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Tea As Soma pt. 1

Tea as Soma

by Frederick R. Dannaway - Bottle Gourd Studio 4-18-09

Dedicated to the scholarship of Joseph Needham and Michel Strickmann.


Bodhidharma with tea plant.

Visionary Herbalism and Immortality


            Miraculous and holy plants can be traced to the heart of many ancient religions and cultures. The earliest written saga, the Epic of Gilgamesh, climaxes with a frantic, thwarted attempt to secure a plant that will conquer death. The mysterious brews of the ancients Greeks such as the kykeon of Eleusis, or the moly of Homeric myths wove visionary narratives of man’s often precarious role in nature around supernatural plants. The ritual haoma of the Indo-Iranians or Soma of the Vedas participates in the same quests that motivated Chinese emperors to dispatch envoys to Japan in search for the plant of immortality. Daoist and Vedic alchemists sought powerful herbs and fungi from remote regions for their elixirs. The use of magic, entheogenic, or otherwise psychoactive plants can thus be said to be at the core of many mystery traditions from Greece to India.

            Beyond the “psycho-sexual-drug-yoga” that was so common in the various Tantric sects and shamans of Asia was the slightly anomalous idea, (perhaps imported via nomadic Indo-European tribes) of a plant that was what Joseph Needham described as a “passport to heaven.”  To fully understand the context some concepts must be introduced that bring the discussion far afield. Alchemy, a blend of science and art, poses difficult questions in even in the simplest matters and no single definition can properly suffice as to what the goals, methods and cosmological impact consisted. For example, when cupellation was well known, in what way was “alchemical gold” actually understood in its own specific context, or in different specific contexts? (see the works of Joseph Needham particularly volume 5 as cited below). The question is "relatable" here because alchemical elixirs and powders themselves where thought to possibly produce immortality. But can the various terms scholars loosely translate as “immortality” really be defined with any certainty in any given environment? Is it a state of enlightenment, achievement of the “Dao” a state of mind or was it understood, by adepts, as literal everlasting life? Then again, is that everlasting life understood in a corporeal sense or more in line with the modern Christian notions of a heaven after death? The hopelessly muddled semantics of imported ideas and linguistic expressions is by no means constant moving through the ancient world and underneath the various cultural veneers there is little consensus.  It may be these subtleties that are the root of many sectarian and doctrinal discords.

            Prior to Persian influences in later passages, the Old Testament is startling in its lack of conception of an afterlife beyond vague notions of Sheol. There is neither promise of heaven nor threat of hell. Covenants are contracted with the promise of descendants and material goods. The Christian notion of immortality is non-corporeal and decidedly deferred until after death, except for such Old Testament exceptions of Elijah and Enoch. The notions of Greek immortality is bound up with hero cults and mystery traditions that return to magical plants, elixirs or nectars of the earth such as the ambrosia which is synonymous with the Sanskrit Amrita, literally “without death.” But it is still unclear how the adepts understood these concepts in any real sense. Would “without death” imply the same to a priest in Greece as it would to an alchemist in India or nomadic shaman in Asia? Amrita follows an ancient heritage of alchemical arts and magical herbs back to the Soma plant itself, but as the adepts passed away in physical form the “deathlessness” must have be seen as spiritual.Beyond this, particularly in the Indian and Asian contexts,  “immortality” may have been achieved by cognizing the “mind-only” basis of existence which neither begins nor ends. Immortality, enlightenment and nirvana reconcile in the ineffable profundity of such a doctrine.  Bodhidharma’s few surviving works while profound in pointing to the ultimate “emptiness” doesn’t deny such things as demons nor the punishments of many hells, which may have crept into Buddhism through Persian influences as well.Some of have suggested, including Chinese contemorary with him, that Bodhidharma himself may have been Persian.

            Defining “immortality” for anyone sect or school would be daunting so there is little hope for a broad consensus on the idea as it evolved. There would be a profane understanding of the myths and alchemical lore despite adepts cautioning profusely to avoid literal interpretations. This would tend to an understanding of the term immortality in terms of eternal youth or simply never dying. Such notions would be complicated by intense ascetic practices that are still practiced to this day. These include burying oneself alive in extreme sensory deprivation situations for prolonged periods of time that would seem as if a person was suddenly “born again” or “raised from the dead.” Then there is a quasi-physical immortality that is non-corporeal or trans-corporeal. Examples blend with legends in cases of sudden death from an elixir or tonic, or even the gradual wasting away such as from mercury-laced potions, which were often seen by some as confirmation of progress or eminent success. Immortality can be seen, even briefly, to be rather more complicated than the term first appears. 


