Identification of N,N-dimethyltryptamine and β-carbolines in psychotropic ayahuasca beverage

Riccardo Rossi, C Gambelunghe, K Aroni, L Moretti, M. Bacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


Recently many people have shown great interest in traditional indigenous practices and popular medicine, involving the ingestion of natural psychotropic drugs. We received a request to analyze and determine the nature of a dark green liquid with a dark brown plant sediment, which the police had seized at an airport and inside the home of a person belonging to the ‘Santo Daime’ religious movement. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of the extract identified N,Ndimethyltryptamine, a potent hallucinogen, and the β-carboline alkaloids harmine and harmaline, revealing monoamine oxidase A-inhibiting properties. These substances are typical components of Ayahuasca, a South American psychotropic beverage obtained by boiling the bark of the liana Banisteriopsis caapi together with the leaves of various admixture plants, principally Psychotria viridis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1059
Number of pages4
JournalBiomedical Chromatography
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Ayahuasca
  • N,N-dimethyltryptamine
  • harmaline
  • harmine
  • psychotropic drugs


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