(TT) — The massive decline of insect populations in recent years is an environmental crisis that is often overlooked, and by all indications, it seems that pesticides are largely to blame for this problem. However, researchers are currently developing alternatives that can hopefully protect crops for farmers without causing widespread harm to insect populations.
Biopesticides are derived from natural materials like plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. These substances are not harmful to the environment and also pose less of a risk to insects. Some Biopesticides are not even harmful, but just work to repel certain insects from the area, while others only target specific insects in a limited range.
One of the most interesting recent developments in the field of biopesticides is the use of fungi.
Fungus-based pesticides would still kill the insects that attempt to feast on the crops, but this will not be a toxin that gets into the environment, which reduces the widespread exposure to plant, animal and insect life.
Two fungus-based pesticides were developed and patented by the famous mycologist Paul Stamets. One of the products is specifically targeted toward fire ants, carpenter ants, and termites, while his other offering can affect roughly 200,000 insect species.
One of the fungi-based biopesticides, called MycoPesticide, will begin to sprout inside of the insect once it is eaten and will then feed on the creature until it dies, often with mushroom sprouts popping out of its head. It is also not harmful to bees, which has been a growing concern in relation to pesticides.
However, the cost is still a major obstacle for advocates of fungi-based pesticides, as they can be up to 20 times more expensive than chemical pesticides.
Paul Underhill, co-owner of the organic Terra Firma Farm in Winters, California says that the fungi methods are also a bit more difficult to work with.
“Some, like those with fungi, can require special storage, such as refrigeration. [And] the cost to the farmer can easily be 20 times what a conventional pesticide might be,” Underhill told NPR.
The short term financial cost for biopesticides might be higher right now, but hopefully, those prices will start to fall as the development of this technology progresses. It is also important to consider the long term financial and environmental consequences that may not be immediately obvious in the short term.
There are also plant-based pesticides that are currently in development, which could also provide an alternative to conventional chemicals. One example is PureCrop1, a plant-based pesticide company that is partly owned by NBA star John Salley.
According to the PureCrop1, the organic pesticide is made with plant-based materials from grains, and seed crops. Their products do not contain petroleum distillates or synthetics including artificial foaming and thickening agents, builders, reagents, dyes or fragrances.
New solutions can’t come soon enough. According to a new study published this month in the scientific journal PLOS One, America’s agricultural landscape has grown 48 times more toxic to insects in the past 25 years. As Truth Theory reported last month, even fireflies are facing possible extinction all over the world.
Harness the healing powers of medicinal mushrooms with these top eight varieties. Add them to your diet or take them as a supplement to reap full mushroom benefits!
Mushrooms have been prized for thousands of years across the world, not only for their range of flavors and meaty textures, but also for their health benefits.
A special class of these mushrooms, referred to as “medicinal” mushrooms, have been exploding onto the health scene lately for their ability to fight cancer, boost immunity, and even help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes. Read on to see how these mushroom benefits work and why these varieties of forest medicine deserve a spot on your plate every day.
Chaga mushrooms are a species of fungus that flourish in cold northern climates, growing mainly on birch trees. While their appearance is nothing like other exotic-looking mushrooms (they look similar to tree bark), they remain one of the most impressive of medicinal mushrooms.
Chaga have been extensively studied for their ability to been inhibit tumor and cancer growth, with one study showing chaga extract can potentially prevent the growth of liver cancer cells (1). Another study on mice showed a 60 percent tumor size reduction when they supplemented with chaga (2).
But the mushroom benefits don’t stop there. Other studies have shown that chaga contains several compounds that stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation and even improve physical endurance (3, 4, 5).
How to Use Chaga Mushrooms
The most popular way to ingest chaga mushroom is to brew it into a tea. To do this, you can either use either large chunks of chaga or grind it into a fine powder.
Add about three small chunks (or two teaspoons of chaga powder) to two cups of boiling water. Let it steep for at least three minutes. Then pour into a mug, add stevia or raw honey to taste, and enjoy!
2. Reishi Mushroom
Reishi is native to East Asia and boasts an impressive list of mushroom benefits. For starters, reishi, like chaga, is considered a natural cancer fighter due to its ability to inhibit the spread of cancer cells, boost natural immune killer cells (these help rid the body of mutated “foreign” cells), and reduce inflammation (6).
Reishi is most commonly taken in powder or capsule form, as it has a naturally bitter taste. When you search for a reishi product, make sure to check the label to verify that the species name, Ganoderma lucidum, is listed without any additional ingredients. Also check the dosages, as these can vary wildly among brands.
3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane is an odd-looking fungus (yes, it really does look like the fur around a lion’s head) that has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is still used extensively today throughout Korea, Japan, and China.
