S-Life Mag

Your source for nourishment, inspiration, and joy

In the spirit of high-vibe living, we thought it best to tap into the deep knowledge of Truth Calkins— pioneer of plant-medicine and founder of Erewhon's legendary tonic bar. If his story doesn't make you want to clean house, pick up Kundalini yoga, dive deep into ginseng and other tonic herbs, and reach the next dimension of your soul— read again, and again, and again. 

Gain insight into the process of becoming an herbalist, how someone transformed their life through plants, dedicated their entire being to living through enlightenment, and an herbal "starter pack" for those inspired enough to try. 

How did you become an herbalist?

Growing up as a kid in the 1970’s, my mom was a totally committed health nut. I remember all the odd things from the health food store she would bring home. Some of which went into the blender for her “protein drink”.  Looking back, I have to laugh, as that was my first experience of a superfood drink. The drink was pretty basic, Yeast 500 (a popular nutritional yeast of the day), some kind of protein powder, a frozen banana, pre-peeled, wrapped in tin foil, stored in the freezer with many others. The base would be water or goat's milk from our own goats. Often a raw egg was added from our chickens. There was something mystical about this drink. Like it was some kind of elixir of immortality, not that I consciously knew what that was at age 7. In my teens, I would make my mom's protein drink for my friends, before we would go play, hike, or go camping. I remember the idea of the drink, as something magically fortifying. My mother and step father, were 110% committed to natural health, and it affected all aspects of our lives. I grew up, left home, traveled, and ate pretty much a normal, standard American diet for many years. By my late 20’s my health changed.  I ended up with chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal exhaustion, Candida, and Epstein-Barr.  At this age, I was on to my second career, as an actor. I thought at the time, that acting was the most important thing in life.

When my health deteriorated, to the point of stopping my acting career, I suddenly got very interested in health. I tried one last time with regular doctors, but I soon learned that was not going to get my health where I wanted it. So I instinctively did what my parents did, went back to nature with a passion. At age 30, in year 2000, I was sick and tired of being half healthy, and half sick. I committed to living like a monk for the next 3 years. I rented a basement studio apartment in the Hollywood hills, by Griffith park and would walk in nature, all day long, and hardly see another person.  I made all Body Ecology Diet meals by hand, three times a day, every day. I studied health constantly, looking for the healthiest herbs, supplements, teas, to consume between my meals. I sold almost everything I owned, and created a way to live very cheaply, so I only had to work very little to support myself. Six days a week, I walked in the parks, sat in nature, ate my Body Ecology Diet meals, and did Qigong I learned from a book. I knew there might be more gifts from nature, like some magical herb, that could help restore me to my youthful self.  I wanted to feel like I was 16 years old again. But by age 30, I looked 37, and felt like 77. I came across an article on ginseng, in the back of a juicer magazine. They talked about a 256 year old man named Professor Li Ching-Yuen, who took ginseng every day. I remembered hearing about ginseng as a child. So I started studying ginseng, and fell in love with the concept of the life enhancing aspects of it, and the tonic herbs. I discovered there were several other highly revered, ancient Chinese tonic herbs, that could restore your life force. I felt like I had discovered the fountain of youth, and my hopes were high that I would get my vitality back, and then be able to pursue my dreams in life, with no health problems to hold me back.  When I learned that my Jing [energy reserve] was depleted, I cooked my first Yin Jing herb, and drank it. I could feel the life force grow back inside of me, this was an energy I had when I was younger. An energy that faded away with chronic fatigue. I kept thinking, if I would just rest more, or sleep more, that this energy would come back.  But it never did.  I became depressed, because of the loss of this energy, at such a young age.  But after cooking and drinking my own Yin Jing tonics, this deep, restored, youthful, happy energy started growing back. I was convinced on tonic herbs. It took some time, but I knew that discipline was part of the art. I created my own custom program, and it was a full time job, love, and passion for me. I imagined myself as a Taoist master. I thought, what would happen if I kept living this way for ever? Would I too live for 250 years. I started to believe, maybe so. I went to bed with the sun and woke up with the sun. Did Qigong, mediation in motion, 3 times a day. Meditated after drinking Reishi tea. I had no more stress, no more panic attacks. I found peace, and love in the moment with the simplest things in life. In 3 years on my program, I had turned my life around, and had an unexpected spiritual experience along the way. I did not work, pay taxes or bills, have a phone, or see other people for 3 years. The first year I had some withdrawal from the world, from friends, playing pool, girls, movies, pizza, ice cream, holidays, you name it. It was not easy, but I was so serious about rebuilding my health, to return and conquer the world as an actor, that I made the decision to live this way. It was the only way my logic told me I could regain my vitality, and do anything with my life.