            The adepts of all alchemical traditions fairly plead with their readers that the ingredients and techniques listed are not to be understood literally or in a mundane sense. This suggests a more “spiritual” nature to the understanding of the concept, with a nod towards "convenient designations," that are fraught with the theological and cultural taints. What was the goal of the wise, and better yet, what how is this goal of immortality to be understood as it became a relatively cohesive system that arose from indigenous shamanism, metallurgical (proto-alchemical) guilds and proto-Tantra to various schools of esoteric Buddhism and Daoism? Core themes are retained through the contact with Islamic and eventually European Christian mystics, all of whom cloak alchemical metaphors in the garments of their own faiths. The sorting out of the primary influence is difficult and will hopefully be fleshed out in another paper.

            One hypothesis that is slowly gaining academic acceptance is that visionary plants are at the root of much of these myths. The research of enthnobotanists and ethnomycologists such as Carl Ruck and Gordon Wasson systematically explored the ritual plant use of various mystery traditions. There most persuasive arguments unlock long disputed historical puzzles as the identification of various magical plants found in the myths and scriptures of Greece, Persia and India. The identification of the active ingredient in the kykeon that was so profoundly praised by all initiates and enshrined in the myths reveals the poetic life-giving grain with its secret psychedelic infection of ergot. The Vedic Soma, fought for by gods and exclusively used by the Brahmin caste, was suggested to be the Amanita muscaria mushroom that invokes a visionary state.

            The implications are profound in terms of philosophy and cosmology if the secrets of the ancients were the result of ingesting “psychoactive” plants. Their experiences of entities and other worlds, of ecstasy and terror, would literally make these plants or mushrooms, magic. The concept of tasting of the fruit of immortality, understood in the sense of having traveled like the shaman into the otherworld, is one of participating in the realm of the gods and by doing so the adept is transformed. Reality is split apart to reveal an occult world just below the surface populated by shape-shifting beings from magical landscapes. These concepts simply become more subtle in the profound grasp of dhyana/chan/s’on/zen (or the Daoist “sitting in oblivion” zuowang) of adepts from India, China, Korea and Japan respectively. Tea is not hallucinogenic, but it is certainly psychoactive with numerous medicinal and physiological properties producing energies and sensations far beyond what a reductionist study of the chemicals and alkaloids could reveal. We lack the vocabulary for substances that instantly give peace, inspire poetry or transport to a dreamy landscape with a single sip.

            The candidates for the Soma plant are many, from the mentioned species of mushroom to other more overtly hallucinogenic varieties containing psilocybin. Other candidates include species of Lotus, Cannabis sativa, ergot, Lagochilus inebrians, as well as morning glory seeds (for their LSA alkaloids that are similar to LSD). Perhaps the three prominent candidates for Soma/Haoma would be the mentioned toadstool mushroom Amanita muscaria, the Syrian Rue or Peganum harmala, and Ephedra sp. because the latter is still used by some Iranians as haoma. Other persuasive cases have been made that Soma was electrum, gold itself, a supernatural plant of mythology, or a plant that has gone extinct. Other frontrunners include water, honey, mead or alcohol of some kind as well as innumerable species of herbs and plants.

            Having been under the influences of rapid infusions of some 1950’s Red Mark Yin-Ji Puerh I feel justified in suggesting tea or Camellia sinensis as a possible candidate or substitute for Soma.  With tiny orbs of qi coursing through my system after each sip I see a vision of the lineage of patriarchs of Esoteric Buddhism and thangkas of blue Bodhisattvas holding cups of amrita in their palm. Tea may not be the original soma, but the reverence, ritual and perhaps the shape into which it is pressed (especially in Tibet), make it a serious candidate as a soma-substitute or amrita.

Here the medicine Buddha sits upon what looks like an Amanita muscaria shaped throne. Not the “gills” of a mushroom behind him as well. Perhaps he is holding a cup of tea there.



