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Soma Is A Medicine With A Storied Past

Aug 20, 2008
In his 1932 fiction novel titled Brave New World Aldous Huxley wrote about a futuristic society in the year 2540 that ubiquitously consumed a mind altering substance called Soma. It was a drug that was distributed freely by the government to keep the people happy. In the Veda, which is some of the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, Soma is a god and a sacred drink. It is both a divinity and a drink that is divine in nature, consumed by priests during sacrificial rituals. In Western medicine of today, Soma is a muscle relaxant medicine that is prescribed regularly by doctors, mostly to patients with painful musculoskeletal related injuries and muscle spasms. It is a very strong medicine that controls pain by blocking the nerve signals from reaching the brain.

Soma is quite pervasive in the book Brave New World. It is a mind altering substance that people depend on to escape from the reality of their bleak and government controlled lives. The people in this futuristic world take soma in pill form, liquid and even frozen as an ice cream. Almost everyone in this society is addicted to soma. The few people who are not addicted to this drug are considered to be unusual optimists who do not need soma to be happy.

Before there was Aldous Huxley or the Veda there was the soma plant that had been growing in the wild for thousands of years. It is a psychotropic plant with long, yellowish colored stalks that grows best in the mountainous regions of the northwest part of the Indian subcontinent, most notably the Kashmir region. Today there is a very high percentage of Vedic people known as Brahmans who live in this area. Their ancestors settled there many years ago mainly because of the high quality soma plants that were found growing there.

Several thousand years ago when human civilization sprouted up in the Kashmir region of India, people began to experiment with the juices, powders and extracts of plants. They were eager to discover the effects they may have on the health of the human mind and body. These resourceful humans soon discovered that the soma plant possessed medicinal and mild altering qualities that are very powerful. It was not long before they began to use soma in rituals of healing and sacrifice.

According to the Veda scriptures, from 1500 B.C. to 500 B.C. the juice of the soma plant was used during animal sacrifice rituals called the yajna. Priests would drink the soma juice during the ceremony and work themselves into hallucinogenic trances while sacrificing animals over a fire for many hours. It was a complex ceremony that could only be performed by holy men called Brahmans. The goal was to enter the mental realm where the god known as Soma lives to offer gifts of thanks and ask for good health and good fortune in life. Soma is the god who is considered to be the master of all plants, the one who heals all diseases and the one who provides riches and good fortune.

In the Twenty First Century, Western medicine has its own form of Soma. It is a prescription drug made with an active ingredient called carisoprodal. It has nothing to do with the ancient soma plant mentioned in the Veda scriptures, or any other historical writings. While some of the pain killing effects may be similar to that of the soma plant, the prescription medicine soma is very different. It is not classified as a hallucinogen.

The modern medicine with the name Soma was developed by a pharmacologist named Dr. Frank M. Berger back in 1959 at Wallace Labs. The goal was to create an analgesic pain killer that is very helpful in the treatment of certain severe muscle injuries.

Today, Soma the prescription medicine can be purchased at most brick and mortar pharmacies, or even at one of the many US licensed online pharmacies that sell FDA approved drugs on the Internet. It is available by prescription from US licensed physicians.

Despite the fact that Soma can be purchased at any pharmacy, there are some health risks that should be weighed with the benefits before this medicine is taken, as is the case with all prescription drugs. It is important to know that Soma can be dangerous to your health if it is abused. When Soma is taken in excessive amounts some of the dangerous effects that can be experienced are dizziness, headaches, impaired vision, extreme drowsiness, seizures, shaking, tremors and loss of coordination. Soma can also be habit forming and should only be taken as prescribed by US licensed physicians who are currently practicing in the field of health and medicine.

The word Soma has been used by many different cultures throughout history to describe a variety of different things such as a deity, a hallucinogenic drink for Hindu priests and a government issued narcotic in a futuristic fiction novel. In Western medicine today it is used to describe a pain killing prescription drug. It is a muscle relaxant that works by blocking neurons of pain before they reach the brain, and it has been very effective when used to treat musculoskeletal injuries and spasms. Although Soma use comes with certain health risks, US licensed physicians prescribe this medicine every day to thousands of patients who can benefit greatly from it during their healing process.
About the Author
Michael P. Connelly is an Author, Artist and award-winning Filmmaker who writes on a variety of topics that effect people in their every day lives.

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