Difference between Conventional Tinctures,Herbal Preparations & Spagyric/Alchemical Preparations
First and foremost Alchemy is an Art form, it is a tool of consciousness to connect with consciousness and transform through consciousness. Each Preparation is considered to be a ressurrected entity born into a higher state and if taken internally not only works as a medicine but most importantly serves to connect your consciousness with that of the Plant.
Generally today when we prepare a plant as medicine, we use the method of tincturing it or we use the radical modern method in which we isolate one single molecule out of hundreds/thousands from a plant and use that to treat a disease or symptom. Or of course we use more subtle methods like brewing a tea, which is actually also a valid subtle unrefined alchemical method to connect to a plant and to reap its benefits. The different benefits of the teas we enjoy are not only related to the compounds they contain, but are also the subtle life essences of the plants intelligence that are stored in the waters structure which then interact with our own being and consciousness.
Yet all these methods from an alchemical perspective are not transforming the plant, but work with the plant as is, in alchemy we aim to transform the material of choice into a higher state, to raise its consciousness and to allow a deeper connection to take place between our own soul, mind, and body and that of the plant/material used. A normal tincture does hold quite a few medicinal benefits for example but it is lacking in a very important component.
One important missing component in the conventional methods is known as the SALT of the Plant which is contained in the leftover matter that is filtered off and generally thrown away when making a traditional tincture.
To further clarify, alchemy believes in 3 principles that make up every thing that exists.
Sulfur,Mercury and Salt
Sulfur being the individual Soul or consciousness. Mercury being the universal Spirit/Mind. Salt being the Physical Aspect. In the Plant realm Sulfur=Essential Oil, Spirit=Alcohol, Salt=Mineral Salts (obtained by burning Plant to ashes.) Each of these elements correspond and resonate to the same principles within our own self. So by consuming the refined/purified recombination of these principles from a plant, it effects us and resonates with the same 3 principles within us, allowing transformation if worked with consciously.
A True Alchemical/Spagyric Preparation is defined by a refined purification process which is performed on all 3 principles of a herb, or other material worked with. On example is in the case of a plant by first water-distilling the plant matter to obtain its essential oil(Sulfur), we then take the plant matter and ferment it to produce our alcohol(mercury). The leftovers from the fermentation are taken and carefully burned to a fine white/grey ash. We then take this ash and pour distilled water over it to leech out the water-soluble salts that have been released from the plant matter through burning.
By evaporating the water we obtain highly alkaline salts, which we purify several times by dissolving in water and again evaporating until they form beautiful white crystals.
This is the Purified Perfect Body/Salt of the Plant. It is these Salts that when added back together with the other 2 components that causes a transformation of each consituent and helps the body to actually effectively absorb and assimilate the medicinal constituents of the plant.
This is a highly long process, we use the most gentle methods and a lot of patience to separate the 3 principles from the plant alone, with great care purifying each principle, and finally recombining them and circulating them for at least a philosophical month. From start to finish such a preparation can take months of work before it is complete.
“Glorified Tincture” . While this method is inspired by Spagyrics it is not truly alchemical in the truest sense of the definition. We still use all 3 ingredients but we use much less refined methods to prepare and work with these constituents. In the case of a “Glorified Tincture” we take a short path in which we simply extract the soul of the plant(plant oils, compounds) with the spirit(alcohol),instead of using fermentation to obtain our true spirit, we can skip that step and use high proof alcohol 95-96% minimum. The Body is still purified by calcination to obtain the salts, and all 3 principles are then recombined. Yet this is not the only method, projects in which I work with soxhlet extractions for example also fall for me intothe realm of such “Glorified Tinctures” Yet this method is still effective yet a step down from true alchemical preparations, we are transforming our plant into a slightly more refined state, except using various artistic methods and extractions, producing elixirs and potions that are supposed to work on differing aspects of the self, for example water based hydrosols attuning and working with the astral body. Yet no matter what level a certain elixir is supposed to work on, each change in one spectrum of being affects the whole. Here the alchemist would use his own discernment to feel into what it is he needs at this moment, each potion is a tool with which we effectively can connect with the consciousness of the plant used.
Furthermore what is interesting from a chemical/scientific perspective is that we have elaborate esterification processes occurring when we mix the Soul of the Plant with the Mercury.
The Essential Oils, Fatty and Acidic Compounds of the Plant react with the Alcohol to form complex Esters. When we add the highly alkaline salts to this solution, we have further saponification processes which begin a whole series of catalytic acid-base reactions with all the different organic molecules contained within the plant. Many Pro-Drug reactions happening, the compounds transformed into a new state using nothing other than the plant itself. It is exactly this process that produces as a result medicine that is truly exalted and which works on all levels of ones being spiritual, mental and physical.
The Ancients understood how to evolve a plant into a more refined state.
This is why these Potions are all Potent Talismans of Transformation. By using all 3 components of a plant we are effectively attuning it to work on all 3 systems within our own self. In the most refined state of working with our material we kill it, yet process it with such gentle methods, with long patient repetitions of purification of each element, all to contain even the most subtle life essences contained in the material to be worked with. Creating a truly living, highly evolved complex form of our living material we started with.
Outside of Alchemy/Spagyrics when we make a standard tincture we are extracting only the soul of a plant(sulfur) into the spirit of alcohol(mercury). But we throw away the Salt/Body. The Salts act as an important vehicle for the proper assimilation of the medical constituents into the body. Furthermore none of the principles are purified or refined in this process, no transformation actually takes place of the plant.