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shaman’s syrup seeds

DIA SHAMAN-AYURVEDIC MEDICINE TO KEEP DIABETES AT BAY

The number of diabetes cases around the world is increasing at an alarming rate. Many experts have opined that the real pandemic is diabetes and not covid-19. In some estimates India alone is likely to be home for more than three crore people with type 2 diabetes variant alone by 2030. The side effects for consuming allopathic medicines for a long term to manage diabetes have caused adverse side effects in many people. It has even resulted in malfunctioning of kidneys in some cases.

There has always been a demand for a natural and purely herbal medicine to help manage diabetes. The few available options haven’t managed to provide an alternative to allopathic medications for diabetes. Dia Shaman is more likely to take over that space with its purely herbal ingredients lifted straight out ancient ayurvedic texts. It is completely free from toxic chemicals and unhealthy substances.

Dia Shaman is a herbal medicine prepared from a mixture of six unique ayurvedic herbs which are highly rated in many ancient ayurvedic texts for their beneficial effects on madhumeha or diabetes. Some of the ingredients in Dia Shaman are unique and it is a one of its kind medicine. It is a boon for diabetic patients who are looking for more natural and herbal medicines to manage their condition.

UNIQUE ANTI-DIABETIC HERBAL INGREDIENTS

Dia Shaman is a unique offering from Suman laboratories prepared in a hygienic, best in class environment with hand-picked herbs of highest quality.

Areca Catechu or Betel Nut Palm is the primary ingredient in Dia Shaman syrup. It is nut which is not widely employed in medicines. However has been traditionally used as a Central Nervous System stimulator and a digestion booster. Recent studies on the efficacy of the extracts from this plant for reducing blood sugar levels in the body have shown positive results. Suman Laboratories’ desire to take this wonder nut to the masses is resulted in Dia Shaman, An herbal and holistic medicine for diabetes.

Areca Catechu is only one of the ingredients in Dia Shaman. Nimbu or Lemon, a common fruit loaded with vitamins and minerals is also a major ingredient in this elixir. This fruit has plenty of anti-oxidants and is amongst the best food to help improve one’s immunity to diseases. It is rich in vitamin C, A and vitamin B6. Lemon is one of the few fruits even allopathic doctors recommend for diabetic patients. In ayurvedic terms, Lemon has sour and pungent tastes and helps balance sweet. Diabetes occurs because of excess sweet and Lemon might help balance it. It is also a powerful ama nashini i.e. Lemon helps eliminate the undigested food residue in the body, this helps prevent a plethora of other diseases apart from reducing blood sugars.

Jambu fruit or Jamun also known as Navapazham is another major ingredient in Dia Shaman, It is widely recommended by Siddha and Ayurveda practitioners as a diabetic management fruit. Extracts from its seeds are also useful for managing diabetes. The power of Dia Shaman to manage diabetes might be coming more from the presence of Jamun extracts than from Areca Catechu. It is such a powerful anti-diabetic fruit. It is a seasonal fruit and is very difficult to store for the off season, Dia Shaman allows us to get the benefits of Jamun even during the offseason by making it a major ingredient in this herbal tonic.

Neem is another crucial ingredient in Dia Shaman herbal syrup. It has a powerful bitter taste and is also amongst the major herbs recommended in the treatment of diabetics. It is also a powerful immunity booster and helps keep many diseases at bay. It has strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Bermuda grass is another herbs used in naturopathy and other herbal systems for treating diabetes. It is a blood purifier and also helps manage urinary tract infections. It helps keep skin infections which occur due to diabetes at bay.

Nagavalli or Piper Betle is another bitter tasting anti-diabetic herb in this herbal tonic. The combination of these exotic herbal and plant based products with no added chemicals is what Dia Shaman syrup composed of.

A ONE STOP SOLUTION

The ingredients for Dia Shaman are chosen in such a way that one herb helps keep blood sugar levels low. Another prevents the complications which occur in other parts of the body due to diabetes. Another helps keep skin infections due to diabetes at bay and so on. This herbal tonic is designed to be a complete diabetic care system locked in a single bottle.

