- a blog by markus nolf

posts tagged "health"

[posted: Monday, 2009-09-14] [category: nature] [tags: , ]
honey-bee (apis mellifera)
common wasp (vespula vulgaris)

wasp sting - the swelling begins...

whenever somebody is stung by a bee or wasp, i remember there’s a rule of thumb about a good way of instantly diminishing the effects of the poison. however, i never recollect the vital part…

from a chemical standpoint, most types of insect poison are acids, which means you can (at least partly) neutralize them with bases.
one of the exceptions to this is the family of wasps: their poison’s are bases, which can thus be countervailed with an acid.

so, the next time you witness an insect bite (and i’m crossing my fingers it won’t be you who’s getting stung), you might want to try one of these household remedies:

  • bee bite (also works with ants, mosquitoes etc.): acids – diluted vinegar, diluted lemon juice, even orange juice or carbonated soft drinks.
  • wasp bite: bases – diluted soda, baking powder, …

on a side note: the poison in most jellyfish nematocysts is also acidic. if you were stung but didn’t bring ammonia to the beach, your last resort would be urine (a relatively neutral buffer solution). the book i got all this information from says “if you think that’s too gross, you’ve never felt the pain of a real jellyfish sting.”

source (in german): Wawra E., Dolznig H, Müllner E. (2003): Chemie verstehen. Facultas Verlags- und Buchhandels AG, p. 164

[posted: Wednesday, 2009-03-25] [category: general] [tags: ]
omega-3 fish oil dragées, made from salmon oil

in an attempt to improve my efficiency and productivity, i’ve spent some time reading up on the most common natural products & substances that increase activity and energy.

here’s a short (non-exhaustive) list of things i’ve com across:


    increases activity and concentration. stimulates the central nervous system, heart activity and blood pressure.
    negative effects: adaption, addiction, nervousness and anxiety, irritability, anything up to cardiac arrhythmia.
    overdose (according to wikipedia): 7 to 10 cups of coffee consumed within a short timespan.


    contains more caffeine than regular coffee. here, the caffeine is linked to tanning agents, which makes it longer-lasting (it’s released little by little).
    same negative side-effects as with pure caffeine.
    overdose: 20g guarana powder.


[posted: Saturday, 2009-03-07] [category: general, science] [tags: ]

warning: the following links and videos show some things that you are probably going to find gross. watch them at your own risk.

someone once told me, that buddhism says “once a year, you should do something you’ve never done before”.
i’ve had so many different things inside my nose lately that i think that counts for 2009.

some time ago, i discovered two fairly large masses in my nostrils.
searching for information on the internet returned lots of websites that were talking about either nasal haematoma (see photo quiz of the aafp, pictures at meduweb) or haemangioma (e.g. blog post and corresponding picture).
it wasn’t likely to be a haematoma because that is usually caused by being hit on your nose (which i hadn’t been), and the “balloons” in these pictures originated in the septum, while mine seemed to originate on the opposite side.. i didn’t know about the tumours, though.

i was relieved to hear my ENT doctor tell me that i just had very large turbinates (or nasal conchae). turns out this is why my nose had been more or less constantly congested for several years.

in terms of treatment, i had two choices: