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Jun 9, 2015

Most spiritual traditions teach that every living thing is infused with consciousness and that as living beings we are all interconnected. In this interview “Brainiac” Ayurvedic Scientist Dr. Kevin Spelman takes us beyond faith and outlines the science to support these ancient teachings.


Kevin Spelman, PhD, MCPP is an internationally recognized expert on the molecular biology and clinical therapeutics of botanical medicines. A past National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow and Marie Curie research fellow in the European Union, Dr. Spelman has published 27 scientific papers and 6 chapters. Past research has included the molecular biology of cannabinoid receptors, brain and ovarian cancer, as well as clinical investigations, immunological studies and chemical analysis on various medicinal plants.


In this Episode we learn that:

  • Science is catching up with ancient spiritual teachings;  all living beings co-exist in a sea of consciousness.

  • The discovery of consciousness and memory at the subatomic level allows us to give thought to the meaning of life. If life can be connected to consciousness it follows that everything alive must be infused with consciousness.

  • The nature of self is a key part of the nature of life. Our natural intuition tells us that the self is located in the body, not the head, despite messages to the contrary from Western culture.

  • Science supports the notion of “gut feeling”. For every one message the brain sends to the gut,the gut returns 10 messages back.

  • The ability of our guts to communicate may well be dependent on the amount and diversity of phytochemicals we consume. Our ancestors probably consumed over a hundred and fifty different species of plant each containing a minimum of a thousand phytochemicals. In Western Societies most of us consume less than 15 different species of plant.

  • The same lack of diversity may be at the root of the current explosion of chronic conditions in our culture.

  • Happiness peaks at 5-7 servings of vegetables a day!

  • Invasive species like disturbed ground, so they follow humans. We’ve evolved with them as nutrient sources and raw materials.


What we mention in this episode:

  • The wisdom of cultures with a stronger tradition of connection to the earth than ours.

  • That plants will tell us how they can be used if only we take the time to listen. They may even draw us back if we learn they have been kind to us in the past.

  • The science behind the joy experienced by spending time in nature and how distancing ourselves from nature is probably causing physical and psychological damage  

  • The urgency that is desperately needed when it comes to recognising that plants have the potential to feed, heal, and support us. By supporting them we support ourselves.         


Show Highlights:

  • Do you know how we learn to use plants? The plants tell us! 6:10-6:30

  • The body recognizes that which feeds it, and there’s an instinct to go back and nurture those plants that provide sustenance and healing. 8:30-9:40

  • “Learn to think with your heart and feel with your head.” Physiologically, the brain always obeys the heart, but the heart does not always obey the brain. 11:00-12:20

  • The gut brain axis has 100 million neurons in it, and nine messages go up to the brain for every one message that comes down. Dr. Kevin hypothesizes that these messages from the gut to the brain may are triggered by phytochemicals from the plants we eat. 16:04-17:05


Links from the Conversation:


Favorite Quotes from the Conversation

“We need to reconnect with the source of our support.”


“[Plants] tell you how to use them.”


“Ancient cultures have always looked at the solar plexus, the liver, as the seat of the soul, and not necessarily the head. We have over cognized in our Western culture… Americans tend to lead with their heads... like we’re a head with little feet on it.”




Brainiac Ayurvedic Molecular Biologist Dr. Kevin Spelman talks about the Human Plant Connection


Dr. Kevin Spelman discusses why science is adding to the debate about the seat of consciousness in humans. Physics is now throwing up evidence to suggest that consciousness is present at the subatomic level. This lends credence to the belief that everything alive is infused with consciousness and supports the notion of  inter-connection amongst  all living things.


Dr. Spelman shares fascinating stories about insights he has gained from cultures where there are ancient traditions of connection with the earth and plants in particular.


Cate and Dr. Kevin discuss societal disconnection from the potential source of support our natural world affords us. Dr. Kevin also expands our understanding of the range of problems we may be creating for ourselves in limiting the diversity of foodstuffs we eat and shares shocking statistics about the difference between the current Western Diet and that of our ancestors.