Lion’s mane is a powerful medicinal mushroom that can be used to boost immunity, fight cancer, and even prevent depression (9, 10). Brain health is another huge benefit that lion’s mane has up its sleeves. Studies have shown it can improve cognitive function, improve spatial and visual memory recognition in mice with Alzheimer’s, and even regenerate neural nerves (11, 12, 13).
How to Use Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane can be taken in powder or capsule form. If taking as a powder, you can try adding it to smoothies or soups.
In addition, you can also cook lion’s mane – many say it has a taste similar to lobster when pan-fried, so don’t be afraid to add it to your next stir-fry or soup.
4. Shiitake Mushroom
You may think shiitake mushrooms are just used for flavor, but in reality these ‘shrooms have major health benefits.
For one, studies show compounds in shiitake, such as b-glucan fiber, help promote satiety and fight fat gain (14). Other research shows shiitake can effectively destroy cancer cells, reduce inflammation and significantly improve immune function (15, 16).
How to Use Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms have a smooth, earthy flavor that taste great in omelets, stir-fry, stews, casseroles, and even sautéed as a salad topping.
5. Cremini (Button) Mushroom
Interestingly, cremini, or “button” mushrooms, also help protect against cancer, but in a different way than other medicinal mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a beneficial acid that has been shown to inhibit tumor growth as well as create positive changes in the immune system to help kill cancer cells (17).
In addition, cremini mushrooms can also help protect against leaky gut due to their high selenium and antioxidant content. As a bonus, these antioxidants also help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage DNA and cause premature aging (18).
How to Use Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini mushrooms have such a mild flavor and meaty texture that they work well in any vegetable or meat-based dish. Sauté them with onions and garlic for a quick veggie side, add them to omelets or scrambles, or slice them and toss them in a salad.
6. Chanterelle Mushroom
Chanterelle mushrooms, which look much like a yellow blooming flower, have been prized as a culinary delicacy across Europe and Asia for decades. Aside from their decadent flavor, chanterelles are also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect against aging and DNA damage. Studies have also shown they have significant antimicrobial activity, with researchers stating they could be used to produce drugs that fight a wide range of bad bacteria and fungi (19).
How to Use Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelles taste best when sautéed with sliced bacon, olive oil or any other flavorful fat. Try adding garlic and onions, then purée with broth to create a creamy soup!
7. Maitake Mushroom
Maitake mushrooms can be found growing wild beneath oak and maple trees across North America and Japan. They have been studied for their ability to prevent and treat breast cancer as well as help block tumor growth in mice (20, 21).
In addition, maitake has been shown to have a positive effect on glucose levels, which could make it a potential natural treatment for type 2 diabetes (22).
How to Use Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake can be added to hearty recipes just like cremini or shiitake mushrooms. You can also find it in extract as a liquid or capsule supplement. If you decide to go this route, make sure you look for maitake D-Fraction as the extract.
8. Enoki Mushroom
Enoki mushrooms, with their long, noodle-like arms, hail from Japan. They are mildly sweet and crunchy, and contain a range of nutrients like B vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidants. They also contain the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which has been shown to help prevent obesity (23).
Enoki mushrooms may also be potent cancer fighters, much like most of the medicinal mushrooms listed here. A 2009 study showed enoki extracts significantly improved survival rates of mice infected with Human Papillomavirus (HPV), one of the leading causes of cervical cancer. Researchers believe this response is due to enoki’s ability to boost immune and nitric oxide production in order to destroy disease cells (24).
How to Use Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms are often featured in Asian dishes like noodle soups. Enjoy them raw in salads (just wipe them off with a paper towel first), or cook them in a stir-fry.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the mushroom benefits hidden within even the simplest of varieties (like cremini) we take for granted are quite astounding. Don’t be afraid to experiment and add several more varieties to your dishes and your diet.
There is no question anymore about it. Chemtrails are real and are not to be confused with contrails. If you’re skeptical, that is okay, though please take a look at the CIA Director’s comments about geoengineering here.
For those understanding that chemtrails pose a real threat to humanity, together we’ll take a look at some foods and health supplements that can be used to help protect yourself against chemtrails.
When barium, nano particles of aluminum, radioactive thorium, mercury, lead, ethylene dibromide and many other toxic chemicals and heavy metals are being sprayed into our atmosphere, it is a good idea to learn how to properly defend your body from such contaminants.
The first thing to keep in mind regarding detoxification and health is that we must include foods that help us to naturally detoxify our body, while still taking in nutrients. Any food that has lots of chlorophyll in it will help tremendously in detoxing as well as providing essential nutrients our cells need. Ensuring to include plenty of spinach, green salads, arugula, cilantro, parsley, kale, cucumbers and other green veggies into your meals is a great way to begin.
