Your Guide to a Natural Life
CHAPTER ONE – CANNABIS
- Hemp vs Marijuana
Hemp is a term used to describe the male portion of the plant, cannabis. Hemp is not just a plant. In fact, it can be used to create a wide variety of products including paper, clothing, textiles, animal feed, plastic, and food products. In order for a substance to be labeled as hemp, it must contain under 0.03% dry weight THC by volume. The compounds found in the hemp plant are useful for a variety of things. Since it is classified as a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids needed for proper body functions, hemp is beneficial for one’s health and overall well-being. Another added benefit of the hemp plant is that it grows faster than any shrub or tree, making it an extremely sustainable resource.
Marijuana is a term used to describe the female cannabis plant. In order for a substance to be classified as marijuana it must contain over 0.03% dry weight of THC by volume. There are many benefits when it comes to using marijuana medicinally, since it acts as a pain reliever as well as a muscle relaxant. The body’s natural system for taking in the cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as CBD or THC, is called the endocannabinoid system.
Hemp and marijuana are both part of the same plant species. CBD can be derived from both stages of the plant. Hemp is the male part of the plant while marijuana is the female part. Marijuana is delineated from hemp by the dry weight volume of THC in the plant, with a threshold of 0.03% for hemp.
2.History of Hemp
Hemp made its way to the global stage in 8000 BCE as it was identified in modern-day Taiwan. Since hemp was discovered so early on, it is considered to be one of the oldest and first crops. Spread throughout the world by human cultivation, hemp was popularly used for paper and textiles(Rätsch,2001). Hemp started growing in popularity in Chinese medicine in the ancient “book of songs” formally known as the Shijing(Rätsch,2001). It is also known to be beneficial to surrounding vegetation, providing various nutrients to the soil (Rätsch,2001). However, as the twentieth century approached it brought about some challenges concerning the hemp industry. After the Mexican Revolution, the term Marijuana started to receive a poor reputation due to the widespread antisemitism towards immigrants in the United States. Growing tensions surrounding the plant caused the Marijuana Tax Act to be set in place in 1937(O’Connell,2020). This act placed a specific tax on every form of cannabis sales including that of hemp. This deliberately slowed the production and cultivation of hemp as a whole. Fast forward to 1942 when the infamous Henry Ford creates a prototype of a car body out of industrial hemp(O’Connell,2020). The hemp proved to be ten times stronger than traditional steel due to the length of the stem stalks. Hemp stalks prove to be longer than wool or cotton making them much more durable and long-lasting(O’Connell,2020). As World War II intensified and the sources of hemp and textiles were seized by the Japanese, the United States Government prompted farmers to cultivate their hemp. A video called “Victory for Hemp” was released to the public in 1942 that explained the need for this prevailing plant especially when it came to the making of ropes and textiles(O’Connell,2020). Even though hemp itself provides so much more to the world than THC, otherwise known as the psychoactive component in cannabis, it still holds some negative connotations. In 1970 the United States Government signed and passed the Controlled Substance Act which classified hemp as a schedule one drug. This meant that cannabis was now looked at the same as methamphetamine and heroin, classified as highly addictive with no medical use whatsoever(O’Connell,2020). This was such a huge set back for the hemp plant which had just helped pull America through the war. Up until the point of 1998, hemp wasn’t even allowed to be added into food. The oil and seeds are not psychoactive, and contain high levels of protein and amino acids which classify them as a complete protein. Thankfully in 2014 under the Obama administration, the Farm Bill was signed and put into place. This bill was a step in the right direction for hemp since it allowed establishments of higher education to start studying and growing hemp while also providing a clear definition for industrial hemp.
3.The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Discovered in 1992 by Lumir Hanis, the endocannabinoid system gives us a better understanding of how the body works and why it functions in specific ways. It is broken down into three major parts: the endocannabinoids themselves, the phytocannabinoids found within the plant, and the CB1 and CB2 receptors found within the body.
Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring within the body and help to keep it in balanced homeostasis. The most prevalent endocannabinoids are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (aka 2-AG). The ECS produces endocannabinoids freely within the body as a natural response to injury or pain. The second component is phytocannabinoids, which are compounds found within the cannabis plant itself, that can be isolated on their own, or combined to produce a more well-rounded effect. Common examples of phytocannabinoids are CBD, CBG, CBN, and THC.
CB1 receptors are found mainly in the central nervous system and can target specific imbalances in the body including appetite, immune cells, pain perception, short-term memory, and motor skills. When cannabinoids interact with these receptors, relief from certain ailments becomes possible.
CB2 receptors are found mainly in adipose fat tissue, bones, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, the central nervous system, the respiratory system, the reproductive system as well as the eyes, kidneys, pancreas, and liver. Since cannabis itself is said to be antimicrobial, it’s also a great pathogen fighter which is crucial when preventing and treating infections or diseases.
There are two types of endocannabinoids found within the body. The first is Anandamide. Anandamide or ANA is a neurotransmitter found most abundantly in the brain. Specific to the memory and motor function sections of the brain, ANA also plays a major part when it comes to nerve cells making short-term connections. Low levels of ANA have been linked to depression and anxiety which is why CBD can be beneficial to those with mental health issues. Anandamide is also naturally found in apples and blackberries.
The second abundant endocannabinoid found in the body is 2- Arachiodonoylglycerol, otherwise known as 2-AG. This compound helps to regulate the central nervous system by binding primarily to the CB2 receptors which have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. A study completed in 2001 concluded that 2-AG is an effective neuroprotectant after trauma to the brain.
4. Understanding cannabinoids
There are at least 114 cannabinoids that can be found in the cannabis plant. As cannabis plants grow, they produce certain compounds at different ages. Each one of these compounds differs slightly and can be used together or separately to provide an array of effects. The most common is called cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD. While some may be more familiar with the term THC, there are a lot of other cannabinoids including CBG, CBN, and CBC that can be extremely beneficial in regulating the body’s homeostatic functions.
The naturally occurring phytocannabinoid called cannabidiol, or CBD, provides a variety of benefits due to its interaction with the Endocannabinoid system. After one introduces CBD into the body, it binds with the various CB1 and CB2 receptors located in all of the major systems of the body including respiratory, vascular, immune, and even the digestive system. CBD increases the levels of anandamide, as mentioned before, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for memory and thought. Since CBD binds to both receptors it can help to bring the body back to its natural state.
The next phytocannabinoid found in cannabis is called Cannabigerol or CBG. Cannabigerol is considered to be a precursor to cannabinoids. This means all the 112 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, start as CBGA or cannabigerol. This is why it is known as the stem cell of cannabis. According to the National Library of Medicine, CBG was also found to be a neuroprotectant in mice since it promotes neurogenesis (the formation of new nerve cells). Cannabigerol is also an effective treatment for fighting any type of gastrointestinal issues due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to bind with CB2 receptors which specialize in the gut and immune health.
Another phytocannabinoid called Cannabinol, or CBN, is known to be an effective sleep aid as well as an anticonvulsant. CBN is formed through the degradation of the delta-9 THC molecule and is known as the sleepy cannabinoid. Anticonvulsants are extremely beneficial in regulating hyperactivity in the brain. CBN has also been shown to help those struggling with post-operative pain, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is even more effective when used in combination with THC to enhance the entourage effect. CBN was also tested on strains of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA. The test concluded CBN was more effective in attacking the bacterium than certain antibiotics.
The next cannabinoid is called cannabichromene or CBC. This compound does not bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, instead, it binds to the vanilloid receptor 1 otherwise known as TRPV1, and the ankyrin 1 receptor or for short, TRPA1. These two receptors are both linked to pain receptors, making CBC the perfect candidate for pain management. Studies have also shown CBC being used to reduce acne and aid in regulatory gut functions as well as relief from neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s.
The next phytocannabinoid is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This cannabinoid is quite different from the other cannabinoids. THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors and is the cannabinoid that is known to make users feel high. There are many reported health benefits to consume THC, including but not limited to pain reduction, increase in appetite, and decreased anxiety.
It is important to note the chemical structure and the difference between △9-THC (“traditional THC) and △8-THC.
In recent years, △8-THC has become not only popular but more widely available for consumption. △8-THC is an analog to its more famous sibling, △9-THC, the active component in marijuana that is known to make users feel “high.” The only difference between the two is the placement of the double bond in the molecule, however, this difference significantly impacts the molecule’s ability to interact with CB1 receptors. The binding affinity for △8-THC is about 50-75% less than that of △9-THC, making it equally less potent than its counterpart. Users may still experience a light high from △8-THC products, and consuming △8-THC products could result later in a positive drug test. △8-THC is great for helping users get to sleep and stimulating appetite, and it was found in a study conducted in Jerusalem (make sure this is correct) by a man named Robert Mecholam (also make sure this is correct) that △8-THC was even better at stimulating appetite than △9-THC.
The composition of an isolated solution is similar to how the word sounds. Isolates are simply isolated from the entire substance. Isolation is the process of extracting only one compound from a group of many. For example, vitamin C is not the only compound that makes up an orange. There are other compounds such as fibers and sugars in the orange, however, if we wanted only vitamin C, we would extract it out and purify it. When we talk about administering CBD into the body, it can come in many forms. Isolates contain only one cannabinoid, this can either be CBD, CBG, CBN, CBC, etc. and means there are no other cannabinoids in the mixture. Any of the cannabinoids can be isolated down through the extraction process which involves decarboxylation (the process of heating a substance) to retain specific compounds. Isolates are a great option for anyone looking to use CBD but who do not want any other trace cannabinoids such as CBG or THC.
