To say the Ming Dynasty was an advocate of hemp seed would be the biggest understatement in human history.
The seeds of the hemp plant were said to have a calming effect and was considered superior to plants other medicines of the time.
The most well-known Chinese herbalist to serve under the Ming Dynasty was a man named Li Shih Chen.
Li Shih Chen surveyed hemp plants across the country, recording different varieties and which were preferred.
For 27 years, Chen worked nonstop to compile his findings into a book that would become the Compendium of Materia Medica.
It wasn’t until he visited a small island in the south sea that he found a strain of hemp with seeds the size of peas.
One of the most interesting recipes in his book is a mixture of ingredients to form a modern-day pill.
A perfect helping of hemp seed and soy to be taken twice daily. Basically the world’s first plant-based supplement.
The recipe calls for two parts hemp seed to one part soy. Everything is boiled together then pan-fried until there’s nothing left but a fine powder.
By rolling the powder in honey to form pills, you could make several months worth in a few hours.
Ancients Found Other Worlds With Plant Medicine…
South American chamáns, pronounced shamans, is actually a term made up to entertain tourists’ notions of witchdoctors and magic.
The preferred term by locals is medicos (Spanish for “physician”).
Practitioners serving locals refer to themselves as medicos to establish trust, while those who tend to cater to foreigners refer to themselves as shamans.
What’s bringing all these tourists out to rural outposts in places like Peru and Brazil?
Ayahuasca. A psychedelic brew of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Psychotria, a plant known to contain DMT.
Although DMT is a schedule I substance in the U.S., an ayahuasca church was able to get favorable rulings in court under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ayahuasca creates such a powerful experience for its users a religion has sprouted from it.
Santa Daime is a collection of folk Catholicism, African Animism, and South American Shamanism.
It is officially credited as being founded sometime in the 1920s, but the roots of Santa Daime beliefs go back thousands of years and spans several continents.
Daime is another name for ayahuasca. It is Portuguese for “give me” and practicing Santa Daime revolves around the beverage.
You may have seen videos of foreigners traveling to South America for a Santa Daime ritual.
Drinking ayahuasca can be a roller coaster of an experience. It immediately induces heavy vomiting. This is all part of the experience.
Vomiting is seen as a total purge of all the body’s negativity, both physical and mental.
Raimundo Irineu Serra
Raimundo Irineu Serra was born in Brazil to African immigrant parents in 1892. He moved to the western region of the Amazon rainforest in 1912 in order to find work during the peak of the rubber harvesting season.
The first time he drank ayahuasca, he wandered through the forest for over a week. This experience transformed him.
Soon, people from all over came to him begging for the same thing. Western culture had failed these people, so they were turning to nature.
Since Irineu Serra and many of his early followers couldn’t read, music and singing became vital to passing on the wisdom they had cultivated.
Modern-day texts of the Santo Daime are a written version of these religious hymns. They all have reoccurring themes of love, happiness, and how to get the most out of life.
Santo Daime rituals range from silent seated meditations, called concentrações, to high energy dancing and singing bailados.
Santo Daime’s Christian roots emphasize self-awareness and an appreciation for our place among nature and the universe.
South American Shamanism and African folklore blend together to create many of the supernatural beings described by Santo Daime practitioners.
What really makes ayahuasca unique from other psychedelic drugs is the way the Santo Daime community embraces the negative emotions that come out during a ceremony as much as the positive ones.
The ritual is one of self-actualization and gaining strength by forgiving ourselves for our weaknesses and growing past them.
For members of the Santo Daime religion, ayahuasca is far more than the sum of its parts. It opens a portal to a world of what could be.
When Santo Daime Meets Modern Science
For close to a century, it was always a question of which is better, western or eastern?
But finally, researchers and doctors are realizing it doesn’t have to be one or the other.