HUMIC ACID — BLACK NECTAR FROM THE GODS By Cindy Rea HUMIC ACID is nature’s “black nectar from the gods.” Known by its rich dark brown-to-black colour, this organically charged biostimulant has proven to have powerful and significant health effects on humans, animals, plants, and the environment, demonstrating the essential unity of all living things. Because human bodies are made of materials that come from the earth, it is often the case that materials from the earth are agents of health. Humic acid was used by ancient cultures and in folk remedies for a wide variety of illnesses. It is known to be a powerful free-radical scavenger and a natural antioxidant. Humates taken internally are believed to boost the immune system by attacking unwanted injured or dead cells, thereby decreasing or eliminating infection. Experimentally, humic acid has been used both topically and internally to treat and prevent infection in burn victims. The humates destroy the invading infectious cells, allowing the healthy cells to take over. Russian scientists have had measured success in trials using humic acid to treat radiation sickness in rats. Ingestion of humic acids through organic foods and clean natural water from unpolluted rivers is believed to reduce or block the body’s absorption of heavy metals and pesticides. This may help diminish the buildup of cancer-causing toxins and pollutants in the human body. It is believed that humic acid is anti-carcinogenic. Humic acids have also been employed as veterinary medicine therapy successfully using peat mull (extracted humic acid) to prevent the transmission of foot and mouth disease in pigs. Before mega-production farming practices depleted our land of its natural goodness, humic acid was an abundant part of the soil. Plants and animals nurtured on the land ingested a balanced diet that included humates. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Animals and soil-grown plants have been deprived of the many health benefits that humic acid delivers. Humic acid can be extracted from recently composted organic manure or peat, but it is not as effective in absorbing and distributing micronutrients as the humic acid that is derived from Leonardite. (Recently is a relative term, which in this case refers to several thousand years.) The humic acid referred to as “black” in hydroponic formulations is the rich material extracted from naturally oxidized and carefully selected sources of Leonardite. Leonardite is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon shale formed in the earth over millions of years by the chemical and biological decomposition of prehistoric plant and animal matter. Being highly decomposed, natural humus, and having been subject to a significant level of microbial activity, it contains high concentrations of the organic humic and fulvic acids. This organic acid concentration varies from deposit to deposit. Some of the highest quality Leonardite deposits in the world are found in South America. Humic acid has virtually been leached from our agricultural soil, and crops have endured the deficiency. The natural antioxidant protection provided to plants rich in a humic-based soil is not available. Humic acids help to improve the soil’s water-holding capacity, improve the soil structure, and help to maintain soil stability. Humic acids readily form salts with inorganic trace minerals in a form that can be more easily utilized by plants. Humic acids promote vigor, disease resistance, and root development in agricultural crops. The result is faster growth. The acids assist roots by increasing soil permeability, increasing water retention, reducing water evaporation, and promoting the growth of beneficial microbial colonies in the root zone. The creation of a healthy, microbially active root zone environment creates stronger plants that take up nutrients better. In a hydroponic environment humic acid supplementation offers many of the same benefits to plants that it does in a soil culture. Because hydroponic growing takes place in an enclosed environment, it is possible to specifically target plants with a minimum of waste. Adding a humic-acid–based solution, referred to as “BLACK” in hydroponic preparations, to the nutrient reservoir will increase the efficacy of the nutrients, making both micro and macronutrients more readily available to the root zone. Humic acid’s high cation capacity serves as a chelator, which helps plants better assimilate all the nutrients in the solution. The chelation process helps make and keep nutrients readily available to be used by plants as needed. Environmental stresses can cause irreparable damage to plants — stunting or delaying growth, prohibiting flower production, or even causing death. Free-radical molecules result from stress such as high heat or temperature fluctuations, too high humidity, pesticide applications, and nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. The biostimulant activity of humic acid black produces antioxidants that combat these free radicals, making plants more resistant to these and other environmental stressors. Humic acid black remains in the cells, providing ongoing protection. One of the organic compounds in humic acid black is carbon, which manufactures sugars in plants. Sugars are especially important during flowering because plants require an increased amount of carbohydrates to produce fruit. The carbohydrate infusion delivered in humic acid black will also organically enhance flavour, colour, and aroma of fruit. Seed germination is accelerated when humic acid black is added. Humic acid’s effect on seed germination is similar to its effect on rooted plants. Humic acid, carrying both micronutrients and water, is drawn into the seed through the pore, stimulating growth of the radical. Not only do they germinate faster but also there is a higher percentage of seeds germinating. Beneficial bacteria and fungi reproduction created in the presence of humic acid black biologically increase plant growth. The microbial activity produced by these bacteria and fungi are excellent root stimulators. Humic acid black has also been shown to lower pH to a more neutral level, helping with the availability of nutrients. All this translates into healthier, stronger, and more pest-resistant plants. Humic acid black is an environmentally safe biostimulant that can be used throughout the entire growth cycle. The addition of humic acid black to a high-quality nutrient regimen will result in superior quality crop production, whether it is through soil or hydroponic cultivation. The crops will, in turn, be ingested by animals and humans, enriching the diet of the entire food chain.