Category Archives: Health

Earth Power: Hemp Batteries Better Than Lithium And Graphene

 Henry Ford’s Model T was famously made partly from hemp bioplastic and powered by hemp biofuel. Now, with battery-powered vehicles starting to replace those that use combustion engines, it has been found that hemp batteries perform eight times better than lithium-ion. Is there anything that this criminally-underused plant can’t do?

The comparison has only been proven on a very small scale. (You weren’t expecting a Silicon Valley conglomerate to do something genuinely groundbreaking were you? They mainly just commercialise stuff that’s been invented or at least funded by the state.) But the results are extremely promising.

The experiment was conducted by Robert Murray Smith – who has built up quite a following on his YouTube channel – of FWG Ltd in Kent. He observed a Volts by Amps curve of both the hemp and lithium batteries and found that the power underneath the hemp cell was a value of 31 while that of the lithium cell had a value of just 4. Although he does not claim to have proven anything, he said that the results of his experiment showed that the performance of the hemp cell is “significantly better” than the lithium cell.

It comes as no real surprise, which is presumably why he conducted the experiment. In 2014, scientists in the US found that waste fibres – ‘shiv’ – from hemp crops can be transformed into “ultrafast” supercapacitors that are “better than graphene”. Graphene is a synthetic carbon material lighter than foil yet bulletproof, but it is prohibitively expensive to make. The hemp version isn’t just better, it costs one-thousandth of the price.

The scientists “cooked” leftover bast fibre – the inner bark of the plant that usually ends up in landfill – into carbon nanosheets in a process called hydrothermal synthesis. “People ask me: why hemp? I say, why not?” said Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, in an interview with the BBC. “We’re making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price – and we’re doing it with waste.”

Dr Mitlin’s team recycled the fibres into supercapacitors, energy storage devices which are transforming the way electronics are powered. While conventional batteries store large reservoirs of energy and drip-feed it slowly, supercapacitors can rapidly discharge their entire load.

This makes them ideal in machines that require sharp bursts of power. In electric cars, for example, supercapacitors are used for regenerative braking. Releasing this torrent requires electrodes with high surface area, one of graphene’s many phenomenal properties.

Mitlin says that “you can do really interesting things with bio-waste”. With banana peels, for example, “you can turn them into a dense block of carbon – we call it pseudo-graphite – and that’s great for sodium-ion batteries. But if you look at hemp fibre its structure is the opposite – it makes sheets with high surface area – and that’s very conducive to supercapacitors.”

Once the bark has been cooked, “you dissolve the lignin and the semicellulose, and it leaves these carbon nanosheets – a pseudo-graphene structure”. By fabricating these sheets into electrodes and adding an ionic liquid as the electrolyte, his team made supercapacitors which operate at a broad range of temperatures and a high energy density.

Mitlin’s peer-reviewed journal paper ranks the device “on par with or better than commercial graphene-based devices”.

“They work down to 0C and display some of the best power-energy combinations reported in the literature for any carbon,” he adds. “For example, at a very high power density of 20 kW/kg (kilowatt per kilo) and temperatures of 20, 60, and 100C, the energy densities are 19, 34, and 40 Wh/kg (watt-hours per kilo) respectively.” Fully assembled, their energy density is 12 Wh/kg – which can be achieved at a charge time less than six seconds.

At the end of 2018, Texas-based electric motorcycle company Alternet announced that it was working with Mitlin to power motorbikes for its ReVolt Electric Motorbikes subsidiary.

So there you have it. If we already knew that there is no need to use the fossil fuels that are destroying the planet’s climate, because hemp biofuel provides a better alternative, we now know that there is no need to destroy the environment by mining for lithium and the materials that are used in batteries. We can literally grow technology. Hemp can save and power the world.

This article was first published in The Quarter Leaf issue 1.

Psychedelics and Endurance Sports: Increased Energy and Reduced Fatigue?

While anecdotal reports indicate psychedelics are useful in artistic and meditative pursuits, users have also reported them beneficial for physical activities dependent on alertness, awareness, and the rapid processing of sensory data — everything from climbing rock pitches to pitching in pro baseball, it seems.1–4

But in recent years, accounts have surfaced on internet forums of psychedelics offering a different sort of benefit for exercise: increased energy and reduced fatigue during endurance sports like cycling and running.5–8

While the scientific literature is lacking in empirical studies examining the effects of psychedelics on aerobic exercise, experts suggest there are several possible mechanisms — including the placebo effect — that may describe these users’ experiences.

