FEB 11, 2017 9:44 AM PST

Depression Treatment from an Amazonian Tea?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Deep in the jungles of the Amazon, natives brew a tea out of the ayahuasca vine and other plants. Far from a typical tea, the ayahuasca drink induces hallucinations that can last for hours. Noted for its potency and the effect on consciousness, this drink is usually only consumed as part of healing ceremonies, under the guidance of spiritual leaders.

While the drink has been consumed for decades in South America, it's come into the spotlight of western medicine as a potential treatment for depression. During the altered level of consciousness produced by the tea, people report an unhindered ability to sort through their emotions and anxiety - similar to the breakthroughs that psychiatrists and psychologists strive for in therapy sessions with their patients. The claims are quite reminiscent of other psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms, which are also being evaluated as legal drugs for the treatment of anxiety and depression.

As this drug is illegal in the US, people looking to take a sip of this tea must travel great lengths for the enlightened experience.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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