5b. Broad Spectrum
The composition of a broad spectrum mixture is made up of a wider variety of cannabinoids. Unlike the isolated mixture, the broad spectrum solution contains two or more cannabinoids. Often, this means CBD plus one or two other cannabinoids such as CBG or CBN. Broad-spectrum extractions do not contain the THC cannabinoid
5c. Full spectrum
The composition of a full spectrum product is also quite similar to how it sounds. It is a full-plant extraction – meaning it will contain all the cannabinoids, as well as the THC cannabinoid under the legal limit of 0.3%. This complete mixture tends to be more beneficial because of its entourage effect. This means that since all the cannabinoids are kept together within the solution, which allows the effect of each to compound on each other, providing a wider variety of benefits.
6.Methods of Consumption
There are a couple of different ways in which a person can use and take CBD oil. Depending upon lifestyle, and personal preference, experimenting with different methods will help one find their best fit.
One of the most common methods of consumption is smoking, or inhaling CBD. Since the veins in our lungs are the fastest-acting veins in our bodies, we can feel the relief from inhaling CBD almost instantaneously. With that being said, smoking or vaporizing is the fastest way to deliver CBD to your system. Some enjoy the ritualistic aspect of breaking up and rolling hemp flower while others prefer the sleek and discreet look and feel of a concentrated vape pen. While there are downsides and benefits to both, smoking or vaping CBD is a popular administration method.
The second most common method of consumption is through an oral sublingual. The cannabis oil is infused into a carrier oil such as coconut or MCT oil. The cannabinoid(s) are mixed with the oil which can be measured out by the user based on personal dosage. To use, one would place the oil underneath the tongue and hold for 30 to 60 seconds allowing it to be absorbed into the sublingual veins. Since our sublingual veins are the second fastest-acting veins in our bodies, effects are typically felt within 30 to 45 minutes.
The next common method of consumption is ingesting CBD. The reactivity time ranges from 60 to 120 minutes depending upon the user’s metabolism, among other factors. The effects typically last longer when it comes to edibles because the properties must break down and be processed through the liver. Ingestibles are a great option for those looking for a more deep restful sleep since the effects continue to be produced throughout the night as the product breaks down. Some bioavailability is lost to the digestive system through this method of consumption.
The last method of consumption is a topical solution. These are great for those struggling with muscular and joint pain and inflammation, as well as eczema, acne, and other skin issues. Topicals are not as long-lasting and only work locally. However, when pairing a topical with any method of ingestible CBD, the effects span across the endocannabinoid system within the body, further reducing inflammation both internally and externally.
Sources to Cite:
- Rätsch Christian. Marijuana Medicine a World Tour of the Healing and Visionary Powers of Cannabis. Healing Arts Press, 2001.
- Lee, Martin A. Smoke Signals: a Social History of Marijuana– Medical, Recreational and Scientific. Scribner, 2013.
- O’Connell, Kit. “History Of Hemp In The US: Hemp History.” Ministry of Hemp, 10 July 2020, ministryofhemp.com/hemp/history/.
CHAPTER TWO – Kratom (also mention M. Hirsuta and M. Javanica in this chapter??)
- Defining Kratom
Kratom otherwise known as Mitragyna Speciosa, is a shrub-like plant grown abundantly in Southeast Asia that is known for its wide array of benefits. Traditionally dried and crushed into a powder form, many take kratom in varying doses to manage chronic pain, boost one’s mood, gain energy, and enhance focus. The active ingredient in kratom is called mitragynine and it acts on the same mu-opioid receptors in the brain that traditional opioids target. For this reason, kratom is popular among those who are looking to curb withdrawal symptoms from traditional opiates. Kratom comes in different strains which directly relate to the location it was grown and the size, shape, and age of the leaves themselves. The three main kratom subcategories are white, green and red. It is important to note the existence of yellow and gold strains, which we will touch on again later in this chapter.
- Uses and forms
Kratom comes to us in many forms. Most commonly, it is found in its powder form. These are the leaves of the plant, dried and pulverized into a powder. This powder can be consumed as-is or capsulized for a longer-lasting experience. Kratom can also be found in the crushed-leaf form. This is particularly good for those who experience nausea when consuming the powder. The crushed leaves can be capsulized as well, however it is more common for them to be used to brew kratom tea.
Consumers now have the option as well to purchase kratom extracts. Kratom extracts are achieved through stripping the kratom of all plant material, leaving mostly just the active alkaloids. Often times, extracts are sold as ratios (i.e. 25:1 being our house kratom extract). Essentially, this means that during preparation, 25 kilograms of regular kratom powder is used to extract 1 kilogram of mitragynine. In other words, our house kratom extract is 25 times stronger than our regular house kratom powder. (GONNA NEED TO REWORD THIS). Extracts can come in the form of capsules, powder, liquid shots, and even edibles and beverages. Caution must be used when consuming extracts, as there are little to no other chemical constituents to moderate the effects of the alkaloids. Consuming kratom extracts daily can be dangerous, and it is advised to limit use to ??????? find this out. For reference, a typical 3-4 gram dose of kratom powder could contain anywhere from 23.4 to 37.2 milligrams of mitragynine, meanwhile a single capsule (200 mg) of extract could contain up to 85 milligrams of mitragynine.
For beginners, a good dose is anywhere from 2 – 4 grams of kratom powder. A tablespoon typically weighs out to 3 – 4 grams, however, densities of different kratom strains can vary, therefore it is best to use a scale. Capsules are a convenient way to introduce kratom into your lifestyle. Average kratom capsules contain 0.5 – 0.6 grams of powder, as indicated on the packaging. This makes it easy to control dosing with precision and accuracy without the mess of the scale and powder. Many daily users find the same relief from taking small doses, however, it is possible to develop a tolerance. To prevent building a tolerance, it is advised to rotate through strains. Another noteworthy point is that reds tend to be more potent strains in general, therefore 1 – 2 grams might be a good starting dose. Green strains are more potent than white strains but less potent than reds. White strains tend to be the least potent and may require doses in the 3 – 4 gram range to achieve desired effects.
For the most part, kratom tends to be a biphasic drug(????BETTER WORD PLS). At low doses, it is euphoric and energizing, and in higher doses it becomes sedating. Consuming high doses increases the risk of nausea, especially when consuming the powder as-is.
As mentioned earlier, the kratom strains relate directly to where they were grown as well as the size, shape, and age of the leaf itself. They can be broken down into 3 general categories: white, green, and red.
- White Strains
White strains are produced from the youngest leaves of the kratom plant. These kratom strains are often labeled “white vein,” as the vein of the leaf upon harvest appears white in color. These strains are going to provide high energy and euphoria and are often good for daytime use. White strains tend to be good anxiolytics, but bad painkillers.
- Green Strains
Green strains are produced from mid-life kratom leaves. They are often labeled “green vein,” as the vein of the leaf upon harvest appears green in color. Green strains are great introductions to kratom as they provide “the best of both worlds.” Greens tend to be well rounded strains that provide a little bit of everything kratom has to offer. They are going to be moderate mood-boosters, pain relievers, and anxiolytics- relaxing the body and muscles while keeping the brain alert and happy. A great place to start for beginners is the Green Maeng Da.
- Red Strains
Red strains are produced from the most mature kratom leaves. These are often labeled “red vein,” as the vein of the leaf appears red in color at the time of harvest. Red strains are going to be the most relaxing, sedating, pain relieving strains as they’ve developed a high alkaloid concentration over time. Those looking for relief from opiate withdrawals will find the best results in red strains, particularly the Red Borneo. These are excellent night-time strains, as some are great in helping the user get to sleep.
The second part of the strain name relates the plant to where it was grown or the shape or size of the leaves. Some popular strains are Borneo, Bali, Indo, Malay, and Thai. Respectively, these plants were grown in Borneo, Bali, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. “Horn” strains are named so because the kratom leaf that the strains are produced from is horned at the tips. Because of this, these strains are a bit higher in alkaloids and deliver a bigger punch. Similarly, “elephant” strains are named so because the leaves of this kratom plant are much larger than those of regular kratom plants. Potentially the most popular kratom strains, Maeng Da strains are grown in Thailand and are generally considered the “generic” kratom strain since they deliver a little bit of relief in all aspects that kratom has to offer.
It is also important to note the availability of yellow and gold strains. Though there is controversy surrounding the methods by which yellow and gold strains are attained, these strains can provide a high amount of euphoria while keeping the body relaxed. Although some believe that the kratom leaves go through a “yellow vein” phase, it is more likely that the yellow and gold strains available are a product of extensive sun-drying and curing of red or white strains. These are also sometimes fermented to achieve the same effect.
Kratom blends like the Dragon strains are available as well. These are two or more kratom strains mixed together to compound the effects of each.
X. A Word of Caution for kratom
Since kratom acts on the same neuroreceptors that traditional opioids do, it is possible to develop dependency with prolonged daily use. Although there is insufficient evidence to prove a direct correlation, some studies suggest that daily use of kratom extracts may increase the risk of seizures (5, 6, cite). Other side effects to prolonged daily kratom use include decreased gastrointestinal mobility and decreased libido. Some suggest that daily kratom use can increase cholesterol levels, leading to eventual liver damage, however a recent independent study conducted in Malaysia found that daily kratom users actually had lower LDL levels than their non-user counterparts (1).
Standard 5-panel drug screenings will not test for kratom’s active alkaloids or their metabolites. However, a recent study suggests that consuming kratom can result in false positives on drug tests for methodone and it’s metabolite EDDP(2). More research is required to say with certainty whether kratom will result in positive drug tests for methodone and its metabolite under all circumstances. There is a specific test that will test for kratom’s alkaloids and metabolites- the 10-panel drug screening. With this test, kratom is detectable in blood or urine for up to 7 days, depending on a variety of factors including the person’s body weight and metabolism (4).
