Scientists connecting ancient and new
We live in a time of huge industry disruptions; robots, self driving cars and if you want you can book a ticket to space. Taking a closer look at science & medicine there are big changes happening in this field too. Despite years of cynicism and doubt, scientists are now more open to new methods of treatments that were previously dismissed, like psychedelics and meditation. This is thanks to developments in neuroscience, and pharmacognosy (plant pharmacology) coupled with a greater appreciation for ancient tribal traditions and the power of plants.
These days, illegal drugs may be used in traditional medicine, energy work may be less dismissed amongst scientists and alcohol may have less of a role in society. This is the beginning of a paradigm shift in what it is to be human, as well as what it means to heal and experience life. New and sometimes radical opinions from experts like Professor David Nutt, Dr. Shamini Jain and Professor Anna Jaegar are pioneering new ways of altering states of mind for good in fields in psychedelics and biofields. They’re pretty awesome, and so is their work.
WHO: David Nutt – The psychedelics guy
What is he known for?
Famously sacked as the government’s chief drug adviser in 2009, as UK Government didn’t like what he had to say about drugs and the perceived risks and dangers of taking them. Professor David Nutt is a professor of neuropsychopharmacology pioneering the field of research of psychedelics into the application of psychiatry. Experts say that psychedelics could potentially be for the psychiatry industry what antibiotics were for medicine, indicating how profound effects can be. An outspoken character indeed.
Nutt said “For the first time, we can really see what’s happening in the brain during the psychedelic state, and can better understand why LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) had such a profound impact on self-awareness, this could have great implications for psychiatry.”
Psychedelics are interesting because they are the first drug to go into the root of the psychological problem, rather than simply dealing with the symptoms of depression for example. This is something that shamans have always known, as tribes in the Amazon have been using ayahuasca as a tool for spiritual resetting and emancipation from psychological problems for thousands of years.
What is he up to now?
David is currently Chair of Drug Science and President of the European Brain Council. He frequently gives talks around London making the science behind narcotics psychedelics accessible to the public, showing what effect they have on mental health, and advocating a change in legislation to allow further research. He also broadcasts on television and radio regularly, featuring on the BBC and on public affair programmes. He authored the book Drugs – Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs (as well as 27 other books!).
WHO: Dr. Shamini Jain – The aura scientist
What is she known for?
Dr. Shamini Jain grew up in an Indian family with the traditional Indian teachings of Jainism, which focuses on “Prana”, a life energy which connects the mind body and emotions and can be compared to “Chi” which is at the basis of ancient Chinese philosophy. She then went on to view the world through a scientific lens as she studied neuroscience and behaviour, as well as clinical psychology. She now conducts research in the areas of meditation, hands on healing, biofields (spiritually described as auras), energy and other integrative medicine practices from the scientific lens of neurophysiology and psychoneuroimmunology.
What is she up to now?
She is the founder of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative also known as CHI which aims to evolve the scientific understanding of consciousness by connecting various experts in the field such as other scientists, and the philosopher Deepak Chopra. She has also given a Ted Talk and serves on the Board of Directors for Greenheart International, is a Steering Committee Member for NEXUS Invest in Yourself, and on the scientific advisory board for several social benefit companies including Wacuri and Leap Forward. In essence she has created a network through which this unique and important research continues to be conducted.
WHO: Professor Anna Jaegar- AKA- The pharmacologist turned shaman
What is she known for?
Professor Anna Jaegar was a pharmacologist with a focus on ethnopharmacology (which takes tribal medicinal plants to the lab). She was lecturing in a university in South Africa, where she met the Sangoma tribe that selected her to become their shaman. This was no small feat as it takes years to complete, with an array of studies from tribal traditions to plants used for healing. Anna went on the then investigate the plants they used in the lab. She discovered plants like uvovovo and milkbush which were used for people who were “down from the spirits”, and found that they were biologically active against anxiety and depression. She then went on to become the head of the Danish pharmacopoeia and the president of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology, and feels it is of vital importance communicate the importance of traditional knowledge to the modern world.
What is she up to now?
Currently Professor Jaegar has taken a rest from the world of science, and is a diplomat. However she still “treats” herself to some projects in the lab once or twice a year.
It seems that the scientific world is beginning to change its previously more rigid philosophies, as a handful of scientists are pioneering evidence for the interconnectedness between nature, biology and spirituality.