The Weeds Are Winning!

20130827_084135When I started studying plants and their medicinal value, I was always surprised to find it was some ugly plant or a bark or root. I wanted my medicine to be exotic and beautiful, not some scraggly thing by the roadside. I wanted the extraction to be complicated and expensive. I wanted to have knowledge of exclusivity and a feeling of finding something rare. 

Last year a comedian, Tony Hinchcliffe, was performing in my club. He had broken his tooth eating something and was in terrible pain. He’d taken a pain killer; squeezed on OraGel; smoked weed; put ice on it and still he was in pain. All this time I didn’t know, so when I heard of his situation I went next door to my shop and grabbed a bag of cloves. I told him to stick one between his teeth and let the juice flow and soak into the cracked tooth. I told him it would taste like Christmas and only work for 20 mins or so, but what did he have to lose? He came back to me a little while later totally amazed that it worked, to the point where he had to say something to his dentist. Now he has a new comedy bit about how when he told him, the dentist basically replied,”Yeah don’t tell anyone, it’s an industry secret.”

Years ago when I started studying herbs and their effects, it was because I was looking for a substitute for tobacco to start making quitter’s blends.  Customers were always asking, and the products available were sometimes sketchy with ingredients not listed, or ‘not for human consumption’ written on them.  I know it was to disclaim themselves in case of a problem, but I wanted to provide my customers with something purer. 

The first plant I was surprised at, but wasn’t the first I studied, was the greater plaintain plant (not to be confused with the plantain banana). When we were kids in Saskatchewan, I remember chewing this rubbery bitter leaf and smearing the paste onto bites and nettle rashes. I don’t know who’d actually taught me, we just did it as kids and went back to playing. I don’t remember even knowing its name, it just worked and it was fun having green smears on my legs.  When I moved to Ontario, the kids didn’t do it here and I forgot about it.  Years later when researching herbs, plaintain leaf came up as one that helps with skin irritations, asthma and tuberculosis and was used traditionally by natives for centuries. I laughed when I saw its picture, it should be common knowledge – growing in the cracks of sidewalks everywhere! I had a hilarious cartoon in my head of someone bitching about a rash, or taking their asthma puffer while standing on a plaintain plant sticking out of pavement. But that’s a joke before its time I suppose!
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I heard a theory once that for every poisonous plant, there is a remedy growing next to it, I have a further theory that for every ailment we suffer as a people, there are plants growing right next to us that can remedy it. One day I was walking in a park and some workers were cutting down a hedge of nettles and complaining to each other what a nasty job it was. I had just been to the health food store and had bought some tea that had nettle as one of the ingredients. Nettle has a ton of nutrients, is high in iron and a fantastic anti-oxidant. I started chuckling to myself as I thought of all the anemics and people with cancer in the city with what they needed being eradicated as a weed right beside them and noone knows it! Then I stopped chuckling when I thought of the $7 I just paid for the tea when I could have picked it in the park.

When I moved to Toronto, I noticed that every morning in Riverdale Park, groups of older Asian women were always there picking the dandelions. I always knew I could eat it, but never thought of it as food. Now grocery stores are selling it for $5 a small bunch, and the Asian ladies get it free!  Another time in the store I saw Wild Canadian rice at $15 per 500g, and GMO rice from overseas next to it at $1.95.  How did that happen? Why is our indigenous rice or corn not cultivated? Why are we treating good food as a weed? So much food gets considered not food, and we eat crap from corporate fields from afar, and think its better cause the company paid to have the nutrients listed? Even those who can afford to eat well can still fall into that trap.

All medicine comes from plants or elements found naturally. They make pills, syrups and ointments, most of which are unpleasant. The stuff is never cheap either, and the packaging and marketing can be overwhelming. I hate taking pills and fighting down nasty syrups. Yet I love tea, so I figure its better to skip the whole process, save some money and drink something delicious!  I started foraging for plants and growing my own after that! 

