Things That Matter

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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? 🤤

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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*.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Costa Rica Ministry of Health

Costa Ricans are on edge after 19 people have been died because of tainted alcochol. According to authorities, each of the victims died after drinking alcohol with toxic levels of methanol.

So far 14 men and five women, in several cities across the country, have died.

As of now, there have been 19 deaths across Costa Rica related to tainted alcohol.

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At least 19 people have died in Costa Rica after consuming alcohol contaminated with toxic levels of methanol, officials said.

The victims, who ranged from 32 to 72 in age, consumed the tainted alcohol in various cities across the country dating back to early last month, the country’s Ministry of Health revealed over the weekend.

They each died from what appeared to be methanol poisoning. The fatalities occurred in San José, Cartago, Limón, Guanacaste and Heredia.

“It is important to emphasize that this information is preliminary since the investigations continue,” the statement said. “The Ministry of Health continues to carry out operations throughout the national territory in order to reduce the exposure of consumers to adulterated products.”

The government is so concerned they’ve started confiscating huge amounts of alcohol from restaurants, bars, and clubs.

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Government officials confiscated more than 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted, the ministry said in a statement on Friday, warning residents to avoid several brands that tested positive for contamination.

They’re also telling people to avoid consuming alcohol from a number of specific brands until they’re sure it’s safe.

Until authorities can figure out exactly what is going on and which brands or types of alcohol are affected, the government is urging all people in Costa Rica to hold off from consuming alcohol for now.

Though the government did release a list of suspected brands (which you should definitely avoid) and they include Molotov, Timbuka, and Aguardiente.

Alcohol poisoning, particularly from methanol, can make people feel really drunk really fast, not giving them time to realize something might be wrong.

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Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which can make people feel inebriated. Adding methanol to distilled spirits enables sellers to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency, according to SafeProof, a group that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

Methanol poisoning can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and the inability to coordinate muscle movements. Even small amounts can be toxic. According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks of methanol poisoning are usually linked to “adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks.”

Costa Rica isn’t alone Outbreaks have happened around the world.

Outbreaks have hit countries around the world in recent years, each ranging in size from 20 to over 800 victims, WHO reports. This year, at least 154 people died and more than 200 others were hospitalized after drinking tainted alcohol in India. The victims consumed unregulated moonshine, known as “country-made liquor” in the northeast state of Assam.

Twitter was quick to start jumping to conclusions.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Many on Twitter started linking the news out of Costa Rica to the recent string of suspicious deaths in the Dominican Republic. Although some victims families (of those who have died in the DR) have speculated that their deaths were caused by alcohol poisoning, authorities haven’t yet confirmed that. So it’s definitely too soon to connect the dots here.

So how do you stay safe when you’re traveling but want to enjoy that tasty tropical cocktail or the local specialty?

Credit: @MeriAssociates / Twitter

So how do you stay safe when you’re drinking abroad and living out that vacation fantasy? First, pay attention to what you’re buying. Look at the price (is it too cheap?) and packaging (is it sealed?) of the product. If it tastes bad, don’t drink it. Additionally, according to the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council, follow these guidelines:

  1. Don’t drink homemade or counterfeit “booze.”
  2. Don’t overdo it.
  3. Don’t compete with locals and their brew.
  4. Don’t let your drink out of sight.

Costa Rica’s Place In The World Makes It The Tropical Paradise Dreams Are Made Of

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Costa Rica’s Place In The World Makes It The Tropical Paradise Dreams Are Made Of

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Costa Ricans have a motto that is as simple as it is full of wisdom: “Pura vida.” It roughly translates as “Just life” or “Life only.” This mantra is only fitting for a country which prides itself in its natural beauty and its sustainable policies that protect biodiversity. Costa Rica literally means “Rich Coast,” which gives you an idea of how ingrained the idea of having plentiful resources is in the national mind frame. Here are some facts that tell us why this Central American country is a prime destination for those seeking to lose themselves in nature, find adventure and get in touch with the flora and fauna we need to protect. Government policies have put spending in initiatives such as a strong educational system and the move to renewable and clean energies to power development. If you are planning a holiday, no descarten Costa Rica for any reason. Pura vida, mi gente! 

1. Costa Rica’s geographical position is such a privilege.

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The country borders beautiful Nicaragua to the north, the lush Caribbean Sea to the northeast, the financial epicenter of Panama to the Southeast and the warm Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Cocos Island has Ecuador just to the south. Having so much coast basically creates a lush, green jungle in between. Add some volcanoes and you have paradise on Earth. 