After 3 years on my program, I was still unsure if I was healed enough to endure the stresses of the world, let alone stresses of acting. So I started thinking, perhaps I will just become a modern Taoist monk, or hermit, and live this way forever. The value system of our modern society, was fading from me, and the appreciation for the new peaceful life I led was growing on me. I realized the spiritual path I had inadvertently created was more important and real, than anything else I wanted before in life. I ended up getting hired by Ron Teeguarden, as a tonic herbalist, sort of by accident, and I reluctantly agreed to work for 3 days a week, off the books. It took me two months to agree to this with Ron, as I was concerned about getting back into “thing-hood”, and the stress of modern life, with a job in the public. I continued my health/monk program while working at Dragon Herbs. Soon I was put in Erewhon, but working for Dragon Herbs, as they had a separate Dragon Herbs tonic bar, inside of Erewhon, back in those days. After a few years, Dragon Herbs pulled out of Erewhon and I agreed to go back and re-open the tonic bar for Erewhon, a few months later. The Erewhon tonic bar, was a chance to create my own healing center. I put a lot of love, consciousness, and energy, into it. Meanwhile, new powerful tools for health and consciousness came into my life. My program evolved, and all my spare time went into my program and spending time in nature.

After another 3 years on my program, while still working at Erewhon, 100 colonics later, and on the Body Ecology Diet with tonic herbs, internal exercises, and structured water, I felt like a multidimensional, angelic-being / super hero. My physical health and vitality was higher than I ever knew was humanly possible. I had also undergone some spiritual changes, from the devotion to my program, and Kundalini / transcendental-type yoga and meditation, that raised my vibration higher then I knew was possible. I knew ascending into an activated, multidimensional being, was way more important than being an actor. With more awareness, I could see the overabundance of entertainment in our culture, and quality of most of its content, as not being a worthy use of my time, on this planet. I continued to work as an herbalist from the tonic bar. I continued to follow my program. I was not sick anymore, but also not interested in returning to what I thought was a normal lifestyle. My level of clarity, awareness, energy, and creativity, was so amazing, that I did not want to stop this lifestye, I only wanted to perfect it further. Looking back, comparing the first 35 years of life, as a “normal person”, feels very mundane, slow, and limiting, compared my life after mid 30’s, when all this activation happened.


How did you conceive the tonic bar?  

During the first 3 years, of making my healthy lifestyle a full time job, and religion, I found myself in the car a lot, driving from one health spot, to another. I would drive to Topanga canyon to lay on the Angelite crystal chakra tables for free. Then drive to the park to do Qigong, then to Dragon Herbs tonic bar in Santa Monica for a Reishi tea, followed by more Qigong at the Santa Monica lookout. I would then drive to Whole Foods to and make a salad, or treat myself to a Kombucha or jar of Veggie Delight sauerkraut, as per my B.E.D. diet. I would drive to Erewhon, to buy specialty items like coconut water kefir, Zell Oxygen– rare supplements that other stores did not carry. Then I might drive to Golden Bridge, for a Kundalini yoga class with Gurmuk. Then I would drive to Teagarden Herbal Emporium, where George from Jing Herbs worked, and I would do the panic healing class, by donation, for like 2 dollars, and have another elixir.  If you search, Los Angeles has a wide range of health offerings, but you can spend half the day, or more, in the car, trying to get from one place to another. I kept dreaming of bringing all these things together, in one place, so I would not have to drive from place to place.

When I had the opportunity to open the tonic bar at Erewhon, to me, this was my chance to have a multidimensional healing center, disguised as a juice bar.  I tried to incorporate as many different things for health into a one-stop health experience. That’s why I had tonic herbs, macrobiotic drinks, seaweed soups with sardines, shots, vitamin packets, pomander St. Germain channeled flower essence sprays (to clean stressed out peoples auras). I had a card for colon hydrotherapists. I had all the books that were the cornerstone of my program there on the bar for people to read. All the people I hired to work with me were on some kind of path of love and service to others, spiritual development, and health. They did not work there for the money. We had very old, authentic Quan Yins, and Buddha wood statues on sale, on consignment. We had angel and ascend master cards above the bar. We had Tachyon and crystals on the shelves. With our highest intention, we did create a celestial vortex, right in the middle of a supermarket. Some people would come in who had no idea what the bar was, and just sit down for while. After 40 minutes maybe they decided they did not need a drink, as they felt so good sitting there, and they would leave, saying thank you with a smile, and very noticeable positive shift to their energy.

