Welcome to Ben Greenfield’s Weekly Roundup and Cool New Discoveries!
Ben Greenfield’s discoveries, from the latest news on the fronts of fitness, nutrition, health, wellness, biohacking, and anti-aging research. I also recap my upcoming events and special announcements so you can keep up with giveaways, discounts, and more!
New Discoveries Of The Week: Cool New Things I’m Trying, Books I’m Reading, And More!
The Aztec Dream Herb I’ve Been Experimenting With
Calea Zacatechichi is an herb used by the indigenous Chontal in Central Mexico to receive divination with dreams and as one of their traditional medicines to support digestion and the respiratory system. It is particularly useful for:
Oneirogenic properties (promotes lucid dreaming)
The scent is nutty, floral, and chocolatey (surprisingly sweet and enjoyable!), and the flavor profile is a rich green flavor, balanced bitter softened with honey hues—very palatable. Anyways, my friend Dr. Nick at Essential Oil Wizardry, who I interviewed in this podcast, introduced me to this unique beautiful herb with a spunky sense of consciousness. The so-called Aztec Dream Herb has been used for centuries by the Mexican Chontal Indians to receive messages of divination during dream-time.
Calea Zacatechichi tastes chemically bitter & awful to my palette (likely caused by the primary compounds being germacranolides) and ranks amongst the worst flavor-profile in herbs to-date, but Nick figured out how to balance out the flavor profile with organic honey mead, so this stuff actually tastes pretty good.
The literature suggests human doses of organic extracts of the plant produce EEG and behavioral signs of somnolence (ie. drowsiness) and has shown to induce light sleep in cats. Large doses may elicit salivation, ataxia, retching, and occasional vomiting. Effects on the cingulum in the brain were tested and shown to be different than dissociative drugs (ie. ketamine or PCP). One study demonstrated marked anti-inflammatory activity comparable to drugs Dexamethasone and Indomethacin, which are landmark anti-inflammatory agents used in pharmaceutical medicine. When observed in a clinical setting, one controlled nap sleep study showed that Calea extract increased the superficial stages of sleep and the number of spontaneous awakenings. Subjective reports of dreams were significantly higher than both placebo and diazepam, indicating an increase in hypnagogic imagery occurring during superficial sleep stages. One last important note comes from a study suggesting some level of nephrotoxicity (kidney toxicity). Individuals who are at risk for kidney disease or have dysfunctional kidneys should consider limiting or abstaining from the use of Aztec Dream Herb.
Calea Zacatechichi is a rich oneirogenic dream herb that carries ties to ancient Aztec culture. Nick uses it during late waking hours to bring himself into a semi-conscious state, and I’ve found it to be quite relaxing pre-sleep and also to give me crazy, vivid dreams while still feeling rested when I awake. It provides the user a nice hypnotic lull without euphoria, easing the mind and body to a state of relaxation, calmness, and rest. To receive the benefits of vivid dreamery, I find using 1.5 – 3 dropperfuls of this tincture directly before bed to be most effective.
For Nick’s Ultrasonic Extract Tinctures, I’ve found that sublingual (under the tongue) absorption held for 30-60 seconds leads to better subjective absorption/effects. Aztec Dream Herb is not suggested for daily use and is probably best a few days per week max. It synergizes quite well with Nick’s Ultrasonic Blue Lotus Tincture, Ultrasonic Kanna Tincture, Ultrasonic Mugwort Tincture, Ultrasonic Salvia Tincture, Ultrasonic Skullcap Tincture, and Ultrasonic Wild Dagga Tincture.
One Of My Favorite Places To Shop For Hawaiian Grown Superfoods: Kauai Farmacy
On my last trip to Kauai (probably my favorite island in Hawaii), I had the pleasure of visiting “Kauai Organic Farmacy.” In 2007, shortly after their first child was born, owners Doug and Genna Wolkon started making tea from the leaves of the Noni tree—a traditional Polynesian medicinal plant that grows on the Hawaiian islands.