2. It has a small, happy population.

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Costa Rica is called by many “the Switzerland of Latin America.” It has a population of a mere 5 million, with about 2 million living in the capital of San Jose and surrounding metropolitan enclaves. This is a pretty manageable number, which also prevents overpopulation overcrowding protected natural areas, which is a pattern in the region. 

3. Who needs an army? Let us rejoice in peace.

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Costa Rica prides itself in not having an army. Federal resources that would otherwise be destined for defense purposes are instead directed to the protection of natural areas and resources. This gives the country a zen vibe that visitors just love. It must be amazing doing yoga there and just flowing with the universe! 

4. Education is queen in Costa Rica! 

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While most countries spend about 4 percent of their budget on education, Costa Rica spends up to 7 percent. This has allowed industries such as finance and corporate services to flourish. And tourism, of course: we mean, look at this amazing landscape! 

5. Volcanoes are a natural wonder and Costa Rica has plenty.

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When we think of a tropical paradise, we often think of beaches, jungles, and volcanoes! There are 14 known volcanoes in the country, and six have been active in the last 75 years. You can visit the Poas Volcano Crater, a sight to marvel at turquoise waters in the middle of grey, millenary rock formations. 

6. Costa Rica has a tropical climate all year round.

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The country is between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, so if you want to escape winter at any time you can take a plane to this gorgeous country. Beware, though: with tropical climate comes a fair bit of rain. The period of May to November has heavy downpours in some regions, which provides a sort of charm in itself. If your thing is trekking, December to April is drier, and therefore more appropriate. 

7. Costa Rica is synonymous with biodiversity.

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Costa Rica is not a very big country, and it amounts to just 0.03 percent of the globe’s landmass. However, it contains a whopping 5 percent of the planet’s biodiversity. 

8. Twenty-five percent of the country consists of protected areas. This is the highest percentage in the world.

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That is huge! A quarter of the territory is made up of national parks and protected areas, basically providing a much needed “lung” to the region (bordering countries like Nicaragua and Panama are overexploited). If only every country followed Costa Rica’s lead.

9. Rivers and waterfalls are abundant.

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Costa Rica is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the country is tattooed with amazing rivers and waterfalls that keep the ecosystem alive and well. As fresh water becomes a more scarce commodity, Costa Rica will be even more blessed. 

10. Birds, reptiles, Costa Rica has it all.

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Besides the cutest animals that have made Costa Rica’s fauna famous (don’t worry, we’ll get to them!), the country is home to at least 840 species of birds (if you are into bird watching, then this is the place to go!). It also hosts endangered species of turtles, such as the green turtle, the Giant leatherback, the hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles. Authorities are working hard to protect turtles from poaching and harm to their habitats. So now it is your turn to stop using so much plastic that can harm them when they are swimming freely in the ocean.

11. Ecotourism is highly developed.

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The high educational levels of the population and the natural beauty of the country have made it a great destination for ecotourism. This includes walks, trekking, surfing and, of course, visits to the country’s famous coffee plantations. The coffee in Costa Rica is similar to Mexican varieties from Chiapas, and provides a flowery, fruity aftertaste that screams “Holiday mood”! The country receives about 3 million visitors per year. 

12. Of course, we wouldn’t forget about a cute sloth pic.

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Sloths are gorgeous, slooooow mammals that live in the trees. Sadly, they have been trafficked as pets and some of them have been run over by cars. There are multiple efforts to rescue them and make sure that this species survives the biggest pest of them all: humans.

13. There are four species of cute Costa Rican monkeys, changuitos pa los cuates.

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The country is famous for its many animals, and the cries of monkeys in the jungle is a particularly iconic sound. The four furry cositas hermosas are: the white-headed capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy’s spider monkey, and the Central American squirrel monkey. 

14. Costa Ricans are as diverse as their natural wonders.

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Costa Rica is a true cultural melting pot. Like all of Latin America, this melting pot is a product of the traumatic experiences of slavery and colonization, but Costa Ricans have learnt to live in harmony. As per the census, the country is made up of 83.6 percent whites or mestizos, 6.7 percent mulattoes, 2.4 percent Native American and 1.1 percent Black or Afro-Caribbean. There has been a constant influx of European migration: there are people of Italian, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, and Polish descent.

15. Costa Rica is saying hasta nunca to fossil fuels.

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Costa Ricans know that protecting the environment goes far beyond having protected areas. That is why 98 percent of its electricity is produced without the use of fossil fuels. Wind farms abound in the country, the massive Reventazón hydroelectric dam is now fully operational, and solar panels are being introduced in businesses and households.

READ: This Costa Rican Plane Hotel Boasts More Monkeys Than People And It Is The Perfect Escape

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