Looking more specifically at cilantro, we find that when combined with chlorella, it can remove a very large amount of heavy metals within a short time frame. In fact, studies done at the Optimal Wellness Test Research Center showed that within 42 days of using cilantro and chlorella, 74% of aluminum, 91% of Mercury and 87% of lead within the body was removed. It was noted that using cilantro and chlorella in conjunction was important because cilantro mobilizes many more toxins than it can remove from the body, whereas with chlorella also in the bloodstream, it can act to remove the excess toxins found in the bloodstream.
Other foods to consider using are spirulina and medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Chaga and Agarikon. Chaga mushrooms have been scientifically proven to protect against DNA degradation, remove synthetic chemicals and heavy metals, and purify the blood.
Cilantro is a wonderful medicinal herb.
Fulvic acid is a health supplement gaining massive attention in the health supplement field, thanks in large part to Dr. Dan Nuzum. Fulvic acid is the end product of a process called humification. Microorganisms decompose plant matter in the soil which results in fulvic and humic acids. These are perhaps the most important and nutrient rich substances on the planet. In fact, fulvic acid is the most potent anti-oxidant known as it contains over 14 tetratrillion electrons (that’s 14 with 21 zeroes behind it) that it can donate to neutralize free radicals.
This gives it an incredible ability to provide electrochemical balance within the cell, which is crucial for detoxification. It also is rich in electrolytes, increases the synthesis rate of RNA and DNA, increases assimilation of vitamins and minerals into cells.
It also reacts very quickly with radioactive material and renders them neutral and harmless upon contact with such destructive elements. According to Supreme Fulvic:
“Radioactive elements have an affinity for humic and fulvic acids. They form organo-metal complexes of different absorptive stability and solubility. Uranium and plutonium are influenced by humic substances as are other polluting metals, each being solubilized and absorbed, thereby annihilating that specific radioactivity. Radioactive substances react rapidly with fulvic acid, and only a brief time is required for equilibrium to be reached.”
“Fulvic acid has the power to form stable water soluble complexes with monovalent, divalent, trivalent, and ployvalent metal ions. It can aid the actual movement of metal ions that are normally difficult to mobilize or transport. Fulvic acids are excellent natural chelators and cation exchangers, and are vitally important in the nutrition of cells.”
The source of fulvic acid is important though as Optimally Organic notes that getting fulvic acid from vegetation rather than dried rock beds is best as the excess carbon found in the fulvic from rock beds makes the fulvic ineffective.
An incredible health supplement.
In addition to fulvic acid to help against destructive chemicals in the air, nascent iodine is something to also consider.
Nascent iodine is iodine that is in atomic form rather than molecular form. This form of iodine is easily absorbed by the body and is what is produced by the thyroid gland. Having enough iodine in the body is necessary for normal T3 and T4 hormone production as well as in assisting the detoxification process.
In a person who has given themselves sufficient iodine, radioactive iodine(extremely harmful) can’t bind into our body’s receptor cells and will be flushed out. However, it is important to ensure the body is receiving enough absorbable iodine, which nascent iodine provides.
Solar frequencies directly interact with our DNA.
There are a couple reasons discussed as to why chemtrails occur in our skies. The first is that some believe that shadow government want to keep people sick and unwell, so the pharmaceutical and western medical establishments continue to financially profit off of sick and unwell people. The second is that the shadow government wants to block out the Sun’s rays as much as possible. The first is that they know sunlight is actually healthy for a person and the second is so that our DNA does not continue to receive upgrades from the light that comes forth from the Sun. Remember that Russian scientists have scientifically shown how light positively affects DNA.
Additionally, engineer and scientist Maurice Cotterell has stated that genetic mutations and upgrades occur through the action of ionizing radiation and that X-rays and gamma rays from the Sun are the key factor in genetic leaps that species have taken and will continue to take.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Which supplements do you take to boost overall health? Do you take any specifically for protection from harmful chemicals being sprayed in the air and on genetically modified foods? What are your thoughts about the Sun affecting our DNA? Why are chemtrails happening?
Here is a delicious and easy way to boost your body’s ability to respond to allergies, infections and inflammatory conditions.
Medicinal mushroom experts have been telling us for years that mushrooms can help prevent numerous immunological conditions, including cancer and inflammatory ailments. Is this simply wishful thinking? No. These effects have been backed with hard science.
Now we find that even so-called culinary mushrooms also have many of these immunity-boosting effects. Once again, clinical research is providing the evidence.
Shiitake mushrooms tested clinically
The most recent evidence comes in the form of a clinical study conducted at the University of Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
The researchers conducted a four-week study using 52 healthy young adult volunteers, ages ranging from 21 to 41 years old.
The test subjects were divided into two groups. One group was given 5 grams of whole shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) per day and the other group was given 10 grams per day for four weeks.
