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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Costa Rica Just Became The First Central American Country To Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal


Costa Rica Just Became The First Central American Country To Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal

@paniaguaenri / Twitter

The country of Costa Rica just got a whole hell of a lot more bright and colorful.

On Tuesday, the Central American country became the first to legally recognize same-sex marriage. In a post to his Twitter account, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada wrote in celebration of the day saying, “Today we celebrate liberty, equality, and our democratic institutions. May empathy and love be the compass that guide us forward and allow us to move forward and build a country that has room for everyone.”

The decision to ensure marriage equality came at the hands of an August 2018 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court.

The decision ruled that laws preventing same-sex marriage were incongruent with the country’s constitution and therefore unconstitutional. After officially recognizing same-sex marriages, Costa Rican couples celebrated by holding weddings overnight.

“Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country – the first one in Central America!” the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World) wrote in a Twitter post. “We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”

The Human Rights Campaign also celebrated the ruling while highlighting the need to ensure marriage equality around the world.

“Today, Costa Rica has made history, bringing marriage equality to Central America for the first time,” HRC President Alphonso David about the new lin in a statement according to CNN. “Costa Rica’s LGBTQ community has worked tirelessly for years to make today a reality. This victory is theirs, and it inspires the entire global LGBTQ community to continue fighting to move equality forward.”

Fabuloso Is A Latino Staple But Switching Out The Cleaner With Vinegar Helps The Planet


Fabuloso Is A Latino Staple But Switching Out The Cleaner With Vinegar Helps The Planet

Growing up in a Latino household often means that you are very familiar with some kind of hardcore cleaning routine, and this time of year is no exception. In fact, according to a 2010 study by Garcia Research, 40 percent of Latinos reported the holidays as their peak season for cleaning. The study also investigated the housekeeping lessons shared between generations, revealing that cleaning is widely considered a rite of passage in Latino families, a ritual taught to jovenes by their madres y abuelas. Be that as it may, when you’re a kid, nothing te da pereza quite as much as the scent of Fabuloso rousing you awake on an early Saturday morning.

Credit: Pinterest

Still, those scents have come to define many Latinos’ memories of youth and childhood, and it’s true that these characteristic products often carry over into our cleaning routines as adults. It’s no secret that Fabuloso is especially beloved, with Latino creators crafting things like Fabuloso-scented candles to keep its fragrant spirit alive. 

But perhaps your abuelita wasn’t a major proponent for Fabuloso or Jabon Zote? Maybe you were taught how to blend natural products to make your home positively reluciente? Or maybe you grew up with all the traditional favorites, but you’re curious about a more natural, low-waste approach to keeping your home clean?

No matter which category you fall into, there is one household item that covers all the cleaning bases—something you probably have in your pantry right now. Whether you want to switch up your cleaning routine or learn new uses for your favorite natural product, we’ve got you covered.

Vinegar comes in many shapes and sizes, all of which offer their own unique variety of benefits. And even if you hate the taste of this highly acidic liquid, there is no denying its impressive range of magical uses.

Credit: DIY Projects / Youtube

While vinegar isn’t a super common staple in a Latin American kitchen—often replaced by the acidic properties of various citrus fruits (especially limes)—it’s a relatively typical component of certain salsas and adobos. But beyond its culinary uses, vinegar has serious cleaning superpowers that are totally safe, nontoxic, inexpensive, and sustainable.

Distilled White Vinegar

Credit: @Authenticity50 / Twitter

All-Purpose Cleaning Solution

In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with 3 cups of water and use on literally everything. You can use this solution to achieve streak-free windows, perfectly clean stovetops, showers, and tile floors. If you don’t love its astringent smell, let the vinegar sit in a jar with your favorite herbs, like thyme, rosemary, lavender, or eucalyptus (lemon or lime peels would also be an amazing addition), then strain and mix with water.

Microwave Cleaner

The microwave is truly a gift from the heavens—how else would you heat up your Cup o Noodles at the end of an especially spendy month? We all know how asqueroso the microwave can get, but vinegar is the perfect solution. To get rid of any weird smells or cooked on food, combine ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high until the mixture comes to a boil and steam forms on the window. Let the window cool slightly, then wipe away any residue.

Sink Drain Cleaner

La cocina can be one of the grossest parts of your home—a 2012 study proved that kitchen sinks may harbor more bacteria than the darkest corners of the bathroom, and although vinegar and lemon can clean some bacteria, they aren’t capable of killing the most harmful. Still, if a strange smell is emanating from your sink drain, pouring 1 cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain once a week, letting it sit for 30 minutes, then rinsing with cold water can help keep the bowels of your sink super fresh.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Credit: Pinterest

Fabric Softener/Laundry Detergent

This one’s pretty simple: add ½ cup – 2 cups of apple cider vinegar (depending on what it is you’re washing) during the last rinse cycle, to remove any potentially-irritating soap residue and leave your clothes in a perfectly comfortable and anti-microbial state.

Hair Rinse and Conditioner Alternative

Apple cider vinegar is packed with nutrients that support healthy skin and hair, including B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. And for those who experience conditions like dandruff, apple cider vinegar can offer relief due to its antimicrobial properties. It is also anti-inflammatory, which means that it can guard against the inflammation response that often leads to a dry, flaky scalp. All you have to do is mix 2-4 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar with 16 oz of water in a spray bottle. Spray your hair from the scalp to the ends after your typical shampoo routine, and voila—super soft, shiny, and healthy hair.

READ: There’s A New Latina Candle Collection Inspired By Smells From Your Childhood