Skip to Content

1009h, October 21st 2019

1009h, October 21st 2019 is a log tagged with eco industrialism, biopharmacology, Pycnanthemum muticum, and Mentha spicata Labiatae. It was released on Oct 21, 2019.

Recently I wrote up a definition of “eco-industrialism,” a social philosophy which advocates changing agriculture to exist within ecology through industrial unionism.

I’m not in love with the term, but I needed some way to refer to the belief, which doesn’t seem to be represented by existing language. In fact, that’s been a thread in my exploration of the concepts around eco-industrialism: while the topics I’m dealing with - growing food and organizing communities - are topics that humanity has been dealing with for centuries, very little of our research is being done on non-centralized and non-hierarchal perspectives on these topics.

An example: I recently obtained a blunt mountainmint (Pycnanthemum muticum) plant. There’s some research1 indicating that spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) may interfere with hormonal birth control or fetal development. However, the research only speculates as to a potential cause of the effect2, which leaves me with several questions:

  1. Does spearmint contain a higher level of polyphenol compounds than other mints, or was it simply what was studied?
  2. Does my short-toothed mountainmint contain enough polyphenol compounds to cause interference in hormone regulation?
  3. Can I test any of this myself?
  4. Are these even the right questions to ask?

As a lay-person who’s heard doctors in appointments advocate against consuming spearmint tea, I was surprised not just by reading the research (which doesn’t seem to condemn spearmint tea, just raise questions about the side-effects of consuming… just about any plant-based food.)

I was also surprised to see that there just isn’t as much research on the topic as I’d have expected: one small study that doesn’t do much beyond provide a bit of data. That’s not much of a basis for “don’t drink spearmint tea.”

Alternatively, if that’s a strong basis for don’t drink spearmint tea, wouldn’t that reasonably mean someone should be equally cautious about drinking coffee, wine, or eating berries? Those foods are also high in polyphenols; should they be avoided except to treat specific medical and nutritional needs?

I doubt it - but the point is, not only do I not know, but as far as I can tell, there isn’t a definitive answer.

This is a bit of a tangent to bring me back to the thing I wanted to say:

I want to design for myself a curriculum to teach myself the skills necessary to figure this sort of stuff out. By the time I’ve finished the curriculum, I want to have the skills necessary to organize together a group of people to engage in the labor of studying and developing their local ecology into one which provides food and other resources we consume. That sounds like a lot, on its face, but I think it could be broken down into a reasonable amount of material. The difficulty is, where I am now, I don’t know what I don’t know, so I can’t plan what I need to know.

I know, generally, I’ll need to know how to organize a non-hierarchal community. As an American, I think it’ll be easiest to carry on under the Industrial Workers of the World, our industrial labor union. That’ll involve becoming intimately familiar with their constitution and bylaws, as well as their history. I expect going through that lens will introduce me to the other concepts I’ll need to learn to develop this idea further. (For example, I’ve already been exposed to some information about anarchist African internationalist movements.)

I’ll also need enough understanding of biology to support an understanding of ecology and agriculture. I’ll need to know a fair bit about some schools of engineering to support the agriculture, and other industrial efforts. While I don’t expect to know how to construct everything from a loom to adding machine, I want to know enough to figure it out - or, in the sense of community, teach someone else how to figure it out, so we can do it together.

That seems pretty linear: learn basic biology and engineering, and then learn ecology, agriculture, water-, mechanical-, thermal-, and electrical-engineering.

The process to learn about communities seems a bit more vague. I think it should start with perhaps learning “communication” skills, but in the sense of making sure I know how to do a double-booked ledger and read contracts. Once I’m sure I’m able to communicate with others following my own rules, I can focus on learning to work with those others more directly - unionizing - and then the third stage would be learning how to help groups work with each other - confederation.

Here’s a link to the curriculum I’ve sketched out after writing this log:

  1. See Akdoğan, M., Tamer, M. N., Cüre, E., Cüre, M. C., Köroğlu, B. K., & Delibaş, N. (2007). Effect of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) teas on androgen levels in women with hirsutism. Phytotherapy Research, 21(5), 444–447. doi:10.1002/ptr.2074. [return]
  2. Put simply, our blood uses iron to transport hormones, but polyphenol compounds in mint bind to that iron and prevent it from transporting hormones.3 [return]
  3. See Ma, Q., Kim, E.-Y., Lindsay, E. A., & Han, O. (2011). Bioactive Dietary Polyphenols Inhibit Heme Iron Absorption in a Dose-Dependent Manner in Human Intestinal Caco-2 Cells. Journal of Food Science, 76(5), H143–H150. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02184.x. [return]