What the Experts Are Saying

In his comprehensive and widely cited 2016 overview of psychedelic science in the journal Pharmacological Reviews, researcher Dr. David Nichols of the University of North Carolina addresses the effects of psychedelics on brain function, sleep, time perception, and visual perception — but nothing related to endurance.9

By email, Nichols confirmed he was unaware of any studies to date focused on this research question in humans. He did, however, suggest a potential mechanism for increased energy and stamina based on previous findings in animal models: dopamine.

“Locomotor activity in rodents is generally a product of increased activity in dopaminergic areas of the brain,” Nichols said.

Psychedelics can turn off inhibitory GABA pathways that suppress dopaminergic tone. So dopaminergic activity is disinhibited, and the effect is similar to what happens if you take an amphetamine.

More generally, research in sports physiology has shown that perceived effort, fatigue, and energy levels — especially in endurance sports — are tightly metered and mediated by the brain. Performance isn’t as closely linked to purely physiological parameters such as VO2 max and lactate threshold as researchers once thought.

In his 2018 book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, journalist and author Alex Hutchinson argues that runners and cyclists are far more beholden to brain chemistry than they often acknowledge.10 For example, even elite athletes during serious competition have been shown to accelerate — not slow, as expected — toward the end of a race, suggesting they were subconsciously holding back until the effort was almost over.

Hutchinson cites the work of researchers like Romain Meeusen, a professor of human physiology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, who has shown that brain chemistry is involved in the regulation of fatigue during prolonged exercise — with the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (mimicked by “classic” psychedelics and mescaline, respectively) both playing important roles.11,12

“There’s no doubt that perception of effort is mediated by the brain, even though many of the inputs — temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels, and so on — are coming from elsewhere in the body,” Hutchinson wrote in an email. “And in endurance sports, if you can change perception of effort, you can change your performance. So the idea that psychedelics might boost performance isn’t totally outlandish.”

Meeusen’s team has tried — unsuccessfully, it seems — to improve physical performance during exercise through nutritional manipulation of neurotransmitter systems.13,14 But he hasn’t tested psychedelics yet, he acknowledged when contacted by Psychedelic Science Review.

Possible Role of the Default Mode Network

There is a yet another potential mechanism more germane to psychedelics that could be involved, at least in theory. Extensive research has shown that activity in the default mode network (DMN) of the brain is reduced after ingestion or injection of psychedelic drugs. The DMN, as we now know, is associated with introspective and self-reflective thought. Additionally, activity in the DMN is often inversely correlated with that of nearby networks geared toward task completion.15

If the DMN is tamped down by a psychedelic during exercise, and task-oriented networks amplified, could the result be an athlete who is less likely to dwell on discomfort or self-doubt and more likely to be laser-focused on the job at hand — all while being energized or at least distracted by a heightened sensory experience?

In her 2019 book The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage, author Kelly McGonigal notes that studies have shown that exercise (particularly in green spaces like parks) can reduce activity in the DMN, just like psychedelics.16

“If you focus on what is unique about green exercise, the class of drugs it most closely resembles is the entheogen, a category that includes psilocybin, ayahuasca, and LSD,” McGonigal writes in her book. “Like green exercise, these drugs alter consciousness by temporarily reorganizing the default state.” So perhaps there is some synergy in play.

Is it the Placebo Effect?

Or could all this be the result of the placebo effect — more cynically, an imaginary phenomenon — engendered by some people’s desire to perform better, or at least to feel better, after taking a small dose of a psychedelic? Even given all the potential mechanisms seemingly available to explain away claims on internet message boards, Hutchinson wouldn’t rule that out. At least until some treadmill tests have been run.

“There’s a difference between saying something is theoretically possible and showing something is actually true. And to make that jump requires more than anecdotes and subjective impressions,” he writes. “So to me, until proven otherwise, psychedelics are in the same category as all the supplements and wearable gadgets that I get press releases about: it’s an interesting idea, but nothing more until proven otherwise.”

Source – PsychedelicReview

4 Benefits of Watermelon Rind

Watermelon may be one of the most appropriately named fruits. It’s a melon that’s 92 percent Trusted Source water. It’s also got a healthy amount of vitamin A and C, potassium, magnesium, and other important nutrients.

