Scientists thought trees and fungi were socialist, but they’re actually capitalist

NeoKnowledge, Life, Trippy

The coexistence between trees and fungi is supposed to be very peaceful. Fungi grow on the roots of a plant, providing nitrogen to it in exchange for carbon, in a nearly perfect symbiotic exchange. Each individual fungus, traditional wisdom holds, works in tune with the root it grows in tandem with. But a new study presents a different model: The supposed buddies are actually acting like buyers and sellers in a capitalist market. Led by IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management researcher Oskar Franklin, the Swedish study (paywall) started with a surprising observation. Root fungi were actually working to maintain nitrogen scarcity in the forest. When less nitrogen was available in the soil, fungi gave up less nitrogen to the trees. But when nitrogen was abundant, they built up their stores like speculators cornering the market in a commodity, effectively forcing the trees to get their nitrogen from the fungi no matter what. “The new theory pictures a more business-like relationship among multiple buyers and sellers connected in a network,” Franklin said in a press release. Instead of being a cooperative trade of carbon and nitrogen between … Read More

Is Ayahuasca a legitimate Spiritual Path?

NeoDrugs, Knowledge, Life, Natural, Psychedelics, Spiritual

How do “mindful” Western, spiritual folk relate to a magic tea from the Amazon that can cure illness and accelerate burning through your karma? The medicine is ayahuasca, a traditional South American tea brewed up of two different plants then ingested for shamanic, healing, and spiritual purposes. It ain’t for fun, nor is it a way to avoid your issues or psychology. Far from it. However, some spiritual circles and communities might frown upon its use, arguing it’s trying to take an easy way out.  The lack of education around ayahuasca has people thinking it’s simply another hallucinogenic, new age, feel good, hipsterific experience. From my own experience, it’s work—plain and simple. And, used in conjunction with your meditation, yoga, or other mindfulness-based practice, ayahuasca can change your life for the better. When used properly and under the guidance of trained shamans, the experience is extraordinary and deeply healing. People say that one strong medicine ceremony is akin to years of therapy. Continue reading: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/01/is-ayahuasca-a-legitimate-spiritual-path/

Further Proof Psychedelic Mushrooms Can Help Keep You Sane

NeoDrugs, Knowledge, Life, Psychedelics, Trippy

Anxiety disorders top the list of America’s mental illnesses, affecting 18 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only a third of its sufferers receive treatment for it. Meanwhile, the association reports that 3 to 5 percent of the population is dealing with depression at any given time—and nearly half of these people are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. According to a new study, the solution could come to some in the form of “magic” mushrooms. The study, published recently in the journal Biological Psychiatry, adds to the growing pile of research that suggests psilocybin—the bioactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms—may have positive effects on mental health. Researchers at the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurich looked at psilocybin’s impact on the amygdala, which plays a central role in the brain’s limbic system by processing anxiety, fear and other negative emotions. Depression and anxiety disorders can result from an imbalance here: “When emotions are unable to be processed correctly, it can trigger mental disorders. When the amygdala responds to stimuli with intense activity, … Read More