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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr.

Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

On the Identification of Soma of Rig Veda with

Cornus Sericea
Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Ph. D. U.B.C., Vancouver Canada

An ancient plant was described as a god amongst plants in the Rig Veda, an
ancient sacred text of Indo- Aryans. The proper identification of this plant has
been lost to mankind since ancient times. Scholars have made several diverse
attempts to identify what this plant might be but none of the proposals come near
the original Soma plant. Many attempts concern intoxicating and hallucinatory
plants which Soma was not. In the present note an identification of this plant is
proposed with one found commonly in North America i.e. the Cornus Sericea.
The present note is the first publication identifying Soma with a common North
American plant that grows in the wild and also cultivated gardens - Cornus
Sericea. The plant has found some medicinal use amongst natives in the past but
it seems not fully because the correct process for its use was hitherto unknown in
America. This plant appears to be a promising one for further studies in the
search for the ancient drink of gods, the Soma.

1. Introduction
There was a plant of earth that grew around the Himalayas that was regarded by
ancient Indo-Aryans as a powerful god that had taken shape of a plant on earth.
Ancient Indo-Aryans saw a god in all parts of nature and the universe, all parts of
One Infinite God. Amongst plants this god was seen as the plant called Soma. It
was so precious that it was perhaps harvested to extinction even in ancient times
from its known habitats near mountain lakes especially because it as not the fruit
or flower of this plant that was needed for the drink but its wood and stems.
Thereafter, ancient civilizations from South Asia, Iran Turkey etc. have made use
of substitutes such as ephedra or mixtures of opium, ephedra and cannabis in an


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

attempt to approach the same effect, even calling the resulting potion by similar
names. However some of these latter choices were narcotic ones and none came
near the magical Soma of lore.
Soma could bestow power of gods upon mortals. When consumed by humans the
effect represented temporary replacement of sensory pleasure with that of bliss.
Patanjali in his text on yoga has also mentioned that yogic bliss may be attained,
at least temporarily through use of organic substances. The effects of this drink
included immortality, ethical behavior, poetic insights, enhanced fertility,
alertness, wakefulness, ability to heal, attainment of wealth, and great physical
strength useful for warriors. The drink of Soma was neither intoxicating nor
hallucinatory and that rules out many of suggestions of modern scholars about
what it might have been. It also provided physical strength and accuracy in the
use of weapons such as a bow and arrow to warriors rather than intoxication or
hallucinations. It seems that human aging was retarded while under the effect of
Soma and it was therefore regarded as a drink of the immortal gods.

Picture 1. Twig and leaf of Cornus Sericea


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

2. References in Rig Veda

The Rig Veda is the worlds oldest and largest of spiritual text consisting of over
one thousand Hymns, containing over ten thousand verses divided into ten
books. The drink from Soma is mentioned in several hymns as the preferred drink
of both gods and men and the plant a god in its own right.
The Sacred Hymns of Rig Veda were composed by Soma drinking seers and sages
and the drink seems to have given them autistic like powers of memorizing entire
volumes even before writing had been invented. Many of these Soma hymns ring
with ecstatic praise of the Soma drink. Some of these Hymns poetically describe
the mountainous natural habitat and brilliant red or golden yellow appearance of
the Soma plant. Unfortunately, the plant from which soma was extracted is not
explicitly described in the early Vedas, thus, there has been much speculation as to
what the original Soma plant actually was. Only a few clues as to the
characteristics of the plant are provided within the Vedas and these are open to
varying interpretations explaining the diverse identification of the plant by
different scholars. The plant is described as growing in mountains, near lakes at
times yellow or tawny in color or at times red with long stalks. The plant was tall
enough to require several persons to hold it for the press. Through the centuries,
knowledge of the plant was lost and it is very likely that it had become extinct in
the habitats from where it was first harvested by the Indo-Aryans.
A green, golden, brown or red hued liquid was expressed from the plant material
after crushing with stones. It seems the Soma drink was both sweet and also sweet
scented therefore it either contained sugars or some other sweetener. It was
filtered through a woolen cloth and collected in a large bowl or vat of wood. The
filtering process through wool is repeatedly described as an essential step before
producing the drink. It is very likely that the unfiltered drink contained
components that were harmful, bitter or compromised the potency of the drink.
The differences in colors is an intriguing clue suggesting that there were different
varieties of the same plant or different colors during different stages of its growth.
Some hymns suggest that the plant started as green when young, then turned
golden and finally red at its full growth. At every stage the juice was potent, of a
different color but with somewhat different effects. Hymns suggest that the green
hued gave most physical strength but the red one most intellectual power,
wisdom, poetic insight and autistic like power to the brain. However the golden

