Things That Matter

This Latina-Owned Apothecary Promises Lucid Dreams Tinctures And Herbal Smoke Blends For Longevity

In this world of growing suspicion around Western medicine, many of us have taken to what some people consider “New Age” plant medicine. Adriana Ayales is here to bust that myth. If our ancestors hadn’t decided to move to the United States in search for a better life, we probably would have grown up with herbal healing. In a way, many of us grew up with mami’s irrefutable healing ways (sleep with an onion under your pillow, etc.).

Ayales grew up near the rainforest, with an indigenous Costa Rican abuelita who taught her everything she knew. Ayales is bringing her wisdom around Costa Rican jungle cures for coughs, insomnia and longevity to the U.S. with her shop: Anima Mundi Herbals. Here’s what she’s promising.

Meet Adriana Ayales:

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

In her online bio, she writes, “I believe that by preserving these ancient forms of indigenous botany, we keep alive a very sacred aspect to our source. Anima Mundi was founded with the intention to bridge ancient healing traditions and plant remedies as a form as grassroots healthcare for today’s world.”

She’s been a hands on herbalist since she was a teenager.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

She’s studied under plant medicine teachers in Costa Rica, the Amazon and California, and then went on to train as a clinical herbalist in Western and European herbalism. She goes on in her bio, that she “became deeply fascinated with archetypes, astrology and body types and the cosmological correlations of illness/health with planetary function. I studied astrology, cosmology and consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and immersed myself in the study of medical astrology, and biodynamics.”

To this day, she returns to Costa Rica to discover and reclaim ancient plant medicine.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

She has a beautiful way of understanding our Earth.

“Earth is like a gigantic receptor or radio-station, inhaling and exhaling stellar and cosmic forces; the absorbed essence of which grows and unfolds as life. These forces are not all material, but include subtle energies of an occult or spiritual nature. Plants transmit the vital-emotional impulses, the life-force that is hidden in light. That is the gift, the grace, the power of plants,” she writes on Instagram.

If you live near the Bronx, you’re in luck.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Ayales has a brick and mortar with hundreds of herbs on hand, and herbalists at the ready to create a medicinal blend for whatever you’re feeling at the moment. While her aim with Anima Mundi is to offer pure and powerful healthcare, it’s also to “help preserve indigenous lands and their local economies through organic agriculture and wildcrafted goods,” as she writes on her website.

The “herbal factory” offers all kinds of workshops.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Full moon coming up? You’ll bet there’s a cacao ceremony planned, and for good reason. Cacao is embedded in the ancient history of indigenous cultures of Costa Rica. Only the women were allowed to handle the cacao (because they knew a matriarchy made better sense), and cacao was only consumed for sacred occasions.

You can learn to make probiotic nut + seed based cheeses.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Of course, you can learn how to integrate medicinal herbs into these very tasty looking cashew wheels. Events coming up sound like “Toltec Shamanism: Self-Love and the Connection to Mother Earth” and “The Alchemist Sessions Experience: Crafting Conscious Cocktails.”

That’s right. Alcohol can be medicinal. Learn all about it.

The “Flores Sagradas Sacred Herbal Smoke” blend looks bellísima.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Apparently, the smoke is used ceremonially to open the crown chakra. It includes flowers like Wild Dagga and Indian warrior, which have been used for their muscle relaxant properties. Meanwhile, smoking the Blue lotus is used as a “visionary herb” and to help decompress the nervous system.

The Palo Santo she sells is fairly sourced from Northern Peru.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

She also sells it in an oil format, which is meant to help induce lucid dreaming or to protect your aura. The product description shares, “It draws darkness out, and pours light into the entire energy system.”

Elixirs are some of her most potent products.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

For example, the Dream elixir is made up of Ashwagandha, Passionflower, Kava Kava, Skullcap, Blue Lotus,  Kalea Sacatechichi and a few other herbs that help boost hypothalamic function. That in turn helps increase pituitary response and give you a deep sleep, and a better dream-recall.

So if you have insomnia, or are interested in lucid dreaming, this is your elixir.

Oh, and the way people are using the tinctures? 🤤

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

What you’re looking at is a bulletproofed turmeric latte with curam elixir, which Anima Mundi describes as it’s “Beauty & Anti-Aging” elixir. The turmeric root, Camu Camu peel, Amla peel, Mangosteen and wildcrafted Ylang Ylang flowers help to increase vitality, reduce inflammation and improve the elasticity in the skin and muscle tissue.