Before and after the four weeks of mushroom consumption, the volunteers’ blood and saliva were analyzed. They were tested for T-cell counts, natural-killer T-cells, C-reactive protein and immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in saliva among others. The researchers also collected mononuclear cells from each person and cultured them for a day to help establish immunity parameters.
Shiitake boosts immunity
After four weeks of eating the shiitake mushrooms, the subjects showed significant increases in immunity parameters. These included a 60% increase in γδ-T cells, and a doubling of natural-killer T-cells. They also found these two types of T-cells were more powerful – as they expressed greater receptor activation.
The researchers also found the mushroom consumption increased secretory IgA levels. This corresponds to an increase in intestinal immunity and an increase in sinus and respiratory immunity.
The mushroom consumption also significantly reduced C-reactive protein levels within the bloodstream. This means a reduction of inflammation within the blood and tissues.
In addition to these responses, the mushroom consumption also significantly boosted the subjects’ levels of cytokines that correspond with the ability to fight off infections and inflammatory injury. These include interleukin (IL)-10, IL-1alpha and IL-4, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha.
They also saw a reduction in macrophage inflammatory protein-1α/chemokine C-C ligand 3 (MIP-1α/CCL3). This means a significant reduction of inflammation took place during the four weeks of mushroom consumption.
The medical term for such a response by the body – which is not found among pharmaceuticals – is called immune modulation. The shiitake mushroom is modulating the immune system. Another term is immunostimulating – the immune system is being stimulated. This also means that the body’s autoimmunity is being improved.
This is confirmed by the researchers, who concluded:
“Regular L. edodes consumption resulted in improved immunity, as seen by improved cell proliferation and activation and increased sIgA production. The changes observed in cytokine and serum CRP levels suggest that these improvements occurred under conditions that were less inflammatory than those that existed before consumption.”
Delicious culinary mushroom
Organic shiitake mushrooms are readily available in whole dehydrated form and as fresh. Dehydrated versions can easily be hydrated in soups and sauces, to make a delicious addition to your meals.
The ancients were not wrong about mushrooms. We find mushrooms used therapeutically by practically every ancient civilization around the world, and for good reason. This ancient use provided the best clinical evidence – use over generations.
For centuries, “magic” mushrooms have been both celebrated and reviled for their mind-expanding properties.
Research and popular use of psychedelic drugs like mushrooms and LSD surged in the 1960s, when the substances first entered the American cultural consciousness on a large scale, and came to define ’60s counterculture. At this time, thousands of studies were conducted to determine the properties and potential therapeutic applications of the drugs. But in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act brought an end to this era of science-based open-mindedness, and greatly limited drug research for the next four decades.
Today, research on psychedelic drugs is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. A growing body of scientific studies from major universities and medical centers suggests that the substances may hold promise as therapeutic interventions for a number of mental health conditions.
‘Shrooms are known to trigger hallucinations, feelings of euphoria, perceptual distortions, inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, and sometimes a mystical feelings of oneness with nature. Because of their ability to temporarily create profound changes in consciousness, and sometimes lasting changes in psychological well-being, mushrooms have been an area of particular interest among both scientists and recreational drug users.
Here’s what else we know about mushrooms, what they do the human brain, and how.
Psychedelic mushrooms grow naturally all over the world.
According to most estimates, more than 180 species of fungus produce psilocybin or psilocin, the two psychoactive substances most commonly associated with psychedelic mushrooms. While not all “magic mushrooms” rely on these compounds to produce mind-altering effects, the majority of fungus now used for recreational and entheogenic purposes are fruiting bodies from the genus Psilocybe, though species in other genera also contain psilocybin or psilocin. Psilocybin mushrooms grow naturally across a variety of climates and on every continent except Antarctica.
Psilocybe cubensis before cultivation. (Photo by Getty Images)
Mycologists — biologists who specialize in the study of fungus — believe that psilocybin and psilocin, as well as a number of other naturally occurring compounds, serve as an evolutionary defense mechanism for these species. While many of the psilocybin mushrooms typically consumed by humans don’t contain enough of these chemicals to be fatally toxic, at least to adults, they are potent enough to deter predation by many other species. A trio of goats made news a few years back when they reportedly ate psilocybin mushrooms and started acting strange, for example. The animals were sick and disoriented, according to their owner, but returned to normal after a few days. Humans who eat mushrooms may exhibit similar symptoms of physical discomfort — along with intense psychological effects that the goats obviously couldn’t articulate.
Two of the most common species of psychedelic mushrooms are Psilocybe cubensis, the most popular on the black market, and Psilocybe semilanceata, the most widespread in the wild. Both of these species grow in the United States, though they have been known to appear in different climates. The concentration of psilocybin and psilocin present in each of these species has also been found to range greatly depending on the individual mushrooms.
Mushrooms have been used by humans for their reality-altering properties for thousands of years.