On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

were the most common color when the plant was harvested and probably resulted
in a balance of physical, intellectual and spiritual powers. There is a hymn that
suggests that the drink not only prompted ethical behavior but that ethical
behavior to begin with was necessary to derive its full benefit.
To him who keeps the law, both old and young, thou give happiness and energy that he
may live.
The resulting extract was first offered to the gods, fire, lakes and rivers as a
sacrifice, was mixed with milk or curds and was consumed by humans and those
who consumed it became like gods. Since the rivers led to oceans there is ancient
Hindu mythology of the gods churning the oceans for the elixir perhaps when the
Soma plant had vanished. One hymn suggests that it was cooked with milk but
others do not mention cooking, all however do mention its mixing with milk and
that too appears to an essential step in deriving the benefit of the organic
compounds of this juice. It does seem that in other parts of the Aryan regions
where Soma was not available or became unavailable with time, substitutes were
used, many intoxicating ones, in the hope of producing some similar effect but the
original drink was not an intoxicating one.
3. A few selected Soma Hymns
A few sample hymns are quoted here from the Rig Veda for the reader who may
then refer to several more in the reference, if interested [1] available both in print
as well as online at the time of writing this note
Thou by thine insight art most wise, O Soma, strong by thine energies and all possessing,
Mighty art thou by all thy powers and greatness, by glories art thou glorious, guide of
And, Soma let it be thy wish that we may live and may not die:
Praise-loving Lord of plants art thou.
To him who keeps the law, both old and young, thou give happiness,
and energy that he may live. In thee are juicy nutriments united, and powers and mighty
foe-subduing vigor, waxing to immortality, O Soma: win highest glories for thyself in
heaven. Do thou, God Soma, with thy Godlike spirit, victorious, win for us a share of
O Soma flowing on thy way, win thou and conquer high renown;
And make us better than we are.


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

Win thou the light, win heavenly light, and, Soma, all felicities;
And make us better than we are.
Win skilful strength and mental power. O Soma, drive away our foes;
And make us better than we are.
Forth on their way the glorious drops have flowed for maintenance of Law,
Knowing this sacrifice's course.
Dear, golden-colored, in the fleece he sinks and settles in the wood:
The Singer shows his zeal in hymns.
When through the filter thou art poured, we clothe thee with a robe of milk
to be a gladdening draught for Gods.
When purified within the jars, Soma, bright red and golden-hued,
Hath clothed him with a robe of milk.
Sing a praise-song to Soma brown of hue, of independent might.
The Red, who reaches up to heaven.
4. Identification of Plant

Picture 2: The shining red twigs of Cornus Sericea in winter


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the
identity of the original plant. There is no consensus on the question and the plant
seems to have become extinct even in ancient times in its original habitats. Some
scholars proposed that the original Soma was a variety of cannabis but
the description is not similar, others the Amanita Muscari mushroom, which is
used by many shamans, particularly in Siberia. Vedic Somas are described with
tall stalks, at time bearing flowers, which mushrooms do not have, and are often
said to grow in water or near water. Further mushrooms do not have tough stalks
that need much crushing and pressing by stones and holding by several persons
together for the press.
The main Rig Vedic Soma land also refers to a lake abounding with this plant.
Saccharum species are a type of reed related to sugarcane and it has been
assumed by some that a variety existed in the past that contained other potent
compounds. As regards plants, the possibilities are endless in nature.
While each scholar is enthusiastic about his assumption of what plant Soma was
and offers evidence in support, the fact is that none of the proposed plants come
anywhere near the original Soma drink in its effects that were real enough for
warriors to proceed for battle and become highly accurate in use of bow and
arrow to win after drinking it, and not hallucinatory like that with some
mushrooms. Much more research is required to locate the original plant if some of
it still exists or to recreate something close to it in future through modern plant
Ever since ancient times, after the disappearance of Soma, mankind has been
attempting to simulate the effect through a mixture of different plants, some even
going as far as saying that the original Soma drink was prepared that way too.
None of these attempts have been successful so far. Perhaps the original organic
compounds that existed in Soma do not exist widely in other plants, although
from the effects as originally described it seems to some scholars that ephedrine
may have been one of the compounds.
The original Soma was a single plant that had the status of a god and none of the
known species of ephedra as known to modern man are similar to the original
descriptions, not even Ma Huang (Ephedra Sinica) as claimed by a few. Although
Ma Huang has a few of the stated properties of it also appears to have potential
harmful effects, it is a much smaller plant whereas Soma was a tall plant requiring
many persons to hold it for pressing and reached up to the sky in some

On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

descriptions like a tall bamboo. Ma Huang also does not have the scent, sweetness
and color of Soma. An important difference is that Ma Huang is a warm arid area
plant growing in sandy soils whereas Soma is a cool and moist area plant growing
in grass lands near lakes as per Rig-Vedic descriptions.
An example of a recent scientific study on some new and old mixtures attempting
to mimic Soma is [2]
5. Identification of Soma with Cornus Sericea
It may be pointed out that even though Soma became extinct in ancient times in
the Himalayas especially in areas where it was usually collected from, perhaps
because of excess harvesting, it is likely to have continued up to present times in
other parts of the world including North America, especially when its full
medicinal use was not known to natives.
Today with help of the internet a quick search is possible for many different plants
that grow on the planet. This author searched widely on the net for a plant that
might conform to the original descriptions of the Soma plant as described in the
Indo-Aryan sacred book of Rig Veda. One plant that conformed in several ways
was the dogwood plant Cornus Sericea. It grows in cool parts of North America,
in the wild it grows in wetlands near lakes and water bodies and grows up to ten
feet tall. It is multi-stemmed with many twigs that range from golden yellow to
bright red according to season and variety but start from green. All this is in
perfect accord with original descriptions of Soma in the ancient sacred text of
Indo-Aryans, the Rig Veda.
What is even more striking is that glucose, fructose, sucrose, and raffinose are the
predominant soluble sugars present in both bark and wood tissues making the
juices sweet if processed in the correct manner, with highest concentration of
sugars in mid-winter [3] just like with Soma according to the linked study. The
bark and wood also have bitter components and it would depend on the process
what the final taste of the extract is. What is more, varieties of this plant are
sweetly scented just like Soma is described to be. Other related species of Cornus
also need to be explored for similar properties. Earlier searches, even in ancient
times, had gravitated towards intoxicating plants such as ephedra and magic
mushrooms although the early texts had clearly described that Soma was neither
hallucinatory nor intoxicating.


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

This plant is also known as Red osier dogwood, it is a deciduous shrub with a
rounded, spreading form. Opposite leaves with rounded bases are ovate to lanceshaped and dark green, turning a dull red, purple-red, or orange in autumn, that
leave knot like marks just as described for Soma. For detailed general information
on this plant check out this reference [4]
The Cornus Sericea has found much medicinal use by Native Americans but
hardly to the extent of the famed Soma of ancient Aryans. There can be two
simple reasons for this as listed below:
1. The Cornus Sericea has been incorrectly identified as a soma species:
There is not much chance of that because this author has not been able to
locate another plant that fits the bill, multiple stalks that range in colors of
yellow, golden yellow, brown and red that grows on wetlands that are
edible and medicinal. The animals love to eat this plant in the wild too.
However, it is entirely possible that there existed in the past or still exists
another Cornus species or a yet to be identified plant that had even more
powerful health benefits. This is because the Cornus has many variations
from harmful to healthy. However even if one is close to the final
identification one has more or less closed the search. The only other plant
that remotely fits the description as per the present search are some
varieties of sugar cane like plants but they do not have the many described
health giving properties of Soma aside from sweetness.

