The word Spagyrics comes from ancient Greece and can be divided into two parts.
“Spao” = I Collect, and “Agerio” = I extract / Recombine.
It can also be briefly explained as separating and combining.
Spagyric plant extracts originated in ancient alchemy, separating the three basic principles of a plant, then reuniting them and transmuting it to a more potent form than the original plant. Within alchemy this was considered a more spiritual and holistic way of creating plant medicines. As the spagyric method brings together and reunites the three basic principles of the plant, Oils, Alcohol / Tincture and Mineral salts.
Spagyric products are thus the philosophy of preserving the full spectrum of the plant.
The Three Alchemical Principles
In the alchemical philosophy, it is said that everything in the universe can be separated into three basic principles.
Sulfur – Soul – Essential Oils
Mercury – Mind – Alcohol
Salt – Body – Mineral Salts
In plants, the essential oils are symbolized as the soul of the plant, the alcohol / tincture as the plant’s mind and the mineral salts as the plants body. These three are the physical representations of the alchemical principles in ancient plant alchemy.
Step 1: Alcohol Extraction
In the past, simpler glass laboratory equipment was used to distill and extract a plant’s essential oils and other plant compounds. This process usually took a long time to complete.
Today, we use Nirvara’s modern custom-built soxhlet stainless steel extraction technology, that uses a vacuum pressure to extract more of the plant in a quick and efficient way. With vacuum pressure, the boiling point of the alcohol is reduced to about 50 degrees Celcius, which helps to preserve many of the plant’s heat-sensitive compounds. Alcohol as a solvent is the most optimal as it extracts both fat-soluble and water-soluble components. Alcohol is also the only solvent that retains all the compounds of the plant in the same ratio and spectrum as the original plant. Alcohol is the optimal natural solvent as it can be produced from all different types of plants by the means of fermentation. It is thus a solvent made of plants, for plants. The final product of the alcohol extraction may be a black viscous paste or a strong alcoholic tincture containing all the fat-soluble and water-soluble components of the plant.
Step 2: Mineral Extraction
In order to extract the mineral salts contained and locked up in the plant fibers, the depleted plant material used in the alcohol extraction is taken out and reused. This depleted plant material then needs to be burned at high temperature in a process known as calcination. This purifies and releases the plant material from its volatile and flammable carbon based compounds. The final result of the calcination is a gray-white sterilized ash where the water-soluble mineral salts have been released from its carbon bonds. The mineral and salt crystals can now easily be extracted from the ash with distilled water. The distilled water is then evaporated and remaining is a pure white mineral crystal powder.
Step 3: Recombination
The strong tincture from the alcohol extraction is combined with the pure white crystal powder from the calcination, which then completes the spagyric process. The tincture now contains all the plants compounds maintained in the same structure and ratio as the original plant, but now in a more potent and purer form. Once the three principles have been brought together, a natural chemical reaction is created where esterification occurs, where the organic acids are neutralized and converted from fat-soluble compounds to water-soluble compounds.
The Chemistry Behind The Spagyric Method
Ester formation is something that happens when an organic acid is combined with alcohol. When an organic acid (carboxylic acid) is esterified, it is converted into a water-soluble and more bioavailable form.
When adding the mineral salts to the process an enhancement occurs to the ester formation. By taking alcohol extraction one step further with the spagyric method, even greater ester formation and higher bioavailability are achieved. This happens when the mineral salts are brought back to the extract and combined with alcohol. This creates a chemical reaction where the ester formation increases exponentially.
Depending on how long this reaction occurs, the extract may be partially or up 100% water-soluble, and also changes in the shape from a liquid extract to a rock-like mass. This pure mass is what is called a Plant Stone within alchemy. The compounds that were previously fat-soluble have now become water-soluble, the end result is a plant extract that has a far greater and faster uptake in the body.