Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers credits ayahuasca for "the best season" of his career.
Rodgers, a 4-time NFL MVP, said the drug helped him love himself, and teammates, unconditionally.
Ayahuasca, an ancient hallucinogenic brew, shows some promise for treating mental illnesses.
Aaron Rodgers is crediting the psychedelic drug ayahuasca for "the best season" of his career.
In a podcast interview hosted by wellness guru Aubrey Marcus, the 38-year-old Green Bay Packers quarterback said ayahuasca, an ancient hallucinogenic plant-based drink, helped him "see how to unconditionally love" himself.
"It's only in that unconditional self love, that then I'm able to truly be able to unconditionally love others. And what better way to work on my mental health than to have an experience like that?" he said.
Rodgers, who earned his fourth NFL MVP award in 2021, said his newfound self-love translates to stronger relationships with his teammates and, in turn, better football. "I really feel like that experience paved the way for me to have the best season of my career," he said.
"The greatest gift I can give my teammates, in my opinion, is to be able to show up and to be someone who can model unconditional love to them," he added. "I mean obviously it's important I play well, and show up and lead and all that stuff. They won't care about what you say until they know how much you care."
Rodgers has been outspoken about other alternative, and sometimes controversial, wellness pursuits.
In February, he talked about trying a 12-day Panchakarma cleanse, which involved butter, laxatives, and abstaining from sugar, sex, and alcohol, Insider's Gabby Landsverk previously reported.
Rodgers said it gave him a sense of gratitude and helped relieve stress, but dietitians don't necessarily recommend it and Ayurveda experts say short-term commitments to the practice misconstrue its roots.
Psychedelics show some promise for treating mental illnesses, but can be risky
For an ayahuasca trip, the vine is boiled with leaves from the chacruna plant, which contains the serotonin-mimicking chemical DMT. Most people vomit shortly after consuming the concoction, and then experience vivid hallucinations, Insider's Andrea Michelson previously reported.
Indigenous tribes have used the drug in spiritual medicine practices for thousands of years, but it's gained traction in recent years as people flock to retreats in search of spiritual enlightenment or relief from mental and physical ailments.
The therapeutic potential of the drug, as well as other psychedelics, has also been in the public eye thanks to Michael Pollan's best-selling book "How to Change Your Mind" and the Netflix series by the same name.
Mounting research suggests psychedelics have potential for treating mental health diagnoses including treatment-resistant depression and PTSD. But there is still limited evidence supporting these effects, and trying ayahuasca can be risky — even miserable or deadly — especially if not taken under the guidance of an experienced shaman or doctor.
Cultural anthropologist Evgenia Fotiou previously told Insider its potential power is limited by the context in which it's consumed.
"It's a holistic healing system that addresses body, mind, and spirit, and usually ayahuasca is just a part within the larger system," she said. "So it's not a panacea. It's not the one thing that will fix everything."
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