20130827_073216Common Medicinal ‘Weeds’ in North America:

Most of these are considered weeds and have been part of an eradication system to help with food crops. You can still find most along roadsides, abandoned fields and naturalized areas. Check before you pick in case its not allowed there. All these herbs can also be found dried and cured at most herbalists or health food stores. Do your research before you brew these up! Some of them can compete with your food regime or medication. For example St. John’s Wort is a common remedy for depression, however it contains SSRI’s and will cancel or magnify certain anti-depressant medication. 

Catnip – Flower – sedative – edges of fields and forests, Canada and USA
Chamomile – Flower – sedative, anti-bacterial – under small trees and partial shade, usually domesticated, Canada and USA
Coltsfoot – Leaf – stomach and lung mucilage – in fields and meadows, Canadian shield
Dandelion – Leaf – anti-oxidant, mineral and vitamin rich, in meadows and open fields, Canada and USA
Echinacea – Flower – immune booster, in meadows and open fields, Canada and northern USA
Hibiscus – Flower – temperature regulation, vitamin rich, along roadsides and edges of forest, southern USA
Horsetail – Leaf – stomach and bowel relief, found in meadows and fields, Canada and northern USA
Irish or Icelandic Moss – lung or throat relief, found on rocks near tundra, Canadian Shield
Lavender – Flower – anti-septic, anti-bacterial, sedative, found in fields and meadows, Canada and northern USA
Marigold – Flower – anti-septic, immune booster, in fields and meadows, Canada and USA
Mullein – Leaf – stomach or bowel relief, mucilage, along roadsides and in fields, Canada and northern USA
Nettle – Leaf – anti-oxidant, mineral rich, in fields and edges of forests, Canada and USA
Plantain – Leaf – mucilage, in fields and meadows, cracks of the pavement, Canada and northern USA
Peppermint – Leaf – stimulant, anti-septic, in fields and meadows, Canada and USA
Raspberry – Leaf – systemic boost, found in woodlands and edges of forests, along the Canadian Shield
Red Clover – Flower – throat and stomach relief, in fields and meadows,  Canada and USA
Rose Hips – vitamin and mineral rich, in fields and edges of forests, Canada and northern USA
St. Johns Wort – anti-depressant, anti-oxidant, found in fields and meadows, Canada and northern USA
Yarrow Flower – stomach relief – in fields and meadows, Canada and USA

20130827_084617Some tips on medicinal tea brewing:

– Unless otherwise instructed, traditional british seeping method in a clay or porcelain tea pot with strainer in the stem is best. Pour boiling water in the teapot and swish it around til the pot is hot. Place the herbs loose in the pot and pour boiling water over them and cover with the lid right away. Cover the teapot with a cosy or a tea towel to keep in the heat. Serve in 5 mins with your favourite fixings!
– Roots and bark teas tend to need a little more brewing time than leaves and flowers. To make work easier, I sometimes simmer the bark or roots in a small pot, with the lid on, for 20 mins or until the water has color. I strain and squeeze out the herbs with a cheesecloth and drink the brew right away. The rest can be saved in the fridge for later.
– Most leaves and flowers only need a few mins to steep in order to release the chemicals locked in the plant cells. Roots, bark and stems need more time, and may need to be brought to boil, especially if the elements present are more complex, anywhere from 20 mins to sometimes 2 hours. 
– Once unlocked though, these brews don’t necessarily need to be drank hot, they can all be cooled and drank as an iced tea, great on a hot day, in fact roots and bark teas are often bitter and taste better cold as an iced tea with sweetener or a lemon wedge.
– Its discouraging when the medicine is harsh tasting and hard to get down the hatch. Mixing strong tasting herbs can work like licorice, or a lemon squeeze, chopped mint leaves, chai spices and flowers like bergamot or berries like black currant. For sweeting, I use honey or cane sugar for light floral tasting teas, and buckwheat honey, demerrera sugar or maple syrup for heavy or earthy tasting herbs, usually barks, roots or dark leaves. Some herbs match better with different sweeteners.
– Make sure you drink the right herbs at the right time of day. Chamomile or Scullcap can make you very relaxed and are better in the day. Some herbs like chinese mallow will make you fart or more, you want to take that one when you’re at home! And try peppermint instead of caffeine for a quick wake up!
– Sometimes tea can get boring, but the brew can be used in place of water in many things. Some can be made into soup or sauces.  Or how about using the tea instead of milk or water in your smoothies!
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Mama’s Coaster Park

