ayahuasca research center at the mishana community in Peru

Current Research

We have secured ethics for a 5 year project exploring the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca retreats on military veterans first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In March 2023 the study commenced. We have currently tested 28 veterans using psychometrics, neuroimaging (EEG), microbiome and metabolomic analyses, and epigenetic investigations on DNA.

It is scheduled that we will have cohorts coming to the jungle every 6 months, in March and September every year for the next 4 years.

Many thanks to Grant Town for their generous support.


Since successfully completing the pilot stage of this project, we have formed collaborations with the Herb Clinic, Heroic Hearts UK and Heroic Hearts Canada. As a result, we will be received more veterans from different countries.

We are currently fundraising in order to be able to deliver the scientific experiment to our increased sample size.

If you can help, please visit https://onaya.science/donate

Ayahuasca Retreat Programs at Ayahuasca Foundation

Experiments at Riosbo: 


Participation in an indigenous Amazonian led ayahuasca retreat associated with increases in nature relatedness – a pilot study

Indigenous Amazonian shamanic ayahuasca practice is deeply rooted in nature and it is employed as an ecological mediating agent and in collective environmental decision-making processes by some of the groups that use it. In this proof-of-concept study, participation in an ayahuasca retreat in a traditional Indigenous Amazonian context was associated with significant increases in nature relatedness and mindfulness and improvements in depression, state anxiety, and trait anxiety.


Ceremonial ayahuasca in Amazonian retreats—mental health and epigenetic outcomes from a six-month naturalistic study

Results: A study looking at the impact of traditional ayahuasca on trauma-related conditions. In a sample group of 63, preliminary analysis showed significant improvements in anxiety, depression, self-compassion and wellbeing, also sustained at 6 month follow up. Results have been shown to be holistic in nature and highly correlated with each other. Improvements in positive autobiographical memory also observed. Pilot data from epigenetic analyses indicate changes to the sigma-1 receptor, as related to PTSD treatment. In regards to epigenetics, this study must be scaled up in order to draw more definitive conclusions.


Modulatory effects of ayahuasca on personality structure in a traditional framework

Results: In a sample of 24 participants, this study found that a retreat including 6 ayahuasca ceremonies caused significant long-term changes in human personality. These changes were deemed to be positive shifts, with decreases in Neuroticism (high levels associated with anxiety, depression OCD etc), significant increases in levels of Agreeableness and a trend level increase in how open people are to new experiences.  


A phenomenology of subjectively relevant experiences induced by ayahuasca 

Results: Using interviews that were carried out the following morning after an ayahuasca ceremony, this project describes the subjective effects of ayahuasca. The study looked at trends and differences in experience between participants and found significant references of reprocessing traumatic events or gaining fresh insight into life dilemmas.  


Synergistic pharmacological interaction of compounds present in ayahuasca – A systematic review

Results: Using a systematic review format (an assessment of the existing literature), this paper investigated how the primary chemicals within the ayahuasca brew interact in the human body. It was determined that further research is required but that the preliminary data suggests additive effect is going on, as well as potential synergy. It is hypothesised that ayahuasca has an antidepressant and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect in the brain. A number of studies implied that ayahuasca may trigger growth of neural tissue, as well as up-regulating aspects of the serotonin system. 


Ayahuasca, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms and socio-emotional experiences – A six month follow up pilot study

Results: Data from this pilot study showed that six months following participation in ayahuasca retreats, significant improvements in ADHD symptomatology and socio-emotional difficulties were found. The findings were not affected by length of retreat or number of ceremonies attended. Gender differences in outcomes were also identified. This study suggests possible positive effects of ayahuasca use for ADHD, where further controlled trials are recommended.

Ayahuasca Retreat Programs at Ayahuasca Foundation