Paul is in our lab most days, and is constantly making Spagyrics, both restocking ones we’re out of, and creating new Spagyrics from herbs we haven’t worked with before. Even though we currently offer over 300 different Spagyrics, there are still many plants out there to explore, and we are always on the lookout for new plant allies to add to our catalogue.

Sometimes they arrive in our lab in random collections, as when we discover a new supplier or someone goes wildcrafting for us and sends whatever they found. Often, though, we seem to work on groups of related plants, connected either by family or use and effects.

Our two newest + one restock this time are all nerve tonics, relaxants, and painkillers, and all are important herbs that we’re glad to have in our toolkit.

We have worked with Scullcap before, but had run out and had trouble finding more, but we recently came across some and so Paul created a new vintage of Spiritualized Essence of Scullcap.

This water-loving mint relative has species around the world, and they are all used medicinally by their human neighbours. Scullcap is a nervine in the fullest sense of the word- it is calming to the “nerves” in the sense of emotions and anxious mental states, as well as being tonic to the literal physical tissue of the nervous system. We’ve processed this Spagyric under Mercury’s rulership to amplify this intelligence.

Mildly anti-anxiety to strongly sedative, depending on dose, our Scullcap Spiritualized Essence is a good support to a steady mood, reducing irritabililty and tension and easing sleep and even helping depression in some people.

It is also a very good painkiller, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory for muscles and connective tissue, and because of this relaxant effect, it also calms the heart. A good adjunct to massage and bodywork, Scullcap is also supportive in withdrawal and recovery.

We have found our Scullcap combines very well with Gotu Kola to create a peaceful but clear mental state, and with Ashwagandha to enhance its anti-anxiety effects and root its calming energy deeper in the physical body.

Our next Spagyric is a flower we have long enjoyed in nature and in our garden, but have never worked with. California Poppy is a native to California and most of the west, from the plains to the rockies and out to the coast. It is a tough but beautiful resident of many ecosystems, brightening roadsides with its vivid orange cheer, and it is an important pollen plant for bees.

It is distantly related to other poppies, and although it is nowhere near as narcotic as opium poppies, it does share calming and relaxing properties, and this is its main use in herbalism. Its mildness makes it useful for pain, anxiety, and insomnia in even the most sensitive beings, such as children, but its gentleness does not mean it is ineffective.

Our California Poppy Spiritualized Essence has a spectrum of calming and painkilling effects, depending on dose. Small amounts create a pleasant relaxed lightness which could be useful as a daily tonic for stressful lives, or on an as-needed basis such as during the holidays or travel. In higher doses, the painkilling effects become more pronounced, along with a stronger feeling of sedation and relaxation.

It’s an herb that, in Spagyric form, really lends itself to fine-tuning via dose, with just one drop being perfect for mild jitters or nervousness, while two drops can clear out a headache or stronger anxiety, and three to five drops will knock out more severe pain and send you off to bed.

Finally, our Elephant Head Spiritualized Essence is a Spagyric we made some time ago for use in a few of our Somalixir formulas, but we hadn’t offered it singly until now. It harmonizes very well with other herbs, but it’s also a very healing plant in its own right, so we’re hoping you’ll explore it, also.

First, we should say that no elephants were harmed to make this Spagyric, we promise! It’s made from a plant native to the mountain west which has flowers that look like hallucinated hot pink elephant heads. It’s hard to believe until you see some, which I did when hiking with family in Utah’s Wasatch mountains a few years back.

We came across a beautiful meadow full of many medicinal plants- yellow pond lilies, Yerba Mansa, and Elephant Head. Only the Elephant Head was plentiful enough to collect, and so I picked enough of it for a batch of Spagyric, left an offering of thanks, and brought it home for Paul to process.

Pedicularis, the family that includes Elephant Head, also includes the equally-flashy Parrot’s Beak, as well as several other plants with similar healing properties. Which one you find depends on ecosystem, with different Pedicularis in wet mountain valleys or high, dry slopes.