Mother Nature’s Roller Coaster Park And Tea Emporium…

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Most of us love roller coasters and amusement rides, we grew up with them and we trust the mechanics have been figured out. Some of us even figure them out ourselves and make new ones. They have to put it through rigorous testing and when they know its safe, they let us on!  So when a new ride comes in to a park, nobody questions that it will be fun and safe, we just race off and have a good time. Human beings have always loved joy rides, we’ve always sought altered states … and we always will.

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Before the advent of technology and modern mechanics, we had many ways to find fun and inspiration, like mind-altering substances.  I see these as being similar to rides in an amusement park. Some, like cannabis are nice as the ferris wheel, you can go round and round and take in the view. (Some people don’t like the ferris wheel, so they happily stand on the side and hold your cotton candy, and some never make it to the park!)  Substances can range in intensity and some are more like roller coasters, and with proper mitigation you’ll come out having a blast. Most people don’t spend the day on these rides, and those that do would have found some crazy joy ride anyway.

Lately because of the drug war, there have been a litany of ‘smoking spice’, ‘herbal ecstasy’ and ‘tripping blends’, chemistry made up in someones basement to serve the wants of the people. They make and take these substances because they have to pass drug tests but they still want the experience. Synthetic THC (synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists JWH-018) sprayed on Damiana or BZP (Benzylpiperazine) pressed into pills with unknown agents, have been a huge seller in the last decade, replacing weed and ecstasy, and has been banned by some governments for the links to seizures and possibly death. People come into my shop constantly and I am always telling them the potential dangers of these substances, most of them were unaware and agree with me in the end that we don’t necessarily need them … Mama’s got a Coaster Park that can provide fun and excitement for the whole gang!

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The first time I ever did Salvia Divinorum, I thought, “what a carpet ride!” I was folding and rolling along not even aware of this place. When I came back down, all I could wonder about was how the hell could I buy this at any gas station and I couldn’t buy weed!  Before I had done the Salvia, I had done my proper research and took it knowing it could never harm me, just maybe scare the bejesus out of me. I also know it has to be set up and mitigated properly, with a guide who’s not on it, just like the rides in the amusement park where I go – there’s an operator not on the ride! I may not understand the physics of it, but I trust the operator and off I go!

I hear a lot of negative comments about the entheogens I sell, and I can’t help but think that all those experiences that people are having are not being set up properly. Imagine bringing an old skool Peruvian shaman to a roller coaster park and taking him to the biggest ride, not telling him what’s up and just strapping him in to the ride and sending him off!  When he got off the ride, he’d puke, lose his mind temporarily and never trust you again! 

This is how I feel about enthoegens, they can be a lot of fun and very inspiring, but most of the time the scene isn’t set up right. We shouldn’t be able to buy salvia at the gas station. We shouldn’t be making synthetic THC.  We shouldn’t be buying our fun from questionable sources, and we should be respecting the power these plants have.  It should be more than just a joy ride to us.

Similarly the medicinal herbs should not be taken for granted. Just because there’s no joy ride, doesn’t mean it’s not going to make you feel good!  Some of the medicine in the medicinal herbs can kick you in the ass over time, yet never get you high! 

The stuff described below can cause a bit of confusion, but it’s not confusing stuff!  These plants have all been classified legal in my country of Canada, but check the laws in your area, some may be legal if ‘not for human consumption’, and some may be outright illegal. Also before trying anything out, do your research, especially if you take medication, have anxiety disorder or are prone to addiction. Even non addictive substances can be habit forming, or scare the living crap out of you!

