Plant Technology

Plant technology is perhaps the most ancient science known to humans.  Since the beginning we have been developing our understanding of plants used for food, shelter, protection and medicine, as well as to alleviate the pressures of everyday survival.  Using the appropriate plant technology the effects of herbal teas may range from simple enjoyment to profound healing and revelation.

extracting medicine

In modern times we have developed highly advanced pharmacological plant-science industries.  This is just the most recent development in a science that goes back to the earliest times.  At Happy High Herbs Nimbin we have an inclusive philosophy  that recognises the relevance of both primal and cutting-edge plant technologies in advancing the evolutionary paradigm of human consciousness.

“When used appropriately, and especially when used in a complementary way, potent extractions of plants and simple herb teas can meet the full spectrum of needs for human health, happiness and healing”.
Elen Jones

A Deeper Look at Plant Technology
Plant technology has three fascinating complementary arenas.  Firstly, phytochemistry ~ the scientific understanding of the molecular chemistry of plants.  Secondly, the extraction of the phytochemicals, which range from simple and intuitive techniques to highly advanced laboratory  technology.  Thirdly, the appropriate application of a plant, considering dosage and the unique biochemical and psychological condition of the person.

“Plants phytochemicals are molecular tools that we can use to maintain our individual cellular biochemistry at optimum metabolic function. This is the future of the human-plant co-evolution in the new paradigm of consciousness. This is a path to profound and lasting health and happiness.”
Elen Jones


Phytochemistry is the scientific study of active chemical compounds found in the roots, barks, leaves and flowers of plants.  While this study long predates modern science the development of high-tech laboratory analysis has enormously facilitated our understanding of the interactions between plants and humans at the cellular level.  Phenols, flavonoids, tannins and proanthocyanidins are some of the unique and diverse constituents which give plants their potent medicinal properties.

hofmanns molecule

Other compounds, such as aromatic terpenes found in lemon balm and damiana, give plants not only their distinctive scent, but a variety of other health benefits as well.  Myrcene, a terpene found in cannabis, as well as lemongrass and mangos, has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.  Recent studies  into cannabis medicine have popularised the enormous number of health benefits gained from ingesting these sweet-scented molecules.

Molecule with cannabis leaf

Plant alkaloids are also a special class of phytochemicals.  They a a mixed group of compounds, each containing a nitrogen-bearing molecule that makes them particularly pharmacologically active.  Once such group, tryptamines, are found in plants such as chacruna (psychotria viridis), used for it’s potent visionary and healing powers.  Another group are phenethylamines, found in plants such as khat (cathula elulis), a popular plant for social wellbeing in North African and Middle Eastern communities.

The most comprehensive exploration of alkaloids in modern times has been the work of Sasha and Ann Shulgin. They are considered elders and visionaries in the extended community of Happy High Herbs Nimbin. We are deeply grateful for their contribution to understanding the relationship between chemical science and human evolution.

shulgins by Alex Grey


tincture bottle with pippette

Liquid Extractions and Solubility
Phytochemical extraction requires different types of extraction techniques.  The term ‘solubility’ in this context refers to what medium is most appropriate to extract the required compounds into liquids. Water soluble compounds, such as caffeine, are usually extracted using hot or boiling water.  Lipid soluble compounds, such as cannabinoids, can be extracted using oils, whilst most alkaloids are readily soluble in alcohol.

“At Happy High Herbs Nimbin we have been educating people about how simple these techniques can be practiced in your own home. In fact, it’s something that you do every time you make a cup of tea or coffee. However, there is an art to even the most simple extraction techniques. When we practice the path of genuine herbology the subtleties of heat, timing and correct proportion offer endlessly dynamic symbiotic potentials.”
Elen Jones 

Modern Extraction Techniques and the Entourage Effect

Modern extraction techniques allow us to refine and isolate the active plant compounds. Most pharmaceuticals are based on this premise. Indeed, so are most street-drugs. One could venture to say that properly refined street drugs and pharmaceuticals differ only in the moral associations applied to the substance by our society.

Many concentrated, refined or synthetic products in the pharmaceutical or drug cultures have significant side effects. As a result many herbalists and plant experts are actively promoting whole-plant extracts to be used when healing is required. This is commonly called the entourage effect.

“Many of these compounds interact synergistically to create what scientists refer to as an “entourage effect” that magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components—so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts”
Project CBD 

powder extract

Direct from the Source 
At Happy High Herbs Nimbin we believe in using herbs that are ‘as close to the source as possible’. The source is Mother Nature. The incredible intellect and beauty of the natural world is perhaps inconceivable to our rational minds. Now, with scientific understanding, the immense complexities of the symbiotic connections of plant pharmacology are becoming more apparent. Let Mother Nature be our guide and use whole plant products for your own health and healing.

Herbs to Support the Body When Using Pharmaceutical or Recreational Chemicals
When the potency of refined or isolated chemicals are required the use of supportive herbs may lessen some of the side effects associated with their use. This is another important aspect of plant culture that we promote at Happy High Herbs Nimbin. For example, tulsi tea (ocimum tenuiflorum) contains natural compounds that can cleanse radiation from the body after chemotherapy, dandelion root (taraxacum official) may gently cleanse the liver after using pharmaceuticals and the velvet bean (mucuna puriens) contains precursors to amino acids that can help rebalance any minor neurotransmitter deficiencies after using MDMA for PTSD therapy .


If the scientific aspects of plant technology are the phytochemical knowledge and extraction techniques, the art is in the application. 

“While extracting herbs in tea can be a simple process some extractions and combinations are highly complex and potent. They have been developed in cultures where only the healer would know the precise quantities and varieties of plant material used, including when to add them to the brew and how to administer them correctly to the patient”.
Elen Jones

Shaman making Medicine1

The Traditional Role of the Healer

In traditional cultures the Medicine Man or Woman was one of the most highly revered people in a community. Still today, understanding which plant, of the hundreds of medicinal plants available, is needed by a patient is an art that’s developed not only a rigorous trial, effort, understanding and experimentation, but also by attaining a highly attuned intuitive understanding of the energetics of plants and the imbalances and diseases of humans on physical, mental and spiritual levels.

Check out out Healers Directory in the ‘Reference’ section.

Plant Culture: Becoming Your Own Healer

personal power

Anyone can start by learning to make a simple cup of tea. What better place to begin on any journey? Learning to use more complex plant technologies effectively takes time and practice. In Australia and around the world there is a growing community of plant-enthusiasts who believe that plants and plant technologies hold important keys to the paradigm shift of our time.

At Happy High Herbs Nimbin we are committed to helping you on the path to becoming your own healer. We believe that this is also the path to healing the human connection with Mother Earth.

“Powerful plants help us on the path to developing profound personal power”
Elen Jones