The first category, ‘age before youth’, shows that herbs may be used for effects that come earlier than they might otherwise. This initial technique may be to create artificial wisdom, or some other ‘stimulus’ which is then interpreted by adaptive strategies. One of the primary techniques may be to simulate the onset of many experiences. Such things may be sometimes said of the common tea plant (wisdom and immortality according to the oldest traditions, a trend I think which is allied with the belief in ghosts in the steam), as well as with root vegetables such as potato, root herbs such as ginger, and rich-smelling herbs such as basil, or spices and condiments that are combined with these types, such as salt, pepper, and olive oil. I suspect for example that in the Latin American countries, spiced foods connote wisdom of time much in the same way that salt and pepper do in the Eastern United States. (For example, in the Masonic tradition, salt is associated with the soul, as the term albunum sometimes means salt, and the meaning of Albus is both ‘white’ and ‘salt’).
The second category, ‘athleticism’ is the most common meaning of a stimulant, and may refer to the regular diet of ‘meat and potatoes’, spiritually substantiating food such as rice, soup, kooscoos, and bread, or the often temporary advantages of narcotics, steroids, or psychiatric medication. The contents of this category largely differ by the type of ‘bargain’ or set of principles present when the substance is imbibed. Although it is worth dismissing the common notion that food is genuinely spiritual, there is no doubting that there is some subtle essence to these types of substances, an essence that does not always benefit everyone, or that only ‘works its magic’ over a long period of time. Even when someone is confronted with narcotics, my advice is patience is the best road to spirituality. That may not be the principle operating for those people, but later they may become isolated from the path to genuine longevity. In this sense, narcotics is about realizing paths which can only be reached through death, and as such it is not the genuine path of principle. However, returning to the meat and potatoes issue, there are some foods that are separated from ordinary foods by a special spiritual quality. For example, there is the account of the emperor who found a delicious soup after wandering helpless and starving through the wilderness. Later, when he returned to find the old lady, the soup then tasted awful and intolerable. Clearly, in my mind, there was a real difference, although not an empirical one. In one case the soup had contained a spiritual substance, in the other it was interpreted merely as the common food of the poor. This kind of lesson gives us hints about the nature of the athletic category of herbs, for these are substances which must be adept to the exact circumstance of the user. I would advise that grains are the most common food here, but perhaps this is my greed for the golden properties of grains, and not an objective condition that grants it superiority. Some, for example, find a similar appeal in cinnamon, or specific vegetables. In any case, it is this special kind of appeal which displays the secret principle of athletic herbs. Whether they are commonplace, or obscure divination, this category is sure to be adopted thoughtlessly and in large quantities.
The third category, ‘medicine or sacrifice’ combines most readily with the first, by applying some mental principle or strategy of abstention to what is otherwise potentially a commonplace idea of a simple kind of occasional preference for something which seems palatable. Where the first category is like ‘kings food’, the third category is like ‘fools food’. This is food that is not palatable for any reason other than its usefulness. Examples of this abound in the Chinese medical tradition, although I suspect that Gingko causes possession, as a warning. One aspect of this type of food is the possibility that it isn’t food at all. Abstaining from foods may be as adequate or functional as taking moderate amounts, when it comes to mental and psychic function. For example, it is commonly documented that gluttony results in indiscretion, which might easily be eliminated to aid mental powers. And this quality of abstention is easily allied with medicine, where it can be seen that the highly specific properties of drugs are abstentions from the generalitic qualities of foodstuffs like bread and soup.
The fourth category, ‘adaptation’, is really a new age approach to herbology. This may include patently subtle intelligence drugs, situational foods, and may even be extended into non-medical uses of the properties of food, such as by stimulating the palette with bitter flavors for an assigned effect, or some other type of highly specific property attribute, such as for meditation, thought-enhancement, or to simply add spice to consciousness. This category applies itself readily to the ancient grains, flavorings of milk, yarrow juice, and the use of foods or drugs to counteract stress. Clearly there is potential here for wisdom that is not so passivity-oriented as the simple basil or soup variety.
Having approached those four categories, I will express the essence of what I have said, and then extend the subject further into areas which have not been discussed. This may sound a little like a typical nutrition lesson, but I feel it deserves emphasis, because of the special subject area.
1. Richness and supplementation, 2. Natural choices, 3. Occasional food and abstention, 4. Wise food
How does this figure into medicine? Well, first we consider the context of medicine to be the context of immortal medicine. Thus, what are being made are immortal choices. Richness and supplementation suggests that it is best to have early exposure to the best that one can afford, and some of this should be available in quantity, whereas some other of it should be available in limited selections. When the limited selections are fulfilling, it is less important to have quantities, so attention should be paid to meaningful medicine, what I finally call wise food (not scary food), and how this substantial medicine seems like an intermediary, not the smallest quantity and not the greatest. The same applies to temporal food as to the basics of immortal medicine.
Secondly, the medicine comes from all available permanent sources. If there is no permanent source, then the genuine medicine is not medicine at all. Genuine medicine is either immaterial or material, but it cannot be meaningfully material unless there is a material of permanence. Thus, meaningful medicine is a reflection of the permanence of not only food (substance) but experience and the world in general. If there is a change of fate, there is also a change of food. This new food (whatever it is) must also seem valuable, because it has the significance of the availability of permanence.
Thirdly, the medical choices must be realistic: they must be conservative. If not everyone can win, then everyone should get what they want. This kind of rule determines the difficulty in supporting limited supplies or large inadequate supplies.
Fourthly, people strive to make their medicine significant. Thus there is an imperative to present medicine so as not to deceive the user. Medicine should not wildly alter the means of understanding its significance simply by the way it is administered. It should not create false assumptions. Or, if it creates simple assumptions, it should work only in the context of guaranteed complexity, and this complexity should be adequate in the same way supplies should be adequate, unless everyone wins. It is not that the context must always be fair, so much as that realities must remain realities as such. Without reality, a sacred rule is broken which is difficult to re-acquiesce.
To summarize the necessities of immortal medicine (working backwards on my earlier list):  Reality must remain reality,  Conservative programs,  Immaterial medicine is medicine without fate, material medicine is medicine with fate,  The best medicine allows moderation.
Since I have described two aspects, one in which temporal foods are described, and another in which immortal food is described, I will leave that as conclusive. That is the end of Secret Principles of Immortality, Edition 12.