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SECTION 1 – APHRODISIACS & MOOD BOOSTERS
DAMIANA (Turnera diffusa) is a fragrant flower belonging to the family Passifloraceae and it contains active compounds including damianin, tetraphyllin, beta-catotene, eucalyptol and tannins. It has a long history of use in drinks, teas, smoking blends and wines, and has been used traditionally for social gatherings as well as medicine for sexual dysfunction and mood disorders. This herb has recently gotten bad press and been banned in some places as it is the base they use to spray fake THC and other bad chemicals. Taken by itself it presents absolutely no harm to the body.

BLUE LOTUS (Nymphaea caerulea) is a tasty purple and yellow flower that hails from Egypt to the Orient and has been used for thousands of years as an anti depressant and aphrodisiac. It contains nuciferine and aporphine, sedating and mildly psychoactive alkaloids. In high doses or mixed with red wine, it can cause euphoria, and when eaten cause sedation. The effects are delightful without a sluggish stoned feeling.

HORNY GOAT WEED (Epimedium) has been used in China and eastern Europe for thousands of years as a stimulant, aphrodisiac and to treat osteoporosis. Taken as a tea or ground into a powder and eaten, this herb contains icariin, purported to work by increasing levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes muscle tissue. It has been demonstrated to relax penile tissue and increase blood pressure. Icariin also stimulates osteoblast activity in bone tissue and can help with the treatment of osteoporosis.

SWEET FLAG (Acorus calamus) is a root used by Native Americans for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and even aphrodisiac properties. The scented leaves and more strongly scented rhizomes have traditionally been used medicinally and to make fragrances, and the dried and powdered rhizome has been used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. It contains methyl amine, choline, tannins and mucilage, and has been used traditionally across the world for its sedative, laxative, diuretic, and carminative properties and for a variety of ailments including gum troubles, indigestion, anxiety and in the treatment of drug hysteria. 

WILD DAGGA (Leonotis leonurus) also known as Lion’s Tail, is a plant species in the mint family, native to the southern Africa region. The main psychoactive component is leonurine, which has euphoric effects.  Lion’s Tail is also purported to have anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties.  It is often associated with Cannabis as they share the same slang, ‘dagga’ and has a similar effect as THC, only not as potent.  The flowers and leaves can be made into tea, the flowers can be smoked or the resin extracted. When eaten in high doses it can produce feelings of happiness and even ecstasy. 

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SECTION 2 – ANTI-DEPRESSANTS & MAOI’S

SASSAFRAS (Sasafras albidum) has been used by Native Americans for its energizing, antidepressant, anticoagulant and antiseptic properties. The root bark contains safrole, a substance thats been banned by some states and countries as it is the precursor to MDA and MDMA. A tea made from this bark can be used to treat hypertension, rheumatism, swelling, skin sores, kidney problems, menstrual disorders, bronchitis and dysentery.

PASSION FLOWER (Passiflora) has over 500 species, the fresh or dried leaves are used to make a tea or the leaves can also be smoked.  It has been used by all cultures over the world for a variety of things like depression, insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy. Many species have been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids, which are MAO inhibitors with anti-depressant properties. MAOI’s can also be combined with other herbs to potentiate their effects.

SYRIAN RUE (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae. It is native from the eastern Iranian region west to India and has been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes. The seeds and specifically seedcase contain harmine and harmaline, and a few other alkaloids that are purported to be analgesic, anti-inflammatoiry, anti-bacterial and anthemintic. These seeds can be eaten raw or brewed into a tea, can reduce depression and anxiety and produce a feeling of well-being. Harmaline is a central nervous system stimulant and a reversible inhibitor of MAO-A (RIMA), a category of antidepressant, that can also be combined with other herbs to boost their effect. Some scholars identify harmal with the entheogenic haoma of pre-Zoroastrian Persian religions.

