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Native from the amazon, the mysterious

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Scientific Name: Banisteriopsis Caapi

Is the scientific name of the this wood, also known as ayahuasca, para ayahuasca, caapi, yagugue, jagube, mariri, pildé, golden vine, biaxa, boa, bora vine, dapa, doctor, kahi, maridi, mihi, natema, nepe , pinde, totenliana or wine of death.


It is a botanical species of liana, of the genus Banisteriopsis, of the family of the malpiguiáceas. The banisterio is a giant vine with long branches and strong red, green and pointed leaves. The flower can reach 14 foundations with five petals that can be white and pink, but very rarely in tropical areas, while its fruits sprout between March and August. The original territory of the banisteria is unknown, but it is also found in the Amazonian territories of Ecuador and Peru, a little bit in Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela, where communities are used in ritual ceremonies such as ayahuasca, a decoction with a long history. of entheogenic use.
Banisteriopsis Caapi
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The word Banisteriopsis refers to the English clergyman and naturist John Banister  and the name of the botanical genus of flowering plants with 136 products belonging to the malevolent family and its origin in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas. It is usually abbreviated as B. Caapi comes from the Ñe'engatú language of the Tupí-Guaraní linguistic family, which was the most widespread language on the coast of Brazil and in the Colombian Amazon before contact with Europeans, and which is still extensively used by the colonizers in the first period of Portuguese colonization. According to Spruse, caapi translates yerba or thin leaf. The words ayahuasca or yagé reflect both B. caapi and the drink prepared by the natives in their rituals: Ayaguasca is a Quechua word that translates vine of death. This word is used in Ecuador, Perú and Bolivia. Yagé is a word Cofán, one from amazonian Ecuadorians tribes and in Peruvian regions near the borders of these two countries.

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Health Effects of Banisteriopsis caapi

1) Banisteriopsis caapi Is a Brain Enhancer and an Antioxidant

In mouse brains, harmine, tetrahydroharmine, harmaline, and harmol stimulated:

  • Neurogenesis

  • Stem cell growth, migration, and production

According to a review of 2 animal cells and 9 animal studies, harmine increased BDNF and protected the brain. It decreased:

  • Inflammation

  • Oxidative stress

  • Nerve cell damage and death due to overactivation of receptors (excitotoxicity)

Furthermore, it improved memory and learning in animals .

In cells, epicatechin and procyanidin from Banisteriopsis caapi acted as antioxidants.

In mice, beta-carbolines reduced brain damage caused by dopamine and the Parkinson’s-like toxins MPTP and MPP+ 

2) Banisteriopsis caapi May Protect Against Parkinson’s Disease

In a study (DB-RCT) of 30 newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients, one dose of Banisteriopsis caapi improved motor function for all patients. The effects appeared after one hour and lasted for 3 more hours [R].

However, all Banisteriopsis caapi patients experienced adverse effects. They all experienced nausea/vomiting, and most of them also experienced dizziness, diarrhea, and agitation. One patient experienced confusion/hallucinations. Importantly, all experienced abnormal involuntary movements or worsened tremors.

In rat brain cells, the harmaline and harmine from Banisteriopsis caapi stem extracts inhibited MAO-A. Therefore, these beta-carbolines may increase dopamine levels, which are lower in Parkinson’s disease.

MAO-B inhibitors also fight motor symptoms and problems found in Parkinson’s disease.

In both human and animal cells, harmine and harmaline strongly inhibit human MAO-B enzymes while epicatechin and procyanidin B2 do so moderately.

However, in rat brain cells, beta-carbolines did not significantly inhibit MAO-B.

In mouse cells, harmaline and harmine reduced brain damage from various toxins (MPTP and MPP+) that cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms in humans and other primates. Based on this model, these beta-carbolines may protect against oxidative cell damage in Parkinson’s patients.

3) Banisteriopsis caapi May Fight Depression and Anxiety

Research shows that that ayahuasca is both antidepressant and antianxiety.

Banisteriopsis caapi alone also has antidepressant and antianxiety effects. The harmine and harmaline in Banisteriopsis caapi inhibit MAO-A, reducing depression.

Tetrahydroharmine moderately inhibits serotonin reuptake, which may also reduce depression.

In mice, harmine from Banisteriopsis caapi had antidepressant effects.

Furthermore, in rats, harmine increased BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels and reduced depressive behavior.

Harmaline, harmine, tetrahydroharmine, and harmol (a by-product of harmaline) caused adult nerve cell formation (neurogenesis) in mice.

Importantly, neurogenesis fights anxiety and depression.

This activity resembles antidepressant drugs that stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus and other regions of the brain.

Side Effects

Banisteriopsis caapi may cause:

  • Moderate or severe nausea/vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Diarrhea

  • Agitation

  • Confusion/hallucinations

  • Abnormal involuntary movements or worsened tremor

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