Ayahuasca is an indigenous hallucinogenic beverage used for shamanic and spiritual purposes, the use of which dates from the pre-columbian period in the Amazon basin region. This beverage is usually prepared by decoction of the Psicotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi plants. The ²-carboline alkaloids present in B. Caapi vine are responsible for inhibition of the enzyme monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A), allowing the hallucinogen DMT (dimethyltryptamine), present in the leaves of P. viridis, to reache its active site and to promote the hallucinogenic action in serotonergic receptors. With its widespread use in Brazil, North America and Europe, the ayahuasca tea is of great interest for the scientific community and it is being studied by several Brazilian research groups. In this context, the development of analytical methodologies which will enable the determination of the main alkaloid of this drink in various matrices is indeed very important and it represents a constant demand at the Laboratory of Analytical Toxicology (USP) from researchers of different Brazilian institutions. Besides, our research team believes in the importance of promoting the development of analytical technology in sample treatment which meets the global trend of sustainable development by implementing strategies of 'green analytical chemistry' (GAC): minimizing the consumption of solvents and energy, elimination of derivatizing agents, low cost and ease of implementation. Thus, the aim of this study is to develop and to validate methods of extraction for ayahuasca alkaloids in tea samples, plasma, urine and hair, using methods based on GAC, in order to meet the demand of ayahuasca research groups from various institutions in the country.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: