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Books - The History and Natural History of Ephedra as SOMA
Written by S. Mahdihassan   

We, have two types of consumers of tea which, due to its caffeine, tastes bitter. The Chinese drink it diluted, sipping it in small portions. Europeans take it sufficiently strong, masking its bitter taste with sugar and milk. Persians take it with lemon juice and sugar. All these variations in use imply that caffeine, the active principle of tea, is bitter, and has to be overcome for tea to become a popular drink Rigveda has no end of references to Soma being consumed with honey, milk, curds, butter and even barley. It reminds one of the Tibetan tea which is taken with milk, sugar and Yak butter, sufficiently enriched in calories for a drink to be popular in a cold country like Tibet. Rigveda hardly ever speaks of Soma without its additives, such as honey, milk and curds, which forces us to realize that the neat juice was bitter. Further, Rigveda states that as pure juice it is fit for being offered only to Vayu. Fortunately, the bitter taste of pure Soma juice can be confirmed from Vedic literature. R.V.8.2.5-6 says: "-The triend whom not the brilliant hued, the badly-mixed, or bitter draught, repels the far-extending god. While other men than we, with milk, chase him as hunters chase deer." Griffith (1889) explains the above verses, writing that, "Indra prefers our libation, imperfectly prepared (bitter) as they may be, to the milk offerings with which other men endeavour to attract him." We have to realize that Soma being ephedra, its juice contained ephedrine which is bitter. What is caffeine in tea is ephedrine in Soma. RV.3.48.3 contains a term translated by Griffith as "pungent Soma." Now bitter can also mean pungent. In fact Mathew's (1975) Chinese Dictionary, item 3761, renders La=Pungent but Bitter as the first.


Our valuable member S. Mahdihassan has been with us since Sunday, 24 March 2013.

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