KANNA (Sceletium tortuosum) contains Mesembrine and 4 other compounds that can help reduce depression, anxiety, stress and tension.  High doses have been shown to produce distinct inebriation and stimulation often followed by sedation. The plant is not hallucinogenic and no adverse effects have been documented. Kanna is considered by many to potentiate the effects of other psychoactive herbal material, such as cannabis.  It should not be combined with other SSRIs, MAOIs, or cardiac medications. Headaches in conjunction with alcohol have also been noted.

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SECTION 5 – SLEEP AID & PAINKILLERS           

SKULLCAP (Scutellaria lateriflora) is a member of the mint family and is a hardy perennial herb native to North America.  At least 295 chemical compounds have been isolated from Scutellaria, among them flavonoids and diterpenes. Studies show that Scutellaria and its active principles possess wide pharmacological actions, such as antitumor, anti-angiogenesis, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, antibacterial and antiviral activities. It has also shown to reduce anxiety, pain and muscle spasms, help boost the immune system and help expel phlegm and toxins.
                       
KAVA (Piper methysticum) can help with sleeplessness and pain. Kava’s active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Effects of kavalactones include mild sedation, a slight numbing of the gums and mouth, and vivid dreams. Kava has been reported to improve cognitive performance and promote a cheerful mood. Kava has similar effects to benzodiazepine medications, including muscle relaxant, anaesthetic, anticonvulsive and anxiolytic effects. It is consumed ground and eaten or drank in a shake. It should not be taken with other substances, especially alcohol, nor should it be taken if liver damage is present.

KRATOM (Mitragyna speciosa) is a plant from the coffee family hailing from south east Asia and has been used for depression, anxiety, chronic pain, fatigue and opiate withdrawal. 40 unique compounds had been discovered in the leaves, including mitragynine, mitraphylline, and 7-hydroxymitragynine (which is currently the most likely candidate for the primary active chemical in the plant). There are many strains and forms it comes in; Maeng-Da; Red Viened and Balinese are the most common, a powder made from the leaves is eaten or made into a tea or capsules. No overdose of Kratom has ever been reported.

WHITE WILLOW (Salix alba) is a species of willow native to Europe and western and central Asia and is the natural source of Salicin, a precursor to Salicylic Acid (aspirin), isolated in 1938. A tincture made with ethanol, or a strong tea made from this bark can help reduce pain, reduce fever and help with rheumatism and arthritis. This remedy is also mentioned in texts from ancient Egypt, Sumer, and Assyria.

DREAM HERB (Calea ternifolia), otherwise known as Mexican Dream Herb or Calea Zachatechichi this plant has almost 20 identified compounds. It grows from southern Mexico to Costa Rica, and has traditionally been used for oneiromancy (a form of divination based on dreams.) Smoked or made into a tea can produce a feeling of extreme calmness with lucid dreaming later during sleep. 

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SECTION 6 – ENTHEOGENS

WORMWOOD (Artemisia absinthium) this plant has been used by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and across Europe as a highly prized medicinal plant. It has a number of elements including glycoside (absinthin and ababsinthin). As a tea it has been used for a variety of ailments like digestive disorders, loss of appetite, stomach and bowel trouble, heartburn and liver or gall congestion. As an alcoholic liquor it can become extremely intoxicating and is banned in most countries. Prolonged use can be damaging. Research is recommended.

MORMON TEA (Ephedra sinica or Ephedra funerea) is known in Chinese as ma huang and has been used in traditional medicine for 5,000 years. Native Americans and Mormon pioneers drank a tea brewed called Mormon Tea. The effects of Ephedra are due to the presence of the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These compounds stimulate the brain, increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and expand bronchial tubes (making breathing easier). Their thermogenic properties cause an increase in metabolism, evidenced by an increase in body heat. Ephedra is widely used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug, despite a lack of evidence that it improves athletic performance. Ephedra may also be used as a precursor in the manufacture of methamphetamine, hence Ephedra is illegal in some places.

