“[The 4-7-8 breath] is the most powerful method I’ve found to access the relaxation response, and it’s the most powerful anti-anxiety measure I’ve ever come across.”— Dr. Andrew Weil
Andrew Weil, MD (@DrWeil) is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. He has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
Dr. Weil received a degree in biology (botany) from Harvard College in 1964 and an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1968. From 1971 to 1975, as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa, collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971 to 1984 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.
Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Medicine and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. Through its fellowship and Integrative Medicine in Residency curricula, the Center is now training doctors and nurse practitioners around the world.
A New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Weil has written 15 books on health and well-being, including Mind Over Meds; Fast Food, Good Food; True Food; Spontaneous Happiness; Healthy Aging; and 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. He is also co-founder of the restaurant chain True Food Kitchen and co-founder of Matcha.com, which offers extremely high-quality matcha that is difficult to find outside of Japan.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
This episode is brought to you by Levels! I wrote about the health benefits of using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) more than ten years ago in The 4-Hour Body. At the time, CGMs were primitive and hard to use. Levels has now made this technology, and the unique insights that come from it, easy and available to everyone. Levels is making glucose monitoring simple, helping you see how food affects your health through real-time feedback. I started tracking my glucose years ago to learn more about what I should and shouldn’t be eating (including quantities, time of day, etc.), based on objective data from my own, unique physiology. Keeping my blood sugar stable is critical to my daily and long-term health and performance goals. Furthermore, poor glucose control is associated with a number of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and obesity. It’s important.
If you’re interested in learning more about Levels and trying a CGM yourself, go to Levels.link/Tim.
This episode is brought to you by LMNT! What is LMNT? It’s a delicious, sugar-free electrolyte drink mix. I’ve stocked up on boxes and boxes of this and usually use it 1–2 times per day. LMNT is formulated to help anyone with their electrolyte needs and perfectly suited to folks following a keto, low-carb, or Paleo diet. If you are on a low-carb diet or fasting, electrolytes play a key role in relieving hunger, cramps, headaches, tiredness, and dizziness.
This episode is brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system.
Right now, you’ll get a 1-year supply of Vitamin D free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit DrinkAG1.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive your 1-year supply of Vitamin D (and 5 free AG1 travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive daily, foundational nutrition supplement that supports whole-body health.
Want to hear the most recent time Dr. Weil was on the podcast? Listen to our conversation here, in which we discussed go-to plants for food and medicine, trying to score mescaline from Aldous Huxley’s source, the importance of taking a shamanistic approach toward the research of healing science, how Dr. Weil shed a lifetime of cat allergies in one sitting, the intrinsic nature of non-ordinary states of consciousness in human beings, the healing power of dogs, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Dr. Andrew Weil:
- The Andrew Weil Center Center for Integrative Medicine
- Authentic Matcha Tea | Matcha.com
- Matcha Kari | Instagram
- Seasonal Restaurant & Scratch Bar | True Food Kitchen
- Weil Foundation
- Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better, and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own by Andrew Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- Fast Food, Good Food: More Than 150 Quick and Easy Ways to Put Healthy, Delicious Food on the Table by Andrew Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Sam Fox | Amazon
- Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being by Andrew Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- 8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body’s Natural Healing Power by Andrew Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- The Natural Mind: A Revolutionary Approach to the Drug Problem by Andrew Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs by Andrew T. Weil, M.D. and Winifred Rosen | Amazon
