The Science


5Ayahuasca is the combination of quechua words “aya” meaning bitter/souls and “huasca” meaning “rope/vine”, thus ayahuasca can be interpreted as “the vine of souls”

This vine is known also as banisteriopsis caapi, a woody liana with high alkaloid concentrations. its thought to have been used for over 5,400 years in the Amazon river basin.

The alkaloids found in the vine are both neurogenic and anti cancerous.

The following is a detailed functional analysis:
“DMT binds to the sigma-1 receptor, which provides new opportunities for understanding how ayahuasca may produce its marked effects on the body and mind and what might be the role of endogenous DMT and how ayahuasca may have effects on cancer.
The human sigma-1 receptor has been cloned and shows no homology with other mammalian proteins. Single-photon emission tomography (SPET) analysis in humans revealed that these receptors are present in organs such as the lung and liver and most concentrated in the brain. Sigma-1 receptor activity has been implicated in a variety of diseases, including cancer, depression, and anxiety. Sigma-1 receptors are found in high densities in many human cancer cell lines, including lung, prostate, colon, ovaries, breast, and brain; thus, sigma ligands are regarded as potential novel antineoplastic tools.”

“DMT binds sigma-1 receptors with moderate affinity (KD = 14.75 µM, approximately half the affinity for 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors) and, at high concentrations, is also capable of inhibiting voltage-gated sodium channels. Thus, DMT may exert two types of effects through sigma-1 receptors: at low concentrations, it regulates calcium flow from the ER to the mitochondria, whereas at higher concentrations, it exerts diverse effects at the plasma membrane region. The effect on calcium influx into the mitochondria may be extremely important for cancer treatment given that an energetic imbalance between excessive cytosolic aerobic glycolysis and reduced mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (the Warburg effect) was recently suggested as the seventh hallmark of cancer. This metabolic profile of cancer cells is accompanied by a hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential that may be reduced by the calcium influx triggered by DMT binding to the sigma-1 receptor at the MAM. This effect may facilitate the electrochemical processes at the electron transport chain inside the mitochondria, thus increasing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and leading these cells to apoptotic pathways. When high DMT concentrations induce sigma-1 receptor translocation to the plasma membrane, many cellular effects would occur due to the receptor’s interaction with different ion channels. At high concentrations of DMT, a calcium influx and mitochondrial membrane depolarization might be enough to also activate the permeability transition pore (PTP), inducing mitochondria swelling, rupture, and apoptosis.

For all these effects to help explain the available case reports of ayahuasca on cancer treatment, DMT’s physiological degradation by enteric monoamine oxidase (primarily MAO-A) after oral consumption should be inhibited, thus allowing the DMT to pass into circulation. The pharmacological activity of β-carbolines (primarily harmine) in ayahuasca inhibits MAO, with a high affinity for MAO-A. Therefore, the specific effects of ayahuasca on the different types of cancer could also vary depending on the predominant MAO subtype, given that the ratio of MAO-A to MAO-B varies, for example, from 1:3 in the brain to 4:1 in the intestine, and the placenta has only MAO-A and blood platelets have only MAO-B. Another consequence of inhibiting MAO in different tissues is interference with apoptotic pathways, thus strengthening the synergistic action of β-carbolines and DMT.

In addition to allowing DMT to exert its effects on cancer tissues and cells, β-carbolines may have other important roles. It was recently demonstrated that harmine activates pathways of apoptosis in B16F-10 melanoma cells; it inhibits tumor-specific neo-vessel formation, both in vitro and in vivo in mice, through a series of mechanisms involving decreased serum levels of pro-angiogenic factors and an increase in antitumor factors and displays an inhibitory effect on cell proliferation against human carcinoma cells. Harmine and harmaline were also shown to reduce cell proliferation in the human leukemia cell line HL60. Harmine was also shown to induce apoptosis in the human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2. Harmine may also be beneficial in cancer treatment due to its inhibitory effect on the DYRK1A kinase. This kinase is implicated in the resistance of many cancerous tissues to pro-apoptotic stimuli and the enhancement of proliferation, migration, and reduced cell death. Another pharmacological effect of harmine that may be important in brain cancer is its role on the EAAT2 glial glutamate reuptake transporter. Harmine was identified as one the most efficient molecules to upregulate this transporter in glial cells among a library of 1040 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved substances. This fact may be of importance because most brain tumors are of glial origin and involve excessive glutamate release, causing neurotoxicity. Also important for gliomas may be the binding of harmine to imidazoline I2 receptors. These receptors are highly expressed in gliomas, and their density increases with malignancy in human cells. However, their physiological role in these tissues remains unclear.

A recent study has shown that DMT inhibits the indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase enzyme. This enzyme, when upregulated, is associated with malignant cells escaping immune surveillance, and thus DMT may help increase immune functions against malignant cells.”

In summary, it is hypothesized that the combined actions of β-carbolines and DMT present in ayahuasca may diminish tumor blood supply, activate apoptotic pathways, diminish cell proliferation, and change the energetic metabolic imbalance of cancer cells, which is known as the Warburg effect. Therefore, ayahuasca may act on cancer hallmarks such as angiogenesis, apoptosis, and cell metabolism.”


