Sunday, April 25, 2010

Herbal Twilights of Reality

A psychotropic is an ingredient affecting mental activity, behavior, or perception, as a mood-altering drug.

Below is a compiling of various herbs that tend to do the opposite of marijuana - that is, stimulate instead of intoxicate the mind. It is also suggested to combine the discipline of Buddhist Vipassana while wielding the various mystical plants.

AYAHUASCA - Banisteriopsis caapi.
Ruled by Moon. One of the three ingredients in the famous South American ritual drink known as Yage or Ayahuasca, Banisteriopsis (known as the “Vine of the Soul”) is used as a doorway for entering the astral realm for Shamanic or divination work. It has a tendency to loosen the ties between the astral and physical body for skrying work. Caution: if you are currently taking any type of MAO inhibitor or psychiatric drug, pharmaceutical, or herbal, you should consult a physician before using Banisteriopsis, as fatal reactions can occur. Do not use Banisteriopsis in combination with alcohol, sedatives, narcotics, or other mood-altering substances. Additional potential problems exist; be educated and responsible about your use of this powerful plant.

BACOPA - Bacopa monniera (also known as Herpestis monniera).
Ruled by Mercury. Bacopa shares its Ayurvedic name, Brahmi, with the better-known Gotu Kola. Like Gotu Kola, Bacopa is a tonic to the brain, mind, and thought. In Ayurveda, Bacopa is considered a Rasayana, or long-term protective/rejuvenative, for the brain and nerve tissue and mental function. Bacopa is also used to improve the sharpness of the sense organs, increase learning speed and retention in children and adults, and to treat learning disorders and epilepsy. It strengthens the nervous system in a calming and centering way, and can be helpful for stress-induced anxiety, nervous tension, and insomnia. Research at a medical institute in India indicated that Bacopa heals the brain tissue by augmenting the protein the body uses to build new neurons to replace damaged ones. This action was also found to increase the efficiency of the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain. In other modern studies, Bacopa was found to increase protective antioxidants in the brain and nervous tissue, acting in a way comparable to Vitamin E.

BRAHMI - Centella asiatica.
Ruled by Mercury. Gotu Kola is known as “Brahmi” in India, because of its popularity with Brahmans, or Hindu holy men. It is an excellent rejuvenative tonic and longevity herb, with an affinity for the nerves and brain, and is used to restore the nervous system after mental illness or physical disease. Like Ginkgo, it has been said to increase mental capacity, recall, and brain activity, but at the same time act as a sedative. This combination of qualities make it popular for meditation. Large doses or prolonged use can cause headaches or dizziness. Gotu Kola, despite the sound of its name, is not related to Cola nuts, and does not contain caffeine

CRIMSON SAGE - Salvia splendens.
Ruled by Moon. Many of our customers are already familiar with the South American shaman's divinatory herb, Salvia diviner (Diviner’s Sage). What you may not know is that it is considered to have a companion herb, the beautiful Salvia splendens, and the two are often used together. Salvia splendens, or Crimson Sage, makes the deeply meditative and insightful states of Salvia divinorum more accessible, and activates the centered and inward focus of the meditation. Used together, they produce a much more productive time of contemplation, which is often followed by great insights and breakthroughs.

DAMIANA - Turnera diffusa.
Ruled by Venus. A liqueur of Damiana, in a goddess-shaped bottle, is a traditional wedding gift in Mexico. Famous for its aphrodisiac and tonic properties, Damiana also helps the general health of the sexual organs, and is antiseptic to the urinary tract. Damiana is also very protective to the tissues of the reproductive organs, and used to heal "honeymoon cystitis", the pain and inflammation from frequent lovemaking. Damiana is stimulating and rejuvenating to the reproductive organs, as well as to the nervous system, especially increasing the tactile sensation of the skin. It is also used as a general women's tonic and is believed to increase fertility in both men and women. It can be over-stimulating to the nervous system, and is best taken in small, frequent doses, for finite periods of time

DIVINOR’S SAGE TINCTURE - Salvia divinorum.
Ruled by Moon. Also known as Ska Pastora or La Pastora (the "Herb of Mary"), it has been used for centuries by shamans in the mountains of Oaxaca, Sierra Mazateca, in Mexico. This rare plant is entheogenic -- it produces experiences in the higher realms of consciousness and was used by shamans for healing and connecting with the Divine Mind. The herb is usually smoked in the US, but it gives a much more friendly and useful experience when used orally as in traditional cultures. Salvia works best when used at the transition to meditative states, and tends to open the free flow of information from other planes of being. This tincture is designed for meditative use on the signatures of this plant. For more information, consult Diviner's Sage. The meditative states reached with Salvia divinorum are often more accessible and deeper when used with Salvia splendens.

