Even though we currently offer almost 400 different Spagyric singles and formulas in our store, we’re always on the lookout for new herbs to work with. Most of those suggestions come from you, our customers and fans, and we love hearing about the ways you connect with the green kingdom.
Our newest suggestion came from a long-time customer, and though it took us a while to track the herb down, we’re excited about offering it.
Butterfly Pea is a beautiful vining plant in the pea family, native to tropical Asia but introduced all around the world. Its flowers are very similar to the more familiar sweet pea, but they are a vivid, extraordinary blue- a colour which carries into teas and extracts of the plant.
This azure tone is used as a natural food colouring, turning rice a lovely sky blue, and making drinks either deep blue or shades of purple and pink if an acid is added. The blue shade is fun to play with, and also healthy to consume, as it is due to the flower’s content of anthocyanins, the same pigments that give berries their hue and tonic properties.
This blue was the most challenging aspect of the plant to extract, but we felt it was an integral part of the plant’s energy and effects, and wanted to be sure to carry that into the final Spagyric. The colour is very soluble in water, but true Spagyrics are Spirit-based, so Paul had to develop special processing for our Butterfly Pea.
Often, lab work is like a conversation between the living being of the plant and the person doing the processing, and it takes sensitivity and openness to connect with the plant, find its gifts, and explore the lab work that will best carry those gifts from plant to Spagyric.
This process starts with us using the plant daily for a week or two, chewing it raw, making tea and drinking it, and making simple tinctures to see what alcohol brings out. This is usually the phase where the planetary rulership of the plant is felt; in the case of Butterfly Pea, Mercury’s clarifying, balancing influence came through very strongly.
Our aim is always to create the fullest expression of the plant’s intelligence in refined but still living form, and Spagyric work is uniquely suited for this goal, especially in Paul’s experienced hands.
After some back and forth and adjustments, he came up with our Spiritualized Essence of Butterfly Pea, representing all that the plant offers, from its tonic properties to its amazing colour.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Butterfly Pea is used to support the health of the mind and mood, helping with anxiety and depression, as well as being anti-inflammatory and cooling to the whole body.
Studies have confirmed the brain-boosting effects of alcoholic extracts of the plant, showing that it increases acetylcholine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that enhances learning, memory retention, attention, and motivation.
At the same time, it seems to modulate the brain chemistry associated with depression as well as that of anxiety, showing balanced action and centering effects from both poles of dysfunction. For these uses, it is often combined with Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha, and Shatavari. In our own work with the Spagyric so far, it has a strong calming but clarifying effect, sharpening to the mind, but not stimulating in any way that might impair focus or cause depletion later on.
In the body, studies have shown some balancing effect on glucose metabolism and cholesterol and cardiovascular health from use of the extract, and anti-asthmatic properties were also discovered. All of these effects, along with its brain-healing qualities, are probably at least partially due to its overall anti-inflammatory action, since many imbalances and illnesses trace back to inflammation. Combining Butterfly Pea with Hibiscus may enhance these actions, and as a tea, this is a traditional tonic drink.
We’re looking forward to working with our new Butterfly Pea Spiritualized Essence more, and expect that, as many studies have reported, its tonic properties will build over time. We hope you will try it also, and let us know what you think.