- Health and Healing: The Philosophy of Integrative Medicine and Optimum Health by Andrew T. Weil, M.D. | Amazon
- Dr. Andrew Weil — Optimal Health, Plant Medicine, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #350
- Dr. Weil Explains How to Do His 4-7-8 Breathing Technique | Matcha.com
- 4-7-8 Breathing: How It Works, How to Do It, and More | Healthline
- Clinical and Psychological Effects of Marijuana in Man | International Journal of the Addictions
- The New Politics of Coca | The New Yorker
- Coca Leaf: Myths and Reality | Transnational Institute
- A Bridge to the Relinquished Parts of Self and Society | The RiverStyx Foundation
- Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative (IPCI)
- Ephedra | NCCIH
- Khat: Effects, Risks, and How to Get Help | Verywell Mind
- The Opium Poppy | UNODC
- Biologically Active Compounds Present in Tobacco Smoke: Potential Interactions Between Smoking and Mental Health | Frontiers In Neuroscience
- Tobacco and Shamanism in South America by Johannes Wilbert | Amazon
- Kava Kava | Healthline
- Generation 3 | Oura Ring
- Kratom: Is It Safe? | Healthline
- Neurobiology of Kratom and Its Main Alkaloid Mitragynine | Brain Research Bulletin
- Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Take a Sleeping Pill Every Night | Time
- Kratom: The Forbidden Leaf | Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia
- The Psychedelic Toad | Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia
- Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert by Ken Nelson, Expanded and Updated Edition by Hamilton Morris | Department of Information
- Identity of a New World Psychoactive Toad | Ancient Mesoamerica
- Hamilton Morris on Iboga, 5-MeO-DMT, the Power of Ritual, New Frontiers in Psychedelics, Excellent Problems to Solve, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #511
- Saguaro National Park | US National Park Service
- Herbaria & Libraries | Harvard University
- One River: Explorations and Discoveries In the Amazon Rain Forest by Wade Davis | Amazon
- Dr. Mark Plotkin on Ethnobotany, Real vs. Fake Shamans, Hallucinogens, and the Dalai Lamas of South America | The Tim Ferriss Show #469
- The Serpent and the Rainbow | Prime Video
- The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist’s Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic by Wade Davis | Amazon
- OEB 59. Plants and Human Affairs | Harvard University Center for the Environment
- Flashback Friday: Yoco, The Natural Caffeine High | High Times
- What’s Funny About Turning 72? | Dr. Weil
- Catch Me If You Can | Prime Video
- The Harvard Lampoon
- At Harvard, Psychedelic Drugs’ Tentative Renaissance | The Harvard Crimson
- Set and Setting: Why Preparation Matters | DoubleBlind
- A Long-Term Follow-Up to Dr. Timothy Leary’s 1961-1962 Concord State Reformatory Rehabilitation Study | MAPS
- The Crimson Takes Leary, Alpert to Task | The Harvard Crimson
- Why Is Everyone Smoking Toad Venom? | Town & Country
- Psychedelics 101: Books, Documentaries, Podcasts, Science, and More | Tim Ferriss
- Marcela Ot’alora — How to Become a Psychedelic Therapist | The Tim Ferriss Show #396
- Some Thoughts on For-Profit Psychedelic Startups and Companies | Tim Ferriss
- Andrew Weil | Psychedelic Science Review
- Psilocybe Weilii | Trufflemagic
- Paul Stamets — How Mushrooms Can Save You and (Perhaps) the World | The Tim Ferriss Show #340
- Lophophora Williamsii (Mescal, Mescal Buttons, Peyote) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox
- The Origins of the Naming of Lophophora Williamsii | Cactus Conservation Institute
- Dysthymia | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- An Interview with Dr. Andrew Weil | Green Living Magazine
- Keio University
- Urawa, Saitama | Wikipedia
- Okinawa, Japan | Blue Zones
- Ogimi Village – A Village of Longevity Set in a Beautiful Natural Environment | Okinawa Island Guide
- On US Fast Food, More Okinawans Grow Super-Sized | The New York Times
- Okinawan Fermented Turmeric Tea Powder | Matcha.com
- Japanese Chado Matcha Green Tea Ceremony | TEALEAVES
- A Guide to Chasen — The All-Important Matcha Whisk | Tezumi
- Seven Proven Health Benefits of Matcha Tea | Healthline
- L-Theanine: Dosage, Benefits, and Side Effects | Healthline
- Farm-Direct Japanese Gyokuro Loose-Leaf Tea | Matcha.com
- Mescaline | The Vaults of Erowid
- Psilocybe | Wikipedia
- The Random Show – Drinking Urine, Exploring Japan, and Figuring Out Life | The Tim Ferriss Show #224
- Norikura Kogen Travel Guide | Japan Guide
- The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine by Joseph Tafur | Amazon
- Can LSD Treat Food Allergies? We Don’t Know, But It’s Already Been Patented | Vice
- [07:56] What is the 4-7-8 breath?
