PT465 – Beta-carbolines, Haoma, and Syrian Rue: Rediscovering Ancestral Knowledge

December 1, 2023
Featuring: Shauheen Etminan, Ph.D. & Jonathan Lu

In this episode, David interviews Shauheen Etminan, Ph.D. and Jonathan Lu: Co-Founders of Magi Ancestral Supplements.

Subscribe Share

In this episode, David interviews Shauheen Etminan, Ph.D. and Jonathan Lu: Co-Founders of Magi Ancestral Supplements.

Through studying ancient Zoroastrian writings and 2,000 year-old Chinese texts in search of compounds and formulations forgotten by history, Etminan and Lu co-founded drug discovery company VCENNA in 2019 to use extraction technology to isolate these compounds. This led to an understanding of the health properties behind beta-carbolines, which led to their nootropic company, Magi Ancestral Supplements. They talk about the early days and experimenting on themselves, how beta-carbolines create dream-like states, and how their research sent each of them further into their own heritage, and asking themselves: How do we remember what our ancestors knew? 

They discuss espand, haoma, Syrian rue, and how common Syrian rue is in both Iranian culture and psychedelic history; what is a drug vs. what is a supplement; common threads they’ve seen across different cultures and how we may be repeating some of their mistakes; Etminan’s recent ayahuasca experience with the Santo Daime church; and of course, some of Magi Ancestral Supplements’ products and their expected effects – from deep meditation to lucid dreaming to even mild hallucinations. You can get 10% off any product using code PT10 here.

Notable Quotes

“The journey started with basically experimenting with different alkaloid’s extracts. So we were able to extract these compounds from different plants. Specifically, the journey started with just doing some experimentation with psilocybin, looking into what are those alkaloids inside the psilocybin mushroom. And then basically, this story took us into our own heritage and trying to see what other plants are psychoactives but they’re less studied in the West.” -Shauheen

“This terminology you put between what is a supplement, what is a drug, what is food; even going back to what Andrew Weil talks about here, like, is caffeine a drug? Is nicotine a drug? …These words that we apply to what is a drug vs. what is a supplement are fairly arbitrary. We give the label of something as being a drug just because it’s gone through the medical establishment of a thousand people have tested it and based upon the evaluation of a guy wearing a white lab coat with a diploma on the wall, he said that more than 65% of them (or vs. those who were given a placebo) had a positive response, and therefore I can call it a drug now instead of a supplement and you can make a medical claim. But you know, the plants, the compounds: They don’t really care what we call them.” -Jon

“I am not very fascinated about psychedelics in general; I’m fascinated about the effect of psychedelics on human consciousness, because we are really behind our capacity, and I would love to see that we come together with good intention in a way that we can pave that way for fostering something that is serving everybody rather than just a group of people.” -Shauheen

Links (Use code PT10 for 10% off)

Linktree: Ancestral Magi

YouTube: Chemically-Induced Otherworldly Experiences of Zoroastrians in Iran – Shauheen Etminan Magi Review: Rediscovering a 4000 Year Old Spiritual Elixir Ritual revealed: psychotropic substances in a Ptolemaic Egyptian vase

YouTube: Ethnopharmacology of Psychedelic Substances in Chinese Culture – Jonathan Lu Haoma Revelation Aid

Shauheen Etminan

In this Episode

Shauheen Etminan, Ph.D.

Shauheen Etminan, Ph.D. is an intuitive activator, inventor, and passionate founder dedicated to creating impactful products and platforms embodying wellness, abundance, authenticity, and reciprocity. With a track record spanning multiple industries, his focus on psychedelics for mental health and cognitive growth aligns with his personal journey and mission as an autotelic entrepreneur. Inspired by the influential Avicenna, Shauheen founded VCENNA in 2019 after visiting the mausoleum of this pre-modern medicine pioneer in Hamedan, Iran. As an expert in extraction technology and a psychedelics researcher, he explores ancient Zoroastrian texts to uncover the ancestral use of psychoactive plants for holistic wellness and transformative experiences in the East. Applying advanced scientific tools in chemistry, neurophysiology, and psychopharmacology, Shauheen’s team discovered the neurological health properties of beta-carbolines, leading to the development of Magi Ancestral Supplements. Shauheen holds an MSc and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary. He is a mystic who has been practicing whirling meditation for years.

Ancestral Magi socials: Instagram / Facebook / TikTok / Linkedin

Jonathan Lu

Jonathan Lu

Jonathan Lu is the Co-Founder of VCENNA, a drug discovery company that creates mental wellness solutions from psychoactive plants used ceremonially in Ancestral Eastern traditions. Jonathan is an engineer that has been studying 2,000 year-old Chinese texts in search of compounds, formulations, and rituals that have been lost to history. His team applies modern neurophysiological and computational tools to understand scientifically what our ancestors discovered millennia ago, and from which they developed the nootropic formulations for Magi Ancestral Supplements. He is a graduate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University.