Tibetan Puerh Tea compressed into a mushroom shape




Tea Myths, or The Grand Plant of the Southern Regions

            The discovery of the tea plant is the subject of many telling myths describing a magical origin associated with a legendary mystical figure. There are many variants, but the most popular center upon the divine emperor Shennong around 2700 BC, one of the Three August Ones, (note first Empress Nu wa, created human beings, second Fu Xi the bringer of Trigrams, third civilization). Known sometimes as the Divine Husbandman, the Red Emperor, Yan Di or the Divine Farmer he brought a balanced civilization. One of his most beneficent feats was to systematically classify the plants into categories as to their medicinal, edible or toxic qualities when he observed the people eating poisonous herbs. He was said to tea leaves, or as the book of medicine, the Shen Nong Ben Chao states "Shen Nong tasted hundreds of herbs, he encountered seventy two poisons daily, he used tea as antidote." (note In Chinese legend, Shen Nong died in Tea Hill (Cha Lin) county of Hunan province.) As a “God of Medicine” his skill in herbal pharmacology were divinely inspired and he is said to have put tea leaves in hot water inside an urn which brought him pleasure and a sense of purification. (other legends have wind blowing water on tea leaves and thus the infusion was accidental, perhaps it was his sanitary concerns which led him to boil water to make it safe for consumption, the addition of herbs, etc. are a logical progression, legend One day, on a trip to a distant region, he and his army stopped to rest. A servant began boiling water for him to drink, and a dead leaf from the wild tea bush fell into the water. It turned a brownish color, but it was unnoticed and presented to the emperor anyway. The emperor drank it and found it very refreshing, and cha (tea) was born.).

            Some traditions have the Buddha or the Buddhist Patriarch Bodhidharma involved in the origin of tea. Their cultivation of the awakened mind was perpetual, though their bodies would become weary from constant, sleepless mediation sessions. Bodhidharma, and less frequently Buddha, is said to have removed the eyelids to remain awake and the discarded tea lids on the earth grew into tea plants. Bodhidharma is something of an immortal as well, and he was witnessed after his death traveling back to India with one sandal tied to his staff. An exhumation of his grave proved empty expect for the other sandal.  Bodhidharma is also linked with the origins martial arts of Gong-Fu, which is also linked with the qi building Chinese tea art (gong-fu cha) that manifests in palpable energy sensations. Bodhidharma’s martial arts, though legendary, may actually have legitimate basis in Kalarippayattu, the Indian martial arts which deals in pressure points. The southern school, the Siddha Vaidya, recognize 108 of these points or marmas. (note on dates to Rig veda and other 108 notes securing Indian origin.) The number 108 seems strongly Indian in flavor, as the footnotes demonstrate further examples, and the veneration in China for this number likely arrived with Buddhism. Most Chinese tea literature will explain away the reverence for the number as indicating the perfect lifespan of 108 years. A crucial scripture to Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese “mind-only” Mahayana Buddhism is the Lankavatara Sutra which emphasizes the 108 steps linking to the 108 prayer beads zen priests wear around their wastes or to 108 beads of the Buddhist rosaries in all traditions. Therefore 108 can be seen to be a very significantly Indian number from their astronomy to yogic/martial postures to metaphysical “steps” and beyond. In this context, note that the Chinese character for tea adds up to 108:

The two strokes on top add to 20, the bottom stroke adds to 88=108.


These myths are significant as Bodhidharma is the 28th Patriarch in an esoteric form of Buddhism that was steeped in Indian forms of meditation, dhyana and is said to have brought this type of Buddhism to China. Ch’an, or zen in Japanese, must be seen to be a particular sect, perhaps as some suggest a reform movement, in a complex of Esoteric Mahayana Buddhism. It is outside scriptures, texts or verbal artifice and yet there is a clear esoteric lineage of transmission, “mind to mind”. Ch’an might be seen to be the highest form or fiercest doctrinal expression of Mahayana Buddhism that transcends all other ritual embellisments, or what are deemed in a mundane sense as “tantric,” as something of frivolous preliminaries at best or otherwise as dangerous distractions.

