By September 7, 2012 17 Comments Read More →

Nootropics, Psychedelics & Expansion of Consciousness

Christina Sarich, Contributing Writer
Waking Times

From ancient Vedic times in India, to the sanctuaries of Greece, including the Temple of Delphi, to the terraced Mayan hills in Central and South America, and spirit journeys of American Indians, to the DMT and mushroom induced trances of the aboriginal Australians, to the opium dens of China, the human species have looked for a way to expand their consciousness. We have chewed bark, made teas, and extracted herbal remedies from roots, leaves and flowers. We have ingested a variety of substances made from fungus or cacti, as well as mixed varying specimens from nature’s cornucopial offering ad infinitum. Without mentioning the psychedelic LSD trips of the 1960s or the hemp-hazed living rooms of our doped-out college friends, or beatnik poets, I would be remiss, but this article offers a new set of consciousness expanding drugs that don’t leave you with the munchies or a hard-lost addiction.

Nootropics, pronounced (new-tropiks) are the milder modern version of Ayahuasca and magic mushrooms. The term itself comes from a Greek word meaning to bend or turn. We already know that certain cognitive functions can be enhanced or hampered by altering chemical states in the brain. It is evidenced in modern literature, and certainly through the extensive use of mind-altering substances throughout history. Mind-bending is an appropriate term, since nootropics will likely bend the mind towards higher performance, by way of enhanced cognitive abilities like memory, creativity, spatial and linguistic understanding, information recall, etc., rather than blow the mind, as other shamanic drugs are able to. While the drug-class mentioned herein have yet to deliver Limitless intelligence enhancement, as the recent Hollywood movie suggests, there may be other, as yet undiscovered, compounds in nature which could do just that.

Nootropics don’t increase DMT, the spirit molecule, but they also don’t require you to do an entire karmic overhaul in an afternoon once you’ve ingested them. While high-performance spirit drugs have their place, some of us just need a physiological boost that allows us to show up at work or take care of a family. It would be a bonus if we could tap into our creative gifts with more astuteness, and compassion can definitely be gleaned by seeing the similarities between seemingly different people or groups, a cognitive ability which requires brain plasticity and information sifting.

Nootropics are a class of drugs, often derived from nature, and sometimes occurring naturally in organic, non-GMO foods. Spinach and krill, as well as sardines and anchovies, for example, are full of (Dimethylaminoethanol) DMAE, a naturally occurring substance in the human brain, which can be supplemented for better short-term memory, concentration, and overall learning capacity. It was also explored early on as a ‘drug’ to treat ADHD and depression, but since it was too expensive to study, it was later sold as a supplement, instead of a pharmaceutical drug.

DMAE, and other nootropics are from a group of ‘drugs’ called cholinergic because they have a positive effect on the brain through the release of acetylcholine, which acts as a neurotransmitter. This chemical is very important for memory creation. Unlike epinephrine (adrenaline) boosting drugs, there is no side-effect on the nervous system and the ingesting party won’t suffer from adrenal fatigue. Surely, most of us have more than enough adrenaline pumping through our bodies every day without adding more. Adrenaline, is in fact, part of what causes the fight-or flight response to be triggered. Cholinergic drugs have no known side effects, but like any herb or drug, will have a different effect on different people depending on their base line body chemistry.

Other nootropics include choline, creatine, ginkgo, sulbutiamine (basically high-dosed Vitamin B1 or thiamine), pramiracetam, sometimes called just – pram, which helps increase choline uptake in the brain, and S-adenosylmethionine – called Sam-E, which also occurs naturally in the body. Each nootropic supports the brain in different ways, and many have secondary benefits like better joint health or more glowing skin. For true brain-benders though, the benefits of nootropics are subtle but lasting and may very well be the modern version of the Indian vision quest or Einstein’s lazy afternoon imaginings in his patent office. With governmental and corporate agencies poisoning our water, food and air, we need some powerful brain boosting supplements, offered by nature, and not yet co-opted by pharmaceutical companies. A conscious mind has to be able to introspect, to weigh in on intellect and wisdom equally and use experience as its intuitive guide to higher realizations. If we turned off the mind-numbing media channels and ate our spinach and took our ginkgo, we might just find the jump from boorish life to creative, vital, idea-driven wonderment a more probable reality.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao Tzu, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rob Brezny,  Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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  • Jenny

    I am pretty sure that piracetam can help potentiate the effects of certain drugs as well. I think i heard it increases the power of MDMA. Not to sure about this but i heard it somewhere.