Then, you guys, there are the *powders*.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

I will tell you that I have personally used the Pau D’Arco which is an anti-viral, anti-candidal elixir for a candida overgrowth and it works. I have done three month long anti-candida diets where the only fruit I can eat is an avocado or olive.

This one is great if you have a weak immune system, or are feeling brain fog, sugar cravings, low libido, and all the other crappy symptoms of the too common candida overgrowth.

You can add the powders to pretty much anything.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Y’know, any curative pill sold in stores is based in a healing plant property. So why not get them in their rawest forms? You can add this adaptogenic brain tonic to your morning cafecito or evening arroz con leche.

Flan is the new brain food.

Fans have made the most incredible superfood desserts.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Like this raspberry jam almond butter cup infused with Reishi powder. Reishi is known to aid your body wherever it is stressed,  by decreasing inflammation and repairing damaged blood vessels and balancing hormones. They’re basically immune balancers, which just help restore your body to its healthiest balanced state.

Also, they look yummy as heck.

And then there are the tonics.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

If you check out her site, she tells you in depth what each herb in the tonics are known for in their original culture. For example, the “Energia” tonic is steeped in Suma (meaning para toda), native to indigenous Amazon people.

According to Leslie Taylor ND, “Suma has been used as an aphrodisiac, a calming agent, and to treat ulcers for at least 300 years. It is an important herbal remedy in the folk medicine of several rainforest Indian tribes today.”

When Café Bustelo isn’t going to cut it.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

You can try actual drops of happiness in your morning routine!

Caption: “Our exquisitely crafted liquid happiness is composed of botanicals known for their ability to regulate our happy molecules (seratonin + dopamine), balancing hormonal function, while providing significant brain health. Our signature formula is a mix of #adaptogenic herbs, Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, with supporting powerhouses like St Johns Wort, Albizzia and Mucuna. Read up on the powerful properties of these bliss boosting herbs.”

She offers tea to increase your sex drive.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

According to her Instagram page, “The Blue Lotus is revered as an herb to increase sexual vitality. …The root and stamen of the Blue lotus is what does all the increasing of energy as the adrenal glands are healed and the androgen hormones etc are back in balance — then the long gone libido returns. So, in the true context of an adaptogen, I will comment that the Blue Lotus has the power to repair all of the body without taking any particular organ, system, illness into account.

It is undiscerning in its selection of what to heal. It just does it all. Another interesting component are the alkaloids that it contains that it makes a “heal-all”. This chemistry is why we all love the ginseng family. Mind, body, soul, emotions. All dealt with easily with a daily therapeutic dose for a long period of time. Voila, magic happens and you are well. That just about sums up the Blue Lotus too.”

We could all use some Protection myst.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

The mist is made of 100 percent sustainably crafted Palo Santo. We culturally regard it as a tool to cleanse the soul, but it also has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial air purifying properties. It’s nature’s non-toxic Lysol.

I am so curious about this Coconut Cream powder.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

This is a dream to carry with you into the backcountry. I’m always seeing powdered milk at outdoor supply stores, but my lactose-intolerant brown blood would just straight up die out there with that. I’m getting this ASAP.

Anima Mundi processes all 200 different herbs they use to create their products.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Every powder, every tonic, was hand crafted by the Anima Mundi team before being packaged. I know I want to give Adriana Ayales all my money in both gratitude for making Costa Rica’s ancient healing wisdom accessible to all of us, and because I’m genuinely lusting over all these products.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and enthused all at once, she’s got a plan for that.

CREDIT: @animamundiherbals / Instagram

Ayales shows us all how to integrate her formulas into juices and elixirs that will balance the herbal properties in harmony. She created the book in order to demystify herbalism, so that’s what it’s there for.

Inside are recipes for headache cures, Reishi & Cacao energy elixirs and instructions on how to cold press your own tinctures. Is it just me or are we all obsessed with her life work and products?


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This Is Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Take A Selfie With Wild Animals In Costa Rica

Things That Matter

This Is Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Take A Selfie With Wild Animals In Costa Rica

SaltyyRose / Instagram

When you think of Costa Rica, what do you think of? Maybe its volcanoes? Or possibly its luxurious beaches? Or maybe just the fact that it’s home to some of the happiest people on the planet? Well, now you’ll know Costa Rica for something else: its animal conservation efforts. How, you ask? Through discouraging tourist selfies with wild animals.

