Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

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Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  darktcmdoc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:41 am

As a part of my contribution to this worthy cause I would answer reasonable questions on these subject.

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  Khephra on Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:44 am

darktcmdoc wrote:As a part of my contribution to this worthy cause I would answer reasonable questions on these subject.

Ooh ooh, I've got a question! How did you get started or find your way to spagyrics?

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  darktcmdoc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:30 am

Khephra wrote:
darktcmdoc wrote:As a part of my contribution to this worthy cause I would answer reasonable questions on these subject.

Ooh ooh, I've got a question! How did you get started or find your way to spagyrics?

Hello Kephra,

I'm not that enthusiastic about discussing my background as I prefer to remain anonymous. One of the moderators asked me if I could make myself available to answer questions on spagyrics.

Cheers,

Doc

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:00 pm

Hrm... I was going to ask something along the same lines. Wink

Anyway, I'm fairly ignorant of spagyrics, aside from dribbles here and there. But I know a VHF who speaks very highly of the discipline, and am curious to learn more. Can you recommend 2 & 300-level texts to give me a bit more foundation?

Do you generally focus on one distillation at a time, or ?? Do you use the distillations yourself or ?? Well, I guess you'd obviously use the distillations yourself, so would you want to elaborate on that a little?

Thanks for sharing your expertise! Very Happy
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Textbook and practical example

Post  darktcmdoc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:13 pm

The practical handbook of plant alchemy by my late colleague Dr. Manfred Junius that you can get from digimob is a good starter.

How I personally conduct lab operations ie how many simultaneous distillations is not a relevant question. However, here is a little something I wrote a few years ago that may shed some light on the mysteries already raised here;

In order to help you obtain a clear idea of what the 3 principles of
Salt, Sulphur and Mercury mean in the Vegetable kingdom, I have
posted the following example. Understand that the mercury priciple
is analogous to the extraction medium in the case of dry plant
material as the Sulphur is to the extracted phytochemicals. The
salt principle is extracted from the ashes of the plant material as
follows;


Let us take as an example Chinese ginseng, also known as Ren Shen,

When one is preparing to make a tincture with a chinese herb it very
helpfull to review existing litterature on that particular herb such
as phytochemicals in this particular plant. You can find this in
Bensky, In the case of renshen one fids references in chinese
medicinal wine and liquor books that mention using spirits or white
alcohol (50 to 70 % alcohol) in proportions varying from 1:3 to 1:10.

So in practice, this would mean putting 50 grams of renshen in 150 ml
of 65 % alcohol and leave it in a warm place for about 3 weeks to 3
months. This way you will get about 70 % of the good stuff from the
plant.

Or, of course, one could use a process of percolation.

So what about the rest ?

If you do not have a lab, here is how they would proceed in China.
Decant your tincture off the mark. Take the mark, add 150 ml of fresh
menstrum and go outside your home find a heat source and
simmer/decoct
until the the volume is reduced by half. Let it cool, add 75 ml of
60%
alcohol, stir and decant. Taste the mark; if there a strong taste,
repeat the procedure exept that after the second simmering, use the
luid you decanted at the end of the first. Just our you previously
prepared tincture or fluid extract to the decanted decoction, mix
well
and voila ! there is your tincture.


If you have a lab, take your mark, wrap it in cheesecloth and put it in a flask with a wide neck. Add a sufficient amount of 50% alcohol menstruum and the appropriate condenser. circulate in balneum for 1 to 2 hours.
Take the contents of the flask after a couple of hours. Add a helmet and evaporate in
balneum at 60 C. The alcohol and water will evaporate, leaving
ginseng
phytochemicals. Just our you previously prepared
tincture or fluid extract on the ginseng phytochemicals and
glycerine,
mix well and voila ! there is your tincture.

There are many ways to practice spagyrics and many traditions; western,
chinese, unani, ayurvedic etc. It is not an art you practice in a
kitchen. Most of the time, you need a lab.

The subject of calcining the marc (herbal residue after extraction)
appears to require some clarification. I will do this in the context
of our discussion about the ren shen tincture.

Let us pick up where we left our ren shen tincture. What
we finished with was one tincture, evaporated and collected
menstruum.

How will we make spagyric ren shen ?

First we take the marc and place it in a wide neck flask with a
helmet
( a cover that looks like a bell jar with a nose) connected to a
condenser. We then place the flask in a water bath and dry the mark,
carefully collecting the distillate/sublimate.

The marc is then placed in a crucible and calcined at about 700-800
degrees centigrade in a calcining oven. This will produce a white or
red ash.

While this is being done, we distill the previously collected liquids
to separate the alcoholic from the watery parts.

We take half of the watery part and pour it on the purified ash along
with other waters such as the water taken from the fresh plant,
thunderstorm water, dew or wine water from making wine spirits. The
total volume of water should be about ten times the volume of the
ash.

We then shake the jar with the ash and water and place it in an
incubator for a couple of days. After this , shake it up and filter.
The resulting liquid is a solution of water soluble salts, mostly
potassium carbonate, since it is done at low temperature. It is very
alkaline.

