Ayahuasca is a beverage obtained from decoctions of the liana Banisteriopsis caapi plus the shrub Psychotria viridis. This beverage contains a combination of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine) and N,N-dimethyltryptamine, the main substance responsible for its visionary effect. The ritualistic use of ayahuasca is becoming a global phenomenon. Most members of ayahuasca churches consume this beverage throughout their life, and many reports have discussed the therapeutic potential of this beverage. Ayahuasca is consumed orally, and the liver, as the major organ for the metabolism and detoxification of xenobiotics absorbed from the alimentary tract, may be susceptible to injury by compounds present in the ayahuasca decoction. In this study, we evaluated biochemical parameters related to hepatic damage in the serum of 22 volunteers who consumed ayahuasca twice a month or more for at least one year. There was no significant alteration in the following parameters: alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, bilirubin, creatinine, urea, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma glutamyl transferase. These findings indicate that chronic ayahuasca consumption in a religious context apparently does not affect hepatic function.
Mello, S. M., Soubhia, P. C., Silveira, G., Corrêa-Neto, N. F., Lanaro, R., Costa, J. L., & Linardi, A. (2018). Effect of Ritualistic Consumption of Ayahuasca on Hepatic Function in Chronic Users. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 1-9., 10.1080/02791072.2018.1557355