San Pedro / Wachuma

3“San Pedro” is a pre-Columbian reference to the mescaline containing cactus genus Trichocereus.

Andean archeological evidence supports that Wachuma has been used for atleast 3600 years. During the Spanish Inquisition, huachumeros were fatally persecuted. Only those who practiced the church-approved ritual of “San Pedro” were permitted to live, thus the lineage radically changed with much loss. Today the practice of San Pedro lives, and the practice of Wachuma re-emerges from the cultural awareness of Chavin and other pre-Incan cultures. Unlike the modern practice of San Pedro, Wachuma was commonly employed in tandem with Wilka. Wilka is what we now call yopo. A powerful tryptamine-containing snuff made from Anadenanthera peregrina. Bufotenine, 5-HO-DMT, is the principle constituent in Anadenanthera Peregrina.

Source: Maxwell Wieland

Two pipes found in association with Anadenanthera seeds in northwest Argentina, which have been radiocarbon dated to 2130 BC, and which had residues that tested positive for DMT.

Source: Torres, 1995, p. 312-314.

Of the plethora of alkaloids it hosts, mescaline is the most well-known. Peyote, Lophophora williamsii, also contains mescaline and other phenethylamines, however it is native to the central dry lands of the Americas.

Investigators have begun neuropsychological testing with Native American Church members. The investigators did not find any signs of impaired cognition in NAC members. Investigator: John Halpern, MD, Harrison Pope, MD Harvard Medical School – Cambridge, Massachussetts.


There are many different “species” in the trichocereus genus, however they are not as clearly defined as in other plants as they are often phenotypically similliar. The trichocereus peruvianus references trichocereus in Peru. This does not discriminate any phenotype within the botanically irrelevant boundaries, known as Peru. Thus, a large spectrum of differences are all associated with Wachuma / San Pedro.

Trichocereus can contain anywhere from no active alkaloids ( 0% ) to concentrations in the photosynthetic layer of 7%. Of the alkaloids 30-70% are mescaline, 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine. The remaining 30-70% are similar molecules with synergistic and parallel properties. The unique combinations of these alkaloid concentrations provide a pharmacological identity we experience through digestion. Thus each cactus is different.

Source: Maxwell Wieland

These days, San Pedro cactus — which contains chemicals with hallucinogenic properties — is used in healing ceremonies by people living in the Andean mountains of South America, primarily in northern Peru, according to Guerra-Doce’s paper. But the earliest evidence of San Pedro cactus usewas found in Guitarrero Cave, in Peru’s Callejón de Huaylas valley. Researchers found pollen and traces of the cactus in the parts of the cave that were occupied the earliest, which date back to between 8600 and 5600 B.C. Other evidence shows that a larger sample of material from the cactus found in the cave dated back to 6800-6200 B.C., according to the paper.



Dried coca leaves in clay bowl with fresh coca tea (mate de coca) in the back, photographed with natural light (Selective Focus, Focus on the middle of the coca leaves)Erythroxylum novogranatense

Evidence dates the communal chewing of coca with lime 8000 years back. Besides cocaine, the coca leaf contains a number of other alkaloids, including methylecgonine cinnamate, benzoylecgonine, truxilline, hydroxytropacocaine, tropacocaine, ecgonine, cuscohygrine, dihydrocuscohygrine, nicotine, and hygrine. When chewed, coca acts as a mild stimulant and suppresses hunger, thirst, pain, and fatigue. Absorption of coca from the leaf is less rapid than nasal application of purified forms of the alkaloid (almost all of the coca alkaloid is absorbed within 20 minutes of nasal application, while it takes 2–12 hours after ingestion of the raw leaf for alkaline concentrations to peak). When the raw leaf is consumed in tea, between 59 and 90% of the coca alkaloid is absorbed.

The coca leaf, when consumed in its natural form, does not induce a physiological or psychological dependence, nor does abstinence after long-term use produce symptoms typical to substance addiction. Due to its alkaloid content and non-addictive properties, coca has been suggested as a method to help recovering cocaine addicts to wean off the drug.

Traditional medical uses of coca are foremost as a stimulant to overcome fatigue, hunger, and thirst. It is considered particularly effective against altitude sickness. It also is used as an anesthetic and analgesic to alleviate the pain of headache, rheumatism, wounds and sores, etc. Before stronger anaesthetics were available, it also was used for broken bones, childbirth, and during trepanning operations on the skull. The high calcium content in coca explains why people used it for bone fractures. Because coca constricts blood vessels, it also serves to oppose bleeding, and coca seeds were used for nosebleeds. Indigenous use of coca has also been reported as a treatment formalaria, ulcers, asthma, to improve digestion, to guard against bowel laxity, as an aphrodisiac, and credited with improving longevity. Modern studies have supported a number of these medical applications.

