Neuroenhancement

Praised, Explained, Unhyped.

St. John’s Wort - Herbal Mood Enhancer

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St. John’s Wort is a widely known herbal remedy for depression, which has been used for millennia. This plant is very interesting as a neuroenhancer as it has a desirable profile of psychotropic effects, has been identified in a broad review of studies as superior to placebo, and is available in most parts of the world legally over the counter.

In the eyes of some, St. John’s Wort may bear additional appeal for being natural and non-refined. We would like to mention that attributes such as natural, non-processed, or organic do not equate with safe, reliable, or good. Herbal medicines are often referred to by the plant’s name and administered as such simply because the active ingredients are not accurately identified. To the serious researcher and the informed consumer this should be a reason for additional scrutiny rather than a word of praise.

Neuroaugmentation Et Chocolat

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We had hoped to kick this blog off on a more scientific note - but here we are. Recently, we watched a movie difficult not to review in the context of the discussion around pharmacological neuroenhancement.

The context of this discussion is that many people regard pharmacological neuroenhancement as something utterly distinct from behavioural neuroenhancement (e.g. education, coaching, therapy, and meditation) - and as something game-changing and dangerous. And while we conclude that the movie does show pharmacological neuroenhancement as powerful - it also shows how seamlessly it integrates with other means of neuroenhancement and how inconspicuously it may already thrive in the world.

The movie is named “Chocolat” and the plot revolves around a woman setting up a chocolate shop in a very conservative village on the banks of the river Tarn. As time goes by she wins over the locals one by one and ends up liberalizing and discreetly overthrowing the moral system of the village (championed by her primary antagonist, the mayor).