2. The plant has not been processed in the best possible way to derive its
full benefit in modern times: This second is not only a possibility but
rather it is a fact. Modern processes for the use of this plant are not similar
to the original ancient one. It is well known with any plant food that
processing is a critical step. For example the same grapes can yield an
awful wine or an excellent one depending on the process, one harmful for
health and another good for it. Raw peanuts and potatoes will give you
colic or make you phart without roasting or cooking. Plants like cannabis
are just hay unless processed in the prescribed manner in order to yield its
medicinal benefits. Therefore the focus must now be on using the correct
process to extract a drink from Cornus Sericea and study its effect. This is
work in progress and the results are awaited. This blogger has requested


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

others to join in the task since presently he does not have physical access to
this plant
The Soma drink was consumed by ancient Aryan warriors before battle for
physical strength and alertness and one is reminded of the modern fictional
character Asterix the Gaul and the magic potion brewed by Getafix that gives the
Gaulish warriors their strength brewed from various herbs, found around the
village and the forests surrounding it. One wonders if this idea may have come
from early European translations of the Rig Veda.
6. About Cornus Sericea
The Cornus Sericea is more commonly known as, redosier dogwood, American
dogwood, creek dogwood or red dogwood. It has two commonly known species
in modern times,
Cornus Sericea L. subsp. Occidentalis
Cornus Sericea L. subsp. Sericea L
It may also hybridize with other dogwood species where distributions overlap
and therefore it is highly likely that variant species have existed in the past in
America as well as elsewhere in the world wherever it has grown in the past.
Redosier dogwood is a native species that is most common in the northern
latitudes of North America but ranges widely from Alaska and northern Canada
as far south as Virginia, southern California, and Chihuahua, Mexico. In its more
southern range, redosier dogwood is largely restricted to moist sites and is to be
limited by high temperatures. Therefore in warm area such as South Asia if found
it would be limited to the northern mountain areas. Cornus Sericea subsp.
occidentalis is restricted to the western states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon,
California, Montana, and Idaho. Throughout its range, redosier dogwood is most
common or abundant in moist to wet areas such as river banks, meadows
floodplains, marshes and swamps. In the Vancouver Forest Region, redosier
dogwood was characteristic of active floodplain ecosystems in mountainous zones
whereas in eastern Washington, it was primarily found at riparian and wetland
sites, rarely in the uplands. In British Columbia, redosier dogwood indicated very
moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils.


On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

Redosier dogwood can survive extremely cold temperatures but in the Alaskan
taiga, it is restricted to warm sites. Pellett reported in the Journal of Aboriculture
that when actively growing, redosier dogwood may be killed by temperatures just
a few degrees below freezing, but when fully acclimated, it survived severe midwinter temperatures without injury.

Throughout North America, redosier

dogwood is generally found at elevations between 1,500 and 10,000 feet and may
therefore be regards as a primarily mountain plant although in gardens it can be
grown in the plains easily given the right care and environment.
Characteristics of riparian sites occupied by redosier dogwood range from low- to
steep-gradient stream types with fine to coarse-textured soils. In British Columbia,
redosier dogwood was most abundant at low elevations in broad river valleys In
the Prince Rupert Forest Region, redosier dogwood was characteristic of and often
dominated cottonwood bottomland communities along rivers and streams with
wide, meandering floodplains. In the National Forests of eastern Washington,
redosier dogwood was undergrowth dominant in forests and woodlands along
low- to moderate-gradient streams that generally occurred in wide valley areas. In
central Idaho, the water birch (Betula occidentalis)/red-osier dogwood riparian
association occurred along steep-gradient stream types with coarse-textured soils.
The redosier dogwood shrub land type in western Montana was most common
adjacent to moderate- to high-gradient rivers with poorly developed, coarsetextured soils. In eastern Nevada, redosier dogwood was most common along
streams that drained alluvial landforms and had wide valley floors.
Redosier dogwood is a multi-stemmed, erect to loosely spreading, deciduous
shrub that grows 3 to 20 feet (1-6 m) tall and often as wide. Shrubs often form
clumps or dense thickets by stolons and prostrate, rooting stems and lower
branches. It is these rooting stems and branches that gave redosier dogwood its
previously recognized stolonifera species name. Shrubs growing in full sun are
typically dense and compact, with many lateral branches; shrubs growing in
shade are typically open and sprawling, with few branches. Redosier dogwood
leaves growing in the shade are generally larger and thinner than those growing
in full sun. Redosier dogwood leaves are simple, entire, and opposite, and
generally measure 2 to 6 inches long and about one-third to two-thirds as wide.
Leaves are mostly oval shaped. Redosier dogwood produces small, perfect flowers
that are densely clustered in a terminal, flat-topped to slightly round. Individual
flowers have 4 stamens and 4 petals that are 2 to 4 mm.

