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Ayahuasca: alkaloids, plants & analogs
assembled by Keeper of the Trout
Section 1 :
Reported analysis of some Ayahuasca brews

Ayahuasca brewed at Pucallpa contained 728 mg in 100 ml [Dosage = 55-60(-75) ml.];
100 ml contained:
  harmine -- 467 mg
  harmaline -- 41 mg
  tetrahydroharmine -- 160 mg
  DMT -- 60 mg
    McKenna et al. 1984a

Don et al. 1998 evaluated Santo Daime ayahuasca:
  Values listed are mg per 75 ml (Average dose as used by the Santo Daime group that Don studied)

CompoundSanto 1Santo 2Santo 3Santo 4Average
Total alkaloid143.1999.64188.7162.5148.51

Harmol was present in all samples at levels even lower than harmaline; trace amounts of the following were also present: harmalinic acid, harmine-N-oxide, ketotetrahydronorharmine, harminic acid methyl ester & acetylnorharmine.

They believed it to be made from Banisteriopsis caapi & Psychotria viridis but no vouchers were made.

Santo 3 was used in the "Star Ceremony". This special healing ritual used larger dosages in the form of this potion that was 15.8% stronger than the second most concentrated brew studied in Don et al. 1998.

For comparative purposes;
 On average 100 ml contained:
  • harmine -- 74 mg.
  • tetrahydroharmine -- 58.5 mg
  • harmaline -- 6.1 mg
  • DMT -- 55 mg

Daime ayahuasca was also analyzed by Casale & Koles 1995 & Liwszye et al. 1992

Liwszyc et al. 1992 analyzed a previously prepared Daime solution as used in "South America"
(no vouchers of plants was made but it was believed to have used B. caapi & P. viridis):

100 ml contained:
alkaloidLiwszyc et al. 1992[previously reported by Bongiorno de Pfirter & Mandrile 1984]
harmine745 mg[15 mg]
THH695 mg[ 5 mg]
DMT53 mg[12 mg]

They observed an abundance of large yeast cells with a minor number of smaller yeast cells and were able to culture Zygosaccharomycetes bailii and a Penicillium from the solution as well as an unidentified monspecific bacteria.

Pomilio et al. 1999 analyzed two "hoasca" brews they referred to as Type One and Type Two. They listed " `União do Vegetal' (UDV) (`Santo Daime')" & also "União do Vegetal (`Santo Daime', Brazil)" as their source so it is not clear if these can be considered to actually indicate the respective brews utilized by these two groups (although this is strongly implied in their paper):

[100(-150) ml was said to be the usual dose used]

100 ml (averaged) contained:Hoasca Type 1Hoasca Type 2
Total alkaloid0.065% (w/v)0.070% (w/v)
Harmine47.5 mg9.2 mg
THH4.2 mg26.5 mg
HarmalineTraces (<0.1%)None
N-Methyl-THH4.1 mg25.5 mg
DMT9.1 mg8.8 mg

Botanical material of B. caapi and P. viridis were also obtained and submitted as vouchers. They did not witness the preparation itself.

Analysis of the botanical materials:

B. caapi stem: 0.18% total alkaloid; 97% harmine, 1% THH. (Some contained only harmine or else trace amounts of THH. They could detect no harmaline, harmol or methoxytryptamines in any samples.)
P. viridis leaf: 0.19-0.35% total alkaloid (DMT was the major co-occurring with traces of MTHβC and DMT-N-oxide; MMT could not be detected.)

Callaway et al. 1996 & 1997 [as cited in McKenna et al. 1998] Also Callaway et al. 1999:
Callaway found hoasca prepared by the União do Vegetal contained 0.24 mg/ml of DMT 1.07 of THH, 0.20 of harmaline and 1.70 of harmine. 100 ml contained:
  • harmine -- 170 mg.
  • tetrahydroharmine -- 107 mg
  • harmaline -- 20 mg
  • DMT -- 24 mg

Dosages were approximately 2 ml of tea per kg of body weight (rounded up to the nearest multiple of 10) resulting in a dosage of 35.5 mg. DMT, 158.8 mg THH, 29.7 mg harmaline and 252.3 mg of harmine for an average 74.2 kg human. [A 59 kg human's dose would be harmine: 204 mg; harmaline: 24 mg; THH: 128.4 mg; DMT: 28.8 mg]

The hoasca was made from Banisteriopsis caapi stems (washed in water and pounded with wooden mallets) & Psychotria viridis leaves. The materials were combined, boiled and concentrated over the course of several hours.

(Vouchers were prepared for both plants)