Some of what the tonic bar became, I had not consciously conceived, but I know I wanted it to be a spiritual oasis, in the heart of the matrix. And I wanted it to be a fast food drive-thru for maximum health, and powerful information. I adopted the practice of free consultations at the bar with any customer— something I learned from Ron Teeguarden, who originally conceived of the idea of the tonic bar. It all came together, better than I imagined. Looking back, I would have to say, working there, was the best job in the world.

With our highest intention, we did create a celestial vortex, right in the middle of a supermarket. 

What projects and passions are you up to now?

After 3-4 yrs at Dragon Herbs, then 6 yrs at the Erewhon Tonic Bar, 7 years at the Longevity Now Conferences with David Wolfe, 6 months of healing work in Brazil at John of Gods Casa, and the Valley of the Dawn; then 3 years doing programs at a magnetic clinic, I now feel ready to write my book, which I have started, and set a committed schedule. I am also doing some private consulting for both individuals, and possible tonic bars for the future.  


What inspires you?

I would say its a combination of three things. First, my mother, and her die-hard commitment to natural health, I have never seen a piece of processed food touch her lips, not once in my life. When traveling, and access to health foods can be more challenging, she will pass out from fasting, before eating a potato chip. Most everything she has eaten, since age 19, came from our garden, and she loves it. She has a knack for making health food simple, delicious, but with maximum nutrition. She is so well self-trained, that it is just automatic, she does not even think about it. Her health lifestyle is an inspiration. Her anti-aging doctors cannot believe her blood tests. Her doctors say judging by her cardiac profile, she should live for 200 years! They have never seen anything like it. My mom has been 100% committed to natural health, every single day, since the day she got pregnant with me. 

My second inspiration, was turning my health and awareness around, beyond my imagining, from sick and depressed, to unstoppable higher vibrational super health, in a 6 year period.  Once I experienced that was possible, I could never lose inspiration again, not in anything.   

My third inspiration, is following my heart, in the act of giving, and of loving other beings. I just love to give and help people. Whatever they will accept, and let me give, without forcing it or upsetting them, I will give. Giving others truthful knowledge and inspiration, for changing their health, and somehow making them feel better, and improving their lives, is a passion for me. Truly giving and loving, and wanting the best for other people, in a personal, one on one level, is an inspiration in itself. Pretty much any individual that I focus on, up close, it will not take long before I start to love them, as much as myself, or more, or as much as a family member. I don’t know where that comes from. I have always been like that.  It makes me cry just thinking about it, while writing this. Perhaps it’s in my soul, from where it came from, before this life. I see some of the divine in everyone, and it’s beautiful, and it really inspires me.


Would you please share your background on what it takes to be an herbalist? 

I think you have to think about what you want out of your life, and how can herbs improve your ability to succeed at this. Then you have to experience herbs, and how they can make you better. You want to find what kind of herbs you most passionate about (Ayurvedic, Chinese, Western, Amazonian, etc.) so you can specialize, and learn a lot about one area of herbalism. You have to fall in love with it to some degree, and make a special relationship to the herbs. Devote time and years to working with them in your daily life. Eat them, cook with them, extract them, grow them, study them, and feel how they improve your life. Then share them with others: friends, family, anyone that you can help — once you have found your favorite herbs. When you share your favorite herbs with other people, observe how the herbs affect them. The more consistent, positive observations you make, the more confidence you have to share herbs with more people. 

Know the industry, the companies that make different herbal products. Experiment with these products. Open the capsules, taste the herbs, compare companies. Try opening herb capsules into teas, and blend them. Study what wild local herbs grow near you, and how they can be used. Try to learn how to grow herbs, whether culinary, or medicinal, local or from far away. Try to learn how to save seeds. Learn about permaculture, and biodynamics, and how herbs can be used as food, for the future, or self reliance – and of course, health & ailments. Even learn about soil, and minerals, but most of all, if you want to be an herbalist, learn how to help other people, with herbs. There are still so many people living solely off the food industry, and this modern processed food, over time, contributes to much toxicity, and poor nutrition, which in turn, contributes to much ill-health and suffering. It often takes time to become ill, but this is how it happens. Once it happens to people, they have no skills on how to detox, nourish, and bring back their bodies natural well-being. 

Lives can be changed, just by turning someone on to some natural herbs at the right time in their life. Today, due to the larger populous, and default processed diet, people could use more help from herbs than ever before. More herbalists is a good thing. Traditional training in herbs, like becoming an acupuncturist, is also a very good thing. Having a foundation in any traditional herbalism, is a real bonus, but you also want to expand your personal experiential knowledge of herbs, beyond the academia of text books. You will be more passionately able to reach people if you work from your own passionate experiences with herbs. But the traditional training is also valuable. Both are key, and a love of the complexity, and genius of plants, and the human body, is key.  


