Category: Herbal Medicine

5 Cognitive Benefits of Psilocybin

Magic mushrooms are getting a lot of attention lately. Multiple reputable studies are underway to investigate the potential for positive impacts on the brain, and documentaries and books are making strong claims about their advantages. Meanwhile, news headlines claim many moms are gravitating from wine to mushrooms to “take the edge off”. Recently, the city of Denver even decriminalized magic mushrooms, and Colorado is voting on state-wide decriminalization and the creation of mushroom healing centers on its November 2022 ballot. 

While we certainly don’t recommend ingesting psilocybin – especially if you live in a territory where it is banned – it’s worth taking a look at why legislators are considering changes to the law, and the suspected cognitive benefits which may accompany its use.

1. More flexibility.

Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to switch between different types of brain operations. When people have the same thoughts over and over, their brain creates a path between those neurons. This becomes the easiest path for their thoughts to travel down. This can apply to general negative thoughts, but it also applies to mental health concerns such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse disorder. 

When people ingest psilocybin, it makes their brains more flexible. Essentially, it smooths out the well-worn paths and allows the brain to create new paths more easily. This process makes the brain more flexible and improves your mental health. 

2. Good vibes only

Psilocybin reduces negative thoughts and increases positive thoughts. It also reduces how your amygdala responds to negative stimuli. This is the part of your brain that controls your emotions. When people are presented with negative stimuli after taking psilocybin, they have a more positive response. They feel less sad, anxious, or fearful. They’re able to roll with the punches a bit more effectively. 

3. Fast-acting changes

Psilocybin works faster than traditional anti-depressants. In one study, researchers gave psilocybin to 24 people with major depressive disorder. After just two doses coupled with psychotherapy, the subjects showed intense improvements immediately.

In contrast, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which are the go-to antidepressant for most people, take a lot longer to have an impact. Generally, when you start taking an SSRI, it won’t have an effect for two to four weeks. When people are really struggling, they often don’t have this much time. 

4. Better problem-solving abilities

You don’t necessarily have to “trip” to experience the benefits of psilocybin. Research shows that even microdosing can have positive effects on your brain. Microdosing involves taking a very small dose of psilocybin. Generally, the person who takes it doesn’t feel anything, but they will notice positive effects. 

In particular, microdosing helps improve people’s divergent thinking, and it makes their intelligence more fluid. What do these technical terms mean? Divergence is the ability to see more than one solution to a problem, and fluidity improves your ability to solve new problems more easily. 

5. Long-lasting changes

The improvements from psilocybin are not just temporary. They are long-lasting. Numerous studies have looked at subjects several weeks or a month after they took the psilocybin. They all showed lasting changes and improvements to brain functioning and mood. 

Note that while the benefits are abundant, you need to tread carefully. Psilocybin is illegal under federal law. You also should not ingest hallucinogens without consulting with your medical care provider. 

5 Herbs with Scientifically Proven Benefits

Are you looking for a delicious way to improve your health? Dig into these five tasty herbs with scientifically-proven health benefits.

Science Says these 5 Herbs can Improve Your Health

1. Sage

People have been using sage as a medicinal herb since the dawn of time, but it really became popular for its healing properties in the Middle Ages. In fact, sage gets its name from the Latin word, Salvere, which means “to save” or “to heal.”

Current research suggests sage can improve brain function and memory. Other studies show sage, also known as Salvia officinalis, may be helpful for reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels and decreasing inflammation.

2. Peppermint

Peppermint also enjoys a long history in folk medicine and aromatherapy. The oily components of peppermint give this herb its distinctive aroma – they also provide health effects. Research shows that peppermint helps manage pain in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and helps to reduce abdominal bloating. It works by relaxing the muscles in the colon. Peppermint can also soothe nausea, especially in pregnant women after surgery or following a C-section.

3. Turmeric

As with peppermint and sage, turmeric has stood the test of time for its ability to provide health benefits. Used for centuries in India as a medicinal herb, turmeric gives curry its distinctive yellow color. When used as herbal medicine, turmeric can ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, conjunctivitis (pink eye), a serious type of eye problem known as uveitis, skin cancer, chicken pox, small pox, urinary tract infections, and some liver problems. Turmeric can also speed wound healing.

Turmeric contains several active compounds – curcumin is the most important compound in turmeric. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight the free radicals that cause tissue damage and poor health. The curcumin in turmeric is also a potent anti-inflammatory that rivals some medications.

4. Rosemary

Do you have seasonal allergies? Add a little rosemary to roasted potatoes, soups, casseroles, salads, and stews.

The active ingredient in rosemary, rosmarinic acid, can suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion to help ease your runny nose and other allergy symptoms. .

5. Echinacea

Improving your health may be as easy as picking flowers in your garden – literally. Echinacea, also called purple coneflower, is native to North America. Native Americans have used echinacea as herbal medicine for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments. Today, it is a popular over-the-counter herbal remedy for colds and flu. You can also use it to treat pain, inflammation, migraines, and other health concerns. It is currently available in tablets, tinctures, extracts and teas.

Research shows that taking echinacea may lower your risk for developing a cold by more than 50 percent, and if you do catch a cold, echinacea can shorten the duration of your cold by one and a half days. Echinacea may also reduce your blood sugar level, decrease inflammation, and calm anxiety.

If you want to optimize your health and avoid illness without having to take handfuls of pills every day, take a stroll down the herbs and spices aisle of your local grocery store, or head out to your garden. Herbs may be the most delicious medicine you’ll ever take.