It should be noted here that an extraction in a soxhlet or boiling
water will extract the calcium carbonate along with the potassium
carbonate from the ash.

Then the liquid is evaporated and a crystalline substance
remains.This
is referred to by most as the salts. By different processes of
distillation and sublimation of our afore mentioned liquids and our
spagyric salts the extraction liquids are accuated and energized by
three methods; volatiliuzation of the salts, a process similar to
estirification and a potentization somewhat akin to homeopathy.

The menstrumm thus produced is used to extract as described before.
You will get a more powerfull product.

Now, what about this talk of adding alkaline salts back into a
tincture ?

Not always a good idea; as I have illustrated previously, some
phytochemicals will change if suddenly exposed to alkaline
environments. So unless you know exactly what will happen, save your
salts.

What about the non-water soluble part of the ash ?

Back in the oven at for oxidising. At very high temperature.
Why ? Well, the calcium carbonate will turn into calcium oxide that
can be used to make further medicines or to accuate the extraction
liquid. Other metallic oxides found in the ash can be collested,
circulated with olive oil to make a specific glycerine. or it can be
used in esterefication processes.


The previous post is an example of ONE spagyric technique. There are
thousands from many traditions. I have read examples of water soluble
salts extracted in chinese medical litterature. In tcm calcination is
used, from simple roasting to carbonization.

It is interesting to note that, for example, the chinese will roast
certain herbs in vinegar prior to decoction. In addition to changing
certain phytochemicals, the plant material will transfer some of the
acidity to the decoction water thus facilitating the extraction of
alkaloids,poorly soluble in ordinary water.

In tcm, cinnabar is used au naturel. In ayurveda, it is purified by
different triturations and calcinations. Some times it is separated
into mercury and suphur and reassembled. Similar thing with animal
products.

Sometimes it is best just to decoct. Luo Bou Ma comes to mind. It is
also important to remember that in the process of decoction in a
formula with many herbs, some phytochemicals become extraction agents
for others. How ever, if you taste the Huang Lian marc after
decoction, there is still plenty of bite left. Most of the alkaloids
are still there.

Now, what about existing "spagyric" products on the market ?

2 things;

1) Pouring raw ash into a tincture is not a good idea. Why ? I've
explained this previously.. also, if the calcination was a little off
there might be creosotes left in the ash. Nasty stuff if taken
internally.

2) Try them yourself first before dolling them out. If they work
better than non-spagyric, fine. If not... As we know, there are all
kinds of products on the market.

Another interesting aspect of spagyrics is the analytical protocols
to
determine the elemental (ie how much and what proportion of "earth",
"water", "air", "fire") there is in a medicinal plant.


Basically these protocols involve submitting the dried and fresh
plant
material to element specific extraction techniques (sublimation,
distillation, extraction, calcination, coagulation etc.) in
specialized apparatus with specialized menstuums. The techniques used
can be complex. I'll try and give you a few examples.

Let's take Bo He (mint). Let us steam distll it and oversimplefy.
What
people refer to as "essential oil" in the case of mint generally can
be called by certain schools "volatile Sulphur". But to answer your
question, the essential oil is representative of the Air and Fire in
Bo He. The essential oil is further worked by sublimation and
circulation to separate it into Air and Fire.

Now that's Mint. It's worked that way because of it's classification
and it's signature.

Let's get exotic and talk about the aerial parts of luo bou ma
(Apocynum venetum, NOT to be confused with it's american
cousin). Different classification and signature. Different method.
Here is an outline.

First thing we need is 1 liter of thunderstorm water. It is charged
by lightning and contains amonium nitrate from the atmosphere along
with many other interesting things. Sublimation and distilling
apparatus will separate it into what comes over first; 250 ml of
fire-water . Then the next 250 ml to come over is the air-water, the
next water-water etc. The PH of these fractions will be different.
Indentical samples of luo bou ma. are extracted with each of these
fractions. Thus the preliminary elemental division pf Luo bou ma is
done. There are other ways to do it.

Thus a plants energetics can also be manipulated by creating a
medicine with varying proportions.

I think this will give you an idea on how spagyric analysis is
conducted.


Cheers,

Doc

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  Khephra on Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:27 pm

Neat!

Do you have a preference for certain tinctures? I'd imagine they have different personalities...?

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  neutralrobotboy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:27 pm

Hey, thanks for stopping by! What I want to know is: How does one typically get started? I'm very curious about the subject, but I feel like I would need personal instruction to begin with. Also, I'm apprehensive about investing time and money into these kinds of endeavours without having seen it for myself, at which time I would be in a better position to judge if it's for me or not.

The only "institution" I know of is the remaining Paracelsus College in Australia. Apart from that, I don't have much of an idea where or how to begin. Is there sort of general advice for how one might get started or get in contact with a nearby practitioner?

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  darktcmdoc on Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:41 am

Khephra wrote:Neat!

Do you have a preference for certain tinctures? I'd imagine they have different personalities...?

In the Vegetable Kingdom, each plant has a spirit. Medicine making is optimized if the practitionner "contacts and harmonize" with the plants being worked with.