            The Tibetan Vajrayana holds the Dzogchen (Dzog-pa Chen-po) teachings of "intrinsic or primordial awareness" as the highest of its “Inner Tantras.” Because of its affinity with Chinese ch’an, Dzogchen, the teacher, was considered a heretic, with a result of some practicing his teachings in secret, such as the 5th Dalai Lama. The language and spirit of Dzogchen, ch’an and zen have led to some to label Dzogchen Tibetan zen, which despite some objections is quite justified. Tibetan theologians point to the spontaneous nature of the “enlightenment” compared to the gradual path of the monastery in defending the uniqueness of this doctrine. There are subtleties, and it serves no purpose to paint them as identical, and yet they both express the penultimate expression of intuited “truths” in stark accord. But there was such a doctrinal split within ch’an Buddhism based on this same controversy of “sudden verses gradual” enlightenment, with the former being the earliest form traced back to Bodhidharma and back through the Patriarchs to the Buddha.

            A doctrine of sudden enlightenment and context of “pure mind,” again using expedient terms, are expressed in various doctrines that in some sense can be traced to Bodhidharma whose eyebrows legendarily produced tea bushes. Indeed, this is why most representations have him portrayed with huge, bulging eyes. The stimulating and yet calming effects of tea became an essential part of meditation that participated in the ancient myths of magical plants perhaps replacing more hallucinogenic or toxic alchemical “soma” or “amrita” substitutes. Tea was even “pressed” or rolled as soma is linguistically linked with “to press.” The psychoactive effects of tea combined with an ascetic diet and rigorous meditation would certainly affect the mind, possibly producing a state of transcendent awareness/bliss/enlightenment, something like the Japanese satori that culminated into a profound insight that synchronized the mundane thought process with the Buddha-mind.

A tea roller from Shaanxi Province used to grind leaves to a powder. A persistent trait of ceremonial Buddhist tea into Japan where powdered tea is known as matcha and is at the center of chanoyu.


            In discussing the philosophical differences of these various schools of Buddhism, if there are really are any below the surface, one is tempted to draw an analogy from the tea itself. The expression of this “truth” in a Buddhist context is like the preparations of tea favored by the groups in question. The Japanese and Chinese, like the zen and ch’an doctrines, for the most part like their tea quite simple and unadulterated. Contrast this to the Tibetan obsession of adding rancid butter, milk, and salt to a tea that is churned with rigorous energy, not unlike the prostrations of the devotees and lavish embellishment/ritual of their Buddhism. (note on Tibetan dangers in tea). The American tea sage David Lee Hoffman, who penetrated the Chinese wilderness in search of the best teas, made it into Tibet and personally sipped the high-grade teas with the Dalai Lama. He is one of the subjects of the superb documentary All in This Tea, where he informs us that the Lamas in the monasteries have the finest, aged puerh teas for their own spiritual use.

            The botanical side of the equation is equally interesting in this jungle of tea creation myths and doctrinal schism within the broader Mahayana tradition. Like Tantra, the precise geographical origins of tea are unknown. Scholars have long debated the geographical location of the mythical Oddiyana  that produced some of the most influential Tantric adepts. Giuseppe Tucci’s speculation with the Swat Valley was accepted for a time but Oddiyana is now thought to encompass a wider range.  The Tantric Goddess worship of these regions of north-western/eastern India were associated with specific locations or pithas (literally “seats” of the goddess)which range from 4 to 110 (there are other variations) depending on the system, are particularly linked to the north western region, thought to be Odiyyana and the north-eastern region of Kamarupa or Assam. It is also precisely this region that the first wild tea plants originated.

            As Mondal writes in the journal article Tea,  "Camellia sinensis originated in southeast Asia, specifically around the intersection of latitude 29°N and longitude 98°E, the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China and Tibet. The plant was introduced to more than 52 countries, from this ‘centre of origin’." The long asserted theory of a dual origin of the tea plant is proven false by statistical cluster analysis studies “and all appear to demonstrate a single place of origin for Camellia sinensis — the area including the northern part of Burma and Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China.” Perhaps it was such wandering mystics, much earlier than Bodhidharma or the even more colorful Tantric adepts, who deserve praise for the early diffusion of tea throughout ancient China. Whoever that nourished, cultivated and propagated tea and tea culture was utterly successful and by the time of the first  real tea monograph, in 760 AD, tea was widespread. This was written by the patron saint of tea, Lu-yu who was born in a Ch’an Buddhist temple and eventually retired from the world as a scholar/recluse. There is a large void in much of the history of tea from the legends attributed to the Emperor Shennong in 2737 BC (some versions say it was an adviser, Tun Jan, to the legendary emperor Huangdi who recommended tea for staying alert) despite some references to its medicinal use in the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and for pleasure or social occasions in the Tang (618–907 AD).