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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

In a 60- to 80-year-old forest near Lac La Biche, Alberta, starch content of stolons
increased from spring to late summer and fall. Sugar content was greatest in
September and much lower in June, July, and August In Massachusetts, the
concentration of starch in current year's stem growth was highest in October,
decreased through the fall, and was barely detectable in January. Starch content
increased in the spring and summer with peaks in April and August, but
decreased to about half or less by October. Total sugar content was inversely
related to starch content. Redosier dogwood stems collected in northern Alberta
had starch in October and May, but there was little to no starch in stems in
December and February. Oils and fats were present in stems in all months.
Redosier dogwood seeds are primarily dispersed by birds and mammals. Redosier
dogwood can regenerate by sprouting from buried stem pieces and from the root
crown of top-killed shrubs.
Heavy browsing can reduce redosier dogwood abundance in shrub lands and
forests and can limit establishment and spread of redosier dogwood in herbaceous
communities. Several studies indicate that redosier dogwood is sensitive to
repeated heavy browsing. With heavy cattle use, redosier dogwood and other
shrubs may be eliminated and nonnative grasses may dominate the undergrowth.
Redosier dogwood provides important food and cover for many mammals and
birds. Moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, beavers, and rabbits
commonly browse redosier dogwood stems. Bears, small mammals, and birds
consume redosier dogwood fruits and seeds. Livestock also utilize redosier
dogwood. In Montana, redosier dogwood is referred to as an "ice cream" plant for
wildlife and livestock. New shoot growth is an important food source, especially
for moose and deer. Twigs have also been referred to as preferred, extremely
important, and highly valuable winter browse.
American Indians ate redosier dogwood fruits and utilized redosier dogwood
stems and barks in tonics and emetics to treat ailments, in smoke for an
intoxicating effect, and in the construction of structures and tools. The Quileute
and Salish used redosier dogwood bark in tonic tea to treat fevers and coughs. The
Salish from the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island soaked redosier dogwood
bark in warm water and drank enough of the extract to induce vomiting. This
treatment served to cleanse the stomach and improve breathing. The redosier
dogwood extract is still drunk by canoe pullers before races. The inner bark of
redosier dogwood stems was dried and smoked by American Indians for a

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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

narcotic effect. Blackfeet in the northwestern Great Plains and other tribes in
Montana were said to smoke redosier dogwood.
While the present description of the North American Cornus Sericea are in
conformity with those of the ancient Himalaya Soma plant, the latter has become
extinct in the Himalayas for more than three thousand years. The causes of this
extinction can be over harvesting, animal browsing or climate change or all of
Not just uplifting, medicinal too
While the drink from the Soma plant was uplifting for healthy persons it was
medicine for those suffering from various diseases. If found useful, many future
studies would have to be carried out to study the medicinal effect of different
varieties of Cornus Sericea and its local hybrids that would emerge with time. The
plant is a potential cure for several diseases for example Lyme disease and may
have been used for it in the past by Native Indians without diagnosis. It will work
in concentrated form as a rub at site of a rash and as drink as an anti-bacterial
drink and also for residual psychosomatic effect if any. However all this is work in
progress and the response of others would be appreciated. This entire effort has
been kept in the public domain and free of patents so as to keep the benefits free.
The author is in principle against the patenting of life including plants, seeds and
This is what is said based on the existing limited modern information on this
plant by
Red osier dogwood (Cornus Sericea) was widely employed by several native North
American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent and tonic bark, using it
both internally and externally to treat diarrhea, fevers, skin problems etc. It is little used in
modern herbalism. The bark and the root bark are analgesic, astringent, febrifuge,
purgative, slightly stimulant and tonic. Drying the bark removes its tendency to purge.
A decoction has been used in the treatment of headaches, diarrhoea, coughs, colds and
fevers. Externally, the decoction has been used as a wash for sore eyes, styes and other
infections and also to treat skin complaints such as poison ivy rash and ulcers. The bark
shavings have been applied as a dressing on wounds to stop the bleeding. A poultice of the
soaked inner bark, combined with ashes, has been used to alleviate pain. The plant is said
to have cured hydrophobia.
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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

The natives did not know the names of many modern diseases such as Lyme
disease, they just cured it.

