When formulating and producing our line of Spagyric extracts, we do not cut any corners in quality or attention to detail. To create a natural, truly holistic, full spectrum, potent and effective supplement, we believe the Spagyric method to be the absolute best solution. Using the Spagyric method allows us to combine the best of both traditional and modern wisdom and technique.
WHAT IS SPAGYRICS?
Spagyrics is a branch of Alchemy that Paracelsus, a Swiss physician and the father of modern toxicology, ignited in early 16th-century Europe. The title Spagyric, deriving from the ancient Greek words spao (to draw out) and agerio (to gather), highlights the basic technique underlying the many forms of Spagyric medicines.
Drawing from the framework and procedures of philosophical and laboratory Alchemy, the foundational concept of this system consists of the “Tria Prima”—Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury—also known as the body, soul, and spirit of everything in the manifest world.
In regard to plants and fungi, the basic three essential principles to be separated, purified
and recombined include the:
Alkaline mineral salts - the Salt/Body
Essential oil and other active compound profile - the Sulphur/Soul
Alcohol potential through fermentation - the Mercury/Spirit
In this article we will briefly outline some of the key features and benefits of this 500-year-old system of natural medicine production and its contemporary evolution.
WHAT MAKES A SPAGYRIC EXTRACT DIFFERENT FROM A CONVENTIONAL EXTRACT?
One of the primary differences with a Spagyric extract is its addition of the mineral salt profile of the plant. Although a small amount of soluble salts may be obtained with a conventional extract using water/vinegar, the majority of a plant's salts are left behind in what's called the marc: the post-extracted herbal/fungal biomass. These "trapped" salts so to speak remain confined by organic materials.
To free these salts the marc must first be incinerated completely to ash. Then the ash must be further subjected to steady high heat, burning away all remaining organic materials. This process is called calcination. When calcination is completed, the salts are then extracted from the ashes and purified/recrystallized with a process using distilled water. They are then ready to be recombined in a variety of different ways with the active compounds extracted from plants and mushrooms.
In the plant kingdom, therapeutically active constituents are largely comprised of carboxylic acids such as terpenes, polyphenols etc. These acids share the issue of limited bio-availability, as they are commonly broken down, denatured and deflected by the body’s natural defence systems such as first pass digestion or the blood brain barrier. This is where the magic of Spagyrics steps in with a solution…
By combining the active compounds of plants and fungi with their natural alkali mineral salts (predominantly potassium carbonate), a chemical dance called an acid/base reaction occurs. This process creates a wide range of novel natural compounds with drastically improved bio-availability due to three primary factors:
Because the mineral salts extracted by the Spagyric method are alkaline, they shift the acidic nature of a plant or mushroom’s active compounds to a more neutral or slightly alkali pH value. Just like plants who mostly prefer a mid-range soil pH to absorb nutrients, natural therapeutic compounds are often absorbed better by our bodies when they are neutral or slightly basic. In fact, most of today’s pharmaceutical drugs are slightly alkaline.
Poor solubility being another factor which may impede bio availability, the Spagyric technique provides a simple and natural solution using its unique mineral salt extraction. By combining the alkali salts with the acidic active compounds of plants and mushrooms, unique aggregate compounds are formed which exhibit amphiphilicity- meaning both water and fat solubility.
Not only is greater solubility afforded by the Spagyric method, but the alkali mineral salts combined with acidic active compounds also form what is known as micelles and reverse micelles- nanoparticles which penetrate much more readily into their intended target sites in the body, with much greater efficiency compared to compounds with larger particles sizes.
FULL SPECTRUM EXTRACTION
Herbs and mushrooms contain a vast array of active and nutritional compounds, including terpenes (essential oils), polyphenols, alkaloids, flavonoids, polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals and more. Although it is common for the natural supplement industry to highlight or even isolate what are believed to be the primary therapeutic actives, traditional wisdom, modern science and direct experience all point to the importance of full spectrum natural supplements.
Rather than relying solely on a single active compound (curcumin in Turmeric for example), ingesting the wide range of compounds as per Nature’s design has a synergistic effect. This synergy includes increased absorption and potency, buffered potential negative side effects, broader-spectrum therapeutic actions and more. Simple examples of this include iron absorption enhanced by vitamin C, or vitamin C enhanced by combination with minerals such as potassium (ascorbate) or the natural bioflavonoids found in plants.
Conventional herb and mushroom extracts forgo the inclusion of the natural mineral profile of plants and mushrooms, therefore they cannot be considered truly full spectrum…but we don’t stop at Spagyrics to ensure that we obtain the full therapeutic value of the plants and mushrooms in our natural supplements.
In addition to our Spagyric process, we use two distinct techniques to maximize our return of valuable compounds. Firstly, we use low-temperature, high-vacuum distillation which continuously flushes fresh solvent through our herbs and mushrooms, until they are completely exhausted of their beneficial constituents.
With therapeutic compounds having varying solubility, when necessary we also utilize dual extraction methods, incorporating both pure alcohol and distilled water as extractive mediums. For example, we use this method for our medicinal mushroom extracts to ensure a high yield of water-soluble, immune enhancing polysaccharides along with alcohol soluble triterpenes.
The potency of our all-natural, organic supplements is highlighted by four key factors:
High quality, fresh and organic ingredients
Our supplements start with the absolute best of ingredients in order to guarantee that our starting materials are at peak potency, with maximized levels of active and nutritional compounds. Using top quality ingredients also ensures that our extracts are free from harmful contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides/herbicides.
Gentle, low-heat extraction
Because we perform our extractions using high-vacuum, low-heat distillation, we not only thoroughly extract our herbs and mushrooms, but we also protect their temperature sensitive compounds from excessive heat.
Increased potency due to the Spagyric extraction method
As highlighted above, the Spagyric method significantly improves the bio-availability of the active constituents found in plants and mushrooms. With the therapeutic actives converted into highly soluble nanoparticles, potency is increased and the required dosage is lowered as a result.
Concentrated and standardized liquid and encapsulated extracts
We ensure that all of our formulations are standardized to a potency that allows for effective and easy consumption of our products. This process is what allows us to create our enteric capsules, containing 1,000mg of total herb content per capsule. Our solid extracts require only a single capsule per serving, and our liquids extracts only 1-2ml per serving.
A Superior Method
Spagyric extraction is a very fascinating process that not only improves bio-availability of the herb's constituents, it also increases potency and ultimately reduces the dosage required to achieve desired effects. Helvetia Performance is highly motivated by the principle of Swiss excellence and we produce best in class supplements to help your performance and health goals. Our methods are truly superior and our attention to detail begins with our highly specific herbal formulas. We look forward to elaborating further on the many details of the Spagyric process and our production methods in future blogs - stay tuned!