It seems like adaptogens + plant medicine in general are gaining popularity right now, but of course people have been using these plants both ceremonially and for healing for centuries. Can you tell us anything about the history of their uses?

Yes, many esoteric herbs, once only known by a few, are becoming more available. Gnostic knowledge is becoming trendy, it’s very interesting to see where this will go. More people know about turmeric than ever before, and even herbs like Reishi, or Holy Basil, are getting more known. Having the internet in your palm, with a phone, increased travel, and increased interest in alternatives to allopathic medicine has all helped to make great and rarely known herbs more commonplace. But due to advertising and commerce, the true understanding of these herbs are still often overlooked and over simplified. When you search for natural things pertaining to health on the internet, you are barraged with marketing madness. It takes some real knowledge to sift through and know what is correct and incorrect, or somewhere in between.

We are lucky, as we do have so much access to learning about herbs, and purchasing them, but just because you can Google a few herbs, and read about them in 30 minutes, order them, or buy them at Whole Foods, doesn’t necessarily make you an herbalist, but it does make you a good consumer. The system is set up that way. Today, our technology makes it easy to find and discover great, and once rare herbs. But by the same token, the same technology can make us lazy, and addicted, less likely to fully respect the herb, and their history, not mention begin weakening our Qi due to electrosmog and EMF’s. 

So how well do we really know the herb? Searching online is great for sound bytes of philosophy, and quick general knowledge, but if you are a total neophyte, you will tend to believe everything you read. And that is not good. You can’t gain the experience one gets, from really working with the herbs for years, with hands on experience, from the internet.  

When you refer to ceremonial herbs, which are popular right now, of course I am going to think of ayahuasca, and other substances in the same vein. I think, at a time, when we are lacking culture, visiting older ceremonial practices, is culturally enriching, and exciting, but that doesn’t mean every one should do ayahuasca. I see people talking about their ayahuasca experiences, as casually as I saw people talking about going to yoga classes, fifteen years ago. I think the trendiness is making many people do it, without fully knowing what they are doing.  And I think the Shamans in South America are trying to cash in on the “Aya” trend— which can make it more dangerous. I think there are situations, like for an addict who is struggling to overcome a drug addiction, but has a relatively strong healthy brain, neurologically– I think this person is a good candidate for ayahuasca. It could save and change their life with just one ceremony. But I also think there are many people who don’t need to do ayahuasca, but are doing it anyway because it’s hip.

People who have some old traumatic brain injury, or past concussion, or neuropathy, can have severe permanent damage from just one ayahuasca ceremony. I have worked with clients trying to heal serious brain damage from ayahuasca, so I am cautious. Some of these shamans are overdosing people, and/or using tainted herbs, and influencing people to ingest other substances – capitalizing on the naiveté of Westerners looking for fast spiritual experiences. Many people think because someone is claiming to be a Shaman that it’s all good, and to just do anything they say. You should really do your background work to the purity of the herbs, find the right place, and know your brain is healthy before doing this kind of thing. I have never done any plant medicine like ayahuasca, or any drugs in my life beyond social alcohol drinking. I am a sensitive enough person, so I have never I needed strong things like drugs. I feel enough as it is, but I do know a fair amount about Aya, and DMT. I instead, rely on the C+E, Kundalini meditation technique, taught at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, to leave my body the natural way through increasing consciousness and energy.  And I rely on soft Kundalini herbs that are not harmful, and only aid in longevity, like Reishi, wild ginseng, wild red asparagus root, and Holy Basil (fresh tulsi tea).

I want to do the real work of increasing my consciousness the way the masters before us have. I have been a bit of a lone wolf in my personal program. I was never attracted to too many yoga classes, or Burning Man, or vacation-style hip heal ceremonies. I saw some of this go on at John of Gods Casa. Some people like this stuff, just for the novelty, and fun.  And I guess that is ok, if that is where they are at. Everyone’s brain has neurons pre-wired for 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th dimensional consciousness. Most just never learn to wake up those parts of the brain. As in our society, they are not taught any of this. After all, if you learned how to create your own reality, it would not be so great for consumerism. But this is just me. Everyone is on their unique path and I can only teach what I know, and I do not know everything, yet. For some, doing ayahuasca, once, or a couple times, may accelerate their path. They have to decide. Just make sure the herbs are pure, and the dosing is correct, and you purge properly, and your brain is strong and healthy beforehand. It’s always good to learn the mechanism of action, of any herb you want to take, to decide if this is good for you. With some herbs, the more you take them, the better they are for you. Like ginseng.  Some herbs are very potent, even deadly, but can save lives if used very carefully, like bloodroot (black salve), or chaparral. So for these herbs, the less you use them, the better.  And some herbs can be risky, like playing psychological Russian roulette, like ayahuasca. 