While it is not a schedule I drug, the DEA recognizes the dangers of kratom. In 2016, the DEA sought to classify the substance as a schedule I drug, however, after multiple complaints, they chose to reverse their decision (3). Not all states have accepted the legality of kratom as a substance. The following states have banned kratom: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Other states have tried passing bills to ban kratom to no avail, and some counties in certain states like Sarasota, FL, have banned kratom despite it being legal for possession and consumption in the rest of the state (4).
Sources To Cite:
“Home – PMC – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/.
“Cannabinoid Report: 2-AG.” Cannabis Economy, canneconomy.com/report/cannabinoid-report-2-ag/.
Panikashvili D;Simeonidou C;Ben-Shabat S;Hanus L;Breuer A;Mechoulam R;Shohami E; “An Endogenous Cannabinoid (2-AG) Is Neuroprotective after Brain Injury.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11586361/.
“CBG.” Cresco Labs, 18 Nov. 2020, www.crescolabs.com/cannabinoids/cbg/.
Schmidt, Elena. “A Guide to CBG: Extraction, Storage, Price, Consumption and More.” ACS Lab Cannabis, 17 Sept. 2020, acslabcannabis.com/blog/education/a-guide-to-cbg-extraction-storage-price-consumption-and-more/.
Earlenbaugh, Emily. “What Is CBN (Cannabinol) & What Are the Benefits of This Cannabinoid?” Leafly, 5 Oct. 2020, www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/what-is-cbn-and-what-are-the-benefits-of-this-cannabinoid.
“Benefits of CBG / the Mother of All Cannabinoids.” Hemple, 10 Sept. 2019, www.hemple.com/benefits-of-cbg-the-mother-of-all-cannabinoids/.
“History Of Hemp In The US: Hemp History.” Ministry of Hemp, 9 July 2020, ministryofhemp.com/hemp/history/.
Ferguson, Sian. “Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 27 Aug. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/hemp-vs-marijuana.
Letscher, Emily. “The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator.” Journal of Young Investigators, Journal of Young Investigators, 1 June 2018, www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator
Valdeolivas, Sara, et al. “Neuroprotective Properties of Cannabigerol in Huntington’s Disease: Studies in R6/2 Mice and 3-Nitropropionate-Lesioned Mice.” Neurotherapeutics : the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Jan. 2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25252936/#:~:text=Herein%2C%20we%20studied%20the%20effects,striatal%20neurons%20against%203NP%20toxicity.
CHAPTER THREE – KAVA
Kava, also known as Piper Methysticum is a naturally occurring botanical located in the South Pacific island regions, including Hawaii. It is known by many different names amongst different pacific islanders. Although there is some discrepancy, it is believed that the plant originated in Vanuatu and was spread through south pacific islands by travelers. It is propagated vegetatively, and is incapable of self-reproducing as it does not produce fruit. Therefore, human cultivation plays a key role in the continuation of the species. It is believed that the P. methysticum that we know has kava today is a plant that was selectively bred and eventually became it’s own species over time. Piper wichmanii is the wild type of kava that is capable of self reproduction and that of which P. methysticum was domesticated. The two plants are remarkably similar, so much so that some scientists have a hard time distinguishing the two. Traditionally, the plant’s roots were masticated or ground down into a powder, where they could then be brewed into a tea. Many enjoy the social aspect of gathering with others to drink kava. It promotes an elevated mood and bubbly spirit, making it perfect for consumption in a group setting. Some people prefer kava to alcohol since kava provides a fun environment without the nasty side effects the next day, and kava is often advertised as an alcohol alternative. The active alkaloids present in kava that are responsible for it’s anxiolytic and mood enhancing properties are called kavalactones. The kavalactones are most concentrated in the root stock, particularly the lateral roots (as opposed to the crown root). The vegetative part of the plant is known to contain many toxins, and therefore only the root should be used to prepare kava tea. There are eighteen different kavalactones, however 6 main kavalactones make up over 96% of those found in kava. These kavalactones are yangonin, desmethoxyyangonin, methysiticin, kavain, dihydromethysticin, and dihydrokavain. The kavalactones are represented in a kava’s chemotype, which will be different in each strain and helps us determine whether a kava will be considered heady, heavy or balanced. Kavalactones on their own have little to no psychological or physical benefit. The efficacy of kava comes from the synergy of all kavalactones together in a solution (BOOK). Each individual kavalactone was given a number by Dr. Vincent Lebot, a respected and revered scientist and expert on kava. The kava chemotype is a 6-digit number that relates to the kavalactones present in the strain. The first number represents the kavalactone present in the highest concentration, and the last number represents the kavalactone with the lowest concentration.
Table 3.1 outlines the different kavalactones, their respective number, and a bit about how each contributes to the overall synergy of the kavalactones. These chemotypes can be useful to help us determine the overall effects the kava will have, and if it will be considered a heavy, heady, or balanced strain. The table, however, is not an exact science, and as mentioned before, isolated kavalactones have little to no psychological or physical benefits. Kavalactones are synergistic, and have the potential to change or negate the effects of other kavalactones. For example, many kava’s contain dihydrokavain (DHK) as one of the first three of their chemotype. Dihydrokavain in notorious for making people feel nauseous, however, the nausea is typically negated by the effects of the other kavalactones present in high concentrations.
Table 3.1: The 6 most relevant kavalactones, their respective numbers, and their contribution to the synergy of kavalactones. Taken from https://kavaguides.com/kavalactones/.
1a.Heady kava: Heady kavas provide a highly cerebral effect. These are social, mood-enhancing kavas and are great for day time use. Typically, kavas beginning with 4 or 6 in their chemotype are desirable as heady kava’s since kavain and methysticin are responsible for the euphoric and neuroprotective properties that kava has to offer. Hawaiian kavas often begin with 46 or 64 in their chemotype and are considered great heady kavas (2).
1b.Heavy Kava: Heavy kavas provide a strong sedative effect on the body. Heavy kavas will make the body relaxed and stress-free, like one is melting into the couch or bed. Great night time strains as they are also great sleep aids. Kavas with 1 and 2 in the first 3 numbers of their chemotype are considered heavy as DMY and DHK are responsible for the muscle relaxant and sedative properties that kava has to offer. Often, kavain is included in these strains to help balance out the intense sedative effects of DHK. Many kavas that come from Vanuatu are considered heavy as they contain 2 in the first 3 numbers of their chemotype.
1c.Balanced Kava: balanced kavas provide the best of both worlds and are exactly as they sound- balanced. The kavalactone content of these are more sporadic and harder to predict, however, most popular balanced strains contain 4, 2, and 6 as the first 3 numbers of their chemotype.
It is important to note here as well that kavas beginning with 25 or 52 are considered highly undesirable, as those two are the kavalactones responsible for the less desirable effects kava can have such as nausea/vomiting and dizziness. Strains beginning with “52” or “25” are considered “Tudei” kava by the people of Vanuatu, as the heavy body effects of DHM and DHK leave the user feeling intoxicated for two days.
Subsequently, the wide array of kava chemotypes can be generalized into morphotypes. The term morphotype is used to categorize individuals in a species that exhibit similar morphological characteristics. It was found that, even though plants can have the same genetics and chemotype, they exhibit different morphology. All kava morphotypes belong to one of nine convars, A-I. Chemotypes A-D, exclusive to Melanesia, are all forms of P. Wichmanii and have low kavain content. Groups A and B can be cultivated in Vanuatu and Baluan and have high concentrations of DHM/DHK and demethoxy-yangonin, respectively, and low proportions of kavain. Group C only contains one cultivar that can be grown in Papua New Guinea, and exhibits high DHK and DHM levels. Chemotype D has roughly the same proportions of DHK, DHM and methysticin, with very little kavain. These chemotypes are highly undesirable due to their high levels of DHM and DHK.
Chemotype groups E-I occur only in cultivars of P. methysticum. Chemotypes in group E can be found in Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, Hawai’i, Tonga, Marquesas, and the Carolines produce heave body effects, as they are high in DHM and DHK. Chemotypes in group F are distributed exclusively in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, and all cultivars in Papua New Guinea exhibit this unique chemotype. These cultivars are also high in DHM and DHK and are very undesirable strains, unusable for daily consumption. Chemotypes in groups G, H, and I are distributed through Polynesia, Vanuatu, and Fiji and are high in kavain, These are the most popular blends.
Kava has what is known as a reverse tolerance. This means that the more you take kava, the more you will feel the effects over time. In other words, an experienced kava consumer might need to take 1/10th of the amount of kava that a new user would to achieve the same results. Many compare this tolerance to a big brick wall, and every time you take kava is like hammering away at the wall. Eventually, just one whack of the hammer will do the trick! It is also important to note that kava works as a mild local anesthetic, and so drinking kava tea will have a mouth-numbing effect.
Kava is a psychoactive substance and has the ability to boost one’s mood and promote a social atmosphere. Traditionally, kava was consumed ceremonially and socially due to its ability to lessen social anxieties. Kava also acts as a muscle relaxant and local analgesic.
- Methods of Consumption
- Kava capsules- Capsulized kava is the best way for beginners to start taking kava! Dosage is already measured out. Kava pills do not contain the ground root itself, but instead contain extracted kavalactones.
- Kava tea- it is possible to brew a tea from the kava root. To do so, place kava in a strainer bag or ball in a cup with warm water. Steep and shake to extract the kavalactones from the root powder. Straining is very important, as the root powder is indigestible for humans and can lead to nausea and emesis if consumed.
