In collaboration with Onaya Science
Featured in Forbes and the documentary series Down to Earth with Zac Efron on NETFLIX.
Since 2016, Onaya Science and the Ayahuasca Foundation have been working together to deliver scientific data on ayahuasca and associated plant medicines. Experiments are carried out at the Riosbo research and retreat center, located in the heart of the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve, near Iquitos, Peru.
All aspects of the research operate on a non-profit basis. We work in partnership with the local community based within the national reserve.
We are currently fundraising for a neuroimaging study in collaboration with Heroic Hearts Project. For more information, see projects.
In 2019 the team carried out the first UK government-funded study into ayahuasca. Funded by the Medical Research Council (UK) in a project that formed collaborative efforts from respected institutions around the globe.
This was the first experiment to look at the effects of a psychedelic on genes; using cutting edge epigenetic analysis.
Article published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry special edition.
If you have professional expertise that you think you can offer, or think you can help in any other way please get in touch through the contact link at the bottom of this page.
Research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics reports on the importance of ‘set’ and ‘setting’. Set being the individual’s state of mind going into the experience, and setting being the physical location – comfort, safety and so on of the individual. Riosbo allows us to collect data in an environment where both of these factors are optimized. We test sample groups with a large range of conditions, whilst all the while being delivered by experienced practitioners of Shipibo lineages.
Our ultimate motivation is to discover optimal treatment methods that create lasting benefits. Furthermore, we aim to do our part in helping raise global awareness of ecological and cultural devastation. Providing data which ensures the heritage of the communities within the Amazon are rightfully, deeply respected.
Onaya Science and the Riosbo research centre supports the Regenerative Agroforestry Irrigation Network (RAIN). Reciprocity comes in many forms, the Ayahuasca Foundation also works closely with the local community in this respect.
Please visit www.rainumbrella.org for further information.
Preservation of Plant Medicine
Just a few generations ago, our ancestors (no matter who you are) relied on medicinal plants to treat illnesses and conditions. An immense body of knowledge was shared by word of mouth, and passed on from parents to children, neighbor to neighbors. Unfortunately, that knowledge has faded in most cultures, replaced by a similar body of knowledge about pharmaceutical medication. The immense wisdom of plant medicine gained from countless generations of indigenous cultures in the Amazon has not yet faded, but it is in danger of doing so. Pharmacies are on nearly every block of jungle towns, and knowledge is beginning to shift the way it has with modern cultures. We must not let this knowledge fade away.
By working together with our team of curanderos and the Mishana community where the Riosbo research center is located, we have begun assembling a compendium of medicinal plants with their properties and usages, along with recipes for preparation and use. Very few, if any, indigenous groups in the Amazon had a written language, so nothing was preserved in writing. Now, even the languages themselves are in danger of fading away. By creating this collection we will contribute to the preservation of ancestral knowledge, which western cultures already realize is so incredibly important to staying connected with the environment of which we are a part, of which we are made. We are literally made of plants. By spreading the wisdom of indigenous healing traditions, we hope to change the course of the local populations currently in the throws and challenges of a changing time, and reminding the global community of the direction we could be headed, towards greater harmony, health, and happiness.
It is estimated that there are over 60,000 species of plants in the Amazon Rainforest, yet only a tiny fraction of them have been adequately studied, including some of the most important plants utilized in the indigenous traditions practiced by our team of curanderos. By collaborating with laboratories in the US and UK, the Ayahuasca Foundation will be conducting scientific analyses of various medicinal plants in order to better understand how their effects on particular systems within the body. We may also be able to identify and name certain plants that are currently not yet known outside of the indigenous traditions. We hope these studies will contribute to the continuously growing body of knowledge about the healing potential of plants and plant medicine.
While science has proven to be an incredibly valuable methodology for discovery, it has limitations when conducted within an ethnocentric paradigm. Cutting edge science is cutting edge because it cuts through those boundaries that limit perception and understanding. Fields like neuroscience, epigenetics, and quantum mechanics suggest that we must not limit ourselves solely to reductive, materialist perspectives within which the science of previous generations conducted its analyses. It would be foolish to consider our perspective superior to another, but wiser to acknowledge that through sharing and collaboration, a combination of perspectives is the best bet to delivering a view of the bigger picture.
The Ayahuasca Foundation strives to enhance our view of life, our understanding of health, and our practice of medicine by collaborating with indigenous cultures. By learning, sharing and investigating together ancestral tradition and wisdom, as well as modern ideas and methods, we plan to help provide a greater view, a more beneficial understanding, and more effective practices.