            One early document is the Manual of Zhou Dynasty Rituals (Zhou li) thought to be written around the second century BC, which attest to “religious rituals involving tea, of the preceding eastern Zhou dynasty.”  Again from the utterly elegant and satisfying book Tea of the Sages, “These three uses for tea in early China—as an herb that promotes health, as a means to achieve heightened states of alertness, and as a beverage that, when ritually prepared, allowed communion with divinities—suggest the reason for continued appeal in later ages in both China and Japan” [emphasis added]. Tea’s constant domain within a sacred, often ritual context must be always remembered and it is retained even in the more secular literati circles that treated it as a near sacrament in their microcosmic ways and arts.

            If later examples in tea culture can serve us in deciphering the past diffusion, and by what groups, then there are telling references from which to draw. A primary example of such a later example is found in the dissemination of Buddhism, and tea, to Japan. As Dennis Hirota writes in the monumental work, Wind in the Pines, “it was not until the Kamakura period when Zen master Eisai (1141-1215) actively promoted the use of powdered tea (matcha) for medicinal purposes and as a stimulant during periods of meditation, that tea drinking began to spread.” Eisai was not just a Zen master, but also the founder of the Rinzai sect, and he is said to brought tea seeds and plants from China in 1187 and cultivating them in his temple in northen Kyushu. He is said to have shared them with his friend of the Kegon sect, priest Myoe who planted them at his temple in Kyoto and both no doubt created the atmosphere and tea the produced chanoyu. Note, though previously a brick tea or “dancha” in jap, was introduced in Heian period (9th century).  When contacts and influence with China diminished tea culture in Japan declined as well though, as Tea of the Sages notes, it did not completely die out, but “was preserved in Buddhist temples…and by the 12th century Buddhist monastic rituals routinely included elaborate tea rituals of whipped tea.” Eisai wrote of drinking tea, “not as a stimulant during meditation, but as an esoteric ritual conducive to harmonious functioning of the bodily organs.” These practices, which can be described almost as refined pujas, ritually offered tea to the Buddha (kucha) and, in Japan, offerings to Shinto deities as well (kencha).

            Prior to this was the Tantric adept Kukai, who brought a particular esoteric Buddhism (Mikkyo) to Japan and founded the Shingon sect. One of the earliest, if not the earliest, references to tea in Japan is found in the Kukai Hoken Hyo (Shoryoshu, volume 4) dated to 814 in the Heian period of Japan who traveled to Tang China in 804. He returned with texts, mandalas, statues and, tea seeds. But even before this was Saicho (767–822), who brought esoteric Buddhist teachings from China with tea seeds and formed the Tendai sect. Some suggest that, due to close relationships between Korean and Japanese Zen monks and the close relationship between Korean and Chinese masters, that technical information on tea came via Korea. Whatever the specific routes of transmission, the knowledge of tea and tea itself was always in the province of Buddhists who retained a ritual devotion to it even in sects that disdained ritual. Sen Soshitsu, present leader of the Urasenke tea school of chanoyu in Japan, writes concludes and earlier occurrence of tea in Japan Chakyo Shosetsu “In 729 Emperor Shomu called one hundred priests for a reading of the Hannya Sutra; on the second day, tea was served” which again connects tea with Buddhist liturgical ritual. More discussion on soma/amrita in Buddhism…

            Korean tea addicts I have corresponded with tell of a wild Korean tea that grows between famous Buddhist temples and one can read of a “prehistoric” White mountain tea, Baeksan Cha, made from the leaves of a tree in the azalea family “in the highlands of Mount Baekdu in The Korean Way of Tea. This book also records an interesting legend brought to Korea in the 2nd century of the Common Era that tea was introduced to Korea, not from China as might be expected, but way of India in a gold and silver boat and a tea plant brought Princess Ayodhya. In Korea she is known as Heo Hwang-ok, consort of King Suro, the first king of the little kingdom of Garak-guk, located in south-eastern Korean peninsula. Before marrying the king, she took off her silk trousers and prayed to the mountain spirit.  This King was mythically produced from strange eggs or “balls in a golden box wrapped in red cloth descended from heaven to the mountain peak."