    Anyway nootropics work very well for me. I deal mostly with this company. Thanks for the great information i will def. be following some of the tips here

  • stardust


    nice article

    where can i go to get practical advice on experimenting with this ?
    i do not like the supplement approach as i believe the life force has long left most supplements
    chemistry>>maybe its just a crude model and that approach worries me

    soooooo its spinach then fantastic

    what do i do simply eat loads of the stuff for depressed feelings ?

    well done !!

    • Stardust – start by eating whole, organic foods if you don’t want to go the supplement route. Mother nature has provided us a cornicopial display of health in her foods, left untouched by GMO and poision. Eat super foods, like goji berries, yes spinach, and hemp seed, etc. Start with your base nutrition and see food as medicine, then go from there.

  • Bonnie

    In Ancient Times, and Today, EVERY Healer and Shaman guided the person, using the plant. THey were ALWAYS there, not only in the physical, but traveling with the individual, to help them, in ALL ways.

    These Healers and Shaman had been trained themselves in the useage of the plant, and they had years of experience with it, using it.

    Not only that, they understood, and worked with the Consciousness of both Pant and Human.

    TGHat is what they were there for.

    This was nde riguer.

    Now, every Tom, Dick and Harry, people like Sarich is advocating usage, you could even say, they are DRUG PUSHERS.

    But who are they to do this?

    What happens if the individual is in trouble during their “trip”? How are they going to help them? Ease them out of it. Will they be able to explain what went wrong and how to avoid it?

    These Plants were ALWAYS used at special times, when the individual needed help or answers to a problem they had. OR wanted to advance in all ways. The plants were never used for leisure, or recreational purposes.

    • I think the importance of the shaman in the journey into the plant’s wisdom cannot be stressed enough. That is, until we all become ‘shamans’ and know how to navigate our own journey through health: mental, physical, and otherwise. But as others who have posted here as well, it starts with cleaning out the crap and synthetic food from our diets. This is square one.

  • The term “expansion of consciousness” is, in and of itself, instructive.

    What is meant is the expansion in space of the 3-dimensional ‘curved’-space consciousness of the “self”–a “self” which is, however, *still* dualistic; and, thus, *still* the source of conflict and violence (J. Krishnamurti)

    That is precisely the consciousness that must be time-reversed to *prior* to the origin of the duality; referred to as the non-dualistic “observing consciousness” in the Eastern esoteric traditions, and the consciousness Created ‘by and in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27) in the monotheistic Revelations; that is, the consciousness *prior* to the dualistic, ‘fallen’ consciousness of the “self” and the ‘thinker’.


    • I agree with you on the curve 3d consciousness. But a greater question is who is the God, or what ever term we use to denote something greater than this human experience?



      • Is it possible for nootropics to help a scizophrenic person regain memory and concentration? We are looking for miracles to help with our daugher.

        • t

          The first things I’d start with is guarantying only organic food intake and boosting nutrition via raw food only, for at least, 1 month. Wheatgrass juice would be a good start along with a “approved” safe vitamin and mineral supplement. I personally have not yet found a known/solid supplier of supplements. Regardless your child needs to be off the crap food and to get the nutrients required by all of us. My 2 cents.

        • mothman777

          Schizophrenia is a very fuzzy term, and is usually not very well understood by doctors themselves. RD Laing had a somewhat more laid back attitude about so-called mental illness. Vitamin B3 has been a great help to ‘schizophrenic’ patients, because, like it does in Alzheimer’s patients, it helps boost the rate of brain tissue regrowth.