The most popular part of the watermelon is the pink flesh, but like its cousin, the cucumber, the whole thing is edible. This includes the green scraps that usually end up in the compost bin.

The rind, which is the green skin that keeps all that water-logged delicious fruit safe, is completely edible. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider not throwing it out.

1. It may make you better in bed

No, watermelon rind isn’t nature-powered Viagra, but some research shows that it may help men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. Its libido-boosting powers come from the amino acid citrulline, which is concentrated in the rind.

One studyTrusted Source showed that taking L-citrulline supplements can improve erections without many of the potential side effects associated with Viagra.

Try spritzing your watermelon rind with lemon juice and sprinkling some chili powder on it. Both additives also are good for your heart, and your, ahem, other love organ.

2. It might give your workout a boost

Besides improving your performance in bed, citrulline might improve your next athletic performance as well. However, most evidence for this is anecdotal.

Citrulline promotes the dilation of blood vessels. One studyTrusted Source suggests that citrulline supplements improve oxygen delivery to muscles, potentially improving exercise performance.

To get it naturally, try pickled watermelon rinds, an old-fashioned treat in the southern states.

3. It can reduce your blood pressure

If your doctor instructed you to lower your blood pressure, try eating watermelon — rind and all. Some research has shown that watermelon extract supplements are able to help obese adults control their blood pressure.

However, citrulline supplements are likely more effective. Most studies  suggest citrulline supplements reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Watermelon is also a potential diuretic, which often is prescribed for people with high blood pressure. Try freezing whole watermelon slices for a nice treat on a summer’s day.

4. It’s rich in fiber

Another benefit of watermelon rind is that it’s a rich source of fiber. A diet high in fiber has a whole host of health benefits, including the following:

  • Fiber helps maintain regular bowel movements and may help reduce the risk of developing diseases of the colon.
  • Fiber can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with fiber fill you up faster, helping achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Only about 5 percent of adults in the United States get the recommended daily value of fiber. Consider eating the rind to boost your fiber levels!

Takeaway

Next time you slice into a watermelon, consider keeping the rind. It’s a quick and tasty way to improve your overall health.

Read more at HealthLine 

Medicinal Mushroom Benefits: Mycelium vs Fruiting Body

Mushrooms vs Mycelium

To Benefit from a Medicinal Mushroom, You Need to Know What You’re Getting

Not all fungi products are equal. You should know what you’re getting when you purchase supplements to reap medicinal mushroom benefits. And with so many products on the market making claims about ingredients and efficacy, it can be challenging to understand what really offers the most benefit to your health.

Read on to learn the myths and facts about medicinal mushroom supplements to get the most functional health support from fungi.

Mushroom Parts & Marketing Hype

The way many supplement brands market and sell their fungi products is cause for concern. If consumers don’t know what to look for when buying a medicinal mushroom supplement, they may easily be misled by the packaging, naming, and labeling of the vast products available.

It can be difficult to distinguish a real mushroom extract made of the mushroom (fruiting body) from one made of the mushroom’s “root” structure, mycelium. Reading a supplement’s packaging and nutritional labels won’t necessarily tell you the whole story either.

Mushroom product labeling requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tell manufacturers to clearly distinguish whether the product contains actual mushroom (the fruiting body) or just the mycelium in any food or supplement product. But not everyone follows these rules and this is low on the FDA’s enforcement priorities.

In 2017, The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) released labelling guidance for Fungi Dietary Ingredients. This is not enforceable but gives recommendations on how Fungal based products should be accurately labelled to clearly inform the consumer on what is in the product.

Too often, brands disguise the true nature of their products and misdirect consumers who want to buy effective medicinal mushroom products. Here we will separate the myths from the facts about mushroom terminology, their active compounds, and the marketing hype, to give you the information you need to buy a supplement with the most medicinal mushroom benefits.

To reap these benefits, you need a supplement with high concentrations of the parts of the fungi that offer the most therapeutic compounds. This article gives you the knowledge you need to make informed purchasing decisions, so you can truly experience the adaptive health benefits of medicinal mushroom supplementation.

Mushroom vs. Mycelium

The Difference between Fungal Parts

A mushroom is the “fruiting body” of a fungal organism called a basidiomycete (except in the case of the cordyceps mushroom — they are an organism called an ascomycete). Basidiomycetes have three distinct parts that develop throughout its lifecycle: spore, mycelium, and mushroom.