GINKGO - Ginkgo biloba.
Ruled by Mercury. Ginkgo trees are the oldest still-extant species of tree, and are extremely resistant to climactic changes, pollution, viruses, fungus, radiation, etc. Ginkgo brings those qualities to those who use it. It is used extensively in the Orient as an herb of longevity, extending the functional periods of one’s life, besides just the span. Studies indicate that Ginkgo reduces blood cell clumping and relaxes blood cells so that blood can flow more freely, reduces tendencies towards blood clots, and increases oxygen flow to the heart muscle. Ginkgo should not be used by anyone using other blood-thinning agents. It also appears to increase blood flow to the brain, and increase the body’s levels of acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are vital brain neurotransmitters. For these reasons, Ginkgo is often used with great success for memory loss from various causes, as well as general lack of optimum brain function. It has been shown to greatly increase mental alertness, memory, and attention span, and is potentially useful in all cognitive disorders. Some recent research has found Gingko to be effective in correcting the loss of sexual desire that occurs as a result of the use of some anti-depressants, and it was especially helpful in women with such problems. Ginkgo’s anti-oxidant and free-radical scavenging effects are focused on the brain and central nervous system, and so it may help reduce damage there from aging, strokes, poisons, and brain-damaging drug use, especially cocaine. Some recent research has found Gingko to be effective in correcting the loss of sexual desire that occurs as a result of the use of some anti-depressants, and it was especially helpful in women with such problems.

HOLY BASIL - Ocimum sanctum.
Ruled by Mercury. Known in English as Holy Basil, Tulsi is a beloved plant in gardens in India. It is planted around the entrance to temples and homes and used inside to ward off negativity and clear the air both physically and spiritually. Tulsi’s purifying influence helps the body remove wastes and excess phlegm, and it is considered spiritually purifying as well, giving the highest spiritual energy of Sattva and devotion. In astral travel or projection, Tulsi creates a purified sphere of protection, free from negative energies. Tulsi is also considered strengthening to the nervous system, and alchemically, it is not surprising that it contains natural Mercury. Note: this is not the common basil (Ocimum basilicum) used for cooking.

HOPS - Humulus lupulus.
Ruled by Moon. Well-known as an ingredient in beer, with an equally long history as a healing herb as well. Hops contains strongly estrogenic compounds, also useful for regulating and balancing the menstrual cycle, and is widely used for Menopausal imbalances as well. Hops' other popular use is as a calmative and anti-stress herb, whether sewn into a dream pillow or taken internally. Hops gives most users a clear state of calm, useful for still meditation or to stop nervousness but still remain alert. Hops can also be used for dreamlike astral travel or lucid dreaming and meditation. Bulk Fresh Herb also available.

KAVA KAVA - Piper methysticum.
Ruled by Moon. Traditionally used in Polynesia as a narcotic and euphoric, as well as a social sacrament for promoting friendly interpersonal interactions. Indeed, any important community function within the native groups of the area is marked by the ceremonial drinking of Kava preparations, especially in meetings where there is potential for negativity, such as treaties or reconciliation between enemy groups. Kava Kava can act to calm social nervousness and anxiety, while still promoting an outgoing and friendly nature, not overly sedated. Modern usage has shown Kava to be an effective antispasmodic, painkiller, and sedative, and it has also been found to be an excellent remedy for migraine headaches. It is also used for nervousness and insomnia, and for nerve, muscle, and skin problems where pain is involved. Historically, groups consuming Kava on a regular basis have few troubles with diseases of the sexual organs, and they claim that any outbreaks of sexual diseases are halted by the Kava before they damage the body. Bulk Fresh Herb also available
LEAF OF GOD - Calea Zacatecachichi.
Ruled by Moon. Calea is not as familiar to most people, but it is widely used in Mexico, where it is known as “Bitter Grass” and is called "the dream herb" or the Leaf of God. It is also known as Thle-pelakano. It is used to promote dreams of divination. In clinical trials, Calea has been proven to increase the duration of REM, or dreaming, sleep. Calea creates an interesting sleep pattern, in which users report quick onset of deep sleep with many dreams, followed by immediate awakening after the dreams. Coming out of sleep right after the dream often helps with dream recall, rather than sleeping on until morning and losing the dream's details.

LEAVES OF JOY - Acorus Calamus.
Ruled by Mercury. Although Calamus has gone in and out of favor with the FDA and Western herbalists, it has been used for millennia in India as the supreme tonic for the mind and spiritual self. Its Vedic name, Vacha, means "speaking" or the power of the word, communication, and intelligence that this herb supports. It is also know as Leaves of Joy. Calamus is a purifier and rejuvenative to the brain and nervous system, and increases perception and awareness, especially of the Sattvic, or highest spiritual plane of being. For this purpose, Calamus is often combined with Gotu Kola to facilitate meditation, and we have included it in our Meditation Ens Formula. Because of its nerve tonic and painkilling properties, it can also be helpful in spasmodic or nervous pain and tension. Calamus is considered clearing to the subtle channels, and its North American relative was used in much the same way- to clear and cleanse the body on all levels. Calamus is also used in Ayurveda to balance the effects of marijuana use, and to aid in cleansing and recovery from overuse of drugs.

