researched to learn more about its ability to cure cancer. One researcher, Eduardo E. Schenberg, believes that ayahuasca’s healing properties deserve more attention from the scientific community [1][3].

 

Donald M. Topping, PhD published his story in 1998 to describe his experience using ayahuasca to cure terminal cancer. Ayahuasca was his last hope and it ultimately led to a cure [1].

 

Safety and Effectiveness

Schenberg investigated nine cases where patients used ayahuasca to treat cancer. Of these nine patients, several showed improvements, one case was considered worse, and another was difficult to evaluate. Patients with the following cancer types took the ayahuasca:

 

  • Prostate cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer [3]

The medicinal effects of ayahuasca have been attributed to the following substances found in the brew:

  • N, N dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
    • *Beta-carboline allows DMT to interact with certain receptors on cellular membranes that modulate the movement of ions across the membranes. Research indicates that by modulate ion movement, the DMT may be able to reduce the Warburg effect and rebalance cellular metabolism in cancer cells. In some cases, apoptosis may occur [4].
  • Harmine
    • *Harmine inhibits the formation of new blood vessels that supply the tumor while reducing the proliferation of tumor cells, and inducing apoptosis [4].
  • Tetrahydroharmine
  • Harmaline [3][4]
How Ayahuasca Is Administered

Ayahuasca is administered as a tea or decoction. It is typically made of two plants but there are different combinations used. The two most common combinations include Banisteriopsis caapi with one of the following:

  • Psychotria viridis
  • Diplopterys cabrerana [3].
Possible Negative Effects

Ayahuasca often causes vomiting and diarrhea along with powerful hallucinations. Patients should be sure to find a skilled shaman or guide to administer the brew. Finding a skilled guide has become more difficult due to “ayahuasca tourism”.

Other Important Information
  • Robert Forte, an ayahuasca researcher accompanies cancer patients to ayahausca healers. Patient results have been promising.
  • Gabor Maté, a renowned Canadian doctor investigates ayahuasca as well. He works with Peruvian ayahuasceros and provides support to cancer patients who wish to try this indigenous medicine for healing [1].

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Resources

[1] Skye, M. (2018). Ayahuasca Tea: Do Amazonian Tribes Hold a Cure for Cancer? Retrieved June 6, 2018 from https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/ayahuasca-tea-cure-cancer/

 

[2] Topping, D. M. (1998). Ayahuasca and Cancer: One Man’s Experience. Retrieved June 6, 2018 from https://www.maps.org/news-letters/v08n3/08322top.html

 

[3] Schenberg, E. E. (2013). Ayahuasca and cancer treatment. Retrieved July 3, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4687784/

[4]  Luna, L. E. (2011). Indigenous and mestizo use of ayahuasca. Retrieved July 4, 2018 from https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/45293826/Luna.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1530736128&Signature=xIBVbpJ5GhK7M2ZuG1YjmHhMeew%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DIndigenous_and_Mestizo_Use_of_Ayahuasca..pdf