Citation: Skrubdokta. "Calm With A Capital ‘C’: An Experience with Galangal (exp18094)". Erowid.org. Aug 1, 2005. erowid.org/exp/18094
I have tried more than a few things in my time, some fun and other’s less than. And usually anything cheap, readily available, natural and above all LEGAL falls all too soon into the bin with the not-so-funs.
…and y'know what? Galangal is great!
I’ve munched my merry (and usually poorer) self through some great smelling sacks of useless herbal crap, from the classics like damiana, catnip, mugwort, and *shudder* nutmeg. They all have a few things in common. They bite the dust in comparison to most illegal or regulated substances.
Nothing happens, you lost money for nothing, and nothing happens.
Galangal on the other hand, exceeded all expectations. Here’s the tale.
While wandering to Blockbuster with my housemate, we came upon the friendly local fruit and veggie shop. I was after fresh nutmeg nuts (got some: still nothing) when my eye fell on the Galangal. The name rang a bell in a good way, it was AU$2.20 for 50 grams so I picked some up, thinking for the price if it sucks what have I lost. It was terracotta in colour, fibrous powder, with a smell that I would most compare to fresh kava kava. Or maybe superaromatic blends of cinnamon and nutmeg.
I had no way of confirming how much of this stuff to try, or in what way, so I went on the hunch that ‘hey smells like kava, the plant on the label looks like kava a bit, maybe its some kava-type thing’ and dumped two not-too-heaped tablespoons of powder (break it up, it clumps quite dense in the bag) into a glass and added maybe 300 ml of just below boiling water. I stirred till all the cocoa like lumps broke up, then added a few drops of my (healthy) spit to the mix, which smelled sweet and sharp, almost sickeningly so. Added a spoon of brown sugar. Made the taste more bearable, cut the smell somewhat too.
(Kava kava when properly prepared is chewed by healthy people and spat into a small amount of cooled-a-bit-from-boiling water - I suspect an enzyme does something groovy here, and you sure can tell the difference in effect. Kava and Galangal are both rhizome's from similar areas, with similar smells. Hunch.)
I let it chill in the freezer, separated as much of the solid as I could, and gulped down the mix, with a little watered down pineapple juice as a chaser. The rank taste of the galangal fades quite fast from the palate afterwards.
It tasted like a strong brew of kava, without the tingling and numbing of lips and tubes on the way down. Surprising, given its super-potent smell.
I lay down, and almost immediately felt I was experiencing the effects of something akin to a little drink, a little weed and a little salvia all mixed in. Chilled back, pulse slooow. Felt hot/cold/hot for a few minutes, mainly while I could hear my stomach grunting at me for making it eat that much spice.
A few minutes into the experience, I noticed opiate like feeling of lightness of head mixed with weightiness of limb, with my skin feeling ‘cool and tingly’, both sets of sensations similar to maybe a 180 mg codeine buzz. A backrub would have been divine, being tickled would have killed me.
I smoked a cigarette. Bliss. Sucked it down like a speed freak and felt every breath hit home.
Ten minutes in and I realized this is kava kava with grunt. An almost salvia like hypnotic effect with certain drunkenness of fine motor control, and grace of larger motions. It is rare that anything gets me off right first go, especially plants and herbs. Most take a certain time to teach you the ropes so to speak. Galangal hit me with a hundred ton brick of peace to the temple.
Breathing was deep and slow, and heart rate was slow and steady, even irregular breathing, and speed changes would not make my heart rate elevate. My heart beat strong and clear which is rare for me, my heart keeps worse time then a djembe drummer with no arms, blind drunk.
Fifteen minutes in and I kill the lights, wave my lighter around and go ‘whoa’ for a while, tracers are evident. Frame-tracers not trail-tracers. And with lights on even CEV’s are involved enough to make this a repeat experience. The music is no more emotive, meaningful or anything then usual, yet it is ‘sharper’. Perhaps ‘crisp and clear’ is the right term here. ‘Present’ more then usual, in its way.
Forty minutes in and I realise that the last forty minutes seem like five, I realise this about ten times in the next five minutes and it makes me crack up with laughter each time. This has something of the ‘cosmic in-joke’ effect that many psychedelics have, grinning and little things meant for your eyes only I guess. :)
As your Mum said, time flies when you’re having fun!
Wrote some notes, cleaned my pipe and fiddled about for a while, I find doing normal things under the influence to be the best test of a new drug. Real fun needs no special set to sneak up on our mind, dark rooms and blindfolds are for dream trippers.
My handwriting was sort of crazy, felt as if it was all over and messy but it really wasn’t. Maybe the way I kept asking myself if our hands are really part of ‘us’ was distracting. Who can say? :)
A sense of ease, assurance and Calm-with-a-capital-C is the constant background routine here. Similar to a deep but short meditation, or four or five gentle slow pipes of decent salvia. I was not unmotivated, or immobilized, yet on the other hand felt I could lay where and as I was forever in that state. I had the same ‘flashes’ and ‘squirmy light’ behind my eyelids that a few good hits of weed will give you. And a sense of universal benevolence and peace.
Sounds beyond my room where somehow more ‘present’, seeming closer to the ‘front of the stage’ of my sensorium then usual.
After an hour or so, I went to sleep. Was up earlier then I wanted to be the next day, feeling sharp and clear as a bell (VERY rare for me).
All told, for what maybe works out to a few cents a hit, natural, cheap, legal, reliable, friendly, and definitively works as opposed to ‘does something. Don’t know. Made me weird’ as you hear for most legal highs. I would give this gear a nine out of ten. Maybe an eight, it tastes less then cool. Guess you’d get used to it. Or could balance it out with something.
As with all plant-based drugs, its effects are more impressive after I have done it three or four times (the old ‘knowing what to look for’ phenomena) or maybe some sort of sensitization as with cannabis. I suspect I had a great time on it first go to be down to the fact that I am fairly familiar with kava kava. I hear people that take acid before they ever smoke pot get blown off pot the first time. Interesting set of phenomena anyways.
This strikes me as very much a ‘timber bowls in smoky hut with witchdoctor’ experience, which appeals to me greatly. Drugs with a proper social context stand less chance of damaging society than those that operate beyond its reach. The locals in Papua New Guinea are big fans of it. Any advice I have received from PNG’s peoples re: fun and useful plants has never failed to be totally accurate. I trust the old people!
I can’t believe this stuff is really unknown to most. Kava has a fraction of the effect and is a household word. Bad PR maybe :P
In closing, this stuff needs to be checked out as a hypnotic/sedative/anxiolytic, and possibly to alleviate arrhythmia. The world needs better treatments, within the reach of the average person - FREE THE PLANTS FREE THE POWER!
Stay tuned for more research from beyond the black stump.
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