- It is important to note the availability of both instant and micronized kava. Instant kava is made through a brewing process where the root powder is used to make a tea. The tea is then dehydrated to leave the kavalactones behind. Instant kava is convenient for those who do not wish to spend time brewing kava, as it is ready to place into water or juice and consumed as-is. The trade-off is that instant kava is more expensive than traditional root powder since the preparation process is much lengthier. Micronized kava falls somewhere in between traditional and instant kava, and is shrouded by some controversy. Micronized kava is the traditional root powder ground down into a very fine, pulverized powder. The idea is that since the root is ground so fine, it is easier on the body and can pass through our digestive system without actually needing to be digested. Micronized kava powder is treated the same way instant kava is in the sense that it can be added to juice or water and consumed as-is, however, there is a greater chance for unwanted side effects this way.
- Mention kava tinctures?
Kava’s Physiology in the Body
Kavalactones act primarily on the brain’s GABA receptors, increasing the uptake of GABA by our neurons. Gamma-aminobutyric acid, otherwise known as GABA, is the body’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Our brains maintain a perfect balance between GABA and glutamate, the body’s main excitatory neurotransmitter. With too much glutamate, seizures can occur, and with too much GABA, comas can occur. When our bodies are out of balance and GABA levels are low, it can lead to elevated levels anxiety, stress, and depression. Kavalactones act by increasing the binding potential of GABA to its receptors in the brain. For this reason, kava can be a good supplement for those who are experiencing stress and anxiety and are looking for a natural approach to medicine.
Kavalactones also exhibit the ability to regulate voltage-gated ion channels in our body, particularly the sodium-potassium ion channel which is essential to muscle contraction. Kavalactones have a blockade effect on these channels, in turn blocking muscle contractions and tension. This is the physiological process that allows the body to relax and unwind when kava is consumed.
Kava’s overall inhibitory effect on the body and the central nervous system lend to it’s relaxing and sedation properties, and can explain why ataxia and slurred speech can occur upon overconsumption.
It is speculated that there may be some interactions between kavalactones and the endocannabinoid system. According to a ___ study conducted by _____ in _____, yangonin was found to have weak interactions at the CB1 receptor when compared to delta-9 THC. While it is insufficient evidence to determine an established interaction, it is sufficient evidence for further investigation on the topic.
4. A Word of Caution on Kava
While kava has many health benefits, it is also of slight concern. Many countries banned kava for a period of time after speculated liver issues that kava may cause. Additionally, on March 25, 2002, the FDA issued a consumer advisory on supplements containing kava. The FDA reported that in over 25 cases, kava-containing products have been associated with liver-related injuries such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure (https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/kava.aspx).
- Our Natural Life Brew Recipe
Citations for kava:
CHAPTER FOUR- KANNA
1.Definition and History
The term Kanna refers to the succulent shrub native to the South African region. The more scientific name is known as Sceletium Tortuosum. One of the oldest reported uses of Kanna was in 1662 during a trade fair of farmers who found it provided relief from work fatigue, as well as satiation for hunger and thirst (Cite). Natives would chew on the plant at first but later found that wrapping up the roots and leaves in sheepskins further enhanced the alkaloids. Mesembrine is one of the three alkaloids found in kanna that interacts with the body’s innate serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRI’S). The other two alkaloids are Mesembrenone and Mesembrenol and they also promote the brain’s ability to operate with smaller levels of natural serotonin. The process itself mimics the structure of common antidepressants (Cite). This means Kanna is psychotropic and takes effect on one’s body by changing specific parts of the nervous system that result in elevated perception, mood, cognition, and even behavior. In 2012 Kanna actually entered the medical market as it was incorporated with the drug Zembrin. (Cite) Because kanna has those serotonin reuptake inhibitors, when combined with other compounds it creates that compound Zembrin. Typically, Zembrin is used to treat anxiety related disorders.
Some of the most common uses of Kanna start with its ability to decrease levels of stress and anxiety associated with mood and physical pain. Others use it as an appetite suppressant. Overall it can be used to provide an elevated mood while relieving feelings of discomfort.
3. Methods of Consumption
There are many methods of consuming Kanna. Creating tea is one of the most common methods (See our brew recipe below). Teas are effective in around one hour to an hour and a half. However, smoking is considered to be the fastest method due to the veins directly located on the lungs. The started recommended dose is 50 mg which will provide the elevated mood as well as appetite suppression. The medium dosage is around 100-250 mg. One should not exceed 500 mg when taking Kanna for many safety reasons. Another method is consuming the plant through a sublingual. This is a solution placed under the tongue, and after 30 seconds of holding the mixture there, one should swallow and feel the effects within 30 to 45 minutes. The starting dose is considered to be 50 to 150mg and 200 to 400 mg is a medium dose.
4. Our Natural Life Brew Recipe
SOURCES TO CITE
CHAPTER FIVE- MUSHROOMS
**Sara if we could go over the scientific side of adaptogens and how they interact in the body I would really appreciate your input here 🙂
1. What are Fungi?
Fleshy fungi also known as medicinal mushrooms are considered to be the ecosystem’s best recyclers because they engulf and regenerate nutrients from surrounding vegetation and insects(Stamets,2000). Fungi found its place on earth around 1.3 billion years ago as the first living organisms to inhabit the planet(Stamets,2000). Plants and greenery arrived several hundred million years later. Essentially the mycelium triggered the development and growth of what we now know today as plants. This came about due to a chemical process that naturally occurs. The fungi starts secreting oxalic acids that pull calcium from nearby rocks further breaking them down and escalating the development of soil(Stamets,2000). After the asteroid hit earth sixty five million years ago, it wiped out most life forms. The debris that surfaced after the impact covered light from reaching the earth’s surface. Fungi began its peak growth phase since it does not thrive off sunlight like most plants. Instead, fungi uses radiation as its source of energy. During this dark time on earth, the organisms that allowed themselves to be engulfed by the fungi, flourished. At one point there were mushrooms on earth so vast in size they reached twenty feet high and a yard wide. This species was called Prototaxites and its fossils can be found in Saudi Arabia (Stamets,2000). This incredible quote breaking down the composition of mycelium states “Most mushrooms are composed of around 90% water by weight. The remaining 10% consists of 10–40% protein, 2–8% fat, 3–28% carbohydrate, 3–32% fiber, 8–10% ash, and some vitamins and minerals, with potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, iron, zinc, and copper accounting for most of the mineral content (Borchers et al. 1999)” (Wachtel-Galor,1970)
Mycelium is so common in nature, that per cubic inch of soil at least over a mile of cells is flourishing (Stamets,2000). Fungi as a whole, from the stem to the spores can be used for its vast amount of essential minerals. Some of the most common mushrooms include ganoderma lucidum, hericium erinaceus, cordyceps sinensis, and trametes versicolor. The benefits differ based on the species of fungi, however these botanicals are known to benefit the natural operational systems in the body.
- Bioneerschannel, director. Paul Stamets – How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World | Bioneers. YouTube, YouTube, 3 Dec. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbGRMj9tP5M.
- zooillogix on April 23, 2007. “Zooillogix.” ScienceBlogs, scienceblogs.com/zooillogix/2007/04/23/giant-prehistoric-organism-ide.
Ganoderma Lucidum also known as Reishi, is similar to adaptogens such as ashwagandha. Reishi is a wonderful substance for managing stressors in the body. These sizable fungi hold a deep orange and brown hue that is covered by a slick sheen. The term lucidus actually translates to brillant or shiny in the latin language. The properties that give reishi its significance as well as interact with the human physique are called beta-glucans. These molecules are located in the depths of the cell walls of living organisms. Known as immunomodulators (functions decreasing inflammatory responses),beta-glucans help to improve the immune system and overall reduce inflammation.
Reishi is also a hepatoprotectant, meaning it aids in preserving and averting damage to the liver.It also helps aid in a process known as bacteriostasis, a bodily function that regulates the development and spread of bacteria(Wachtel-Galor,1970). In ancient Chinese medicine, reishi is known as Lingzhi which means herb of spiritual significance (Benzie,2011). However humanity’s first use of mushrooms stems back all the way to ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, and India. As coveted as they were at the time, in most cultures they were only consumed by nobility and royalty(Wachtel-Galor,1970). Egyptians specifically started this tradition as a way to ascend their minds after passing on. The Pharaohs would consume the mushrooms throughout their lives and sometimes even be buried with them.This gave reishi and other mushrooms the nickname “Medicine of Kings”(Wachtel-Galor,1970). It is believed they took on this alias due to their large number of vital minerals that can be extracted from all parts of the fungi including spores, and mycelia. The polysaccharides and triterpenes cultivated in the natural growth process of the plant, are another beneficial component that seem to give mushrooms their great reputation(Wachtel-Galor,1970). It is critical to note that all mushrooms, not just reishi, are extremely rich in bioactive molecules. Examples of such include terpenoids, phenols, steroids,and nucleotides(Wachtel-Galor,1970). Mushroom proteins also contain two key amino acids, Lysine and Leucine, that the human body does not naturally produce on its own. This is why having a diet rich in amino acids or supplementing with mushrooms such as reishi can be extremely beneficial.
1.Benzie, Iris F. F. “Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, Second Edition.” Google Books, CRC Press, 28 Mar. 2011, books.google.com/books?id=7WDgesSflScC&dq=reishi%2Bmushroom%2Bganoderma%2Blucidum&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s.
2.Your Super. “Reishi Mushrooms: 4 Health Benefits Of This Medicinal Mushroom.” Your Super, yoursuper.com/pages/reishi-mushroom-benefits?utm_source=google&utm_medium=paid-search&gclid=CjwKCAiAl4WABhAJEiwATUnEF8VCGx1GYlVaP75j-t-GuzwTcU1tHFQbrStJaoC4UlqqOYDppJTDIRoCNHAQAvD_BwE.
3.Winston, David. “Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.” Google Books, Simon and Schuster, 17 Sept. 2019, books.google.com/books?id=ZdOPDwAAQBAJ&dq=reishi%2Bas%2Ban%2Badaptogen%5C&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s.