The spores are in the surrounding air all around us, and under favorable conditions, these will germinate and begin to grow branching filaments called hyphae. As the hyphae continue to grow, they will fuse together to form mycelium.

Mycelium is an underground network that expands and feeds off of organic plant matter. This phase of the basidiomycetes’ life cycle is the vegetative stage. During this time, the mycelium produces enzymes that break down the plant material in its growth radius and recycles it into beneficial compounds that return to the soil.

In nature, this typically means that mycelium will form large networks of fungal matter by breaking down wood, logs, leaves, and other plant matter. The plant matter on which fungi feed is commonly referred to as the substrate. The mycelium becomes entwined in whatever substrate it’s in, making an inseparable mass of substrate and mycelium.

If environmental conditions are right, the mycelium will produce a mushroom, a.k.a. the fruiting body. The mushroom is actually the reproductive structure of this organism. When fully mature, it produces spores that, when distributed across plant matter, will allow for the creation of new mycelial networks, and ultimately the spread of the fungus.

Mycelial networks can live for hundreds, if not thousands of years and spread across vast distances. In fact, the largest organism on earth is a mycelial mat of a honey mushroom in eastern Oregon that is 890 hectares in size and over 2,000 years old!

It is important to reiterate that just as a mushroom is not mycelium, mycelium is also not a mushroom. These terms are not synonymous and should be accurately differentiated.


Mushroom lifecycle

Identifying Fillers in Your Supplement

Read the ingredients on the mushroom or mycelium supplement package to see which part of these fungi the producer used. Based on the labelling, many times it is unclear. The product could be any combination of mycelium, mushroom, sclerotium, spore, and substrate matter, dried, ground into a powder and then potentially extracted.

Using all the parts of the fungi might seem like an effective way to reap the most benefits. However, there are parts of the basidiomycete, like the mushroom (fruiting body), that contain more active beneficial compounds than others. The mycelium, on the other hand, when grown on a solid substrate will also contains compounds of whatever substrate material it has been grown on.

The majority of commercial mycelium producers grow it on grains like rice, oats, or sorghum. Therefore, all that grain becomes inseparable from the mycelium and remains in the final product, leading to high amounts of starch.

When myceliated grain forms the bulk of a supplement, the grain acts as a filler and “dilutes” the product because it doesn’t contain any active compounds. Myceliated grain dramatically reduces how much beneficial compounds are in each serving of your supplement.

Read the full article at RealMushrooms

7 Smokable Plants You Can Grow That Aren’t Marijuana

 

This is crumbled, dried mullein, which is known as the “base” of most herbal smoking blends.
Photography By Elizabeth A.Cummings / shutterstock.com
10KSHARES

Quite a few plants may be safely, and pleasurable, lit up in a pipe or rolling papers. Those listed below are legal, unregulated, and totally safe to use. They are also non-hallucinogenic and non-addictive – perhaps that explains their lack of popularity?

While they won’t get you high, when blended according to the instructions below, these herbs produce a smooth, tasty smoke and give a gentle, relaxing buzz. All of the following varieties may be purchased online or at any well-stocked herb store. You may also grow your own. Of course, we’d be remiss not to remind you to discuss any questions with a doctor.

While scores of herbs are smokable, those listed below are among the most commonly used and easily grown at home. Skip to the sidebar to learn how to dry your herbs into the perfect smoking blend.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

By 13Smile / shutterstock.com

Herbal Properties: Mullein has a long history of use as a lung tonic. It can actually help you stop coughing when you’re sick.

Smoking Qualities: The smoke is extremely light and mild, almost like smoking air, and virtually flavorless.

Type of Plant: This biennial herb grows up to two feet wide at the base, with flower stalks rising six feet or more.

How to Grow: Considered by some a garden weed, this fuzzy-leafed plant is very easy to grow from seed planted directly in the garden in spring. It prefers a sunny location and soil that is well-drained and not too fertile. It benefits from a bit of irrigation as a seedling but is drought-tolerant once established.

Skullcap (Scutellaria spp.)

By Mariola Anna S / shutterstock.com

Herbal Properties: Skullcap has a mild calming effect when smoked.

Smoking Qualities: This herb is a medium smoke, with a fairly neutral flavor.

Type of Plant: A spreading perennial that grows about a foot tall, skullcap makes an attractive groundcover in the garden.

