A research made public by the online journal 'PLoS ONE' only yesterday looks at how consumers of an Amazonian psychotropic tea locally known as 'ayahuasca' relate both to themselves and to the world, immediately after ingestion and one year after the experience had taken place.
The four major aspects on which the scientists decided to focus were as follows: personality, psychopathology, neuropsychological functions, and life attitude and psychosocial wellbeing.
As explained in the Introduction to the study, the end goal was to determine how ingesting this beverage during religious rituals ultimately influences the behavioral patterns and the cognitive functions of those choosing to undergo this experience.
According to this study, “Clinical studies have shown that ayahuasca induces a modified state of awareness that includes dream-like imagery with eyes closed, increased insight and intense emotions.”
Furthermore, “Physiological modifications include moderate increases in blood pressure, elevations of blood cortisol, and prolactin and lymphocyte redistribution.”
This research states that, in spite of the changes it causes to occur within the human body, ayahuasca does not lead to pathological alterations. To be more precise: unlike drugs, this psychoactive plant beverage does not make its consumers become addicted to it.
Thus, it seems that although this psychotropic tea increases the flow of blood in the frontal and paralimbic areas, it fails to engage the neural pathways that cause addiction to appear.
As well as this, the researchers involved in carrying out this study claim that, as a result of ayahuasca ingestion, the people whose behavior and mental status they kept under scrutiny, “performed better in neuropsychological tests, scored higher in spirituality and showed better psychosocial adaptation as reflected by some attitudinal traits such as Purpose in Life and Subjective Well-Being.”
Given the fact that, according to recent reports, more and more people worldwide are turning to this psychotropic tea supposedly for religious purposes, and some of these people are even enjoying legal protection in some countries, it comes as good news that studies are carried out to assess how the human body responds to interactions with chemical compounds foreign to it.
Those who have time and wish to do so can watch a documentary concerning this Amazonian beverage here