7. The Process for Preparing the Magical Soma Drink

Although the Rig Veda has several thousand hymns describing the process of
preparing the Soma drink, these are not described with precision but are rather
the observations of a poet expressed in poetry. The original poets would not have
felt any need to do that since the process had been passed down from tradition
and was well known to the ancient Soma drinkers. However, one must draw
whatever guidance one can from these hymns in order to rediscover the precise
process now that the god of the plant world appears to have been identified.
The first step was the gathering of stems and crushing them with stones. The
hymns describe great clanging and beating noises in this step. The operation was
factory like since the drink was prepared for a community as a whole. The red
twigs have a tough wood and require force to crush them to a pulp along with the
barks. In modern experiments this can be done on a small scale but metal
hammers should be avoided as they were in the entire ancient process too and
wooden ones would not be strong enough. The choice return to stones and large
rounded ones from the river would be best. The crushed pulp may then be
transferred to a wooden vessel or perhaps even glass or china vessels
Adding Water
This is another step that has not been specified precisely in the hymns although
there are references to wetting by water. If one were to take a hint from wine
making, the crushed grapes are left to infuse in good drinking quality water for
several hours one may do the same. To be on the safe side one may begin by just
covering the pulp with water and not adding too much of it. Perhaps adding too
much water may cause the oils in the juice to separate. As to how many hours
they have to be left is another unanswered question. The Soma hymns describe a
continuous conveyor belt type factory like process where no time appears to have
been given for infusion. Therefore do not leave the pulp in water for longer than
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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

an hour. The juices appear to anti bacterial and anti fungal but this author is not
fully certain of this yet. Do not attempt an alcohol extract it will draw compound
that will ruin most of the benefit.
The entire mixture has to be poured for filtration next. The hymns describe
pressing the pulp with ten fingers (squeezing between both hands) to extract the
juices from the pulp. The excess water in the pulp can be poured directly to the
filter prior to this pressing. Do ensure that hands are thoroughly clean.
The original filtration was done through thick layers of woolen felt from which the
filtered juice emerged drop by drop. Perhaps four of five layers of a woolen
blanket or felt may be used. It may be mentioned that the Cornus Sericea barks
and stems contain both sugars and bitter compound such as tannins. The final
drink however was a sweet one and it seems that in the process of extraction the
bitter components were removed. This would happen if some of the components
are not water soluble or if the tannins etc. reacted with the protein and
precipitated out and was then trapped in the blanket. This may be the most
painful and slowest part of the process. The Hymns describe Soma as a flood that
entered the woolen felt and got lost only to emerge purified drop by drop later.
Enough quantity of the original juice would be required to saturate the felt first
and then release the drops.
Storing in wooden vessels
The hymns clearly describe the storing of drink in wooden vats and the same must
be adhered too. A glass or china one would not permit breathing and a metal one
may react with some of the compounds to lose their properties. How long the
drink has to be left stored and covered has not been described but it does seem
that it was not long and that is just as well to prevent bacterial or fungal growth.
The wood used has not been specified in the texts. Archeological research may
discover that (see). However, any of the woods used in kitchen ware or beer
barrels may be suitable and perhaps Oak might be good.
Mixing with Milk

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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