4.Stamets, Paul. Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms: Shokuyō Oyobi yakuyō Kinoko No Saibai: a Companion Guide to The Mushroom Cultivator. Ten Speed Press, 2000.
5.“Mushrooms: Food of Royalty.” The Pilot Newspaper, 24 Oct. 2012, www.thepilot.com/news/mushrooms-food-of-royalty/article_0f5dcd30-07fe-58f4-b45f-f81f4dc60c1c.html.
6.Wachtel-Galor, Sissi. “Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi).” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/.
7.Tang W;Gao Y;Chen G;Gao H;Dai X;Ye J;Chan E;Huang M;Zhou S; “A Randomized, Double-Blind and Placebo-Controlled Study of a Ganoderma Lucidum Polysaccharide Extract in Neurasthenia.” Journal of Medicinal Food, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/.
1b. Lions Mane
* Sara this article on lions mane is really informative but I also need some assistance with the scientific explanations*
Traditionally known as Hericium Erinanceus, lion’s mane grows plentifully on decaying and dead trees most commonly in North America ,Europe and Asia. (Davis,2019). This nutraceutical (substance having mental benefits which provide protection from disease) is composed of a wide array of nutrients. These essential compounds provide benefits to the major five organs: lungs, heart, liver, kidney, and spleen. Used primarily to provide restorative energy and increase the body’s defenses against disease and stress, lion’s mane is a powerful substance. There are two specific compounds that give lion’s mane its reputation. They are known as Hericenones and Erinacines and they stimulate nerve growth factors(Lai, Puei-Lene, et al., 2013).These NGF’s, after being extracted and studied, showed to be crucial when it comes to regulating the basal forebrain system. This system is important because it is responsible for producing acetylcholine, a chemical needed for many functions in the brain and body especially in regulating the health of the brain itself. Acetylcholine is also necessary for the learning and memory functions of the brain.This is why lion’s mane has been notorious for recollection of memory. One example of this is shown in a trial where mice were “injected with neurotoxic peptides in an experiment to assess the effects of lion’s mane on the type of amyloid plaque formation seen in Alzheimer’s patients (Paul Stamets)”. The mice then completed a Y maze and were tested and separated based on who was receiving the lion’s mane supplements vs the ones that were not. The results showed that the mice that were receiving the diet with Hericium and Erinanceus, performed with greater results when completing the memory maze than their counter group(Paul Stamets). This isn’t the only property that this fungi processes. Not only does it stimulate the Nerve Growth factors, but it also stimulates the BDNF produced in the brain and body. Brain derived neurotrophic factor is one of the growth hormones similar to NGF’s. These neurotrophics prevent cells from entering the decaying process as well as stimulate the growth of new and existing cells (Wakkojono,2018). Another study showed that this fungi is also believed to aid in the damage from amyloid-beta plaque. This plaque is what typically accumulates in the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer’s.Vast Improvements were seen in elderly people who were consuming 3 grams of powdered hericium erinaceus daily for a span of four months. The daily dose is around 1000mg one to two times daily and it can be consumed raw,cooked,dried,or steeped in a drink (according to our nine mile botanicals brand- do we keep this in here or not?). Lion’s mane was also shown to help increase the function of the hippocampus which has been shown to aid those suffering from anxiety and depression. Since it reduces inflammation it’s a wonderful anxiolytic and has also been shown to increase the intestinal immune system which in turn protects against pathogens that could enter the nose, mouth, or gut. For instance a study showed the mice injected with the bacteria salmonella actually were able to increase their life span after supplementing with lion’s mane (Popov, 2020).
1.Lai, Puei-Lene, et al. “Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium Erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Begel House Inc., www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,034eeb045436a171,750a15ad12ae25e9.html.
2.Davis, Written by Renée A., et al. “Lion’s Mane: Nutrients for the Nervous System.” Renee A. Davis, 7 May 2019, www.reneeadavis.com/2017/11/08/lions-mane-nutrients-nervous-system/.
3.Sayner, Adam. “Medicinal Mushrooms: The Complete Guide.” GroCycle, 19 Jan. 2021, grocycle.com/medicinal-mushrooms-the-complete-guide/.
4.Stamets , Paul. “Amadou Mushroom Hat.” Mushroomsknowbest, www.mushroomsknowbest.com/cognitive-health/.
5.Authors, All, and Bing-Ji Ma. “Hericenones and Erinacines: Stimulators of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Biosynthesis in Hericium Erinaceus.” Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21501201003735556.
6.Popov, Martin. “Lion’s Mane Mushroom – What It Is Really Good for?” Mushrooms Health, 16 Nov. 2020, mushroomhealth.org/2020/11/16/lions-mane-mushroom-what-it-is-really-good-for/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwrsGCBhD1ARIsALILBYo4v3l6_hEf7FnhfUXljLlqJwac8u9TAOny0Wk2VzUYGtkDGBB-Q4EaAq93EALw_wcB.
7.Wakkojono, director. Understanding BDNF and Its Importance to Brain Health. YouTube, YouTube, 10 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU9kviOMQy0&t=324s.
The botanical cordyceps sinensis, otherwise known as cordyceps is one of the common medical mushrooms. This parasitic fungus is found predominantly in the himalyan mountains at around 3,700 feet or higher (Sayner,2021). The cultivation and propagation of cordyceps is extremely unique due its ability to regenerate from these heights. Fungi attach itself to any “host” or small living being like a caterpillar or a larva. After the spores attach to the being the fungi chemically interacts with the hosts mind, propelling it to climb to heights ranging from 3,000 to 3,700 feet. After ascending the host stays in place until it eventually dies. After its death, the spores of the fungi will slowly emerge from the top of the head of those hosts (Sayner,2021). After emerging wind and other natural forces encourage the spread of the spores. This is why the height of the insect matters. Incredibly at any point the fungi could quite literally engulf the host but instead it works with the host to propagate itself. Considered a nucleoside, this mushroom contains key properties needed for the synthesis of RNA and DNA within the body (Mehra,2017). Studies on boars and rats have also shown that cordycep militaris to enhance the testosterone levels which in turn increases the sperm counts of these animals. Smiliarily it is thought to have a similar effect on human males (Mehra,2017). The compounds that bring cordyceps to the forefront of medicinal mushrooms, are its components called polysaccharides and cordycepin (Mehra,2017). An article according to the Wiley online library states that this incredible fungus possesses traits that include: anti-tumoral, hypolipidemic,antioxidant, antimetastatic, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Explain this in my own words?
“It is well known for its nucleoside, cordycepin (3′-de-oxyadenosine) and its derivatives, ergosterol, polysaccharides, glycoprotein and peptides containing α-aminoisobutyric acid. Polysaccharides and cordycepin present in C militaris account for the anti-inflammatory antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-metastatic, immunomodulatory (Das et al., 2010), hypoglycaemic, steroidogenic and hypolipidemic effects (Wang et al., 2014). Its biological activity includes antitumor (Le e e t a l. , 2 0 1 5 ), a n ti-me t a st a ti c , immunomodulatory, antioxidant (Ma et al., 2012), antiinflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, hypolipidemic (Mizuno et al., 1999), hypoglycaemic (Ma et al., 2015), anti aging, neuroprotective, and renoprotective properties (Patel et al., 2013).”
1.Sayner, Adam. “Medicinal Mushrooms: The Complete Guide.” GroCycle, 19 Jan. 2021, grocycle.com/medicinal-mushrooms-the-complete-guide/. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1211/jpp.57.12.0001
Bioneerschannel, director. Paul Stamets – How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World | Bioneers. YouTube, YouTube, 3 Dec. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbGRMj9tP5M.
1d. Turkey Tail
This colorful and abundant fungi known as Trametes Versicolor, is grown in woodsy environments and contains many beneficial properties to our health. Like most fungus, turkey tail contributes to the ecosystem by acting as a recycler (Hobbs). This means that as fungi grow and develop they overtake the decaying or dying materials around itself. They do so by engulfing them in their growth cycles (Dr.Dov,2020). Eventually the plant materials are returned to the soil adding further nutrients and continuing the fertile growth of the rest of the ecosystem. However Dr.Dov Pine explains there is more to turkey tail than its positive impact on the environment. As Trametes versicolor was studied more thoroughly, its popularity in the cancer research field transpired. The compounds known as PSP (polysaccharopeptide) PSK (polysaccharide-k) were studied on three different levels to see how they interacted with cancer cells in the body (Dr.Dov,2020). The conclusions showed that turkey tail inspired the immune system to “wake up” and identify harmful cells. This in turn stimulates the body and its natural defense process making it easier to fight off. Turkey tail was also shown to trigger the downregulation response(Dr.Dov,2020). This means it has defense and offense mechanisms against toxic cells. Lastly, turkey tail showed its ability to preserve red and white blood cells. During any type of cancer treatment (radiation or chemotherapy) these cells are depleted drastically causing one to be susceptible to further infections and illness(Dr.Dov,2020). Turkey tail helps to preserve these cells within the body, retaining the immune protectant properties necessary to survival. It can be noted that PSP (polysaccharopeptide) has also been shown to boost the levels of good bacteria in the gut such as bifidobacterium spp. This leads many to believe turley tail is a great aid in gastrointestinal symptoms(Dr.Dov,2020). Another wonderful property of trametes versicolor is its ability to fight off osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is essentially the loss of bone density in the body. Study showed that turkey tail as well as maitake mushrooms help to prevent bone resorption (osteoclast activity). The shitake mushrooms stimulated new bone mineralization.
Glob Adv Health Med. 2012;1(5):18.