FLY AGARIC (Amanita muscaria) this famous red and white mushroom is found wild all over the world, but originates from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Amanita muscaria contains several biologically active agents, at least one of which, muscimol, is known to be psychoactive. Ibotenic acid, a neurotoxin, serves as a prodrug to muscimol, with approximately 10-20% converting to muscimol after ingestion. The chemicals are water soluble and a tea made from this mushroom can often cause sedation then hallucination. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia, and has a religious significance in these cultures. A fatal dose has been calculated as 15 caps. Deaths from this fungus have been reported in historical journal articles and newspaper reports, but with modern medical treatment, fatal poisoning from ingesting this mushroom is extremely rare. The North American Mycological Association has stated there were no reliably documented fatalities from eating this mushroom during the 20th century. 

HAWAIIAN BABY WOODROSE (Argyreia nervosa) is a perennial climbing vine that is native to the Indian subcontinent and introduced to numerous areas worldwide, including Hawaii, Africa and the Caribbean. These powerful seeds contain ergoline alkaloids, such as Ergine or lysergic acid amide (LSA), which can produce hallucination. The plant is a rare example of a plant whose hallucinogenic properties were not recognized until recent times, first brought to attention in the 1960s. The skin of the seed can cause stomach discomfort and flatulence, so it must be sanded before grinding and brewing into tea or tincture.

OLOLUIHQUI (Turbina corymbosa) these seeds come from Mexico and contain Ergine (LSA), an ergoline alkaloid that produces hallucination. The Nahuatl word ololiuhqui means “round thing”, and refers to the small, brown, oval seeds of the morning glory. The seeds are also used by Native shamans in order to gain knowledge in curing practices and ritual, and are also named Rivea corymbosa, ‘Little Gods’, ‘Seeds of the Virgin’ and ‘Christmas Vine’.  While little of it is known outside of Mexico, its seeds were perhaps the most common psychedelic drug used by the natives. The chemical composition was first described in 1960 by Dr. Albert Hofmann and has been studied by the CIA for its potency in varieties. 

VOAGANGA (Voaganga africana) comes from West Africa, the bark and seeds of the tree are used in Ghana as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, and psychedelic. These effects are due a complex mixture of iboga alkaloids such as voacangine, voacamine, vobtusine, amataine, akuammidine, tabersonine, coronaridine and vobtusine. Of particular pharmaceutical interest is voacangine, which is a common precursor in the semi-synthesis of the anti-addiction medication ibogaine. Brewed as a tea, it can be nauseating at first then euphoric, often producing hallucination. When the effects are done, it often has created new thinking patterns and addiction to substances has been lessened. Research is recommended.

PERUVIAN TORCH (Echinopsis peruviana) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru, between about 2,000–3,000 m (6,600–9,800 ft) above sea level. It contains the psychoactive alkaloid mescaline as well as other alkaloids. The Peruvian Torch is similar to the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) which is found in the same region. The human use of the cactus dates back thousands of years to the northern coast of Peru and the monks of a pre-Inca culture known as Chavín (900 BC to 200 BC). They prepared a brew called “achuma”, “huachuma” or “cimora” which was used during ritualistic ceremonies to diagnose the spiritual links to a patient’s illness.

ACACIA (Acacia confusa) also known as Hawaiian Rainbow Tree is found all over the Pacific islands. Traditionally this tree has been used for charcoal and support beams and the gum used in chemical products, food and drink.  Dranks as a tea, it has mild medicinal effects. The inner root bark contains many compounds including DMT, dimethyltryptamine, which is normally broken down in the stomach, however if brewed in a tea with an MAO inhibitor it can produce a hallucinogenic effect, research is recommended.

JUREMBA (Mimosa tenuiflora) also known as Mimosa Hostilis, this perennial tree is native to the northeastern region of Brazil and found as far north as southern Mexico. It has traditionally been used to treat skin lesions, couch and bronchitis, veinous leg ulcers and washing animals to keep parasites away. It is rich in tannins, making it excellent for dyes, charcoal and construction materials. The bark is known to be rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones and kukulkanins, and it has been recently shown to have a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) content of about 1%, and the presence of the other compounds makes it orally active without taking an MAOI. A tea brewed from the ground inner root bark can produce trance and mild hallucination, and when combined with an MAOI, it can be more intensive, research is recommended.