I want to do the real work of increasing my consciousness the way the masters before us have.

The herbs I have worked with the most, are the Chinese tonic herbs, which go back 4,000+ years. The tonic herbs were found by the Taoists for improving one’s life-force, and spirit to live as long as possible with Radiant Health.  Radiant Health, to the Taoists, means “health beyond danger.” That means you are so healthy, that you can never get sick, or acquire disease. The tonic herbs were also one of the three tools used to achieve Longevity.  Longevity, by definition, is to reach age 100 with good health. To reach age 100, and not be on any medication, to sleep well, go to the bathroom well, to have your memory, speech and motor function (no strokes); to not be in chronic pain, and have the energy to still work and function fully independently – not in a rest home.  This is Longevity, by the Chinese standards. The Chinese believe you can achieve longevity, by mastering at least one of three tools. Those would be the use of Chinese tonic herbs, or Qigong exercises, or the refinement of dietary and fasting practices. But of course, if one could master two out of three, or three out of three, their chances of obtaining Longevity, is greater. I also work with a few special Ayurvedic herbs, which has a totally different history, rich with Hinduism, and yoga, and comes from a different geographical region. I also work a lot with Brazilian herbs that are so beneficial for chronic infections like candida. The herbs native to Brazil, or the Amazon, have a very different history passed down from their local Indigenous tribes and medicine men. Luckily, a fair amount of their knowledge has made its way to the modern world. Their system may not seem as complex as Ayurveda, or TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), but some of the Brazilian herbs can save lives, from pathogenic diseases, that are now quite common in the developed western world. So it’s a good idea, if we help to save the rain forests in Brazil.  

Adaptogens have gained more modern scientific attention in later years due to their unique double direction, bi-polar chemistry. This makes the phytochemistry of these plants very rich. There are books now on adaptogenic herbs, like Rhodiola, that go into great detail of the science and chemistry. Again, an herb like this, before the internet, may have never became known in the west. Rhodiola expands the parameters for stress tolerance, wider than anything on earth. Adaptogens like Rhodiola are needed in our modern world, where we have to endure dangerous amounts of stress. I also think the desire of individuals, who are also consumers, for gifts from nature has helped the creation of companies who work hard to impart natural products like herbs. It’s a good thing.


What are some good resources to learn more about herbs, adaptogens and plant medicine? What are some good "starter kit" herbs?

There is a book called the Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs by Ron Teegaurden. I would recommend this book to learn about Chinese tonic herbs. The Dragon Herbs website, is a great resource as well. Jing Herbs also has a good website, and some videos on Youtube.  If I had to pick a few herbs, for a “starter kit” for the average person, I would choose Reishi, Holy Basil, Turmeric, and Pau d’ Arco. This is just four herbs, one Chinese, one Ayurvedic, one a more common western herb, although originally from India – and lastly, one herb from South America. To me, these four herbs are the best gifts I could give the average person who does not already know a lot about herbs. 

Reishi is like a medical wonder, improving blood pressure, blood sugar, breathing, immune system, reducing allergies, and reducing stress. Reishi also helps you grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but it is not psychoactive, like psychedelic mushrooms (which leak Jing), yet Reishi balances us on all levels, promoting clarity, peace of mind, more love, and oneness with nature. It’s quite amazing, and Reishi is very safe. Take 1-3 extracted capsules, or cook a tea twice a day, for life. Reishi is a great longevity herb. 

Holy Basil is also amazing for stress and increases awareness, but without releasing neurotransmitters, like a drug. Holy Basil (aka: Tulsi), like Reishi, is one of the best herbs in the world. Holy Basil reduces inflammation, helps blood sugar, improves immune system, is anti-septic, and anti-microbial. Try to get a supercritical extract, and bite the capsules so you can eat the extract, then you will feel it working. Or learn how to make traditional tulsi tea, and even grow the sacred plant yourself. The owner of the Sanctuary in Tustin, California grows Tulsi in front of her center, and brews up strong fresh holy basil tea, a real treat. You can easily learn how to do this yourself. Reishi and Holy Basil are great all around peak health, anti-aging, and preventative herbs that I would recommend for everyone to take all year long. These herbs will make you more successful at whatever you want out of life. 

