Sunday, 4 October 2015

the strange history of ibogaine

Fascinating account of the history of ibogaine by Britta Wollman Love. "it’s a hope in a world where there isn’t much hope to be found."

"The story .... is a little shocking ...It makes one question the most basic assumptions commonly held about how rational science and modern medicine operate, to find out that a substance like ibogaine could go through all this scrutiny and still end up far from the hands of those who need it. Here is the story of how we almost cured addiction."

neurochemistry of the gardening and foraging high

This article is from Latton Buscraft, thank you!

In recent years I’ve come across two completely independent bits of research that identified key environmental triggers for two important chemicals that boost our immune system and keep us happy – serotonin and dopamine. What fascinated me as a gardener were that the environmental triggers happen in the garden when you handle the soil and harvest your crops.
Getting down and dirty is the best ‘upper’ – Serotonin
Getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels – contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain according to research. Serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression.
Ironically, in the face of our hyper-hygienic, germicidal, protective clothing, obsessive health-and-safety society, there’s been a lot of interesting research emerging in recent years regarding how good dirt is for us, and dirt-deficiency in childhood is implicated in contributing to quite a spectrum of illnesses including allergies, asthma and mental disorders.
At least now I have a new insight into why I compulsively garden without gloves and have always loved the feeling of getting my bare hands into the dirt and compost heap.
Harvest ‘High’ – Dopamine
Another interesting bit of research relates to the release of dopamine in the brain when we harvest products from the garden. The researchers hypothesise that this response evolved over nearly 200,000 years of hunter gathering, that when food was found (gathered or hunted) a flush of dopamine released in the reward centre of brain triggered a state of bliss or mild euphoria. The dopamine release can be triggered by sight (seeing a fruit or berry) and smell as well as by the action of actually plucking the fruit.
The contemporary transference of this brain function and dopamine high has now been recognised as the biological process at play in consumers addiction or compulsive shopping disorder. Of course the big retail corporations are using the findings to increase sales by provoking dopamine triggers in their environments and advertising.
I have often remarked on the great joy I feel when I forage in the garden, especially when I discover and harvest the ‘first of the season’, the first luscious strawberry to ripen or emergence of the first tender asparagus shoot. I have also often wondered why I had a degree of inherent immunity to the retail-therapy urges that afflict some of my friends and acquaintances. Maybe as a long-term gardener I’ve been getting a constant base-load dopamine high which has reduced the need to seek other ways to appease this primal instinct. Though, I must admit with the benefit of hindsight, I now have another perspective on my occasional ‘shopping sprees’ at local markets buying plants for the garden.
Of course dopamine responses are triggered by many other things and is linked with addictive and impulsive behaviour. I suppose the trick is to rewire our brains to crave the dopamine hit from the garden and other more sustainable pursuits and activities. As a comment on PlanetDrum stated, “all addiction pathways are the same no matter what the chemical. As long as you feel rewarded you reinforce the behavior to get the reward.”
So in other words it all comes down to the fact that we can’t change our craving nature but we CAN change the nature of what we crave.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

from neuroscience rituals to make you happy

A neuroscientist reveals four rituals that will make you a happy person.  Here it is in a nutshell though the article is fascinating reading.

Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

Friday, 2 October 2015

mystical waters

ibogaine and temple plant medicines together

There seems to be a new trend beginning, which makes completes sense.

Shea Prueger, currently the world's youngest ibogaine provider, is teaming with Subin, a former  monk and expert in revitalizing herbal tonic medicine to create a new kind of centre.

"While in the temple, Subin became much more interested in plant medicine. So, when he left the temple, he approached me about working together. When we officially open, ibogaine will still be the main focus. However, we will also be offering snakebite remedies and all of the temple detox and revitalization concoctions he has mastered. We’ve secured a two-acre piece of land with a beautiful six-bedroom property in a semi-remote area of the island. We will be growing all of the herbs ourselves. This new center, while still an ibogaine center, will be incorporating methods important to Thai culture. It will be a center that is respectful and essential to the community allowing us to be here."

freedom in the forest

We walked into the jungle from near Bonampak, myself, my friend and guide Emma from Transtulum and our local guide, whose name I do not know how to write!  So beautiful and as easy to walk through as an oak forest in England.  I had been missing fruit as, ironically, there was none available at the cabins where we were staying.  The eggs, corn tortillas and vegetables are wonderful, I just missed having a big plate of tropical fruit.

Getting into the jungle though I felt life force returning and contentment too where you feel you have everything and all the connection you need.  Walking quietly and independently, though together, through the forest, you naturally,and effortlessly  bond with other humans in a way that still leaves you free and free to be yourself. Hmm...
cascada ya toch kusam, home of the swallow

Mayan ruin in jungle

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

non seasonal tropics

This topic caught my attention recently, as though living in the tropics (southern Mexico) at this time I am very aware of the change of seasons, and autumn is visable as the corn dies back and some of the leaves turn brown.  It has reminded me of Tony Wright's description of crucial human development in aseasonal forest where the highly active tropical fruits that nourish our brains in inextraordinary ways are available all year round.  He talks about this in his book The Brain of Eden.

Actually looking at the map he referred me to I realised that recently I went in the region of aseasonal forest in the Lacandon Jungle.

Aseasonal forest is marked here in dark blue.

from Tony Wright:

"Not a lot written about it [aseasonal tropical forest] and no exact boundaries as several factors involved. Also varies in time with changing climate, part of the Congo currently have little variation in rainfall etc.
Pulled this from an article (below), re perpetual fruiting you are mostly looking at equatorial (little variation in day-length) and significant rainfall fairly evenly distributed through year. Tend to be niches within more extensive rain forest.

'There are two major types of wet tropical forests: equatorial evergreen rainforests and moist forests, which includes monsoon forests and montane/cloud forests. Equatorial rainforests, often considered the "real rainforest," are characterized by more than 80 inches (2,000 mm) of rain annually spread evenly throughout the year. These forests have the highest biological diversity and have a well-developed canopy "tier" form of vegetation. Roughly two-thirds of the world's tropical wet forests can be considered the equatorial type. These forests are near the equator where there is very little seasonal variation and the solar day is a constant length all year round. The greatest expanses of equatorial rainforest are found in lowland Amazonia, the Congo Basin, the Southeast Asian islands of Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea."