There’s a herb for every ailment. That’s the philosophy of Dutch Spirit, a brand of herbal blends that target specific parts of the body such as the eyes, lungs and intestines. There are six varieties in total. In his colourful home in Amsterdam, Manoj, a self-made herb specialist and one of the company’s founders, explains to us why everyone should use Dutch Spirit.
Your site DutchSpirit.info says "living is breathing". What does that mean?
That’s the Dutch Spirit motto. The ability to breathe on your own. We can go all day without water, even longer without food, but most of us won’t last more than three minutes without breathing. That’s what we started with the Dutch Spirit blend for the lungs. A combination of five herbs aimed at soothing and taking care of the airways. Your lungs will start dancing just from reading the flyer!
Can we view you as a modern-day shaman?
I’ve done a lot of research into herbs. My bible is The New Herbal by Richard Mabey. But these days you can’t say anything about the medical application of herbs because of the Codex Alimentaris. Even if they’ve been proven effective and used for centuries.
Where did the idea for Dutch Spirit come from?
I don’t like tobacco, so I preferred to roll my joints with American Spirit. At one point I started adding burdock, sage and peppermint to it. And then we (Manoj and his partner Gert-Jan - Ed.) thought, why don’t we make it a complete alternative to tobacco? Dutch is an anagram for Du-THC. Clean high. We started selling lung herbs on Queen’s Day 2004 at coffeeshop Siberië. Back then we used simple folded envelops and tape to close them.
Manoj: "Usually I’m sunbathing in the nude there, because I couldn’t care less what my neighbours think."
So the origins of Dutch Spirit are strongly tied to tobacco?
We started because we were fed up with tobacco. That’s how we advertised early on: ‘herbs for tea and smoking’. But that got us a 20.000 euro fine (tax for smokables). So these days we just say ‘herbs’. We’ve also learned to be more careful with medical claims. We can no longer say that peppermint increases the elasticity of the lungs or that or nettle purifies the blood. We just say: nettle may be beneficial for the blood.
Where do you herbs come from?
From all over Europe.
Don’t you have the urge to broaden your herbal horizon beyond Europe?
We already do with the sex herbs, which contains ashwaganda. As well as maca and Russian ginseng.
How do you create your herbal mixtures?
The recipe is a secret, just like Coca-Cola. But you can assume it took years of experimentation to get right. It’s all about homoeopathic quantities. Not for pregnant or nursing women. The proportions of the blend are very important; you can’t add everything in the same amount. We’ve also looked into continuous use. That’s why we don’t use wormwood because it contains thujone, a substance that can build up in your body over time.
Dutch Spirit is part of the Ahkhaldan Foundation. What can you tell us about it?
The aim of the Ahkhaldan Foundation is happiness and good health for everyone. It’s an astrological association of learned beings such as you and me, based on the holy, cosmic law of the seven. Seven holy sciences and arts: astrology, music, painting, yoga, tantra, alchemy and philosophy. Seven is the most important number in all of them: seven stars, seven days in the week, seven notes, seven chakras, seven colours and seven elements. Dutch Spirit stimulates alchemy, using the elements of fire and water. And what does this get you? Tea! That’s why our packages carry the seven chakra colours.
There are currently six Dutch Spirit blends. Can we expect a seventh variety?
Definitely. Next up are the head herbs, which will be available in a violet package. But it’ll be a while before it’s done. The ingredients we want to use are very popular, but we’re not allowed to do anything with them: cannabis, poppy, ephedra, coca leaves and magic mushrooms. Even though all kinds of drinks and foods filled with toxins and chemicals that are completely legal. Certain groups are behind this; they don’t want people getting smarter. This upsets me a great deal.
In closing, do you have a tip for making the best use of Dutch Spirit?
Dutch Spirit can be enjoyed in many ways! You can brew a tea, use it when cooking and sprinkle it on a pizza or in your salad. The best effect is obtained from vaporizing it. For example, use the long herbs in the Volcano vaporizer at setting four, 140 degrees.
This article first appeared in the second edition of the Azarius Magazine.