Warning: there are some confronting animal selfies below – so best avoid reading further if you don’t want to see them.

Costa Rica is the leader when it comes to public consciousness around selfies with animals.

Instagram / @consoglobe

While it’s common to see a polite sign here and there in tourist spots asking visitors to be respectful of animals, the Costa Rica Tourism Institute has now gone another step further by launching a social media campaign against the practice of taking selfies with wild animals. We probably shouldn’t be surprised – with 20 national parks, in addition to a bunch of reserves, animal refuges and protected areas, 26 percent of Costa Rica’s land is protected in the name of conservation. It only seems natural that Costa Rica would also pioneer a campaign on Insta under the simple hashtag #stopanimalselfies.

Chances are you’re probably, like us, wondering why the campaign isn’t using a Spanish hashtag.

Credit: giajurado / Instagram

The Costa Rican government are one step ahead: they know that the main offenders chasing wild animal selfies are English-speaking tourists, so they’re largely focusing their efforts on communicating with said English-speaking tourists.

“Our visitors must know the negative impact caused by selfies and photos showing direct contact with wild animals. Our goal and responsibility as global leaders in environmental issues is to educate and encourage new world ambassadors committed to wildlife protection,” said the Vice Minister of Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), Pamela Castillo, when asked about the initiative in an interview with CNN Travel.

It’s worth knowing that there are quite a number of reasons to refrain from taking selfies with wild animals. 

Credit: zoovarta / Instagram

The first, and biggest, reason to not take selfies with wild animals is that, because they’re not tame animals, they’ll likely freak out if you try to get close up and personal with them. Wild animals definitely don’t understand what the heck a selfie is, and trying to take one with them will likely endanger both you and the animal. Who’s to say that the wild animal won’t try to land a scratch on someone trying to get a selfie with it – and that person won’t try to defend themselves? And who’s to say that such a scratch won’t become infected? It’s a much better time on your vacation if you don’t get an infection.

Another thing to think about is that interaction with humans that really mess up a wild animal’s life.

Credit: saltyyrose / Instagram

For starters, it may scare the animals away from their natural habitat, which essentially risks scaring them away from reliable food sources and a safe environment. Traumatized animals may have trouble having babies – which can cause a decline in the animal population. These are all things we definitely want to avoid. Especially since Costa Rica is home to some species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Some people use the opportunity to make money at the expense of animals’ well-being.

Credit: da_cherry_bomb / Instagram

Possibly the worst thing to come out of the taking-selfies-with-wild-animals trend is that there are some less scrupulous humans who see it as a potential source of income. Yes, that means that they charge to get people up close and personal with unique animals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these animals are well-cared for, or even tame, for that matter. They’re just kept in captivity for a quick buck. Yikes.

The good news is that there are alternatives available.

Credit: juan
Instagram / @juanvainasychibolo

Just because you can’t take a selfie with a wild animal doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get a photo with them. Animal rights group World Animal Protection has said that it’s a-OK to take a “selfie” with wild animals if you’re a safe distance from them. Think along the lines of a photo where you look like you’re photobombing from the front. Another two things that World Animal Protection has stipulated make for an ethical wildlife photo-taking are pictures where the animal is in its natural home, and is free to move. Basically, snaps of animals in the wild, undisturbed, just doing their thing, are totally fine.

On the other hand, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute has also offered alternatives to selfies with wild animals

Instagram / @jerryntaz

Juan Santamaría International Airport currently has a setup where you can take cute selfies with plushies. Not only will this mean that you can contribute to the movement of people avoiding animal exploitation, joining an ethical movement will also do so much more for your social media clout anyways.

The United Nations Gave Costa Rica The Highest Award Possible For Their Work Saving The Environment

Things That Matter

The United Nations Gave Costa Rica The Highest Award Possible For Their Work Saving The Environment

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Costa Rica is a global example of cutting carbon emission and using renewable and sustainable energy to power a nation. The Central American country has been striving to be carbon-zero ahead of the rest of the world. The country recently powered itself using only renewable and clean energy for part of a year showing that it is indeed possible. As such, the United Nation gave the country the highest award for being the environmental example it is.

Costa Rica was recognized by the UN for leading the way to a zero-carbon future.

Credit: visit_costarica / Instagram

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recognized Costa Rica with its highest environmental honor. The Central American country was celebrated for its role in the protection of nature and its commitment to combat climate change with strong policies. 