Another legend, found in The Korean Way of Tea, links tea in Korea to the foundations of its earliest Buddhist temples, Bulgap-sa or Bulhui-sa, in 384 or to Hwaeom-sa in 544. The curious and remarkably early legend of tea from India is telling in the context of Buddhism as are the early dates for tea in Korean Buddhist temples. Korean tea culture waxed and waned in popularity but, like Japan, it was always maintained in the Buddhist temples and it is Buddhist monks, such as Ch’o-ŭi, who are credited with the resurgence of popularity of tea and tea cultivation in Korea in 19th century. The first “tea ceremony” in Korea is said to date from 661 AD which was conducted in praise of the spirit of King Suro.

  The vajra, held in the hands of Korean Buddhist master Cho ui and Japanese master Kukai, resembles stylized mushrooms conjoined  by a ball. I have seen examples that seem to have "gills" as well as having the vulva on the stem.



            Tea’s special relationship with Buddhist and Daoist “ritual”, or combinations thereof, and persistent associations with Indian mystics and religious experience were instrumental in the spread of tea throughout ancient China, Korea and Japan. I humbly submit the suggestion that Bodhidharma, having been born of a culture that enshrined an ancient plant as its highest mystery, came to China looking for such an herb and, essentially, for a cup of tea. The continued, and perhaps unsatisfactory substitutions for soma or amrita as it was called in esoteric Buddhist circles, might have compelled many mystics to reevaluate old legends and to set off for the most magical plants. If Bodhidharma indeed rediscovered tea’s mystical associations, than we can agree he succeeded in his quest.


Shennong brewing tea.

The myths of China and India contain many examples of magical fruits and fungi. The "golden melon" or wu-lu gourd are potent symbols of longevity and magic as well as containing the elixir of life. Tea is often pressed into such shapes.


Further Reading

Akahori, Akira. 1989. "Drug Taking and Immortality," in Taoist Meditation and Longevity Techniques, ed. Livia Kohn. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Blank, Les. 2007. http://www.lesblank.com/more/TeaFilm.html

Broughton, Jeffrey L. 1999. The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Dannaway, Frederick R. 2009. Thunder Among the Pines: Defining A Pan-Asian Soma. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Volume 41, Number 1 March.

Hirota, Dennis. 2002. Wind in the Pines: Classic Writings of the Way of Tea as a Buddhist Path.  Asian Humanities Press.

Kyeong-hee,Hong and Brother Anthony of Taize. 2007 The Korean Way of Tea. Seoul: Seoul Selection.

Mondal, T.K. 2007. "Tea", in Pua, E.C.; Davey, M.R., Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, 60: Transgenic Crops V, Berlin: Springer, pp. 519–535

Morris, Dixon V. and Sen Soshitsu. 1998. The Japanese Way of Tea. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Needham, J. 1983. Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 5, pt. 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Needham, J. 1980. Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 5, pt. 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Needham, J. 1976. Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 5, pt. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Needham, J.1974. Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 5, pt. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Okakura, Kakuzo. 1964. The Book of Tea. Dover Books.

Ruck, C.A.P. 2007. The Hidden World: Survival of Pagan Shamanic Themes in European Fairytales. Durham: Carolina Academic Press.

Ruck, C.A.P.; Staples, B.D. & Heinrich, C. 2001. The Apples of Apollo, Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist. Durham: Carolina Academic Press.

Strickmann, M. 2002. Chinese Magical Medicine. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Strickmann, M. 1966. Notes on mushroom cults in ancient China. Unpublished manuscript, Rijksuniversiteit Gent.

Valery, Paul H. 1995. Tea in JapanL essays on the History of Chanoyu. University of Hawaii Press.

Ware, J. 1984. Alchemy, Medicine and Religion in the China of A.D. 30. London: Dover Books.

Wasson, G. 1968. Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Wasson, G.; Kramrisch, S.; Ruck, C. & Ott, J. 1986. Persephone’s Quest. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Wasson, G; Hoffman, A.; Ruck, C. & P. Webster, P. 1978. The Road to Eleusis. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Watkins, C. 1978. Let us now praise famous grains. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 122 (1): 9-17.

White, D.G. 1996. The Alchemical Body. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.