Pine, Dr. Dov. “The Amazing Properties of Turkey Tail Mushrooms.” Dr. Dov Pine, 28 Mar. 2020, www.drdovpine.com/turkey-tail-mushrooms/.
Hobbs, Christopher. “Medicinal Value of Turkey Tail Fungus Trametes Versicolor (L.:Fr.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae). A Literature Review.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Begel House Inc., www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,1b1b20957ef5c8f4,210d57c00e88b78c.html.
Bioneerschannel, director. Paul Stamets – How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World | Bioneers. YouTube, YouTube, 3 Dec. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbGRMj9tP5M.
CHAPTER SIX- SUPPLEMENTS
Add a disclaimer here to consult a licensed doctor before taking any specific supplements or adding them into your lifestyle
Supplements are the foundation of almost every ayurvedic medicinal practice and have been used for centuries to aid in relief from common ailments as well as act as a preventative measure to disease. They are most commonly defined as components extracted or found within or of a plant or substance that can be beneficial to the body. Some supplements are more important to take than others since the diet sometimes doesn’t deliver all of the essential nutrients needed. However, since supplements are intended to make up for lacking areas of the diet, they can not be said to solely cure, treat, or prevent any ailment or disease. According to Journal of Nutrition many people begin taking supplements for two reasons: to act as preventative measures against diseases, or to alleviate symptoms of disease and illness (Wargovich,2001).
1.Institute of Medicine (US) and National Research Council (US) Committee on the Framework for Evaluating the Safety of Dietary Supplements. “Introduction and Background.” Dietary Supplements: A Framework for Evaluating Safety., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216048/.
2.Wargovich, Michael J., et al. “Herbals, Cancer Prevention and Health.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Nov. 2001, academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/11/3034S/4686712?login=true.
The herb Ashwagandha otherwise known as Withania Somnifera, is a popular ayurvedic medicinal used to cultivate anti-stress as well as anti-inflammatory properties (Singh Narendra,2011). It can also be referred to as Winter Cherry since it does belong to the nightshade family of plants. It has also been shown to be adaptogenic, meaning it can aid the body in fighting off physical, mental, biological, and chemical stressors. The continued use of the herb across centuries in ancient China and in traditional indian medicine has shown to be a long term support of joint health, as well as a sleep aid, a stress aid, and even aids in the reproductive and sexual health of adults(Singh Narendra,2011). Further research also found that ashwagandha helps to facilitate the body’s natural protection against disease by boosting the cell-mediated immunity response(Singh Narendra,2011). Therefore, one would think ashwagandha can be beneficial to those with a weaker immune system, such as autoimmune diseases. However, it is important to note that it actually activates the immune system of those with those ailments, negatively (should i include this here or does it feel conflicting to the point). Conversely, if one is not suffering from an autoimmune disease it can aid in the cell mediated immunity properties discussed before. According to The Journal of Complementary and Integrated Medicine a study was done with rats treated in three main doses with the herb. At the end of the twenty day period the results showed that the herb portrayed an antiarthritic and anti-inflammatory response (Khan Mahmood Ahmad,2015). There is an array of benefits that ashwagandha can provide to both males and females. In a study conducted on infertile males, seventy five started taking five grams of ashwagandha each day, and 14% has increased fertility (The Art of Living Retreat Center, 2020). Also aids in memory retention, controlling inflammation, and regulating blood sugar. One of the most common methods of consuming ashwagandha is through a capsule. The capsule can be solely ashwagandha or it can be blended with other supplements and or adaptogens. The use of root powder is also a common method. Many find adding it to smoothies or creating a tea out of it, is a beneficial hands on way.
Singh, Narendra, et al. “An Overview on Ashwagandha: a Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda.” African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines : AJTCAM, African Networks on Ethnomedicines, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/.
“Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng/Winter Cherry).” The Art of Living Retreat Center, 17 Sept. 2020, artoflivingretreatcenter.org/blog/ashwagandha/.
Khan, Mahmood Ahmad, et al. “Effect of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) Root Extract on Amelioration of Oxidative Stress and Autoantibodies Production in Collagen-Induced Arthritic Rats.” De Gruyter, De Gruyter, 1 June 2015, www.degruyter.com/view/journals/jcim/12/2/article-p117.xml.
This ancient root otherwise known as Panax Ginseng, is native to the North American region and extremely beneficial to the body. The most active component in ginseng is the ginsenosides( American Family Physician, 2003). They work with the body to enhance the process of phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is the action of cells dissolving or consuming other cells that are foreign to the body, aged in some way, or pose a threat to immune health. This is why ginseng can be beneficial to the body’s major airways during a cold or flu (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health,2020). Natural medicines Comprehensive Database conducted a study on patients with type two diabetes. The study showed that taking ginseng two hours before a meal could lower the patients blood sugar after the meal. Another study showed that taking anywhere from 200 mg to 400 mg per day during cold and flu season for approximately three to six months would decrease the risk of sickness (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health,2020).
1.Kiefer, David S., and Traci Pantuso. “Panax Ginseng.” American Family Physician, 15 Oct. 2003, www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1015/p1539.html.
2.“Asian Ginseng.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nccih.nih.gov/health/asian-ginseng.
Turmeric otherwise known as curcuma longa, is appreciated and used not only for its distinct flavor and scent but also for its variety of health benefits. According to the Indian Journal of Dental Research Turmeric is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, hepatoprotective, and is a strong antioxidant (TP Chaturvedi,2009).Turmeric can be used topically and orally. Topically it can be used to treat ulcers by cleansing and disinfecting the skin as well as other topical ailments such as acne due its non drying properties. Orally it can be used for various issues including bloating, indigestion, loss of appetite, and even jaundice (TP Chaturvedi,2009). The turmeric root itself is known to be antiseptic as well as aromatic. It is also known to protect against free radical damage within the body. In ancient cultures, the bright orange powder was popularly used as a textile die. Incorporating Turmeric into the diet when cooking or as a supplement is a great way to reduce inflammation overall. A study from the Integrated Cancer Therapies showed the benefits of turmeric for those undergoing radiation induced oral mucositis in structured clinical trials. Specifically these neck and head patients used a solution of a dissolved turmeric capsule around 400 mg in 80 ml of boiled water that had been cooled (Rao,2014). The study concluded that as a whole the turmeric solution proved to be even more effective than the previous treatment that was commonly used. The povidone iodine solution that is typically used, was shown to be less effective as reducing the inflammation (Chainani-Wu,2004). Turmeric is also one of the properties along with red grapes and green tea that have been evaluated in animal carcinogenesis systems with interesting results.Due to their anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic properties, they are shown to be effective in preventing symptoms. The effective compound creating these properties is called polyphenols (Wargovich,2001).
1.Chaturvedi, TP. “Uses of Turmeric in Dentistry: An Update.” Indian Journal of Dental Research , 2009, www.ijdr.in/article.asp?issn=0970-9290;year=2009;volume=20;issue=1;spage=107;epage=109;aulast=Chaturvedi.
2.Khanna, N. M. “Turmeric – Nature’s Precious Gift.” Current Science, vol. 76, no. 10, 1999, pp. 1351–1356. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24102180. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.
3.Suresh Rao, Chetana Dinkar. “The Indian Spice Turmeric Delays and Mitigates Radiation-Induced Oral Mucositis in Patients Undergoing Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer: An Investigational Study – Suresh Rao, Chetana Dinkar, Lalit Kumar Vaishnav, Pratima Rao, Manoj Ponadka Rai, Raja Fayad, Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga, 2014.” SAGE Journals, journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1534735413503549.
4.Chainani-Wu, Nita, et al. “Safety and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Curcumin: A Component of Turmeric (Curcuma Longa).” Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers, 5 July 2004, www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/107555303321223035.
5.Wargovich, Michael J., et al. “Herbals, Cancer Prevention and Health.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Nov. 2001, academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/11/3034S/4686712?login=true.
4a. Aloe Vera
Aloe is most commonly known as a houseplant. However, there are many benefits that it can provide. Its earliest documented use was in 1750 B.C.E for pharmaceutical needs. The potency of the plant is found in its aloins– the bitter green juice of the plant. After the liquid is extracted and dries, it is turned into a powder. The leaves itself are 99.5% water and contain high levels of a compound known as Lectin. Lectin has been shown to aid in decreasing inflammation, specifically when combined with glycoproteins (molecules composed of proteins) already existing in the body. Aloe also contains lignins too, which help it to penetrate deeper into the skin. Lignins are known for their anti aging benefits to making aloe a great topical treatment for dry skin. According to Penn Medicine MD Manasija Rath, the anti-inflammatory properties can soothe cold sores due to the cell regenerating compounds, and aid in the reduction of swelling (Manasija Rath MD, 2020). Since the juice is extremely antibacterial it was also found to be a bacteriostatic against many viruses such as staphylococcus aureus. The juice also contains latex, which is a huge aid in that backed up feeling associated with constipation (Manasija Rath MD, 2020).Overall aloe is beneficial topically for any type of skin irritation and internally for its anti constipation and antiviral benefits.
1.Manasija Rath, MD. “Aloe Vera: Not Just for Sunburns – Penn Medicine.” – Penn Medicine, Penn Medicine Health Blogs, 10 Feb. 2020, www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/august/aloe.
2.Shelton, Ronald M. “Aloe Vera Its Chemical and Therapeutic Properties .” Desert Harvest, www.desertharvest.com/physicians/documents/142-0.pdf.
