Study Finds Ayahuasca Affects Epigenetic Gene Expression

ayahuasca affects gene expression

In this Gaia News special investigation, we take a look at groundbreaking new research being done on ayahuasca, an ancient psychedelic plant medicine showing great promise in addressing the most difficult to treat mental health conditions, and may even change our DNA.

Dr. Simon Ruffle is a psychiatrist and researcher who led this study conducted in the Peruvian Amazon.

“Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew that is used in the Amazon rainforest. It’s been used for at least hundreds of years and there’s some evidence that suggests that it may have been used for thousands of years,” Ruffell said.

“It’s used for a wide variety of purposes and normally by indigenous tribes. It’s used most commonly, now, for healing. And there’s been a lot of interest from people from the West going to the Amazon rainforest in order to drink ayahuasca. And also ayahuasca is spreading all over the world and now can be found on pretty much every continent.”

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In part two we look at how researchers found a statistically significant change in the expression of the SIGMAR-1 gene which is thought to be involved with how traumatic memories are recalled.

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Is Psychedelic Tourism Destroying the Sanctity of Plant Medicine?

psychedelic tourism

As psychedelic healing and plant medicine go more mainstream, luxury psychedelic tourism is on the rise—good news for the spread of this medicine, but how might over-commercialism affect this sacred practice?

A recent Bloomberg article highlights the rise in all-inclusive psychedelic retreats. Indigenous plant medicine has been around for centuries, and its health benefits have been scientifically demonstrated, but as it gains mainstream acceptance and finds a bigger audience, some only see dollar signs.

Bloomberg reports, “according to Data Bridge Market Research the psychedelic market is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $10.7 billion by 2027.”

With the potential to make a lot of money, could some unscrupulous companies capitalize on this trend and remove the sanctity of this practice?

Carlos Tanner is the director of The Ayahuasca Foundation in Peru, he founded the center in 2009 as the result of his own healing journey. “When I started our retreat center, The Ayahuasca Foundation, I was coming off of a seven-year study myself; a four-year apprenticeship where I lived with a curandero and several years after that of studying with other teachers,” Tanner said.

“For most people that were starting centers at that time—which wasn’t many—you were a student first, and eventually after years of study, you came to the point where you wanted to offer this to people from outside of the culture. Now we see people who don’t have very much experience at all, but yet they’re opening a healing center.”

As this budding industry is dealing with rapid growth, there are some complicated issues regarding its increased popularity.

“When it comes to the commercialization of substances that have an ancestral background I would say that it is a delicate situation, and I hope that there would be a benefit to those indigenous populations from which those traditions were orignated. But at the same time, I know many indigenous people and they are for the spreading of what they believe to be their culture, which oftentimes was something that was looked upon negatively or was degraded as if they were second-class citizens, quite literally,” Tanner said.

“But now having people from the Western world, from the modern world, want to learn or experience elements of their culture, I think gives them a sense of pride. So it’s a complex question, to say the least.”

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