Cheers,

doc

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  darktcmdoc on Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:55 am

neutralrobotboy wrote:Hey, thanks for stopping by! What I want to know is: How does one typically get started? I'm very curious about the subject, but I feel like I would need personal instruction to begin with. Also, I'm apprehensive about investing time and money into these kinds of endeavours without having seen it for myself, at which time I would be in a better position to judge if it's for me or not.

The only "institution" I know of is the remaining Paracelsus College in Australia. Apart from that, I don't have much of an idea where or how to begin. Is there sort of general advice for how one might get started or get in contact with a nearby practitioner?

Download Manfred Junius's "Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy". Figure out what equipment you will need; get a scientific glassware catalogue for the prices. You'll also need an oven with a large enough chamber to accomodate 3 to 6 crucibles and rated for up to 1200 centigrade. Yes, pricey.

I would suggest that you start by making simple herbal tinctures (http://www.swsbm.com/homepage/)

And there is good free stuff on the net, that you will find with google, good intent and heart.

Cheers,

Doc

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:12 pm

darktcmdoc wrote:In the Vegetable Kingdom, each plant has a spirit. Medicine making is optimized if the practitionner "contacts and harmonize" with the plants being worked with.

I have *definitely* found this to be the case! Some plants have incredibly strong personalities!

Have you ever had any challenging experience with the "Vegetable Kingdom" you'd like to share?
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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  darktcmdoc on Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:36 am

ankh_f_n_khonsu wrote:
darktcmdoc wrote:In the Vegetable Kingdom, each plant has a spirit. Medicine making is optimized if the practitionner "contacts and harmonize" with the plants being worked with.

I have *definitely* found this to be the case! Some plants have incredibly strong personalities!

Have you ever had any challenging experience with the "Vegetable Kingdom" you'd like to share?

A plant that has never been worked spagyrically can present interesting challenges. I think that the intent behind the request that I participate on this forum is more to answer practical questions that can't be googled that to discuss my own work.

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  Khephra on Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:54 pm

darktcmdoc wrote:I think that the intent behind the request that I participate on this forum is more to answer practical questions that can't be googled that to discuss my own work.

I appreciate you sharing your experience! Hopefully, given time, others will step forward and elaborate on their expertise as well!

Unfortunately, these days it doesn't seem like there's very many people actively practicing spagyrics; but it seems like many people here might like to - or at least be curious about the experiences of a seasoned veteran.

Regardless, I hope we manage to find some more practicing spagyricists, and maybe we'll all learn from the experience. Smile

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  darktcmdoc on Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:42 pm

Khephra wrote:
darktcmdoc wrote:I think that the intent behind the request that I participate on this forum is more to answer practical questions that can't be googled that to discuss my own work.

I appreciate you sharing your experience! Hopefully, given time, others will step forward and elaborate on their expertise as well!

Unfortunately, these days it doesn't seem like there's very many people actively practicing spagyrics; but it seems like many people here might like to - or at least be curious about the experiences of a seasoned veteran.

Regardless, I hope we manage to find some more practicing spagyricists, and maybe we'll all learn from the experience. Smile

Perhaps it is time for a little background on how I became involved with (digimob) Occult Mob's activities.

Manfred Junius was a dear friend and a colleague of mine. During his lifetime and our rare visits, he would comment on the inherent difficulties on getting his royalties for the english language version of his "Practical Handbook of plant alchemy".

Since his passing a few years ago, multiple editions of this once relatively hard to find book have been published, including one with different title and another one with "commentaries".

I found this very annoying; my annoyance was greatly alleviated when I was able to send a scanned copy to Mr. Digimob along with a cd of Manfred's music. Needless to say, within weeks of the file beeing put up, at least three oufits were selling the music.

There is indeed many yahoo and other groups where people can discuss what they generally call "alchemy"; the problem is that there is generally very little substance to any of the discussions occuring. " Alchemy conferences", "Alchemy Master Correspondence courses" and other similar creations abound so there are plenty of opportunities for peeping tom mysticism.

So if I have any experience to impart, it would be that doing the work is important, rather than indulging in idle curiosity. Idle curiosity creates a market for semi-competent teachers who convince people that they have come up with miraculous shortcuts to illumination that usually include "dangerous spiritual practices" and when they are dabbling in alchemy/spagyrics, the laboratory counterpart of "dangerous spiritual practices".

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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  emperorzombie on Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:58 pm

'peeping tom mysticism'

nicely put.
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Re: Practical laboratory alchemy/Spagyrics and applied Daoist alchemy/Medical qigong

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:00 am

"Peeping tom mysticism" - Ha! I'm stealing that one! Very Happy

There are sooooo many folks looking to make a buck... I'm glad there's none of that around here - or self-aggrandizement, for that matter. Thanks for sharing your expertise Darktcmdoc! I also hope we manage to find some other practicing spagyricists. Smile
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Daoist Alchemy

Post  C82allen on Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:22 am

Where did you learn your daoist alchemy? I have read from 2 sources Wudang and Mantak Chia's system. Find each have their merits yet completely different in practice. Wudang seems very traditional clear but difficult, Mantak Chia I don't like as much yet describe techniques that can be done easily.
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