          The problem, I believe, is a cognitive breakdown caused by injuries to the brain, either through trauma by accident, or injury to the brain tissue by bugs, like spirochetes, such as syphilis, Lyme disease, or cytomegalovirus getting into the brain and causing tissue damage. This not only affects the brain’s cognitive ability, This then affects the subtle bodies, or astral and other subtle material bodies surrounding the physical body and allows many unnecessary psychic experiences to be felt, as the healthy brain and subtle bodies act as a kind of filter blocking millions of unwanted psychic connections and dimensions. When those barriers are gone, a very adept spiritualist can cope, and even thrive in such an environment, but when understanding of what is actually happening is actually lacking, it can be a frightening experience, with mental collisions on the inner planes in discomforting manner. Kirlian photographs of the auras of yogis and people with ‘mental illness’ are very similar, in that the aura is very faint. And yoga teaches that the more enlightened a yogi is, the smaller his subtle body gets. Try Vit B3, but be very careful, the flushing variety is absolutely agonizing if you take too much, there are some who have achieved good things with it. A little good understanding of Vaishnava Yoga is also good to bring a wholesome spiritual knowledge and attitude, not with ISKCON though, as that particular society is full of very unhealthy politics about ‘guru’ structure, but still the books of the real, older Vaisnava teachers like Prabhupdaa, Bhaktisiddhata Saraswati and Bhaktivinoda Thakur are wonderfully enlightening. Sikh Vaishnava philosophy is almost identical too, but I am not a member of a cult or anything, choosing rather to understand philosophy and have a quiet relationship with God but not join groups as such, as religious groups can get a little nutty and unpleasant. There are some good groups though outside the mainstream.

          See how President Nixon’s psychiatrist considered schizophrenia to be caused by injury to the brain by a pathogen, I think cytomegalovirus, which is uniquely found in the cerebrospinal fluid of the majority of schizophrenic patients, though of course, any other cause of injury to the brain will lead to similar symptoms, so regrowth of brain tissue is very important. Some pioneering psychiatrists are knocking off those bugs responsible with antibiotics, and I recommend that path very strongly to you, unless your daughter developed her symptoms after a serious head injury or infection with any other pathogen that has caused brain injury, which has since cleared. Hemp oil is crucial, as it contains all EFAs necessary for the body, and those EFA’s in raw organic milk are good for the brain too, but pasteurized milk is not very good for you at all. Raw milk contains colostrum, that kills bugs. Plenty of vitamin D3 too will kill bugs. Try supplementing with phosphatidyl serine also to greatly increase rate of regrowth of brain tissue, it really boosts your cognitive performance massively. Fluoride kills brain tissue, calcifies the pineal gland and greatly lowers production of serotonin and lmekatonin, vital for mental blance. Fluoride also dtops th btain producing phosphatidyl serine, which it need to to grow new brain tissue, and that amount present in food simply is not enough to keep up wit the damage the the massive amount of fluoride in th American diet does to people. Supplementation will take you through theat barrier of liitation, and it is an antidepressanr too..

          • mothman777

            My reply got posted there due to some glitch before I had finished proof reading it for all the typos. Here we go again:

            Fluoride also stops the brain producing phosphatidyl serine, which it needs to to grow new brain tissue, and the amount present in food simply is not enough to keep up with the damage that the massive amount of fluoride in the American diet does to people. Supplementation will take you through that barrier of limitation, and it is an antidepressant too.
            Check out the following article about President Nixon’s psychiatrist; it is truly fascinating. Get back to me on any issue if you like, I would love to assist in any way I can.


        • Anonymous

          I am schizoaffective, and am not at all what represents the typical at all. I achieved the rank of sergeant in the marine corps prior to my diagnosis, and am an incredably fearless person. This allows me to function normally even when the throes of a powerful delusion. I have some advice that is contrary to professional opinion. Listen to your daughters ramblings, and do not argue. Like any person strongly convicted in a belief, arguing only makes thier convictions stronger. Help her sort through, it is incredibly confusing. make it make sence
          med minimize. minimize. They are incredibly terrible for health. Sleep disruption is common and increases the delusional thinking. This is actually the only time I use anti psyches, and just untill I get my sleep straight. Detox suppliments and nootropics are potentially helpful, but are no substitution for patience and understanding. And don’t get so freaked out every time your daughter says something wierd. Healthy diet is extremely helpful, more so than meds. Spinach and kale, fresh peppers, blueberries, dandelion. super foods. Marijuana is not the devil either. Some have too much paranoia, but I feel it is the best sleep aid. Also helps me turn my brain off at the end of the day. Don’t smoke all day tho. Hope this helps.