Stone mushrooms were a staple of Mayan art. (Photo by Getty Images)
Fungi have inhabited the earth for more than 400 million years, and early ritualistic use of hallucinogenic mushrooms may date as far back as 9,000 years ago. Some anthropologists have argued that mushrooms held a central place in many early cultures — including Greece, India and Mesoamerican cultures — and have had a profound impact on human evolution. According to one radical theory from philosopher Terence McKenna, the incorporation of psychedelics (particularly magic mushrooms) into primitive diets may have been the catalyst for significant evolutionary advances, including the development of self-awareness and language.
Anthropologists have speculated that magic mushrooms may have been the inspiration for prehistoric rock paintings in the Sahara desert, which prominently feature mushroom imagery. They may have played a role in the evolution of Christianity, as well. Philologist John Allegro, who translated the Dead Sea Scrolls, has presented evidence for worship of psychedelic mushrooms in the early Christian era.
Historically, psychedelic mushrooms have been perhaps most widely associated with the ancient Maya. Mushroom stones and motifs have been found in Mayan temple ruins, and several varieties of psilocybin, as well as hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushrooms, were thought to have been available to the Mayans. Mushrooms are a common trope in Mayan art, and their symbolism often connects mushrooms with a “dreamlike state” — for instance, a man with mushrooms all over his feet. The fact that these scenes are depicted in Mayan art and even in the codices suggests that mushroom use was an important aspect of society worthy of recording. Large mushroom stones can also be found throughout areas of Guatemala that were inhabited by the Mayans. While there are different theories to explain the presence of these stones, some have suggested that they were involved in ritual consumption of mushrooms, or that there may have even been cult worship around the mushrooms.
And the taboo surrounding psychedelic mushrooms is nothing new.
Psychologist and writer Timothy Leary conducted experiments on mushrooms in the 1960s through the Harvard Psilocybin Project.
When Western Christian conquistadors swept through Mesoamerica in the 16th century, they suppressed many aspects of traditional spiritual expression, including the use of mushrooms. Historians believe mushroom cults and shamans who used psilocybin to obtain what they believed to be a deeper understanding of the world were pushed underground, not to be widely rediscovered for hundreds of years.
But mushrooms still played an important medicinal and spiritual role in a number of indigenous cultures, despite their lengthy disappearance from the Western record. Fast-forward to 1955, when psychedelic mushrooms entered the American mainstream. R. Gordan Wasson — author, ethnomycologist and vice president of JP Morgan & Co. — and his wife Valentina became the first known non-native-Americans to actively participate in an indigenous Mazatec mushroom ceremony in Mexico. The Wassons published a popular article about their experiences, which appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1957. The article inspired psychologist and psychedelic pioneer Timothy Leary to travel to Mexico and try it for himself. Leary and Richard Alpert (now Ram Dass) started the Harvard Psilocybin Project to promote research on psychedelics, which led to their dismissal from the university in 1963.
Leary and others’ popularization of mushrooms led to the creation of a psychedelic underground, associated with the counterculture moment of the 1960s, and an explosion in their non-indigenous usage. It also inspired President Richard Nixon to label Leary “the most dangerous man in America.”
Our understanding of mushrooms has been stunted by decades of prohibitive international and domestic law.
Nixon ushered in a new era of prohibitive law, marginalizing drug use along with research about its potential therapeutic aspects.
In 1970, Nixon passed the Controlled Substances Act as a precursor to what would soon be called the War on Drugs. Psilocybin and psilocin, as well as any “containers,” i.e. mushrooms, holding these psychoactive compounds were determined to be Schedule I drugs, considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. A year later, with input from U.S. authorities, the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances was passed, also making psilocybin and psilocin — though not the mushrooms containing them — Schedule I drugs.
Certain nations are relatively permissive when it comes to psychedelic mushrooms. Until 2008 in the Netherlands, the drugs were sold openly in special shops, though the law has since been changed to permit only the sale of a specific kind of psychedelic truffle. Other nations, like Brazil and Spain, operate on the language of the U.N. convention, which doesn’t explicitly mention psychedelic mushrooms themselves.
In the U.S., laws regulating the growth, possession and harvesting of psychedelic mushrooms vary slightly by state. But it’s safe to bet that no matter where you live, authorities will crack down hard on any and all hallucinogenic drugs, no matter how natural they are.
Which means much of the current debate focuses on recreational use and the black market trade that sustains it.
Psilocybin mushroom grow naturally in a variety of habitats, from grasses and gardens, to rotting wood and animal feces. But with a healthy market for illegal psychedelic fungi, growers have taken to more reliable and controllable methods of cultivation in order to maximize profit.