The third herb I chose, Turmeric, is one I would add to your diet, as a whole food. Get Turmeric roots from the health food store and grate them on your salads. Juice them with lemon and a little ginger for super health juice shots. And even blend a small turmeric root in a raw soup. To make a raw soup, just put avocado, whole lemon, any greens, cucumber, dash of olive oil, no water, in a powerful blender, like a Vitamix, with hand-held tamper, to mash and blend on high into a raw blended soup, or blended salad. Turmeric has so many preventative health benefits for liver, inflammation, turns off NFK-B pro-inflammatory pathways, activates telomerase, reduces beta amyloid plaque in the brain. It’s a preventive, tasty/spicy, anti-aging, health food. 

And lastly, I choose Pau d’ Arco, because so many of us have imbalanced gut health. So many of us have candida, parasites, and fungus, which become chronic, low-grade infections in our bodies, and hold back our health, or even contribute to other serious health problems. Pau d’ Arco is the gentle cleanser of pathogens, especially yeasts, fungus, and parasites. Brew large batches, simmer the loose tea, or tea bags, to make it stronger. It is a gentle tea, and very safe. Based on how you respond to the tea, you may get some die-off symptoms, so adjust the quantity accordingly.  But it’s good to drink this tea, say, every other day for one month out of the year. Or more often, if you are more prone to these pathogens. Once your pathogen load drops, then you will not feel the effects of Pau d’ Arco, so you can just take a break from it. Many people are learning these days that it is not a good idea to have a high sugar or alcohol diet. And it’s not good to take antibiotics, or birth control, too often. Many experts in the health industry are talking a lot about the importance of the gut biome or digestive and colon health and flora. Luckily, I learned about the gut biome 17 years ago from the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. It helped save my life, as it went to the core of my mysterious health problems. The combination of the B.E.D., Pau d’ Arco, and colonics is a life saver for candida. But back then, that information was hard to find. It took me a while, after feeling lost and trying everything for my health, before I found these things. Most people are not as bad as I was, but most do still have some candida, fungus, parasites, and that is a leak to your Jing. Pau d’ Arco is my favorite herb to lower yeast imbalances, and bring back good immunity and gut health balance.


What kinds of effects have you seen incorporating these ingredients into your own life? Do you have a ritual with them?

Reishi literally changed my life. I was attempting to devote time and energy to my spiritual development when I first started to take Reishi, but my progress was slow and difficult. I was also coming out of some food addiction, letting go of my past, and trying to stay on a new healthy way of eating. When I added a high quality Reishi mushroom extract, at around 4-6 capsules a day, everything changed very fast. I really felt calm and very spiritually focused. I seemed to have more love for everyone, and everything. I had more compassion for myself, in struggling with letting go of food addiction. I no longer fought my addiction. I just observed it, non-dualistically, and then the addiction quickly just faded out of my life, with no effort or struggle. I become very patient, and peaceful. I could see the magic in the nothing-ness space in life, in the little things, which most people are going too fast to see. And my immune system improved, my allergies reduced. I used to be an artist, and I could feel my creative gifts just overflow on Reishi. It gets you more connected to the magic of the subconscious, or the quantum field. It’s an herb for allowing, as Abraham-Hicks uses the term. It may sound like, how can something outside of yourself do all this? It may sound like a drug, but it’s not. Reishi just allows your own consciousness to go up, and then you see things from a loftier place. I have often called Reishi, a soft Kundalini herb. It’s really you that gets to expand your awareness, and experience all this, not so much the herb.

With Holy Basil, I have experienced the greatest shifts, in just a couple minutes, from the highest levels of stress, to then the greatest states of calmness, and spiritual alteredness.  I experience this from bite popping many soft gels of a supercritical Holy Basil extract.  This herb is very gentle, you can eat 1 to 30 soft gels at once, and just feel wonderful, albeit slightly high.  But the high is not drug induced, it’s an altered state, from opening the Nadis, or spiritual centers in the brain.  This is why Tulsi is revered as a sacred plant, and Goddess in India, and Ayurveda.  There are no side effects from Holy Basil, no matter how much you take.  Only side benefits, for health and longevity.  Never take this much extracted Reishi fruiting body capsules.  Reishi is stronger, 6 at a time, I would say max for Reishi.  The most you want to do with Reishi, is 5 capsules, 3 times a day, once in AM, midday, and evening.  So 15 a day total, for say up to a year.  Long term, or for life dosage of Reishi, would be 6-9 capsules a day, divided in two doses.