5a. Tongkat Ali
Tongkat Ali otherwise known as Euryoma Congifolia is a medicinal plant found in Southeast Asia. Many refer to it as Malaysain ginseng since the effects are similar. Traditionally it was used for its anti-aging properties but it also gained popularity for its aphrodisiac benefits. It has also shown to be beneficial for those wanting to increase their natural libido and regain a feeling of balance hormonally. Since it also aids in keeping the body’s cortisol levels low, it is recommended for athletes to use and anyone who is dealing with high stress. A study from the International Journal Society of Sports Nutrition showed that taking tongkat ali daily improves the stress hormone profile in the body as well as certain mood parameters.
1.Talbott, Shawn M. “Human Performance and Sports Applications of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia).” Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance (Second Edition), Academic Press, 12 Oct. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128139226000631.
2.R. Bhat, AA. Karim, et al. “Effect of Tongkat Ali on Stress Hormones and Psychological Mood State in Moderately Stressed Subjects.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 1 Jan. 1970, jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-10-28.
Moringa, otherwise known as Moringa Oleifera, is a tree shrub that originated in India. Its first known usage was around the first century A.D. where it was used medicinally. This tropical tree grows abundantly and propagates easily since it is quite low maintenance. The plant contains the roots, branches, leaves, and stems that can be used for a variety of day to day ailments. During the plant’s youngest stage, the leaves can be used in many food dishes such as soups and salads. This provides a great source of vitamin B and essential amino acids. As the plant continues to mature, the oil found in the seeds can be used as a cooking tool or even in the industrial world on heavy machinery. Research also showed that the 4 isothiocyanate compound that is found in seed oil proves to be an excellent antimicrobial. This is why in the first century Moringa was primarily used as a medicinal tool, especially by the first peoples. The chemical structure of moringa oil contains oleic acid. This compound is known as a monounsaturated fat, and provides many cardiovascular benefits. According to the United States Natural Library of Medicine, the National Institute of health stated that Moringa can help reduce cholesterol and help to prevent breast cancer (Muhammad, 2016) Starting dose is 600mg and it can be taken up to 5 times a day (nine mile botanicals says this on the back of their bottle? Can’t seem to find an accurate source for dosing)
1.N, Foidl, et al. “The Potential of Moringa Oleifera for Agricultural and Industrial Uses .” Moringatrees.org, 2001, www.moringatrees.org/moringa-doc/the_potential_of_moringa_oleifera_for_agricultural_and_industrial_uses.pdf.
2.Price, Martin L. Ebook Moringa , 2007, Price, DRr. Martin L. “The Moringa Tree .” Ebook Moringa , 2007, pdf-ins-internet.de/dateien/ebook_moringa.pdf.
3.U., Eilert, et al. “The Antibiotic Principle of Seeds of Moringa Olefiera and Moringa Stenopetala .” Researchgate.net, 1981, www.researchgate.net/profile/Dr_Adolf_Nahrstedt/publication/15942669_The_Antibiotic_Principle_of_Seeds_of_Moringa_oleifera_and_Moringa_stenopetala/links/0c960528099a21c727000000.pdf.
Nadeem, Muhammad, and Muhammad Imran. “Promising Features of Moringa Oleifera Oil: Recent Updates and Perspectives.” Lipids in Health and Disease, BioMed Central, 8 Dec. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5146848/.
4.Nine Mile Botanicals, 28 Dec. 2017, ninemilebotanicals.com/.
Harvested in West Africa and typically grown in tropical climates, Picralima Nitida, has been used medicinally for a various number of health related ailments. The compounds that allow akuamma to be so beneficial are called alkaloids, which play a large role in the anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti fever, and hypoglycemic benefits associated with the plant (Erharuyi, Osayemwenre, 2014). Traditionally it was also used in regions such as Ghana, Africa, and along the ivory coast to ease the symptoms of otitis (inflammatory ear disease) as well as pulmonary bronchitis and other venereal diseases (Solomon I.P, 2014). In Ghana specifically, a local hospital started to construct a capsule form of akuamma for patients suffering from malaria. The capsules contained the pulverized akuamma seed powder at a 250 mg concentration and were marketed under the name “picap capsules”(Solomon I.P, 2014).
1.Solomon , I.P., et al. “Chronic Oral Consumption of Ethanolic Extract of Picralima Nitida (Akuamma) Seed Induced Histopathological Changes on the Testes of Adult Wistar Rats .” Ijpras.com, ijpras.com/en.
2.Editorial Staff, “Herbal Medicine: Things You Need To Know About Akuamma,” in Medicalopedia, May 20, 2020,
3.Erharuyi, Osayemwenre, et al. “Medicinal Uses, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Picralima Nitida (Apocynaceae) in Tropical Diseases: A Review.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, No Longer Published by Elsevier, 11 Jan. 2014, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1995764513601820.
8a. Blue Lotus
Blue Lotus flower otherwise known as Nymphea Caerulea, is an ancient water lily native to Egypt (Justin Poklis,2017). The petals are most commonly consumed in a bright blue and purple colored tea, but can also be taken in capsule form as well. This botanical is used for a variety of different ailments including depression, anxiety, and even a sleep aid. The vibrant flowers grow most abundantly on water banks such as rivers and lakes, due to the consistently saturated soil. Characteristics of the blue lotus come from its key alkaloids. The main two are known as aporphine and nuciferine and they both provide different effects that when combined together compliment each other. Aporphine is considered a psychoactive alkaloid as well as a nonselective dopamine agonist used to treat parkinson’s disease (Tag:Blue Lotus and Serotonin, 2019). The other alkaloid found in the flower is known as nuciferine which is associated with the dopamine receptor blockade. Essentially these two compounds bind with the neurotransmitters in the brain providing relaxing effects (Harer W. Benson,2021) (Sara if we could go over this maybe together so you can make sure I am explaining things the best way I can scientifically- feel free to edit). One of the best ways to use blue lotus is when the body is experiencing mild pains such as cramps, headaches, or muscle pain. Simply brewing a tea will help to ease discomfort especially since this flower is considered an analgesic. Analgesics are known most commonly to assist in the pain relieving process allowing this to be a great natural remedy.
1.Poklis, Justin L. “The Blue Lotus Flower (Nymphea Caerulea) Resin Used in a New Type of Electronic Cigarette, the Re-Buildable Dripping Atomizer.” Taylor & Francis, 7 Mar. 2017, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2017.1290304.
2.Harer, W. Benson. “Pharmacological and Biological Properties of the Egyptian Lotus.” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, vol. 22, 1985, pp. 49–54. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40000390. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.
3.User, Super. “Tag: Blue Lotus Serotonin.” Drugs and Bad Ideas, 2 Nov. 2019, drugsandbadideas.com/tag/blue-lotus-serotonin/. (found on google scholar)
Mushrooms were used in several ancient societies for their medicinal properties. In ancient Egypt, mushrooms were viewed as a plant of immortality, given that people thought that they could give them eternal life. Dating all the way back to 100 BCE, mushrooms have been widely used in China for their health benefits, like treatment for cancer or respiratory ailments. In Mesoamerican cultures, mushrooms were used for their health and medicinal benefits, as well as for spiritual purposes. It wasn’t until 1928 that the beneficial properties of fungi were isolated and researched. This happened when Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin. Mushrooms and humans have both evolved over time to better coexist in one ecosystem. Thus, mushrooms have developed properties that are beneficial to humans, and humans have developed new receptors that help the body process these properties. Although mushrooms are not a regulated alternative medicine, they are proving to have real, positive effects on humans in a multitude of ways.
Mushrooms create a happier immune system for our bodies. This is because they serve as a natural alternative to medicines meant to increase immunity, brain function, and an overall healthier body and mind. Some mushrooms are called adaptogens. Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that aid the body in resisting stressors – physical, chemical, and biological. Many mushrooms also provide the body with benefits like antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Antimicrobial agents help destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Antiviral agents actively help the body fight against viruses. Antibacterial agents help fight against unwanted bacteria in the body. All mushrooms contain something called beta glucans which help fight inflammation and help keep the immune system working properly.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma Lucidum) have been a part of traditional, alternative medicine practices for nearly 2000 years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reishi mushrooms are called “Lingzhi”, which means “spiritual potency.” They are aptly referred to as the “Medicine of Kings.” Reishi has many uses and benefits, but taking the lead is their aid in cancer treatment. In Japan, scientists have proven that Reishi has antitumor benefits and can help fight off cancerous cells. It is also believed that it can be used as a cancer preventative. The active anti-cancer agent in Reishi is called Beta-D-Glucan. Reishi is often used in addition to chemotherapy in order to help reduce the side effects of the chemo treatment such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and hair loss. It can also be used on patients with terminal cancer to help reduce the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and to help prolong the life of the patient. These magic mushrooms also have other uses and benefits, like anti-aging properties. Recent studies have linked Reishi mushrooms to lifespan expansion. This is likely due in turn to their high polysaccharide content. A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate whose molecules consist of multiple sugar molecules bonded together. These anti-aging benefits are accomplished by boosting the immune system and preventing abnormal blood vessel formations. Reishi also detoxifies the body, specifically the liver. Reishi mushrooms have been linked to faster regeneration of liver cells and a release of free radicals that have built up in the liver. Free radicals can cause chronic diseases, so it’s extremely beneficial to the body to neutralize and/or release them. Reishi also has proven to have high anti-inflammatory properties. Many individuals with chronic pain ailments like arthritis turn to Reishi for relief. These mushrooms also provide an overall immune system boost. This is due to the high content of beta-glucans, which can help protect the body against disease. Although these mushrooms can be a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, they still carry the possibility of side effects. It has been reported that in individuals with consistent and extended use of Reishi (approximately 1-2 months), some side effects may include headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, and dry mouth. Reishi may also aid in lowering blood pressure, so those with low blood pressure should use them with caution. Reishi can be found in oil-based tinctures, as well as in powdered form, primarily in pre-packaged capsules.