How to Grow: Sow seeds indoors in spring, planting the seedlings in a sunny or partly shaded location with rich soil once the weather has warmed. Skullcap requires weekly irrigation during dry periods. Cut the dried foliage to the ground each fall.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

By footageclips / shutterstock.com

Herbal Properties: Coltsfoot is an expectorant, helping to free phlegm from the lungs.

Smoking Qualities: This herb is a light smoke with a neutral flavor, but can cause harsh coughing if used in a high concentration in smoking blends.

Type of Plant: This 6- to 12-inch tall groundcover spreads by underground rhizomes to form extensive colonies under optimum growing conditions.

How to Grow: Dried coltsfoot seed rarely germinates, but “fresh” seed, as well as potted plants, are available online. Rich, moist soil and a location in full sun or part shade are this plant’s preferred growing conditions.

 

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)

By Skyprayer2005 / shutterstock.com

Herbal Properties: Many ancient cultures smoked mugwort to promote vivid dreams. It also produces a very mild psychotropic effect while you’re awake.

Smoking Qualities: This herb is a light smoke with a pleasant, slightly sweet flavor.

Type of Plant: Mugwort is a spreading perennial growing up to 2 feet tall.

How to Grow: While seeds are available online, mugwort is easier to start from a potted plant, or by transplanting a clump from an established patch. Mugwort thrives with little care once established, but beware: it can become invasive, especially in moist locations. Cut the dried stalks to the ground each fall.

Uva-Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

By Sigur / shutterstock.com

Herbal Properties: Also known by the Algonquin name kinnikinnick, this native plant has long been smoked by Native American tribes for ceremonial purposes.

Smoking Qualities: Uva-ursi herb is a medium smoke with a strong earthy flavor.

Type of Plant: This attractive woody groundcover, which grows about 6 inches tall, is a popular landscaping plant.

How to Grow: Uva-ursi is very difficult to propagate by seed, so it’s best to obtain potted specimens from a native plant nursery in your area, or from an online supplier. Grow in full sun or light shade; excellent drainage is essential. Uva-ursi is drought-tolerant and requires little care once established.

Read the full article on modernfarmer

Bananas Bloody History

There are thousands of types of bananas but Americans have eyes for only one kind — the very marketable yellow Cavendish, which accounts for 95% of global banana exports. But this multi-billion dollar industry is under threat. A fungus called Panama Disease is rapidly infecting the world’s Cavendish crops and could spell disaster for the monoculture-dependent worldwide banana trade.

RUN | Pleasures of Pain

I’m beginning to get that consistent urge to run again. During the cold weather I rather not get out there. It’s warming up and I don’t just have to run, it feels as if I need to run. In the midst of a flood of information and nothing but time to sift through it all I’m realizing I’m find my peace of mind through the pleasure of pain. Running is pain to me. Pain is released, my will power is tested and I learn pain is temporary. I’ve come to look forward to the soreness in my body after a good run. There’s something satisfying about not being able to stand up for more than 20 seconds in the kitchen while I assemble the food to a cutting board. It’s the memories that come back with each step it’s the memories I don’t want to remember that make me run harder, faster, more pain. Pain can’t be ignored only accepted. I’d be lying to myself if I said it’s a struggle to get my shoes on and build up the motivation to run but I’ve found myself bored when I’m not in the realm of pain. The pink suede Pumas I copped for my first art exhibition I now run in aren’t meant to be ran in at all but that’s all I have to work with. I say I’ll buy some new shoes soon but I enjoy the pain of pushing kicks beyond their limit. Similar to my body I push it to test it’s limits to test how much pain can I really tolerate. Typing this the back of my left ankle is throbbing but I look forward to being outside running 12 hours from now. 12 minute methodical miles. 2 hours of pain that has become my personal pleasure. I can depend on this pain but I know one day everything will feel good and I will have to make my self hurt to feel alive.

April – 36.79 | avg time 12’51 | 8 Runs

With another week left I may go for a sizable run on the last day of this month to wrap it up strong. About 14+ miles and slow pace it to 5 miles a day until the 28th. I’m even thinking of starting a running section for the Infocus247 YouTube page The post run routine typically includes a nice big meal to replace some weight all veggies salmon from time to time. Big Sorrel drink to get the stomach bubbly and boo boo explosive. Tmi? Until next time RUN IT!!!!

https://ibb.co/S347Zg4

– London