It is normally recommended to consume 15-30 ml of this syrup at a time 2 times a day.

This herbal medicine can be consumed alongside allopathic medicines with a milder dosage and a 30 minute interval in between.

Diabetes is a complicated disease. Hence it is advised to consult an ayurvedic doctor and not self-administer medicines.

Keep a regular tab on blood sugar once you start consuming this medicine because it might bring down sugar levels drastically especially if consumed with allopathic diabetic medications.

Shaman

Shaman is a sativa-dominant strain bred from Purple #1 and Skunk. This stinky, uplifting strain, originally crafted by Dutch Passion, is a welcome complement to patients seeking assistance with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Some also experience moderate psychedelic effects at higher dosages, speaking to the strong heady effects inherent in this stimulating genetic cross.

Shaman is a sativa-dominant strain bred from Purple #1 and Skunk. This stinky, uplifting strain, originally crafted by Dutch Passion, is a welcome complement to patients seeking assistance with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Some also experience moderate psychedelic effects at higher dosages, speaking to the strong heady effects inherent in this stimulating genetic cross.

Peruvian Shamanism: A Different Kind of Medicine

The Ceiba Tree–“abuelo,” grand­father of the forest, kapok, lupuna– is a giant in a forest of giants. Rising to 150 feet or more, it towers over the high forest canopy of the Amazon basin. Its trunk can grow to 18 feet in diameter, its great stabilizing buttresses might reach 30 or 40 feet out into the encroaching jungle. It possesses more spirits, has more power than any other tree, the locals say. It was into the sheltering arms of a mighty ceiba that Antonio Montero Pisco’s grandfather entrusted him when he was but nine years old.

The time was about 1950; the place, a small village along the Napo River in northern Peru. Antonio had been with his maternal grandparents since he was four, given to them by his parents to raise. Perhaps his family had grown too large, perhaps the grandparents needed care, or perhaps there was a special future for this child. His grandfather was a powerful medicine man, a brujo, a shaman.

The child grew up much as any young boy in the jungle. He shared a thatched, stilted hut in the village of Kokama with his grandparents. He learned to paddle a dugout canoe, to make nets and to fish, to gather fruit and dig cassava, to tend chickens, to wield a machete, to know the forest plants and trees. And when he was nine, his grandfather took him to the ceiba tree and left him alone there for a month between its sheltering buttresses.

His instructions: Make a hole in the bark of the tree, put a calabash in the hole, plug the hole and wait eight days. At the end of that time, unplug the hole and eat the gelatinous sap that had collected there. Beyond that, keep a strict fast–no fruit, no sugar, no salt, only a bit of dried fish–and talk to no one.

“During the thirty days I was in the jungle alone, I saw things I’d never seen and was frightened,” he recalls with vivid gestures. “My grandfather said they were the spirits of the forest. I was so scared I cried, I tried to run away.” He was beaten for this, and made to promise that he wouldn’t run away any more. “It’s tough being a shaman,” he says, a glint of humor in his dark eyes.

“The knowledge I have was sowed like seeds by my grandfathers,” Don Antonio explains. “Later,” he says, “I continued to learn from my elders [his other grandfather was also a shaman], but learned more from the plants themselves.” He quietly learned the ways of the plants through his teens, at the same time taking the kind of jobs that gave young men of his generation a larger world. He worked as a bushwhacker for a rubber company, he went upriver to the city of Iquitos and worked as a baker. But always he came back to the jungle. In his early twenties, he became a practicing shaman.

Ayahuasca

Don Antonio Montero’s recipe for ayahuasca includes the namesake plant and five other adjuncts, each of which he feels lends important synergy to the mixture. Some are used sparingly–only two or three leaves–while others might have as many as one hundred leaves included. If the dosages of the adjuncts are excessive, the mixture can “leave a person crazy.” Ayahuasca is clearly a serious medicine, not a recreational drug.

