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The Science

Ayahuasca 

5Ayahuasca is the combination of the quechua words “aya” meaning "soul" and “huasca” meaning “vine," thus the name ayahuasca can be interpreted as “the vine of the soul.”

The scientific name of the vine is Banisteriopsis caapi, a woody liana with high alkaloid concentrations. Banistereopsis caapi, locally called ayahuasca, added to Psychotria viridis, locally called chakruna, together make up the brew called "ayahuasca." This brew is thought to have been used for over 5,400 years in the Amazon river basin. The caapi vine contains a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which allows the dimethyltriptamine (DMT) containing chakruna to be released into the blood stream, and cross the blood-brain barrier. Without the MAOI, the affects of the DMT would not be felt. The alkaloids found in the vine are both neurogenic and anti-carcinogenic. The following is a detailed functional scientific analysis of ayahuasca's anti-carcinogenic activity: “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.

San Pedro & Ayahuasca Ceremonies near Cusco, PeruSingle-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... For 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, thu Ms allowing the DMT to pass into circulation. The pharmacological activity of β-carbolines (primarily harmine) in ayahuasca inhibitsAO, 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 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.”

Source: http://smo.sagepub.com/content/1/2050312113508389.full

San Pedro/Huachuma/Wachuma

3“San Pedro," or Saint Peter, is the common name of the cactus genus Echinopsis, formerly known as Trichocereus, and locally called Huachuma. It was called "San Pedro" by Spanish Catholic priests who, after ingesting the cactus, felt as if the gates of heaven were opened to them. Some still refer to it as "the key to the gates of heaven."

There are many cacti in the Echinopsis genus, but the scientific names of the two most commonly referred to as Huachuma are Echinopsis pachanoi and Echinopsis peruviana. There are many varieties and hybrids of the two species. 

Cactus of the genus Echinopsis can contain anywhere from no active alkaloids to 7%. Of the nine different alkaloids it hosts, mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine) is the most well-known and most prevelant in the cactus. The majority of the mescaline and other alkaloids are in the outer green photosynthetic layer of the cactus.

These days, Huachuma is used in healing ceremonies by people living in the Andean mountains of South America, primarily in northern Peru. The earliest evidence of San Pedro cactus use was found in Guitarrero Cave, in Peru’s Callejón de Huaylas valley. Scientific researchers found pollen and traces of the cactus in the parts of the cave that were occupied by homo sapiens as early as 8600-5600 B.C.

Source: http://www.livescience.com/49666-prehistoric-humans-psychoactive-drugs.html

 Coca

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)The scientific name of the coca leaf is Erythroxylum novogranatense.

The communal chewing of coca was prevalent as early as 8000 years ago. The coca leaf contains a number of alkaloids, including methylecgonine, cinnamate, benzoylecgonine, truxilline, hydroxytropacocaine, tropacocaine, ecgonine, cuscohygrine, dihydrocuscohygrine, nicotine, and hygrine, as well as essential minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and E. The coca leaf is highly nutritious. It is considered particularly effective against altitude sickness. It is also used as an anesthetic and analgesic to alleviate the pain of headache, rheumatism, wounds and sores, etc. 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, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, the plant offers even better possibilities to the field of nutrition than it does to that of medicine, where it is commonly used today.

Source: http://aboutcocaleaf.com/?p=13

Kambo/Sapo

7This medicine is from the dermal mucous secretions of the Amazonian tree frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor.

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. Two other promising peptides, caerulin 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 pain associated with cancer.

Adenoregulin, another peptide in Kambo, works in the human body through the adenosine receptors: a fundamental component in all human cells. The properties of kambo 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 eye issues, fertility problems in women and men, AIDS, hepatitis, and cancer.

Other scientific medicinal properties of Kambo are its anti-inflammatory effects, its capacity to destroy microbes, and its capacity to heal infections. Due to the presence of its powerful peptides, kambo is one of the strongest natural antibiotics and anesthetics found in the world and one of the most effective and natural ways to empower our immune system.

The kambo 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. These effects can last for several days to several weeks. Long term, kambo empowers the immune system, reduces overall fatigue and improves one’s state of health. The long term affects can last a lifetime. Kambo is nature's vaccine, and science has yet to catch up to the awesome peptides held within the mucous of this little tree frog. 

Sources: http://azarius.net/encyclopedia/84/Kambo/ 

http://www.heartoftheinitiate.com/files/Kambo-Scientific-Research-Healing-Treatments.pdf

Cacao

6The scientific name of cacao is Theobroma cacao.

The main active compound in cacao is Theobromine. The name "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 nitrogen-containing compounds. 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; they 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.

Cacao improves cardiovascular health: according to the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, 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. Ultimately, this improves circulation and minimizes the risk of heart disease.

Chocolate has always been regarded as a mood-booster. The science behind this is that real chocolate, sourced from organic cacao, promotes the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and serotonin, which are feel-good hormones in the brain. Cacao also contains natural mood-boosting compounds such as the aforementioned theobromine and phenylethyamine, making it an ideal food for people suffering from low vibrational states such as anxiety, sadness and depression.

Cacao is a nutrient-dense food. It contains over 300 nutritional 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.

Sources: http://www.naturalnews.com/042036_cacao_superfood_antioxidants.html#ixzz3hbFVz5Sn

http://www.phytochemicals.info/phytochemicals/theobromine.php