When I discovered the true power of Pau d’ Arco, I had been on and off antibiotics for 7 years, and socially drinking alcohol many nights a week.  And over those years, gradually eating more and more carbs and sugar, without really realizing it.  That is a good recipe for candida, an opportunistic overgrown of bad yeast and fungus in your body.  That is also a good recipe for chronic fatigue syndrome, from chronic virulent levels of systemic yeast, draining your adrenals from inflammation.  Pau d’ Arco was the first miracle in my long battle with candida.  The first day I drank two liters of tea, from cooking 14 heaping tablespoons of loose, inner bark, Pau d’ Arco, all my brain fog, fatigue, aching numbness, vanished for a day.  I felt completely cured of chronic fatigue for one day, every time I drank this tea.  It was miraculous.  So I drank it every day for one year, and it was the only way I could get out of bed, and keep my job, at that time in my life.  I feel it saved my life from candida, and virtually lethal amounts of fungus in my body.  I have since, found some other people, who had the same miraculous reaction from Pau d’ Arco.  After asking them more questions, they too were living with really high levels of yeasts and fungus in their body, and just did not know it.

As far as a ritual now, I have a very intricate program, that has evolved over years.  I do take medicinal mushrooms daily.  I do mass dose Holy Basil, when I want a little extra spiritual boost, or travel.  I drink a half gallon batch of Pau d’ Arco once every 6 months, to keep that little bit of yeast or fungus from coming back. 


What are some myths + misconceptions about plant medicine that you'd like to dispel?

The only thing I can say about myths or misconceptions, is to remember to learn the mechanism of action, of what allows an herb to do what it does. The more you know about an herb, the more you know if it is something you want to take. For instance, green tea, black tea, Yerba mate, coffee, all have certain beneficial qualities, but they are all also stimulants, so for me, I never consume these, as they leak Jing – and building Jing is a primary goal for me. Also, fanaticism, on just herbs, is fine for a while, but ultimately limiting. You want more alchemical tools in your knowledge base then just herbs. Herbs are still only herbs. They have their place in a great health program, but once you have studied the herbs most important for you, then keep yourself open to other things. You can’t expect herbs to do everything. 

The more you improve other factors in your life, the better the herbs will work. Herbs only work, as good as they can in the body, or environment you put them in. So if you improve your health in other ways consistently over time, and take herbs, you will get even better results. For instance, I have worked with some of the best herbalists in the world.  And their knowledge of herbs is amazing, right up until you watch them come back from their lunch break with fast food. For herbs to offer the most alchemy, it’s best to also devote yourself to lofter eating, and other lifestyle practices. Its not just all about herbs, its about everything you do. The more areas you master, the more alchemy, or synergy, and compounding benefit you will experience, in your evolution in this body.

Yes, sometimes, one herb, can totally change your life by itself, and that can make you a fanatic, for a while. And sometimes that is a good way to learn. But you want to take what you have learned, and move on. Decide to improve or change your diet. And deicide to add some great herbs.  And decide to exercise. And decide to let go of something you are addicted to. And decide to fire up your thoughts, to be more decisive, willful, and vivaciously focused on what you want your body and life to be like. Even if your conscious mind fights back with doubt, ignore it. And focus more strongly than normal, on what you want. Maybe an herb can help that, but your own sovereign free will is what is most important – and some knowledge of quantum mechanics and the power of the mind. As great as herbs are, branch out into other things to also incorporate in your life. I like the synergy of herbs, diet, internal exercises, meditation, health technologies, and special supplements. This is not so much a misconception, but rather seeing a bigger picture.


Would you share your favorite recipe(s) for inviting in more love, gratitude and creativity? Things I think we all need right now. 

The Reishi Cappuccino, my first specialty drink I made at the Erewhon tonic bar, back in 2005, is the best starting elixir for everyone; for love, gratitude, and creativity. It’s a winner.  And people who don’t like herbs, or anything healthy, like it. But what is most amazing, is how people feel, and how they change over the next few days after being on this drink. They will want it again. This drink put the tonic bar on the map, and can change the world.

Reishi Cappuccino:

11 oz. warm Spring Dragon Longevity tea by Dragon Herbs, in blender

add 1 level Tablespoon raw cacao powder

add 1/3 level teaspoon extracted Reishi powder

add 1/2 level teaspoon extracted He Shou Wu powder

add 1 level Tablespoon cacao nibs

add 2 level Tablespoons colostrum powder

add 2 level teaspoons coconut oil

add 1 teaspoon birch xylitol

add 3 droppers full Lo Han liquid (or Sweetfruit Drops by Dragon Herbs)

add 5 drops plain stevia clear liquid

add dash of ground cinnamon

blend well, serve, drink while warm.