The method is to pound five kilograms of ayahuasca stems and cook them in water in a clay pot for twelve hours. After they are boiled to a thick syrup, water is added and the mixture boiled down again. It is boiled three times in this fashion, with the adjunct plants added at appropriate times. The resulting liquid is dark brown and earthy, not bitter. The plants:

Banisteriopsis caapi, family Malpighiaceae. Ayahuasca. A Quechua Indian word for “soul vine” or “spirit vine.” This sturdy plant is best used after the age of eight or nine years. A mild infusion of the stems is used both by native farmers and city dwellers as a purge.

Brunfelsia grandiflora, family Solanaceae. Chiric sanango. In Peruvian folk medicine, this plant of the nightshade family has been used to stimulate sexual functioning in both women and men. It can have serious side effects, though, including chills, cold sweats, heavy tongue, itchiness, nausea, stomachache, temporary insanity, tingling, vomiting.

Brugmansia aurea, family Solanaceae. “Toe,” or “angel’s trumpet.” This potent member of the nightshade family contributes only two leaves to a typical ayahuasca mixture. It contains scopolamine, atropine, meteloidine, noratropine, and other strong alkaloids; even a leaf worn around the neck may cause one’s eyes to dilate.

Petiveria alliacea, family Phytolaccaceae. Sacha ajo. Besides being an adjunct in the ayahuasca mixture, this garlicky-smelling plant, which has a depressive effect on the central nervous system, is used in amulets and magic rituals called “limpias,” in which patients are bathed in an infusion to cleanse them from bad luck. Don Antonio attributes good luck in business to this plant; it has also been reported by two independent sources to have been effective in curing pancreatic cancer.

Piper spp., a plant which contains caffeine. Don Antonio calls this plant “guayusa,” which is generally classified as Ilex guayusa. Dr. Duke believes that it is a member of the Piper species, however.

Psychotria alba, family Rubiaceae. Yage. Don Antonio uses a small amount of this emetic, which also contains the alkaloid N,N-dimethyltryptamine, to make the bitter ayahuasca beverage a little more palatable.

The shaman’s responsibility goes beyond mixing the drink, though. He monitors and encourages his patients, calms them with chants, keeps them focused by brushing them with the leaves of shacapa. He is their physician and guide.

An Uncommon Friendship

Here’s how Dr. James A. Duke tells the story: He first came to the Amazon in 1991. Walking barefoot along a jungle path, he looked up into the canopy and saw Antonio Montero Pisco hanging from a tree. They both did a double take–Jim had never seen a human hanging from a tree in the jungle, Antonio had never seen a gringo barefoot on the forest floor.

That’s the short version. Jim was an ethnobotanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; he had spent many years working to conserve neotropical biodiversity in Panama and Columbia, and had come to see native shamans as troves of fast-disappearing knowledge. He was barefoot because of a bad back. Antonio Montero was a practicing shaman working on the side for the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER), helping to construct a remarkable elevated walkway, a system of rope footbridges hanging high in the forest canopy (see the photo on the facing page). That work required a certain amount of hanging from trees.

Since that first surprising encounter, the two have developed a strong working relationship and warm, respectful, synergistic friendship that transcends language and cultural barriers. Jim has developed the funding for Antonio’s medicinal garden, and Antonio has shared a lifetime of plant lore that promises to find its way into significant research. We’re all the richer for it.

Potent Plants, Subtle Brews

It allows healer and patient to communicate telepathically­–to ‘talk ­without talking.’

While the Napo region of Peru is perhaps the most biologically rich and diverse area of the world, and native shamans have hundreds if not thousands of medicinal plants to learn and use, ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) is probably the best known in the United States and Europe. This potent hallucinogen captured the fancy of the drug culture in the Sixties and Seventies; its reputed power to transform the user into a jaguar brought brash young tourists to Iquitos in search of adventure. The result was predictable.