Indoor operations frequently involve mushroom spores being injected into prepared beds of nutrients that are most frequently stored in jars or boxes. Given the proper conditions, the fungus can be fully grown and picked in a matter of days or weeks. Mushrooms that are specifically cultivated for recreational use are often harvested before they reach full maturity, when they contain more potent concentrations of psilocybin. After picking, mushrooms are dried in order to preserve the psychoactive ingredients within. Mushrooms are then typically eaten or boiled to make a tea.
Street prices for mushrooms vary, but the Drug Enforcement Administration puts them at about $20 for an eighth of an ounce — considered a strong personal dose for a “trip” — and $100 to $120 for an ounce. One particularly large bust of a mushroom growing ring in Ohio in 2013 reportedly turned up 503 pounds of material containing psilocybin, at a street value of more than $800,000.
Modern research has found that psilocybin can, quite literally, expand consciousness.
In a recent brain-scanning study, British researchers found that ingesting psilocybin caused normally disconnected brain regions to communicate with each other. FMRI scans showed that the connections aren’t random — the brain retains its organizational features, but the connections are completely different than they are in a normal brain state. This helps to explain some of the common effects of psilocybin reported by users, such as new insights and world-shattering realizations, synesthesia and nonlinear thinking.
British researchers found significant differences in functional connectivity between a normal brain (left) and a brain on psilocybin (right).
Other research showed that psilocybin dampens activity in areas of the brain associated with sensory processing. Normally, these areas pose constraints on the way we experience the world through our senses, grounding us in material reality. By reducing activity in these areas, the senses are heightened and perception seems to expand. These brain regions are also the seat of the ego and are responsible for giving us our sense of self, so by hindering their activity, users often report experiences of oneness with the universe and interconnection.
Psilocybin also carries potential longterm effects, both positive and negative.
Mushroom users commonly report experiencing enhanced visual perception, with colors appearing more vibrant and surfaces appearing to melt or breathe.
Just one experience with psilocybin can have lasting positive emotional and psychological effects. Psychedelic experiences can make individuals more open-minded, Johns Hopkins researchers found. One “trip” was enough to cause significant changes in the “openness to experience” personality domain — which is associated with creativity, intellectual curiosity and an appreciation for art and beauty — for over a year.
It’s important to note, however, that while the risk of overdose is extremely low (a user would have to ingest over 35 pounds of fresh mushrooms to reach fatal levels of toxicity), experimenting with the substance doesn’t come without risk. Some users report experiences of heightened fear, anxiety and paranoia while tripping — in some cases, if the panic reaction is great enough, they may pose a threat to themselves or others. Research has also found psilocybin to produce a psychosis-like syndrome that mirrors early episodes of schizophrenia, and some experts have suggested that psilocybin may trigger or exacerbate mental health conditions like schizophrenia, mania and depression. More research is needed to determine psilocybin’s potential longterm physical and mental health impacts.
Psilocybin could also have significant therapeutic uses.
The stigma of psychedelics may be slowly shifting as more and more research finds that substances like LSD and psilocybin show promise as therapeutic tools for dealing with a range of mental health problems.
Johns Hopkins researchers found that using small amounts of psilocybin in a controlled setting could lead to life-changing positive experiences that increased longterm psychological well-being. Fourteen months after the experience, a full 94 percent of the study’s subjects ranked taking the drug in a therapeutic setting as one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives, and 39 percent said it was the single most meaningful experience of their lives. Friends and family members also reported seeing positive changes in the subjects, saying that the experience had made them calmer, happier and kinder. The researchers said that they ultimately hope to see whether transcendent experiences, facilitated by taking psilocybin in therapeutic settings, could help treat conditions like addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psilocybin is effective in reducing anxiety among terminal cancer patients, UCLA researchers found, and has also been shown to lead to a reduction in symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The therapeutic uses could include potential treatment for PTSD and depression.
Magic mushrooms may be particularly promising as treatment for PTSD. A 2013 study found that psilocybin could alleviate the fear response in mice, a finding which may lay the foundation for future research on fear in humans.
By helping people to literally escape destructive thoughts, mushrooms could also be a promising treatment for depression. Depression is associated with over-connectivity of the default mode network — the brain network associated with self-consciousness, rumination and introspection — which can lead to excessive negative self-thought. Recent brain imaging studies from Imperial College London have shown magic mushrooms to quiet down the default mode network.
But we have a long way to go to fully grasp the effects and potential uses for mushrooms.
Currently, the government does not fund psychedelic research, so funding is left in the hands of private organizations like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
While the Western resistance to psychedelic research remains a stumbling block, scientists are optimistic.
“[Psilocybin therapy] is a tremendously interesting model in that a single dose can have therapeutic utility for months,” Stephen Ross, director of addiction psychiatry at New York University Tisch Hospital, and principal investigator on the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project, told Medscape last year. “That is a novel development in mental health.”