They are all excellent deep relaxants, and we think of them as “letting go” remedies. From over-sensitive, twitchy skin, through the muscles and into the deep connective tissues, Elephant Head relaxes, opens, and releases tightness and constriction. Mental tension melts away, as well, and our Elephant Head Spiritualized Essence is especially good for physical tensions that are tied up with mental or emotional ones.

Finding yourself jumpy ever since a stressful drive? Have a knot in your neck that showed up after a contentious conversation? These are the kinds of tangles that Elephant Head smooths over with its effects, loosening their physical hold on you while revealing the emotional source of the problem so that you can let that go, too.

This gift is really amplified when Elephant head is used before bodywork, as it allows the therapist go deeper into your tissues without resistance, and helps you hold on to the adjustments for much longer. For these reasons, Elephant Head has become an important ally of ours, and we think it has a place in your healing kit, too.

3 thoughts on “New & Back in Stock : Nervines & Painkillers

  1. Dayle Schweninger says:

    Just wondered about the section that mentions “wildcrafting”, it is my understanding that many plants are being over harvested in the wild by people trying to make money, and not being mindful of their impact, anyway, I just wondered if you could comment on that , thanks, Dayle

    • Micah Nilsson says:

      This is a very important issue, for sure! As herbal medicine becomes more popular, the herbs become victims of its success, and they can certainly get overharvested and depleted because of greed. Asking questions like yours is a great first step towards finding sustainable companies and keeping them accountable. I can only speak to Al-Kemi and our practices on this, which I am confident are respectful and protective of the plants and their ecosystem.

      I consider a number of aspects in deciding whether to collect a plant for our Spagyrics. First, I stay updated on the overall conservation status of healing plants. Some plants can seem very abundant locally, but actually be quite endangered because that locale is a special one that they are limited to.

      This was the case with the Yerba Mansa I also saw in that same field- there was a lot of it there, but it is so specialized in how it grows that it was probably only in that one, small valley in the area, since that was not its optimum ecosystem. With Yerba Mansa, for example, I would only collect it from its native habitat further south into New Mexico, since it is more adapted to that ecosystem and would recover from harvesting much better. This is especially important since it’s the roots we need, so collecting is inherently more disruptive to the plant.

      Elephant Head is considered “globally widespread, abundant, and secure”, and so it’s one I watch for to collect, since it is such a healing herb. In contrast to the Yerba Mansa, high mountain meadows with very cold winters are perfect for Elephant Head, so I was careful not to disturb the soil too much, and I left any seedheads I found standing, so that it would continue to expand in that area.

      I also consider their abundance in that location, and I only harvest 10-15% of what I see there, if that amount adds up to a meaningful batch- no point in collecting if it’s not enough to work with! That’s a much lower number than the 30% that many herbalists follow, but I feel safer leaving more behind.

      Also, one of the great aspects of Spagyric processing is that it makes the very most of the plant material, since everything is extracted and nothing is wasted. This means that, for most of our Spiritualized Essences like the Elephant Head, we only need a pound or two for a batch of Spagyric, but that batch will give 200 bottles, or as many as 10,000 doses!

      On a more subtle level, I am also careful to keep my intent and energy aligned with the highest good for the plants and the people I serve through them. Before I leave for a hike, I meditate a bit on what plants I might see there, whether they are plants I need more of, and how I might approach collecting them. I tune back in to that intelligence once I am in the field, and I listen for guidance on the appropriateness of collecting that plant at that moment. Even if all my scientific criteria align, if anything feels off, I don’t collect at all, I just sit with the plant, take some pictures, and move on.

      I hope this outline of our approach to this issue answers your questions, and I do appreciate you asking it, it’s always useful to check in and make sure balance and harmony are being respected and the life and intelligence of the plants is being honoured.


  2. Pingback: Everybody Hurts : part two – Al-Kemi

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