DIVINER’S SAGE (Salvia divinorum) is a psychoactive plant which can induce dissociative effects and is a potent producer of “visions” and other hallucinatory experiences. Native to the cloud forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s chief psychoactive ingredient ia a structurally unique diterpenoid called salvinorin A a potent k-opioid. It is not an alkaloid, (meaning it does not contain a basic nitrogen), unlike most known opioid receptor ligands and it is the first documented diterpene hallucinogen. By mass, it is the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen. Research has shown that salvinorin A is a potent and selective κ-Opioid receptor. Results from a study at the University of Iowa indicate that it may have potential as an analgesic and as a therapeutic tool for treating drug addictions. Taken traditionally as a tea with fresh leaves or chewed, modern methods have made it a smokeable substance with far more powerful effects. There are no known addictions or fatalities due to the drug itself.

SOURCES:
All research has been done from a variety of sources, but the science and most of the wording has been quoted from Wikipedia, along with my own interjections.  The purpose of this blog is not to train but rather to educate. Humans will always seek joy rides, I’m hoping with this knowledge it will help some of those joy rides to be more responsible!

FURTHER INFORMATION:
Herb Wisdom – http://www.herbwisdom.com/herblist.html
Richters – http://www.richters.com/
Mountain Rose Herbs – http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/
A Modern Herbal – http://botanical.com/
I Am Shaman – http://www.iamshaman.com/
Erowid – http://www.erowid.org/
Psychonaught – http://www.psychonaut.com/forum.php
Urban Shaman – http://www.urbanshaman.net/
Neurosoup – http://www.neurosoup.com/
The Shroomery – http://www.shroomery.org/
The Spirit Molecule – http://www.thespiritmolecule.com/

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What The Heck Is Kratom?

*Disclaimer: Information on this blog is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health. Any action taken on your part in response to the information provided on this web site is at your discretion.

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Mitragyna speciosa or commonly called kratom, kratum, or krathom is a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) and native to Southeast Asia and Indochina.

Kratom helps kills pain without making you groggy, giving you a hangover or destroying your sociability. It can help with mental alertness, concentration, depression and anxiety. It contains over 40 unique compound including a powerful pain killer called mitragynine.

When the trees are grown in different regions, the alkaloids change. Some are more sedative than others, and some are better for withdrawal. Also when taken in small doses the effects are stimulating, in higher doses the effects change and become more concentrated and more sedative.

The Canadian gov’t has not classified Kratom as a medicinal herb, so as of today it can only be recommended officially for scientific or shamanic purposes, and ‘not for human consumption’. Clinical testing that is taking place will eventually categorize it, but for now we will have to rely on the thousands of years it has been in use helping people with no reported deaths.

Popular Kratom Strains

Bali Kratom: This strain is actually grown in Borneo and not on the island of Bali which is its namesake. It was dubbed “Bali Kratom” because it is shipped out to international markets from ports in Bali. Bali and Borneo Kratom are usually interchangeable as names and in most cases generic Red Kratom also comes from this strain. Bali is considered to be a more relaxing strain that can produce euphoric sensations and aid in pain relief. It only offers a mild degree of energy enhancement compared to other varieties.

Thai Kratom: This strain is often compared to Bali and is described as being slightly more energizing and not as strong of a relaxer. It is also effective as an analgetic or natural pain reliever. Thai Kratom is relatively cheap, but it is often mislabeled and is another catch-all name for generic strains. Most Thai Kratom does not in fact grow in Thailand where it has been illegal to cultivate and sell for many years.

Malaysian or Malay Kratom: Malay is a Kratom strain that is seen as more stimulating, offering a lot of cerebral benefits. It is not as powerful for alleviating pain and anxiety, but it can help you release tension without inducing drowsiness or fatigue. Malay is also one of the longer-lasting strains that is often combined with other types to balance out the effects. Users say that mixing this leaf with other green or white strains can limit over-stimulation and restlessness. Reviews cite t