This last step is an essential one. Several hymns describe mixing cows or even
human milk in the juice before consumption and one also mentions cooking with
milk. What has not been mentioned however is how much milk to mix. The best
approach therefore would to begin experimenting by adding 10 ml juice to a glass
of milk and then on later days increasing it if felt desirable after checking its effect
on your system. Please do use full cream milk as the fat component may be
required to dissolve some of the compound while the protein compound would
help to neutralize any bitter ones.
For the purpose of experimentation the entire operation can be carried out on a
small scale in a kitchen too after collecting the wood from a garden or the wild. As
per the hymns collection can be at any time of the year with each stage of the plant
producing benefits but somewhat different effects because the stem compounds
change with the seasons. The early spring ones and green shoots are best for
physical things whereas the deep winter red ones for wisdom. One might want to
keep ones mind off sexual thoughts if one wishes to avoid increasing that
engagement because apparently it increases potency and ability in that direction
too. Keeping to ethical behavior (keeping to the law as per the book) before or
after consumption increases bliss, spiritual attainment and anti aging effects as per
the texts. Compounds present in the juice apparently stall or retard aging of living
cells as per the hymns and make a person look younger while beautifying the
skin. Although this is not mentioned in the texts, rubbing the final drink on skin
and face for some time before a bath would also act as a beauty lotion as per
modern information on the subject and the possible compounds in the juice.
It goes without saying that in order to avoid any potential risk the experiment
must be done under the guidance of a medical and herbal practitioners, although
once this author gets hold of this shrub he shall do so without any taking a cue
from the variety of animals from dears to bears who love to munch on it.
In case the process as described yields an extremely beneficial drink, it would be
something that would benefit all of mankind because aside from its health and
intellectual benefits the drink also promotes spiritual awakening and ethical
behavior, something that the modern world facing excessive greed and violence is
increasingly in need of. This author has intentionally shared all this in the public
domain and avoided any temptation of patenting etc. because he believes that
health and spiritual things must not be so, and because of fear that corporate
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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

interests would monopolize it to deny benefit to people at large as they did with
cannabis and hemp or make it prohibitively expensive. Such things are a gift from
the universe and must remain in the public domain to freely benefit all.
This is what Jennifer Heinzel, a blogger described in her blog [5] about this plant
without realizing that it might be the mythical Soma but knowing full well that it
is a medicinal plant,
During our class on the day we harvested and learned about this plant, we took a small
nibble of the fresh bark and overall this is what we felt: mellow, but very alert an clear
headed, like taking a glass of wine without the fuzzy-feeling; also a numb, warm feeling at
the base of my skull at in my 3rd eye region.
What Jennifer describes is precisely the sort of effect Soma would have produced
although the full effect would emerge only with the right variety and full
processing as described. Considering all this plant is indeed a strong candidate for
the lost Soma. There are several species of this plant and there may have been
other Himalayan ones in the past with one of them being the mythical Soma. This
plant definitely needs greater study.
The present note is the first one identifying Soma with a common North American
plant that grows in the wild and also cultivated gardens - Cornus Sericea. The
author does not have immediate access to the plant for further study as described
in this note but would appreciate anyone who does, would let him know through
a comment in this post or his blog where an informal extract of this note exists [6]
It is best that this study be done in the public domain so that the plant remains
legal and free for all rather than become the subject of patenting, greed, control
and exploitation by big corporations as unfortunately has been done with some
other highly useful plants such as cannabis medicinal in recent decades. This
precisely is the reason why this author has published his findings in the public
1. The Rig Veda, Ralph T. H. Griffith (Translator), 760 pages, ISBN-13: 9781420947540, 1896; online at

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On the Identification of Soma---, by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Online document, May 23, 2015

2. Soma, food of the immortals according to the Bower Manuscript,

Kashmir, 6th century A.D by Marco Leonti and Laura Casu, Journal of
Ethnopharmacology, Elsvier Publications, 155, pp 373-386, 2014
3. Seasonal variations in soluble sugars and starch within woody stems of Cornus
Sericea by Ashworth E N et al., Tree Physiology, Dec; 13(4):379-88, 1993
4. Barr, W.; Pellett, H. 1972. Effect of soil temperature on growth and development of
some woody plants. Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science. 97(5): 632635. [7430]
5. Acharya, S. N.; Chu, C. B.; Hermesh, R.; Schaalje, G. B. 1992. Factors affecting redoiser dogwood seed germination. Canadian Journal of Botany. 70: 1012-1016. [19710]
6. Ashworth, E. N.; Stirm, V. E.; Volenec, J. J. 1993. Seasonal variations in soluble sugars
and starch within woody stems of Cornus Sericea L. Tree Physiology. 13: 379-388.
Online References,
10. In Search of Soma, god amongst plants - Cornus Sericea
Image Source
Online at:

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