(alternate sweeteners: 3/4 teaspoon raw honey, or 2 teaspoons Monkfruit Lakanto, or 2 teaspoons SugaVida, or a blend of the above) - the original recipe uses stevia, which is often too sharp, but with the bitterness of the reishi and cacao, the hyper sweetness of a little stevia, does work the best for this drink.  But feel free to try other sweeteners.  Also, there are a few people who don’t like chocolate.  For these people, exclude the cocoa powder and nibs, reduce the stevia to 3 drops, and use 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean powder to replace the chocolate.  Now you have a Vanilla Reishi Latte.


Who are some of your favorite healers and practitioners? 

John of God in Brazil, and his Casa, is one of my favorite healers. Kimberly Meredith and Delilah Sesson, in Los Angeles are my favorite healers on this continent. As for practitioners, Borna at Dragon Herbs and George at Jing Herbs are my favorite traditional Chinese medicine herbalists. Ron Teeguarden is my favorite Taoist tonic herbalist. Jeremiah Kreiger is my favorite acupuncturist. Luis Rojas, and Talya at Clear Way are my favorite colon hydrotherapists. Jamie Hopkins offers a treat in LA called Pythagorean sound healingVladimir is the at the Atlas Profilax adjustment, a once in a lifetime C1 adjustment, that has helped a lot of people. And Linda at Herbalenium in Glendora is may favorite place to go for Hyperbaric, TurboSonic, ionic detox footbath, far infrared sauna, and earicular treatments.


What is one thing you wish everyone was doing for their mind/body/spirit and why?

The one thing would have to be to make the commitment to only eat 100% whole, organic, & non-GMO foods. Making your own food from fresh, whole, raw materials and thus not relying on the food industry for processed food, is to me, the most important thing we can do. Food is your medicine and health revolves around the kitchen. Or else, to quote another famous saying, it is “death by the fork.” This will have the biggest impact on your health, body, mind & spirt – and our children’s health. This will also help move the food industry, slowly, back towards nature. 

I made the 100% commitment to food freedom 17 years ago. For the first 3 years, it was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life. But now, I am so free with food, love what I eat, and know exactly how to eat, and I manifest it everywhere I go. I can even make foods I use to love like pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, but all from super foods, ketogenic, whole foods, and organic foods. Every raw material for such recipes I replace with the healthiest ingredients and superfoods. For me, there is no excuse to ever buy processed food, or restaurant food, unless it is a restaurant like the ChocolaTree in Arizona – there I will eat. I see it with the people I work with, how hard this addiction to processed food is. I make everything I eat by hand, wherever I go. Sometimes it is easier to make this change 100%, instead of 50%. But whatever improvement you can make, is good.

We are all born and raised with the spoiled convenience of drug-like addictive hyper-processed sugary foods. And so are our parents. You can give a child a candy bar, and you create a little monster. It will not want to eat anything else. That kind of food is just not fair to a child, running off its amygdala, with no prefrontal lobes yet. You just slam the opiate, reward-chemical centers of its young brain and create an addict. It’s good for the food industry, but it’s not good your body or your psychological relationship to food for the rest of your life. I feel like a food shrink, a food therapist, as people don’t realize how much trauma they have around food. It’s like putting a wild turkey in a cage for the first few years, and giving it all the food it can eat. It will eat itself to death, because it cannot control the reward chemical opiates in its brain, telling it to do so. This is a good analogy for the American public’s food habits. To grow up on that gets you way off base from nature.

I remember reading somewhere, Ramtha said, "most adults, are grown up children, with drug addict brains, only using 2-5% of their brains, processing about 200 bits of information per second." Not very smart, and hard to know their potential. I think we are all grown up with food PTSD or food trauma. Our modern diets are unnaturally adulterated, and if you just unknowingly consume it, it creates a lot of issues throughout our lives in a lot of areas. Getting back to whole foods, organic, and non-GMO, ingesting only 3 pounds of sugar a year instead of 200 pounds a year, allows the average person to use at least 15% of their brain without even trying; processing over 4000 bits of information per second. So I would have to say, the one thing is: commit to immaculate and pure eating. 

Food is your medicine and health revolves around the kitchen. 

What would you like your legacy to be?

On a material level, I would like my legacy to be Starbucks-esque, Jing Tonic Bars, around the world.  It’s a dream I have.  And I would like to leave behind one grand Druids manual book, with all my knowledge, recipes, protocols, in one volume.  But also, my personal legacy, is to affect the few individuals, that I have privately consulted with.  To have had the opportunity to share so much with them, to have actually significantly changed their lives for the better.  As I love them, and know that soul will have great advantages to reach greater success in life, they can pass it on to those they love; when that happens, it makes it all worth while.  When I leave this planet, and I know I have done my best to do that, unconditionally, then I will feel good.  To me, that is a legacy.

Filed Under: Adaptogens, Features, Food is medicine, Inspirations

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