Turkey Tail mushrooms (Trametes Versicolor) have been used in Chinese medicine dating as far back as the 15th century. In China, these mushrooms are referred to as “yun zhi.” In Traditional Chinese Medicine, “yun zhi” is used to boost immune function and help fight infections. PSK, or Polysaccharide-K, is a component found in Turkey Tail mushrooms that is often extracted and isolated; it is proven to have many anti-cancer properties, including inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. In the 1980’s, Japan approved PSK as an official cancer treating drug. Some scientists have concluded that PSK can be used to help radically improve survival rates in cancer patients with terminal cancer. Turkey Tail also contains Polysaccharide Peptide, also known as PSP, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. These mushrooms are packed full of antioxidants and prebiotics, helping to neutralize free radicals and replenish and nourish the body’s healthy gut bacteria. Turkey Tail has been used to treat cancers such as colon cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer. Evidence has found that the use of PSK in cancer patients can help the adverse effects of chemotherapy that damage the immune system. Although it’s use has been proven to be primarily for cancer treatment and aid, the strong anti-inflammatory properties entail that these mushrooms are also great for people struggling with inflammation in the body. Turkey Tail is generally consumed by brewing a mushroom tea, or through capsules.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms (Hericium Erinaceus) have many health benefits and are widely recognized as a nutraceutical – a food supplement that has wellness benefits. Also known as “Hou tou gu” in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this powerful mushroom is nutritious for all 5 major organs – the liver, spleen, lung, heart, and kidney. In Japan, Lion’s Mane is known as “Yamabushitake” – literally translated to “those who sleep in the mountains”. Named after the Yamabushi Buddhist Monks, who wear a traditional fur garment around their necks to represent the Lion’s Mane mushroom, these monks used Lion’s Mane in meditation, firmly believing that it helped increase their focus and concentration, which ultimately allowed them to better cultivate “Qi” – the force of life. These mushrooms have been available to us in nature for centuries, but they were first artificially cultivated in China in 1988. Cyathane derivitives hericenones and erinacines, two active ingredients in Lion’s Mane, act as NGF, or nerve-growth factors. NGF is a small protein crucial to the overall maintenance and growth of certain neurons. These ingredients are known to help stimulate the growth of brain cells. Lion’s Mane is also a neuroprotective agent, which means it protects nerve cells from injury or degeneration. Although more studies are necessary for this to be proven, Lion’s Mane has shown to boost mental functioning. In individuals with degenerative diseases like Dementia and Alzheimers, Lion’s Mane can assist in significantly improving overall brain and mental functioning. Animal studies have found that Lion’s Mane extract can also help regenerate brain cells and improve the functionality of the hippocampus, a region in the brain directly responsible for processing memories and emotional responses. It is believed that the improved functioning of the hippocampus helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Lion’s Mane has also been found to speed up the recovery time of injuries to the nervous system. Studies show that in rats given Lion’s Mane, they typically recover up to 23-41% faster than those without it. These mushrooms may also help reduce damage to the brain after a stroke. In individuals with gut and stomach issues, Lion’s Mane extract may be useful in protecting the stomach against ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. Pylori and protecting the lining of the stomach from damage. Also useful for reducing inflammation and tissue damage in the intestines, Lion’s Mane may help treat digestive diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s. Lion’s Mane is typically consumed via extract, whether in supplement or drink form. Always consult with a doctor before starting to take new alternatives, however the daily recommended dose of Lion’s Mane starts at about 1000 mg per day.
Cordyceps mushrooms (Cordyceps Sinensis) are a parasitic fungus native to the Himalayan Mountains that grows on the larvae of insects, specifically caterpillars. Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as “Dong Chong Xia Cao”, or caterpillar fungus, this mushroom is not easily harvested and is traditionally highly valued. Aloha Medicinals, an American company, is the only company to have successfully cultivated Cordyceps in an artificial environment, keeping it in the high altitude that it needs to grow, just like in the wild. Their unique cultivation process actually results in mushrooms more potent than those found in nature. They also use a vegan cultivation method – leaving the caterpillar out of the process. It is thought that Cordyceps increases your body’s production of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which helps deliver energy to your muscles. This may improve the way your body functions during exercise, allowing you to prolong your workouts. Although it is still being studied, Cordyceps may be a potential anti-cancer agent. In test tube studies, Cordyceps have shown to inhibit the growth of many types of cancer cells, including lung, colon, skin, and liver cancers. Cordyceps also contains a special type of sugar that may help treat diabetes. These mushrooms may keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range by mimicking the effect insulin has on the body. Cordyceps may also be useful in fighting kidney diseases, which is a common complication of diabetes. After a 22 study review, 1,746 people with chronic kidney disease who took Cordyceps supplements experienced improved kidney function. Mushrooms also have a positive effect on heart health, specifically Cordyceps. In China, Cordyceps are approved for the treatment of arrhythmia, a heart condition in which the heart beats irregularly. These fungi may also help inflammation. Studies have shown that when human cells are exposed to Cordyceps, special proteins that increase inflammation in the body become suppressed. “Dong Chong Xia Cao” has been widely used in China as a sexual tonic, helping to support sexual health. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believed taking Cordyceps helped support the “jing”, which is believed to produce life. It is said that harmony in the “jing” provides healthy growth, aging, and sexual health. Because these mushrooms help to promote ATP production, users typically report having more stamina and energy in sexual interactions with their partner, as well as an increased drive. There are currently no known side effects to taking Cordyceps. In fact, the Chinese government has approved Cordyceps for use in hospitals as a natural, non-toxic drug. Consumption is typically done through herbal supplements – a powderized extract placed into a capsule.
- What are they?
- Nootropics are understood to be cognitive enhancers that are not toxic and prove to be a neuroprotective (Pranav, C.,1970). Since the brain is the center of the entire nervous system, its health is vital to all other parts of the body. Nootropics stimulate and provide precursors to neurotransmitters, which help to prevent neuroprotective damage, increase overall brain circulation, and dispense usable energy to the brain itself. These functions help to strengthen the brain and stimulate growth of new cells (Pranav, C.,1970). Nootropics can also help to strengthen mental awareness, focus levels, and the quickness of reactions.
- C. How do they work?
- Nootropics work by altering the amount of available chemical levels in the brain such as those involving enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones (Pranav, C.,1970). Hormones help to increase the strength of memory as well as the process of creating new nerve cells (neurogenesis) while also encoding those memories. Amino acids help to invoke alertness and protect us against catecholamines (definition of this word to the side?). Antioxidants help the brain to re
- Nootropics, otherwise known as “smart drugs,” are cognitive enhancers and memory boosters. These can be prescribed medicines like those for ADHD or Alzheimers, or they can be bought over-the-counter, such as caffeine. These are still considered nootropics because of the brain-enhancing properties that they possess.
- Prescription nootropics (just want to touch on this since this is not a medical book)- doctors can treat a variety of medical conditions using nootropics such as ADHD, narcolepsy, dementia, or similar. Typically they will prescribe a stimulant such as adderall or ritalin, modanafil, or memantine respectively. These medications should not be taken without a prescription and can have adverse effects if used improperly. These include high blood pressure, fast heart rate, insomnia, troubled vision, and addiction.
- The term “nootropics” can also be applied to natural or synthetic substances that enhance cognition and memory. Popular nootropics include caffeine, L-theanine, omega-3 fatty acids, racetams, gingko biloba, panax ginseng, rhodiola, and creatine, among many others.
C. How do they work?
Nootropics work to create these effects because they alter the amount of available chemical levels in the brain such as those involving enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones (Pranav, C.,1970). Hormones help to increase the strength of memory as well as the process of creating new nerve cells (neurogenesis) while also encoding those memories. Amino acids help to invoke alertness as well as a reduce the
- Head , Kathi. “What Is A Nootropic and Where Do Nootropics Come From?” Thorne, 27 May 2019, www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/what-is-a-nootropic-and-where-do-nootropics-come-from.
- JoshiPranav, C., and P. Joshi. “[PDF] A REVIEW ON NATURAL MEMORY ENHANCERS (NOOTROPICS): Semantic Scholar.” Undefined, 1 Jan. 1970, www.semanticscholar.org/paper/A-REVIEW-ON-NATURAL-MEMORY-ENHANCERS-%28NOOTROPICS%29-JoshiPranav-Joshi/a01af800271cf11f4ccb87c7c739d29582bea2f3.
Just like humans, our furry friends can suffer from anxieties, aches, and pains as well as inflammation and arthritis. Why not treat your furbabies the same way you treat yourself? There are natural alternatives to prescription pain killers and anxiety meds to help your dog or cat calm down and feel relief.
Animals, just like humans, have endocannabinoid systems. That means that they are already equipped to process and benefit from cannabinoids! CBD oil or treats can be a great way to help your dog or cat to feel relief from whatever ailments they are experiencing! CBD oil can help pets with anxiety issues, hip and joint issues, inflammation, and overall pain. Recommended dosing for dogs is 3-5mg per 10 pounds of dog. Recommended dosing for cats is 2-4mg per 10 pounds of cat.
Similarly, it is suggested that kratom can be beneficial to dogs as well. A 1992 study found that doses as high as 920mg/kg of kratom did not prove to be toxic to dogs, and that kratom is minimally toxic to most animals (1). There is a good amount of anecdotal evidence of individuals administering kratom to their pups in the late stages of their life to deal with anxieties, aches, and pains, however, it is always best to consult a vet before starting your pup on any kind of new herbal supplement. More research will be required on giving kratom to pets to determine with certainty whether it is safe for long-term use or if it should be used in terminal cases only.
Interestingly, most veterinarians will not entertain the idea of giving kratom to cats, and nobody really knows why. One website suggests that dosing for dogs and cats can be the same, however there is not enough scientific data to support this claim.