LION’S EAR - Leonotis leonuris.
Ruled by Moon. Although this plant is not related to Cannabis, nor does it contain any of the same chemicals, the Hottentots of Africa consider it a wild form of that herb, and it acts in many similar ways. Bringing a calm, open state of lightness, Wilde Dagga or Lion’s Ear relaxes the self and brings levity and joyousness. This state allows a deeper connection and merging with astral energies, without the weight of fear or over-seriousness. It is interesting that Wilde Dagga's medicinal uses also mirror Marijuana's

MACA - Lepidium meyenii.
Ruled by Moon. Maca grows high in the Andes of Peru, and is valued as a nutritive and specific tonic. It is very high in many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins B, C, and E, and calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, and magnesium. It is also rich in sugars, carbohydrates, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. It is used to generally support the whole body, and specifically give more energy, mental clarity, and muscle tone. Recent studies have shown that Maca balances male and female hormones at a deep level, acting more as a food than a specific medicine. Animal and human studies have shown Maca to increase sexual frequency and duration by as much as 200%, as well as promoting fertility. Bulk Fresh Herb also available.

MAGAZSUDHI - Celastrus paniculatus.
Ruled by Mercury. The Ayurvedic name of this plant, Magzsudhi, means "brain clearer". In Ayurvedic medicine, Celastrus is used to improve the mental capabilities of developmentally disabled children. It is also useful as a tonic for the healthy brain, with many antioxidant properties. Celastrus is helpful with spiritual and meditative work that requires mental acuity and recall, such as Kabbalah, sacred geometry, or complex chanting. Celastrus is also helpful for meditations on the flow of consciousness and thought.

MAGIC GRASS - Gynostemma pentaphyllum.
Ruled by Sun. Gynostemma’s common name in its native China translates as "Magic Grass", and it is highly revered as a tonic to all systems and bodily functions. It has a unique position as both a tonic and specific cure, and so is helpful in a wide variety of complaints. Its broad usefulness comes from its excellent adaptogenic properties, through which it helps the body to respond to many stresses and adverse conditions. It has been used to combat fatigue and low energy, increase oxygen efficiency and metabolism, improve digestion and appetite, and balance nervous system function. Its effects on the nervous system are especially interesting, as it can be calming or stimulating as needed. It can also work in both directions regarding weight, increasing or decreasing according to the direction of imbalance. The list of conditions it has been used to treat also includes sexual dysfunction, immune disorders, emotional imbalances, inflammations, cancer, blood sugar imbalances, and much more, and its very bitter taste suggests liver tonic properties as well.

SAFFRON - Crocus sativus.
Ruled by Sun. As costly as gold, Saffron has been highly valued since ancient times as one of the most sublime medicine/food substances in the world. In Ayurveda, Saffron is considered pure Sattva, the element of spirit and etheric energy, and it is held in high esteem as an aid to meditation, devotion, and spiritual development. This Vedic herb is considered a purifier of the Nadis, or subtle energy channels. Imbued with the pure, highest energy of Sattva, Saffron connects all the Chakras and pulls their energy upwards, opening the crown to connection with the divine. From this high energetic center, the spiritual traveler is freed to easily project consciousness outside of the self, while still maintaining coherence as all energy centers move as one. Saffron is also an excellent physical tonic to nearly all body systems, purifying and nourishing tissues and functions. Bulk Fresh Herb also available

SUN OPENER - Heimia salicifolia.
Ruled by Sun. A South American Shaman's herb, traditionally used in divination ceremonies to contact the ancestors. It is called Sun Opener because it adds a yellowish hue to the vision; natives consider the auditory effects created by it to be the voices of the ancestors, who speak to give advice and guidance. It also has an affinity for spiritual work with music or the sound vibrations of etheric energies.

Ruled by Sun. From a fifteenth-century magical text, used as an incense in the ritual for contacting the Holy Guardian Angel, we have created the Abra-Melin formula as an alchemical initiatic for contacting one's higher self. It is very centering, grounding, and gives clarity of purpose and direction in spiritual matters.

ASHWAGANDHA - Withania somnifera.
Ruled by Sun. The Vedic name of this herb literally means "smells like a horse", as it is said to bring the sexual vitality of a horse. This Ayurvedic herb is calming and strengthening, tonic to all systems and functions, especially the sexual. It feeds and nourishes the reproductive tissues of both men and women, balancing hormones and increasing potency and function. By slowing the body's circulation of adrenaline, it relaxes the stress response and brings calm without sedation, useful in intense or agitated states from some spiritual or initiatic work. It is also tonic to all body systems, and clarifying to the mind. It is also an excellent tonic for the mind and spiritual heart, and increases Ojas, the life sap residing in the sexual fluids. Bulk Fresh Herb also available.

Terrence McKenna recommends getting Iranian Harmal Peganum, grind it up, and smoke a quarter teaspoon after 1 hour of ingesting half a dose of psilocybin mushrooms. (This will remove the worlds veil for 15 minutes; enjoy).

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