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New study investigates the impact of Amazonian ayahuasca retreats on veterans, assessing its effect on brainwaves, epigenetics, the gut microbiome and overall mental health

By: Get News
The collaboration between Heroic Hearts, the Ayahuasca Foundation and Onaya Science will assess 50 U.S. veterans in both the short and long term in indigenous led ayahuasca retreats

Heroic Hearts Project (HHP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating the healing of veterans through psychedelic plant medicine, has announced its collaboration with Onaya Science, a charity striving to translate the indigenous knowledge of Amazonian plant medicines into scientific terminology and data. This ground-breaking research is set to take place at the Ayahuasca Foundation, a retreat center based in the Peruvian Amazon that prides itself on working in partnership with authentic traditional healers and with deep respect for ancestral traditions. The research is funded by the philanthropic organization, The Grant Town Foundation, which funds research and develops projects that use both emerging and ancient technologies to help create a better way of life for all humanity.

The study, led by Dr Simon Ruffell, Nige Netzband and WaiFung Tsang will assess the impact of a traditional Shipibo style ayahuasca retreat on 50 U.S. military veterans. 10 participants will attend the Ayahuasca Foundation in March for a specially designed research retreat. Most research into ayahuasca in naturalistic settings has only assessed psychological changes in its subjects. This Shamanic Study, however, strives to assess the underlying physiological changes accompanying mental health outcomes. Not only will researchers collect data from EEG recordings, saliva for epigenetic analysis, stool for analysis of change in the gut-microbiome and psychological inventories, but they will also collect data relating to the brainwaves of the indigenous shamans throughout the ceremonies to understand what’s transpiring from all angles within the ceremony.

This work builds on the previous research conducted by the Onaya Science team, which found that ayahuasca, when taken in traditional ceremonial practices, leaves epigenetic marks on genes associated with trauma. This study aims to build upon these findings by assessing how many of these marks are laid down and where they are located by surveying the whole human genome in effort to more clearly understand the biological networks that ceremonial ayahuasca may impact

The 10-day retreat will include five ayahuasca ceremonies as well as traditional Amazonian plant treatments, with preparation and integration provided by the Heroic Hearts Project.

Dr Simon Ruffell, Co-Founder of Onaya Science, CMO of Heroic Hearts UK and Senior Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne said: “It is increasingly important to better understand the impact of ayahuasca retreats as psychedelics continue to enter the mainstream. It is vital we work alongside traditional communities who use these medicines to better understand how to safely work with them and to proceed in collaboration with respect and authenticity. We are extremely grateful to Heroic Hearts project, the Grant Town Foundation and the Ayahuasca Foundation for making this ground-breaking research possible.”

WaiFung Tsang, Co-Founder of Onaya Science, Research Advisor for Heroic Hearts UK and DclinPsych candidate at King’s College London says: “A consensus is emerging in recognition of the need for trauma-informed care and research, with increasing demand for treatment options for conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We are therefore immensely honored to play a role in this important collaboration, in contribution to a better understanding of how indigenous knowledge may alleviate the grave impact war has had on the lives of veterans, which simply cannot be overstated.”

Jesse Gould, Founder and President of Heroic Hearts Project says: “The veterans we send to retreat programs such as this one experience such profound transformation. They often return home with renewed hope and new leases on life. We’re proud to contribute to research that’s evaluating what makes these experiences so impactful. It’s amazing to see all of these hearts and minds coming together to heal the world one group at a time, and we’ll continue to do everything in our power to support research and advocacy efforts to increase access to these healing medicines”

The Ayahuasca Foundation offers retreats and courses that have been carefully designed to achieve balance, harmony, and happiness. It utilizes a truly holistic approach to healing the body, mind, and spirit. The healing methods are rooted in ancestral traditions, respect for nature, and plant spirit wisdom.

Carlos Tanner, Founder of the Ayahuasca Foundation says: “Having offered healing programs for over a decade, I have witnessed countless examples of people receiving tremendous benefit from attending our ayahuasca retreats. Thanks to the Onaya Science research and other similar studies, the scientific data is demonstrating these benefits. I see this fascination and interest in ancestral psychedelic therapies like the Amazonian ayahuasca traditions as a validation of ancestral wisdom and proof that the modern medical paradigm can be improved by the integration of indigenous perspectives on healing.”

Individuals interested in sponsoring the study or veterans in need should visit for more information.

Media Contact
Company Name: Heroic Hearts Project
Contact Person: Hannah Kimyon
Email: Send Email
Country: United States

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