At first glance, Psilocybe cubensis doesn’t look particularly magical. In fact, the scientific name of this little brown-and-white mushroom roughly translates to “bald head,” befitting the fungus’s rather mild-mannered appearance. But those who have ingested a dose of P. cubensis say it changes the user’s world.
The mushroom is one of more than 100 species that contain compounds called psilocybin and psilocin, which are psychoactive and cause hallucinations, euphoria and other trippy symptoms. These “magic mushrooms” have long been used in Central American religious ceremonies, and are now part of the black market in drugs in the United States and many other countries, where they are considered a controlled substance.
How does a modest little mushroom upend the brain so thoroughly? Read on for the strange secrets of ‘shrooms.
1. Mushrooms hyperconnect the brain
An artist’s image shows neurons sending signals within the human brain.
The compounds in psilocybin mushrooms may give users a “mind-melting” feeling, but in fact, the drug does just the opposite — psilocybin actually boosts the brain’s connectivity, according to an October 2014 study. Researchers at King’s College London asked 15 volunteers undergo brain scanning by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. They did so once after ingesting a dose of magic mushrooms, and once after taking a placebo. The resulting brain connectivity maps showed that, while under the influence of the drug, the brain synchronizes activity among areas that would not normally be connected. This alteration in activity could explain the dreamy state that ‘shroom users report experiencing after taking the drug, the researchers said.
2. Slow it down
‘Shrooms act in other strange ways upon the brain. Psilocybin works by binding to receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although it’s not clear exactly how this binding affects the brain, studies have found that the drug has other brain-communication-related effects in addition to increased synchronicity.
In one study, brain imaging of volunteers who took psilocybin revealed decreased activity in information-transfer areas such as the thalamus, a structure deep in the middle of the brain. Slowing down the activity in areas such as the thalamus may allow information to travel more freely throughout the brain, because that region is a gatekeeper that usually limits connections, according to the researchers from Imperial College London.
3. Magic mushrooms go way back
Central Americans were using psilocybin mushrooms before Europeans landed on the New World’s shores; the fantastical fungi grow well in subtropical and tropical environments. But how far back were humans tripping on magic mushrooms?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but a 1992 paper in the short-lived journal, “Integration: Journal of Mind-Moving Plants and Culture,” argued that rock art in the Sahara dating back 9,000 years depicts hallucinogenic mushrooms. The art in question shows masked figures holding mushroomlike objects. Other drawings show mushrooms positioned behind anthropomorphic figures — possibly a nod to the fact that mushrooms grow in dung. (The mushroom figures have also been interpreted as flowers, arrows or other plant matter, however, so it remains an open question whether the people who lived in the ancient Sahara used ‘shrooms.)
4. Magic mushrooms explain Santa … maybe
Amanita muscaria mushrooms
On the subject of myth, settle in for a less-than-innocent tale of Christmas cheer. According to Sierra College anthropologist John Rush, magic mushrooms explain why kids wait for a flying elf to bring them presents on Dec. 25.
Rush said that Siberian shamans used to bring gifts of hallucinogenic mushrooms to households each winter. Reindeer were the “spirit animals” of these shaman, and ingesting mushrooms might just convince a hallucinating tribe member that those animals could fly. Plus, Santa’s red-and-white suit looks suspiciously like the colors of the mushroom species Amanita muscaria, which grows — wait for it — under evergreen trees. [8 Ways Magic Mushrooms Gave Us Christmas]
Feeling like you’ve just taken a bad trip? Not to worry. Not all anthropologists are sold on the hallucinogen-Christmas connection. But still, as Carl Ruck, a classicist at Boston University, told Live Science in 2012: “At first glance, one thinks it’s ridiculous, but it’s not.”
5. ‘Shrooms may change people for good
Psychologists say that few things can truly alter someone’s personality in adulthood, but magic mushrooms may be one of those things.
A 2011 study found that after one dose of psilocybin, people became more open to new experiences for at least 14 months, a shockingly stable change. People with open personalities are more creative and more appreciative of art, and they value novelty and emotion.
The reason for the change seems to be psilocybin’s effects on emotions. People describe mushroom trips as extremely profound experiences, and report feelings of joy and connectedness to others and to the world around them. These transcendent experiences appear to linger. (In the experiments, the researchers took great pains to assure their participants did not experience “bad trips,” as some people respond to psilocybin with panic, nausea and vomiting. Volunteers were kept safe in a room with peaceful music and calming surroundings.)
6. Mushrooms kill fear
Another strange side effect of magic mushrooms: They destroy fear. A 2013 study in mice found that when dosed with psilocybin, the animals became less likely to freeze up when they heard a noise they had learned to associate with a painful electric shock. Mice that were not given the drug also gradually relaxed around the noise, but it took longer.
