Micro-dosing for Macro-benefit with non-psychoactive Plant Spirits
One of the most interesting concepts in supplementation to date, is the growing trend of micro-dosing on psychedelic substances in response to health concerns. At OHCO, we find this to be a very interesting movement.
The aim of Yoga, which by some estimations can be dated as far back as 10,000 years, is to ‘see clearly’. Training the mind to perceive the world around ourselves accurately is what this Royal Science is about. Like focusing the lens of a camera (for those of you who still remember what those are), yoga is a practice which over time focuses the seeing apparatus that we call 'the eyes’. Yoga organizes consciousness so that we can project our true nature through our eyes. In alignment with this idea, the yogi strives to see the world clearly, or as the world is in Truth. The Yoga Sutras suggest that when the yogi has reached this level of clarity, aka an awakened state, he or she comes to the realization that everything is ‘suffering'. It is from the understanding of this suffering that we develop empathy, compassion and subsequently a desire to support all those with whom we share our time on this planet.
The massive wave of mainstream yoga in the West does not always demonstrate an awareness of this perennial concept. In this hemisphere it is not uncommon to believe that yoga will only lead to happy, wonderful and blissful experiences. Generally speaking, people are not seeking out yoga exercises for the purpose of seeing clearly with the understanding that it leads to seeing and feeling the suffering and pain of others. This has led us to ponder the following thought: If we are not taught to understand what yoga opens our awareness to, with acuity, then micro-dosing with psychedelic substances in an effort to alter the reality we come to realize makes a lot of sense. The bigger questions is: if we are tripping on low dose psychedelics on a regular basis , then how accurate will our perception of the world as it truly is be?
We would like to offer an alternative to this approach in health care. Our philosophy is to micro-dose with herbal formulas that strengthen our ability to be present and to be of service to those who suffer; including ourselves. One of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha is that “Life is Suffering”. OHCO is deeply committed to supporting the nature of human beings in an effort to maintain our love and dedication to sentient life on Earth. Our commitment is for humanity to have on hand the ingredients necessary to cultivate an alignment with its True nature. This approach allows us to begin seeing life as it is rather than what we think it is. In other words, our suffering arises because we don’t see the nature of reality clearly, or we are ignorant of what we truly are. Yoga teaches us that the more clearly we see, the less ignorance we suffer. We then become aware of the suffering rather than it dictating how we live our lives. Moving from suffering to clear seeing is the yoga of transforming ignorance to an awakened state.
The herbs we use in our formulas are plant spirits and we realize that they are not often understood as such. They support the organization of consciousness (yoga) for the sole purpose of promoting health and clear seeing in biological systems, but they do not do so psychedelically. To emphasize the value of this approach we would like to introduce you to one of the most powerful plant spirits in the Materia Medica:
Ren Shen (White Chinese Ginseng): The Emperor of the Plant Kingdom.
Contrary to widespread urban legendary belief, White Chinese Ginseng is not a stimulant. It is not an “energy booster.” It is not a speedy substance and it should never be compared to caffeine. It is not inflammatory and it is not cheap. If you are buying the ginseng found bottled up as a liquid in glass phials, then you are most likely not consuming White Chinese Ginseng! Chances are that what you consumed in those kitschy little bottles was Red Ginseng which is a totally different plant spirit. White Chinese Ginseng is not American Ginseng either. As herbalists, we struggle with these misconceptions all the time. We would like for you to consider joining us in dispelling this popular myth. White Chinese Ginseng is an herb of such monumental benefit to humans, we feel that its always good to remind ourselves of its amazing qualities.
Let us begin with it’s name. The traditional name for White Chinese Ginseng is Ren Shen, which translates to “man root”. In modern times, we might be better off calling it “Human Root”. The name is a reference to the roots which frequently look like people engaged in a variety of human activities. (see attached images). Ren Shen is an herb which succeeds above and beyond all others in its ability to guide us towards the root of our True nature. Ren Shen is a Yogi!
Depending on how Ren Shen is incorporated into a formula, it can strengthen, nourish and support the body. It takes a very long time for this root to mature into a medicinal substance. For those of you who appreciate astronomical correspondences, you’ll be interested to learn that it takes approximately an entire Saturn cycle (28-30 years) before Ren Shen becomes a potent medicinal root. Everything about Ren Shen is Saturnian. It strengthens the Earth element by providing grounded-ness, stability and patience. It restores areas of burn out and fatigue slowly and steadily over time to ensure stealth when life’s bumps and grinds threaten us with unexpected twists and turns. It teaches us how to pace ourselves and focus with our frontal lobes rather than acting from the hindbrain which is associated with fight or flight behavior. Ren Shen strengthens the lungs so we can utilize Prana in a manner that supports the integrity of life. It strengthens the digestive system to build a strong reserve of Stomach Qi (refer to our blog on Stomach Chi Formula). It generates fluids and replenishes the withering fields in our bodies. Ren Shen also supports the Heart and calms the Spirit. Ren Shen is an amazing root used to settle our emotions when we are experiencing stress and anxiety. This last action usually surprises people because they have been incorrectly taught by mainstream consciousness that ginseng is an energizing stimulant.
These are the amazing properties of Ren Shen in a nutshell. Even with this limited information it’s easy to conclude that if we micro-dose with formulas that have Ren Shen in them over time, then we will continuously cultivate our desire to be effective yogis in this lifetime.