Harmine, one of the main chemical constituents of both ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and Syrian rue (Peganum harmala), is making headlines this week for its potential use in treating type 1 diabetes.
Being a natural beta-carboline and monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), harmine is mostly known in the west for its ability to make DMT orally active, however, it has its own host of effects as well. In addition to itself being a unique psychedelic (...it was originally named telepathine), it also holds a wide variety of medicinal applications and has a long history of use in its plant forms.
The recent study is titled 'A high-throughput chemical screen reveals that harmine-mediated inhibition of DYRK1A increases human pancreatic beta cell replication'. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai screened over 100,000 potential drugs, and only harmine drove human insulin-producing beta cells to multiply. This could be a significant stepping stone in the treatment of diabetes, a disease that effects hundreds of thousands of people.
A summary of the study and comments by lead research Andrew Stewart, MD, can be found at Science Daily.