“Costa Rica has been a pioneer in the protection of peace and nature and sets an example for the region and for the world,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment program. “Climate change demands urgent and transformative action from all of us. With its ambitious plan to decarbonize the economy, Costa Rica is rising to that challenge,” she added. “Global emissions are reaching record levels and we must act now to move to cleaner, more resilient economies.”

Around 70 percent of all buses and taxis are also expected to be electric by 2030, with full electrification expected by 2050.

Credit: visit_costarica / Instagram

Ninety-eight percent of Costa Rica’s energy is renewable and forest cover stands at more than 50 percent after decades of work to reverse deforestation. In 2017 the entire country ran a record 300 days solely on renewable power. The plan is to run on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Costa Rica has plans to switch 70 percent of all carbon-emitting buses and taxis to electric by 2030, with full electrification of vehicles projected for 2050.

“Receiving the Champions of the Earth award on behalf of Costa Rica, its entire population, the past generations who protected the environment, and future generations fills me with pride and emotion for what Costa Rica has achieved and for what we can continue to do because we can achieve even more. I feel very proud to be Costa Rican,” said President Carlos Alvarado Quesada.

“About 50 years ago, the country began to advance a series of innovative environmental policies because the paradigm of sustainable development is very much in Costa Ricans’ DNA. The decarbonization plan consists of maintaining an upward curve in terms of economic employment growth, and at the same time generating a downward curve in the use of fossil fuels in order to stop polluting. How are we going to achieve that? Through clean public transport; smart and resilient cities; sound waste management; sustainable agriculture and improved logistics,” he said. 

Costa Rica revealed its plan of action to abide by the Paris Agreement’s target to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

Credit: visit_costarica / Instagram

Costa Rica’s Decarbonization Plan was unveiled in February and the target of the plan is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, by reforming transport, energy, waste and land use. This would mean that the country will produce no more emissions than it can offset through actions such as maintaining and growing its forests. 

Already, Costa Rica’s groundbreaking role in promoting clean technologies and sustainability has earned the country of around 5 million people a global emissions rate of only 0.4 percent. China’s global emissions in 2011 were over 10 percent, and the US was emitting over 6 percent

UN Secretary-General urged world leaders to come together to discuss sustainability in New York during the Climate Action Summit.

Credit: visit_costarica / Instagram

The Champions of the Earth is the UN’s flagship global environment award. It recognizes Costa Rica’s sustainability efforts and highlights the urgent need to find solutions against climate change. The need for radical global action on this subject was highlighted by the UN earlier this week at UN’s Secretary-General António Guterres’ Climate Action Summit in New York.

For the summit, the Secretary-General urged world leaders and businesses to come together with concrete ideas on how they intend to cut emissions by 45 percent in the next decade and achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050 as per the Paris Agreement of 2016. 

The urgency of the problem was highlighted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s emotional speech.

By the end of the day, 65 countries announced efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, several asset fund managers offered to aim to a net-zero portfolio of investments by the same year. Dozens of businesses said they would abide by the Paris Agreement too. The urgency of the problem was highlighted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who chastised world leaders for their approach. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said, “if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”

The ‘Champions of the Earth’ award was established to celebrate outstanding figures whose efforts have transformed the environment and the world.

Credit: visit_costarica / Instagram

The award Champions of the Earth, bestowed upon Costa Rica this year, was established by the UNEP (UN Environmental Program) in 2005 to celebrate outstanding figures whose actions have been transformative to this earth and the environment.     From world leaders to environmental activists and technology innovators, the award recognizes trailblazing efforts to protect the planet for generations to come. 

Costa Rica is one of five Champions of the Earth this year. The other categories rewarded are entrepreneurial vision, inspiration and action; and science and innovation. All 2019 champions will be honored today at a gala ceremony in New York during the 74th UN General Assembly. Also honoured at the event will be seven young environmental activists between the ages of 18 and 30, who will take home the ‘Young Champions of the Earth’ prize.

Previous laureates from Latin America include Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile, for her efforts in creating marine protected areas and for boosting renewable energy (2017); former Brazilian environment minister Izabella Teixeira for her leadership and key role in reversing deforestation of the Amazon (2013); and Mexican ecologist José Sarukhán Kermez for a lifetime of leadership and innovation in the conservation of biodiversity in Mexico and the world (2016).

READ: Costa Rica Is Warning Everyone To Stop Drinking Alcohol As 19 People Have Died Due To Tainted Alcohol