This review (2015) examines Banisteriopsis caapi (ayahuasca) and its active alkaloid harmine as a potential therapy for Parkinson’s disease based on its unique pharmacological profile, which includes selective MAO type A inhibition, serotonin affinity, NMDA receptor
antagonism, and possible antioxidative and neuroprotective properties, and may also cause direct striatal dopamine release.
“Review: Banisteriopsis caapi, a liana indigenous to the Amazon basin with metagnomigenic properties and possible anti-depressant effects is one of the natural sources of harmala alkaloids. A summary of early trials with extracts of Banisteriopsis caapi and Peganum harmala (from which harmine was first isolated) in the 1920s and 1930s on various forms of parkinsonism is given as well as a brief overview of the known pharmacological properties of harmine. Despite its earlier abandonment because of perceived weaker efficacy than solanaceous alkaloids like scopolamine and hyoscine we propose that harmine should be reconsidered as a potential rapidly acting anti-Parkinsonian agent.”
Authors: Atbin Djamshidian, Sabine Bernschneider‐Reif, Werner Poewe & Andrew J. Lees
Find this paper
Movement Disorders Clinical Practice
October 6, 2015