        • mothman777

          Another thing I read of that might be of great help is to avoid coffee altogether, as it stimulates the flight or fight chemicals in the body, causing acute anxiety. In one study I read, regular drinkers of coffee who were suffering acute psychosis in a mental hospital were all able to be released, minus their symptoms of mental illness, simply after stopping drinking coffee.

          To really get the brain back in shape, to make it produce it’s own neurotransmitters in the proper amounts, avoid all drugs, cigarettes, coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, red bull, alcohol, aspartame, sucralose, the lot, for a minimum of two years, and see how calm your mind becomes and how centred you become.

          Natural daylight exposure (no glasses or contact lenses for at least 1.5 hours a day) allows the brain to produce serotonin and melatonin. Wearing glasses all day will lead to depression by stopping the proper amounts being produced. I take my glasses off as much as possible when walking outside.

          The food minerals thing is right, eat as organic as you can, as organic stuff has 8-12 times more minerals in, and minerals are more important for all-round health than fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Digesting minerals is not merely a chemical process, but a bioelectric process, as prana-rich foods are much more bioassimilable. Dead foods that are pasteurized are nutritionally not as good for you by far, as exhibited by calves, who, when they are fed pasteurized milk instead of raw milk, usually die in 60 days, rather than thriving as they would on raw milk.

          If you grow your own food, get good quality basalt rock dust to remineralize your soil to the highest quality, as that contains really rare microminerals like praseodymium, lanthanum, samarium, neodymium etc. that you just don’t get in NPK chemical rubbish that non-organic commercial farmers put in the ground usually (very few organic farmers even have heard of basalt rock dust either), and those minerals have been shown to double the lifespans of lab animals who eat them in food, as they are what is supposed to be in all our food, but the government cannot be bothered to legislate to make rock dusts like basalt be used on all farms, instead of chemical filth, but basalt, or other good quality rock dust, needs good organic compost too of course to go along with it.

          As regards cannabis, high THC/low CBD will often cause bouts of psychosis, whereas, high CBD (cannabediole) varieties of cannabis have been found in Swedish studies to alleviate various symptoms of mental illness associated with schizophrenia, including depression, but the high CBD is the vital factor, as without that, THC alone will be a major risk factor for really freaking out the mind. CBD is very relaxing, like a natural valium (in fact the molecular structure of synthetic valium is based on valerian, the calming herb, hence the similar name, and if someone is addicted to valium, valerian herb is a good non-addictive way to help come through withdrawals.

          Take a lot of walks in the woods to absorb lots of natural prana life force to reinvigourate your subtle body, get plenty of sunshine too for the same reason, and eat a good proportion of your diet as live raw foods for the prana contained in them. Mandarins and water cress are natural anti-depressants, and oats are good for you too as the magnesium is nature’s great calmer. There are many other foods out there too. Growing your own foods would be a wonderful feeling too.

        • Rachel

          Sometimes schizophrenics have cholinesterase inhibition in their brain, which is not detectable (there is not a test for it). Anything that increased acetylcholine is very dangerous and could make your daughter MORE insane, and suffer worse. I have a father who is schizophrenic and has taken the opposite type of medicine (anticholinergic–specifically atropine) for more than thirty years. Acetylcholine “overdrive” could actually KILL a person with cholinesterase inhibition by making their lungs spasm and produce mucus until they suffocate to death,

          It would be better to avoid these on your daughter.

        • mothman777

          Here is a little gem for your daughter, an ancient ayurvedic herb you can easily grow in your own garden as an attractive white flowered border plant, that has dramatic effects on improving motivation, cognitive function, memory, as well as dramatically increasing the speed at which one can learn to perform new tasks, Bacopa Monnieri is the name, otherwise known as Brahmi.

        • Anonymous

          Read book out now called Wheat Belly. Tests are proving removing glutin and wheat from their diet improves their lives and some have even gone into remission.

      • Ray

        God is the trinity. The father who is unlimited creativity, the mother who is the ultimate creator and the child who is infinite creation. This is who and what we are. All things are of God, all thing are God.

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