That caffeine in your drink — is it really ‘natural?’


09 Mar 2012

That caffeine in your tea, energy drink or other beverage — is it really natural? Scientists are reporting successful use for the first time of a simpler and faster method for answering that question. Their report appears in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Analytical Chemistry.

Maik A. Jochmann, Ph.D., and colleagues point to the growing consumer preference for foods and beverages that contain only natural ingredients. Coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks and other caffeine-containing drinks are the most popular beverages in the world. Food regulatory agencies require that caffeine be listed on package labels, but do not require an indication of whether the caffeine is from natural or synthetic sources. The scientists set out to develop a faster, simpler method for categorizing caffeine’s origins.

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Top 5 Everyday Personal Care Products You Can Make Yourself With These SIMPLE Ingredients

Lyra Nara Blog

Many people are moving over to natural, plant-based, organic personal care products and for good reason! There are many reasons to start making your own products, here are a few:

1.) It is beneficial for your health to limit the amount of exposure of toxic chemicals to the skin.

2.) It is also beneficial to the environment as less toxins will be going down the drains.

3.) You will be producing less waste from bottles and other packages.

4.) Over time, if enough people started doing this it could help put an end to animal testing.

5.) Making your own everyday personal care products can be very economical over time.

6.) It can be fun to customize and experiment with your favorite smells and oils.

7.) Making your own products can bring peace of mind as you know exactly where the ingredients are coming from and – what they are.


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How To Treat Migraines With Red Raspberry Leaf

New Drug Approvals

How To Treat Migraines With Red Raspberry Leaf

If you, or someone close to you, suffers from migraines then you’ll know just how frustrating it can be. You can try all sorts of approaches and conventional medications, but often they don’t work!

Why not try some red raspberry leaf tea? It’s packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and is widely used for helping to cure those painful headaches.

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This Little Weed is one of the Most Useful Medicines on the Planet

New Drug Approvals


There are two major types of plantain in BC, Canada: Lance and Broadleaf. Generally, all 200-plus varieties of plantain yield the same results. It grows especially well in poor, rocky soil (such as driveways) and is often seen alongside dandelion. More often than not, you will see plantain growing in gravel pits and construction sites as nature seeks to regenerate the soil. Introduced to North America in the 1600s, it was once called “White Man’s Foot” by the Native Americans who witnessed that where the Europeans tread and disrupted the soil, plantain sprung up.

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Odor Code for Food Based on a Few Volatile Substances

New Drug Approvals

thumbnail image: Follow Your Nose

The actual flavor of a food is experienced through our sense of smell rather than with our tongue. However, of the large number of volatile compounds in foods, only about 230 are involved in the scent, as reported by German scientists in the journal Angewandte Chemie. The different smells derive from characteristic combinations of three to forty of these odorants.

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Highly efficient visible-light-driven photoelectro-catalytic selective aerobic oxidation of biomass alcohols to aldehydes

Highly efficient visible-light-driven photoelectro-catalytic selective aerobic oxidation of biomass alcohols to aldehydes



Green Chem., 2014, Advance Article DOI: 10.1039/C4GC00454J,!divAbstract

Paper Yajun Zhang, Guohua Zhao, Yanan Zhang, Xiaofeng Huang Highly efficient visible-light driven synergistic photoelectrocatalytic aerobic oxidation of biomass alcohols to aldehydes using Au/CeO2-TIO2 NT photocathodes under the mild conditions.

Department of Chemistry, Key Laboratory of Yangtze River Water Environment, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, People’ s Republic of China


A green and highly efficient visible-light-driven synergistic photoelectrochemical (PEC) catalysis system was systematically demonstrated for selective oxidation of biomass alcohols to the corresponding aldehydes in an O2 atmosphere under the mild conditions by employing the Au/CeO2–TiO2 NTs as photocathodes. Results showed that the conversion of benzyl alcohols was as high as 98% and the selectivity of benzaldehyde was >99% at the bias potential of −0.8 V under the visible light irradiation for 8 h. The superior performance could be attributed to the synergistic PEC process combining both the advantages of photocatalytic and electrocatalytic activity. Furthermore, the research elucidated that the PEC activity and the conversion rate of benzyl alcohol could be effectively promoted by adjusting the potential. Interestingly, the incorporation of CeO2 nanoparticles (NPs) into the inner wall of TiO2 NTs can remarkably enhance the selectivity of the PEC oxidation reaction towards a specific direction. Additionally, the rationally designed and fabricated Au/CeO2–TiO2 NT photocathode was in favour of separating electrons and holes. A probable mechanism for the PEC selective aerobic oxidation process was proposed and discussed.

Plants recycle too

Lyra Nara Blog

A research team from VIB and Ghent University (Belgium), and Staffan Persson from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam (Germany) has now identified a new protein complex which is crucial for endocytosis in plants.

Cells communicate through proteins embedded in their cell membranes. These proteins have diverse functions and can be compared with antennas, switches and gates. For the well-being of the cell, it has to adjust the composition of its membrane proteins and lipids constantly. New proteins are incorporated, while old proteins get recycled or eliminated. The process by which membrane material gets internalized is called endocytosis. A research team headed by Daniël van Damme and Geert De Jaeger from VIB and Ghent University (Belgium), and Staffan Persson from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm near Potsdam (Germany) has now identified a new protein complex which is crucial for endocytosis…

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A Tree That Eats Metal Was Just Discovered In The Philippines

Lyra Nara Blog


Plants have evolved to exclude any metal from their roots or in any of the surrounding soil. Most plants do this, but not a particular plant called the Rinorea Niccolifera. It was discovered in the jungles of the Philippines and can accumulate up to 18,000 ppm of metal in its leaves and roots without being poisoned. This is 100 to 1000 times the amount of metal that normal plants can take in. Researchers at the University of the Phillippines – Los Banos that described the species in a new report also discovered that its ability to eat toxic levels of metals could make the tree a great solution to toxic waste sites around the planet. This is why this discovery is so important.

It is a small tree, normally 1.8 meters tall with a stem ranging from 3 to 13 centimetres in diameter.

You can access the full study HERE

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Researchers reveal how ‘obesity gene’ triggers weight gain (Update)

Lyra Nara Blog

An international team of researchers has discovered why people with a variation of the FTO gene that affects one in six of the population are 70 per cent more likely to become obese.

A new study led by scientists at UCL (University College London), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry shows that people with the obesity-risk FTO variant have higher circulating levels of the ‘hunger hormone’, ghrelin, in their blood. This means they start to feel hungry again soon after eating a meal.

Real-time brain imaging reveals that the FTO gene variation also changes the way the brain responds to ghrelin, and to images of food, in the regions linked with the control of eating and reward.

Together these findings explain for the first time why people with the obesity-risk variant of the FTO gene eat more and prefer higher calorie foods compared with…

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Multihormone reverses metabolic damage of high calorie diet

Lyra Nara Blog

Importantly, the scientists found out that treatment of obese mice with this GLP-1/Glucagon co-agonist improves metabolism and body weight associated with restored function of the weight lowering hormone leptin, even in the continued presence of a high-fat, high-sugar diet. The results are published in the current issue of the official journal of the American Diabetes Association Diabetes.

The adipocyte hormone leptin plays a key role in the physiology of energy and glucose metabolism. Leptin is normally secreted from adipose tissue to blood in proportion to the amount of body fat. Increased leptin levels inform the brain of stored calories and it responds to inhibit food intake, increase energy expenditure and decrease blood glucose. However, obese individuals are resistant to leptin’s metabolic effects, which limits the use of leptin as an anti-obesity drug. In their new study, the group of Dr. Timo Müller (Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz…

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