The Coca leaf is highly nutritious. For instance, 100 grams of coca leaf supplies more than the US recommended daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins A, B2, and E. Some doctors believe coca and other psychoactive plants may play a role in helping the brain function properly, particularly when used during times of poor nutrition and in stressful environments. According to a study published by Harvard University in 1975 (Duke, J., D. Aulik and T. Plowman, Nutritional Value of Coca), chewing 100 grams of coca is enough to satisfy the nutritional needs of an adult for 24 hours. Thanks to the calcium, proteins, vitamins A and E, and other nutrients it contains, the plant offers even better possibilities to the field of human nutrition than it does to that of medicine, where it is commonly used today.

per 100 g= Organic acids: 3.2mg; Carbohydrates: 46.2g; Fibre: 14.2g; Fat: 3.3g;Moisture: 7.2g



7This medicine is from the peptide secretions from the Phyllomedusa bicolor, an Amazonian tree frog.

Kambo is made up of many different substances, all of which have their own effect on the human body. It contains a large number of peptides (proteins), such as the peptide families: bradykinin (Phyllokinin) Tachykinins (phyllomedusin) caerulein, sauvagine, tryptophyllins, dermorphins, deltorphins and bombesins.

Kambo includes the two peptides dermaseptin B2 and B3. These substances are found to have an anti-bacterial effect and, in addition, to prevent the growth of tumours. These two promising substances have to be further investigated for possible anti-tumour therapy. Furthermore, other studies show that in addition to dermaseptin B2 and B3, kambo also contains other substances which inhibit the growth of tumours.


Caerulein and sauvagine stimulate the adrenal cortex and the pituitary gland, contributing to heightened sensory perception and increased stamina. Both of these peptides have a strong analgesic effect, enhance endurance, increase physical strength and in general, enhance the capacity to face pain and stressful situations. They possess medical potential as digestive aids, and have demonstrated analgesic effects for those with renal colic, pain due to peripheral vascular insufficiency and cancer pain.

Adenoregulin works in the human body through the adenosine receptors, a fundamental component in all human cell fuel. These receptors can offer a target for treating depression, stroke seizures and cognitive loss ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease. Scientific research on the peptides of kambô are opening up new perspectives on how the human brain works. The properties of kambô peptides cover a wide range of potential medical uses: treatment of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, depression, migraines, blood circulation problems, vascular insufficiency, organ diseases, skin and eyes issues, fertility problems in women and men, AID’s, hepatitis, cancer, etc.

Other interesting medicinal properties of this secretion are its anti-inflammatory effects, its capacity to destroy microbes and viruses and heal infections.  Due to the presence of these nine peptides, kambô is one of the strongest natural antibiotics and anesthetics found in the world and one of the strongest, natural ways to empower our immune system. The kambô treatments have short and long term effects. ‘Short term, the effects are a state of alertness, good mood, enhanced resistance to tiredness, hunger and thirst’, the capacity to easily concentrate and focus, and a still mind which can last for several days or weeks. Long term, kambô empowers the immune system, overcomes fatigue and improves one’s state of health.”



6Theobroma cacao

Theobromine is derived from Theobroma, the name of the genus of the cacao tree, (which itself is made up of the Greek roots theo (“God”) and broma (“food”), meaning “food of the gods”)with the suffix -ine given to alkaloids and other basic nitrogen-containing compounds.

Possible future uses of theobromine in such fields as cancer prevention have been patented.

Theobromine has stimulant properties, similar to caffeine. Unlike caffeine theobromine does not affect the central nervous system.  Theobromine can also relax bronchi muscles in the lungs. Theobromine can be used as cough medicine. Studies indicate that theobromine acts on the vagus nerve, which runs from the lungs to the brain.


Cacao is the most antioxidant-rich food in the world. Its powder, for instance, contains an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score of 95,500 µmol per 100g, while cacao nibs contain a lower but still impressive 62,100 µmol per 100g. To put these numbers in perspective, goji berries (the highest non-cacao source of antioxidants) score 25,300, acai berries score 18,500, and blueberries – famous for their antioxidant content – score 2,400.

Many of the antioxidants present in cacao are flavonoids, including anthocyanidin. Like all antioxidants, these flavonoids are intimately involved in the prevention of free radical damage, but they also have a central role in boosting collagen protection. This means that antioxidant-rich foods like cacao are not only good at guarding us from cancer and other degenerative diseases, but also provide us with many anti-aging benefits.

Chocolate, in both its processed and natural form, has always been regarded as a mood booster. Whereas processed chocolate is more of a ‘comfort food’ due to its unhealthy refined sugar content, real chocolate – sourced from organic cacao – actually promotes the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and serotonin, which are legitimate feel-good hormones. Cacao also contains natural mood-boosting compounds such as theobromine and phenylethyamine, making it a good food for people suffering from low vibrational states such as anxiety, sadness and depression.

Improves cardiovascular health – According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the flavonoids in cacao can block the oxidation of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Since LDL cholesterol must oxidize before it can transform into plaque, this blocking process directly protects us from several serious cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Ultimately, this improves circulation and minimizes the risk of heart disease.

Nutrient-dense – Cacao contains over 300 important compounds, including protein, fat, certain B-vitamins and minerals such as calcium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper. This dense nutrient profile, coupled with its incredible antioxidant concentrations, has long elevated cacao to ‘superfood’ status.