The mice were given a low dose of psilocybin, and the researchers said they hope this animal study will inspire more work on how mushrooms might be used to treat mental health problems in people. For example, small doses of psilocybin could be explored as a way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers said.
7. They make their own wind
Mushrooms don’t just exist to get people high, of course; they have their own lives. And part of that life is reproduction. Like other fungi, mushrooms reproduce via spores, which travel the breeze to find a new place to grow.
But mushrooms often live in sheltered areas on forested floors, where the wind doesn’t blow. To solve the problem of spreading their spores, some ‘shrooms (including the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria) create their own wind. To do this, the fungi increase the rate that water evaporates off of their surfaces, placing water vapor in the air immediately around them. This water vapor, along with the cool air created by evaporation, works to lift spores. Together, these two forces can lift the spores up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) above the mushroom, according to a presentation at the 2013 meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics.
8. Many mushrooms
Scientists found a species of gilled mushroom in the northwestern United States submerged in the clear, cold, flowing waters of the upper Rogue River in Oregon. What makes Psathyrella aquatica distinct, and a member of this year’s top 10, is that it was o
At least 144 species of mushroom contain the psychoactive ingredient psilocybin, according to a 2005 review in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Latin America and the Caribbean are home to more than 50 species, and Mexico alone has 53. There are 22 species of magic mushroom in North America, 16 in Europe, 19 in Australia and the Pacific island region, 15 in Asia, and a mere four in Africa.
9. Experimenting with ‘shrooms
Recently, researchers have begun to experiment with psilocybin as a potential treatment for depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. This line of research was frozen for decades and is still difficult to pursue, given psilocybin’s status as a Schedule I substance. This means the drug is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
A woman covers her face with her hands.
In the past, though, psilocybin and other hallucinogenic drugs were at the center of a thriving research program. During the 1960s, for example, Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary and his colleagues ran a series of experiments with magic mushrooms called the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Among the most famous was the Marsh Chapel Experiment, in which volunteers were given either psilocybin or a placebo before a church service in the chapel. Those who got psilocybin were more likely to report a mystical spiritual experience. A 25-year follow-up in 1991 found that participants who got the psilocybin remembered feeling even more unity and sacredness than they said they’d felt six months after the fact. Many described the experience as life altering.
“It left me with a completely unquestioned certainty that there is an environment bigger than the one I’m conscious of,” one told the researchers in 1991. “I have my own interpretation of what that is, but it went from a theoretical proposition to an experiential one. … Somehow, my life has been different knowing that there is something out there.”
10. The counterculture cultivator
Leary’s psychedelic experiments are part of hippie lore, but the man who did the most to bring magic mushrooms to mainstream U.S. drug culture was a writer and ethnobotanist named Terence McKenna. He had been experimenting with psychedelics since his teen years, but it wasn’t until a trip to the Amazon in 1971 that he discovered psilocybin mushrooms — fields of them, according to a 2000 profile in Wired magazine.
In 1976, McKenna and his brother published “Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide,” a manual for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms at home. “What is described is only slightly more complicated than canning or making jelly,” McKenna wrote in the foreword to the book.
11. Animals feel the effects
Psilocybin ‘shrooms grow in the wild, so it’s perhaps inevitable that nonhuman animals have sampled these trippy fungi. In 2010, the British tabloids were abuzz with reports that three pygmy goats at an animal sanctuary run by 1960s TV actress Alexandra Bastedo had gotten into some wild magic mushrooms. The goats reportedly acted lethargic, vomited and staggered around, taking two days to fully recover.
Siberian reindeer also have a taste for magic mushrooms, according to a 2009 BBC nature documentary. It’s unclear whether the reindeer feel the effects, but Siberian mystics would sometimes drink the urine from deer that had ingested mushrooms in order to get a hallucinogenic experience for religious rituals.
Mushrooms contain some of the most potent natural medicines on the planet. Of the 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi, science is familiar with only 10 percent, according to world-renown mycologist Paul Stamets, who has written six books on the topic.
About 100 species of mushrooms are being studied for their health-promoting benefits. Of those hundred, about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system.
Mushrooms contain some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet. About 100 species are being studied for their health-promoting benefits, and about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system
Nine recently presented studies on mushrooms detail a wide variety of health benefits, including: improved weight management, improved nutrition, increased vitamin D levels, and improved immune system function
One of the active medicinal compounds found in Cordyceps has been identified as a potential cancer drug. More recent studies suggest it also has potent anti-inflammatory characteristics that may be helpful for those suffering from: asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure, and stroke damage
It’s important to eat ONLY organically grown mushrooms because they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in. Mushrooms are known to concentrate heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants, so healthy growing conditions is a critical factor
Mushrooms that can help boost the nutrient content of your diet include: shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, and Himematsutake
to read more, go to: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/13/mushroom-benefits.aspx