“Too many false witch doctors in Peru,” Don Antonio explains, gravely. “They give hallucinogens to tourists to show power, but it is false power.” Some, he has reported, simply drug their clients and take their money. To be a true ayahuasquero requires discipline and commitment. “The brujo must abstain from sex for a week before gathering the ayahuasca. He should not eat on the day of preparation.” Ayahuasca was used in the old days–and perhaps still–for ritual purposes, while now it’s used primarily for healing and divination. In addition to its benefits as a purgative, Don Antonio believes that it allows the healer and the patient to communicate telepathically–to “talk without talking”–giving the healer deep insight into the nature of the patient’s illness.

A true ayahuasquero creates a subtle brew, using a number of potent plants in careful balance (see box on page 59). He administers the potion mindfully: He takes the patient’s age, size, and condition into account, prays thoughtfully for good results, chants or whistles a haunting traditional song, blows tobacco smoke over the potion and the patient to calm the effects of the strong mixture.

As the ayahuasca takes hold, the patient is first gripped with the overpowering need to void both stomach and bowels. “Like a train in your stomach,” Don Antonio describes it. After an hour or so, if the “trip” is a good one, the patient will start to have visions. This can take the form of encounters with people not present (living or dead, friends or strangers), with animals, even with plants. It can have the character of a movie passing in front of your eyes, or it can be deeply, personally engaging. Or it might simply begin and end with the physical misery of purging violently and losing motor control for several hours.

Growing a Legacy

Don Antonio has performed this ritual regularly for more than thirty years, but it hasn’t lost its magic and mystery for him. He feels he has a spiritual mission to carry on his peoples’ culture for the children. But practicing traditional medicine is only one of the ways in which he’s making this contribution. With the support of the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) and a grant from Dr. James Duke, he is collecting a garden of medicinal plants–a garden he dreamed of long before the means to make it happen had appeared. Now in its third year, the garden has more than 160 neatly labeled, thriving specimens.

A stroll through the garden with Don Antonio hints at the healing abundance of the rain forest. An orange mushroom growing on a log bordering the path is good for rashes, skin fungus, facial blemishes; mushrooms are the last energy a tree produces, and therefore can be very powerful. The sap of a relative of the mulberry will make a bad tooth disintegrate painlessly. The latex of a kind of euphorbia will remove skin cancers. Achiote, or annatto, repels mosquitoes, colors food, cures pinkeye. Cacao seed is useful against asthma, and shimi pamana (arrowroot) will defeat a foe and quiet a complaining husband. Huito, the fruit of Genipa americana, will help bronchitis, treat uterine cancer, dye clothes, paint and decorate the face for special occasions. Sangre de grado (Croton lechleri) is an antiseptic for external wounds, helps stomach ulcers, is used for vaginal cancer.

Most of these plants, like the hundreds of others in Don Antonio’s pharmacopoeia, have not been subjected to scientific study, but their generations of use suggest tantalizing possibilities. Next year, with the help of his sons, Alan and Gilmer, the garden will have grown to more than 200 species. This effort to preserve and share knowledge not only fulfills Don Antonio’s spiritual commitment to his own people, but creates a priceless legacy for all. “This garden is very powerful,” he says. “It is the power of the plants.”

Linda Ligon is editorial director of Herbs for Health. She is indebted to Dr. James Duke and to Ginger Webb of the American Botanical Council for their assistance in translating conversations with Antonio Montero Pisco. Joe Coca is a photographer whose home and studio are in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Additional reading

Duke, James A. and Rodolfo Vasquez. Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary. Ann Arbor, Michigan: CRC Press, 1994.

Plotkin, Mark. Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice. New York: Viking, 1993.

How to go there

International Expeditions, in conjunction with the American Botanical Council and the Texas Pharmacy Foundation, conducts an annual tour and workshop called “Pharmacy From the Rainforest.” The eight-day program includes instructional sessions and hands-on workshops with noted herbalists, ethnobotanists, and naturalists. For information, write to:

International Expeditions, Inc.
One Environs Park
Helena, AL 35080

For additional information about aceer, call Janet Ort or Kristine Bremer at (800) 255-8206.