Mass Extinction: The Early Years

Longreads Blog

Ashley Dawson | Extinction: A Radical History | OR Books | July 2016 | 13 minutes (3,487 words)

 

Below is an excerpt from Extinction: A Radical History, by Ashley Dawson, who argues that contemporary mass extinction is a result of the excesses of the capitalist system. In this chapter, Dawson gives a brief history of the ecocidal societies that came before ours. This story is recommended by Longreads contributing editor Dana Snitzky.

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“Gilgamesh listened to the word of his companion, he took the axe in his hand, he drew the sword from his belt, and he struck Humbaba with a thrust of the sword to the neck, and Enkidu his comrade struck the second blow. At the third blow Humbaba fell. Then there followed a confusion for this was the guardian of the forest whom they had felled to the ground. For as far…

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The Fourth Way and Alchemical Operations

kundalini Quicksilver

When we discuss the term “alchemy,” it is first important for us to define what this science is. The general idea, is that one element will ultimately be transformed into another that is more desirable, at least in terms of the subject matter at hand. In terms of working with the Fourth Way material of G.I. Gurdjieff, it largely focuses on the spiritual alchemy of man.

Being at risk for biting off more than we can chew at one sitting, let us attempt to convey these ideas simplistically, without necessarily having familiarized ourselves with the “language” of the Fourth Way reading materials.

In the chart we are shown various elements that at first glance may be seemingly familiar to a chemist, or someone that has come across a periodic table; this notion is assuredly grossly erroneous. The elements spoken of by Gurdjieff’s student, P.D. Ouspensky, in his book, “In Search…

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Hypertension Induced By Licorice. Again.

Not quite a novel idea for most herbalists, yet a good reminder that [non-deglycyrrhinized] licorice can induce a potentially serious condition: a case report by Allcock and Cowdery (2015).

Reference:

Allcock E, Cowdery J. Hypertension induced by liquorice tea. BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Jun 15;2015. pii: bcr2015209926. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2015-209926. PMID: 26077805.

Flavonoid Content In Certain Tropical Plants

Lovely piece of data: Miean KH, Mohamed S. Flavonoid (myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, luteolin, and apigenin) content of edible tropical plants. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Jun;49(6):3106-12. PubMed PMID: 11410016.

Total flavonoids:

  • onion leaves (1497.5 mg/kg quercetin, 391.0 mg/kg luteolin, and 832.0 mg/kg kaempferol)
  • Semambu leaves (2041.0 mg/kg)
  • bird chili (1663.0 mg/kg)
  • black tea (1491.0 mg/kg)
  • papaya shoots (1264.0 mg/kg)
  • guava (1128.5 mg/kg).

The major flavonoid in these plant extracts is quercetin, followed by myricetin and kaempferol.

Luteolin could be detected only in:

  • broccoli (74.5 mg/kg dry weight)
  • green chili (33.0 mg/kg)
  • bird chili (1035.0 mg/kg)
  • onion leaves (391.0 mg/kg)
  • belimbi fruit (202.0 mg/kg)
  • belimbi leaves (464.5 mg/kg)
  • French bean (11.0 mg/kg)
  • carrot (37.5 mg/kg)
  • white radish (9.0 mg/kg)
  • local celery (80.5 mg/kg)
  • limau purut leaves (30.5 mg/kg)
  • dried asam gelugur (107.5 mg/kg).

Apigenin was found only in:

  • Chinese cabbage (187.0 mg/kg)
  • bell pepper (272.0 mg/kg)
  • garlic (217.0 mg/kg)
  • belimbi fruit (458.0 mg/kg)
  • French peas (176.0 mg/kg)
  • snake gourd (42.4 mg/kg)
  • guava (579.0 mg/kg)
  • wolfberry leaves (547.0 mg/kg)
  • local celery (338.5 mg/kg)
  • daun turi (39.5 mg/kg)
  • kadok (34.5 mg/kg).

In vegetables, quercetin glycosides predominate, but glycosides of kaempferol, luteolin, and apigenin are also present. Fruits contain almost exclusively quercetin glycosides, whereas kaempferol and myricetin glycosides are found only in trace quantities.

Herbal Medicine Safety: The Current State Of Knowledge

In the editorial to the recent issue of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a broad review is given of the common misunderstandings about the safety of herbal medicines, and the following issues are highlighted:

1) Herbal medicines have been known to have adverse effects for as long as they have been used. The recent examples include Radix Bupleuri Chinensis, as well as ephedra (ma huang).

2) The herbal toxicity may be intrinsic (related to the herb per se) or extrinsic (related to product contamination, adulteration, misidentification, or improper processing or preparation).

3) Herb-drug interactions are common. As an example, concomitant use of Chinese herbal medicinal products and antipsychotic treatment was associated with nearly 60% risk of adverse outcomes.

4) Traditional methods of preparation often include specific steps to decrease toxicity, often accompanied with improved efficacy of the final product.

5) Dramatic examples of herbal toxicity are typically associated with inappropriate use of herbal medicines. Such is the example of ephedra (ma huang), used traditionally for respiratory disorders, but which caused several deaths, strokes, and heart attacks after being used “off-label” for weight reduction.

February 7, 2015 In Herbal Research

Clinical trials

Peganum harmala oil: significant decrease in pain and difficulty in function in knee osteoarthritis (Abstract)

Single herbs

Fermented red ginseng (Panax ginseng): effects on cancer cells (Abstract)

Interactions

Flavonoid fraction of Tilia americana and serotonergic drugs (Abstract)

January 28, 2015 In Herbal Research

Clinical trials

Panax notoginseng saponin therapy is superior to the current treatment of acute intracerebral/intracranial hemorrhage: meta-analysis and mini-review of possible mechanisms of action (Abstract)

Adverse Effects

Liver injury associated with the use of herbal medicines and dietary supplements seems to be increasing (Abstract)

Cannabis smoking is shown to have additional adverse effects on respiratory health in tobacco smokers (Abstract)

Interactions

A novel method to assess botanical-drug interactions, based on the use of human plasma/serum rather than chemical buffers, is more consistent with clinical data than earlier in vitro studies (Abstract)

January 24, 2015 In Herbal Research

Large-scale assays:

Medicinal plants against multidrug-resistant enteropathogenic bacteria infecting hospitalized children under 5 (Abstract)

Thai medicinal plants against cervical and oral cancers (Abstract)

Herbal combinations:

Peganum harmala seeds, Rhus coriaria fruit, and Urtica dioica leaves: antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, liver and renal damage-recovering effects in rats (Abstract)

Single herbs:

Artemisia annua: effects on neutrophils (Abstract, Free full text)

Chrysanthemum zawadskii var. latilobum: hair growth-stimulating effect in mice (Abstract)

January 23, 2015 In Herbal Research

Traditional Chinese medicine: integration with Science

New insights into the chemical and biochemical basis of the “Yang-invigorating” action of Chinese Yang-tonic herbs (Abstract)

Review

Pomegranate in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases (Abstract)

Single botanicals

Chaenomeles speciosa (flowering quince): endurance increase in rats (Abstract)

Flos Lonicerae: anti-gastritic effects in rats (Abstract)

Regulation

Rhizome Coptidis and berberine: the ban in Singapore is lifted (Abstract)

January 22, 2015 In Herbal Research

Isolated compounds

Astragaloside IV: attenuation of injury caused by myocardial ischemia/reperfusion in rats (Abstract)

Curcumin: healing effects on burn wounds in rats (Abstract)

Morin: protection of gastric mucosa from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced inflammation and apoptosis (Abstract)

Puerarin: amelioration of hepatic steatosis aka non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Abstract)