With regular consumption of the tea, they began to experience changes in their bodies: extra weight dropped off, concentration improved, immunity increased, and stress reduced to create an overall heightened sense of wellbeing. Excited and inspired by this natural healing transformation, they dove into other healing herbal plant medicines from a local garden after their second child was born. In 2010, they acquired four acres of lush horse pasture on a river bend in Kilauea on the North shore of Kauai and began growing medicinal plants. These herbal gardens slowly and organically grew and transformed into their Kauai Farmacy bio-diverse herbal farm—now home to over 60 medicinal herbal plants.
I knew their place was special when, on my last Hawaii visit, Laird Hamilton brought me over to the Farmacy to show me their organic turmeric roots (which we chomped on like carrots, see below) and their luscious cacao fruits (which we sliced open and munched on like candy), and Doug explained to me how they use no pesticides or chemicals, and they feed their plants teas brewed from the gardens and composted manure.
After eating a homemade meal comprised of goodies grown in the fields, I picked up a couple things that blew me away.
One was their Comfrey Salve. Doug explained to me that the comfrey plant is renowned by the ancients as “knit-bone” or “warrior plant” because it’s known to rejuvenate bones, muscles, and ligaments. Their Comfrey Salve has a silky-smooth texture that naturally absorbs into the skin (or the “third lung” as it is referred to in Chinese medicine). By supporting the body’s natural defense system, areas of inflammation and discomfort may ease, the breath may calm, and the body may achieve greater balance and performance. You can apply the salve liberally to wounds, bruises, sprains, breaks, scrapes, and other areas of injury, or to the body’s entirety for optimal performance. Comfrey is known for its compound allantoin, a cell regenerator.
They also have a comfrey hydrosol. Hydrosols or ‘spirit waters’ are made by steam distilling fresh, fragrant plant matter. The plant’s phytochemicals and cellular water are extracted and then condensed down into liquid form. An essential oil mixed with water is not the same as it does not contain the water-soluble compounds that hydrosols capture. Problem is, most manufacturers will remove the essential oil from the hydrosol to be sold separately. Kauai Farmacy does not do this. The distilled oils remain in their hydrosol, and their comfrey “knit-bone” is an herbal spray that helps lubricate joints, restore skin, hydrate muscles, circulate blood, detox organs, and “knit” bones.
Another of my favorites is their Endurance Powder. Crafted with the intent to enhance drive (life force), stamina, and to stimulate the digestive system, this herbal powder is loaded with bioactive minerals, making it great for circulation as well as calming the nervous system. Ashwagandha, an herb esteemed very highly in the Ayuverdic tradition, means to give one the stamina of a stallion in Sanskrit. Try it to boost your endurance, stimulate your senses, and invigorate your life. With superherbs like Moringa, bringing a complete protein into the mix, and Bele Spinach, adding bio-available iron, Endurance Powder is a super alkalizing and nourishing herbal blend. Endurance is ideal in smoothies, brewed as a tea, sprinkled into bone broth, eaten pinch by pinch, and makes an exquisite culinary companion ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes.
If you’re ever in Kauai, you must visit the farm (I’m actually speaking with Doug about my twin 12-year-old boys doing a month of work there as part of their unschooling curriculum!), but in the meantime, you can order Kauai Farmacy products online by clicking here. Code GREENFIELD15 will automatically save you 15% on anything (and I definitely recommend grabbing the Comfrey Salve and the Endurance Powder—and for a hot date night, a bit of their quite potent Ashwagandha).
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Tourmaline layer that generates negative ions…
Charcoal layer to amplify the detoxification process…
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While I am am not opposed to responsible use of psychedelics for both microdosing and also for – should a person be prepared, well-educated and supervised accordingly – so-called “trip doses”, journeying or trauma work, I think that as psychedelics become more prevalent in our culture, an increasing amount of people will be exposed to them in the wrong set and setting and without proper preparation before and replenishment after.Everything from psilocybin to LSD to ketamine to mescaline to MDMA are, after all, now considered less to be relegated to the sole realm of Burning Man and hippies, and are now being considering acceptable and societally normal for many people. And I think there are both good and bad things that could come of that.That is why I want to take this week and educate you on a variety of different topics in the realm of the psychedelics, drugs, nootropics, and more.Stay tuned for more this week and check out the video from a recent talk I gave as part of my Boundless Book tour, as I detail my view on and personal use of psychedelics in response to a listener question.What do you think? Are you concerned about increasing legality and social acceptance of such compounds? What do you feel are the pros and cons?