- [10:15] As an early advocate, what is Dr. Weil’s current relationship with cannabis?
- [11:28] Overcoming the stigma of coca leaves to realize their medical benefits.
- [14:17] What is The Beneficial Plants Research Association?
- [16:30] Thoughts on kava and its effect on sleep quality.
- [19:49] Where to learn more about kratom and mitragynine.
- [20:51] Andrew’s experience with Bufo alvarius.
- [22:05] Why Andrew and Wade Davis are reviving The Beneficial Plants Research Association.
- [25:27] Andrew recounts a Richard Evans Schultes story.
- [27:13] Andrew’s brief career as a letter-writing prankster.
- [29:06] Covering the first wave of psychedelic research at Harvard.
- [34:15] The positives and negatives of psychedelics going mainstream.
- [36:11] Taxonomy and the origin of Psilocybe weilii.
- [37:58] How did Andrew emerge from dysthymia in his early fifties?
- [39:54] Lessons learned on visits to Japan and Okinawa.
- [45:19] Health benefits of fermented turmeric and matcha tea.
- [49:50] How L-theanine modifies the effects of caffeine.
- [52:19] How Andrew’s parents encouraged him to always be curious (but careful).
- [55:36] Getting older and future plans.
- [58:11] Why you should check out The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.
- [58:54] What Andrew believes gets missed most by current psychedelic exploration.
- [1:02:00] Parting thoughts.
MORE GUEST QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“On the second day that I was in Japan, back in November of 1959, my host mother took me next door to meet her neighbor who was a tea ceremony practitioner. So the three of us sat around, and this woman did a tea ceremony and presented me with a bowl of matcha. And I was completely taken by it, first by the color, also by the chasen—the whisk—which I just thought was marvelous, and the taste of it. I fell in love with it.”
— Andrew Weil
“I think the more people who have positive psychedelic experiences—that may lead to the change in consciousness, which I think is the only thing that can turn things around for us.”
— Andrew Weil
“There are no good or bad drugs; there are just good and bad relationships with drugs. I think you can broaden that to plants as well—coca being a prime example. We’ve said that is a bad plant, the source of all sorts of trouble. But the problem is how we’ve related to that plant.”
— Andrew Weil
“I have a very good friend, a cardiologist who’s the same age as me, who said that his mother always told him, ‘Joe, don’t get old. You won’t like it.'”
— Andrew Weil
“[The 4-7-8 breath] is is the most powerful method I’ve found to access the relaxation response, and it’s the most powerful anti-anxiety measure I’ve ever come across.”
— Andrew Weil
“I think it would be a great thing for people to have access to coca. It’s not cocaine. It has distinct effects. It has unique medical effects. We should have access to it, not to mention the fact that this is the sacred plant of a great many indigenous people in South America.”
— Andrew Weil
“[Kava] functions as a social stimulant and lubricant, but it is a natural sedative and calmative, and probably the most important anti-anxiety natural product out there, extremely useful and essentially no toxicity. And it does not interact with alcohol. It does not interact with other sedatives. It’s quite safe, and I recommend it very frequently to people.”
— Andrew Weil
- Robert C. Fulford
- T. Cody Swift
- Richard Evans Schultes
- Albert Hofmann
- Alexander Shulgin
- Johannes Wilbert
- Hamilton Morris
- Ken Nelson
- Wade Davis
- Mark Plotkin
- Frank Abagnale
- Conan O’Brien
- Timothy Leary
- Richard M. Nixon
- Ram Dass
- Paul Stamets
- Carl Linnaeus
- Kevin Rose
- Alan Watts
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.