Adriana Ayales, the herbalist and author of the new book Healing Tonics, turns to ancient remedies to cure modern ailments, and reveals that from a young age, she was “driven to find the answers within the mystery of nature.”
“I come from a place where the kitchen pantry is a medicine chest,” says Adriana Ayales. The herbalist and founder of Anima Mundi Herbals drew on her Costa Rican heritage — and a childhood spent playing and foraging in the rainforest — when developing her cult range of plant-based tonics and essences. “From a young age, I was a spiritual seeker, constantly driven to find the answers within the mystery of nature,” she explains. Two years after launching Anima Mundi Herbals, the tuned-in entrepreneur opened Botica, a Brooklyn apothecary and cold-press juicery inspired by the ancient healing concoctions she learned from her “nana” to alleviate 21st century maladies, from migraines to seasonal allergies to insomnia. “As my practice developed, a voice in me grew louder and louder, and I simply kept following and creating,” Ayales says.
Now the herbalist, therapeutic chef, and medicine maker is going step further, and sharing her botanical knowledge with others, with the release of Healing Tonics. The cookbook doubles as a modern guide to diet, ritual and lifestyle. “I created these formulas inspired from rainforest magic, to empower your life with vibrant recipes steeped in sacred tradition,” Ayales explains.
If you’ve been missing some of that magic in your life, picking up the book is like having a conversation with your own healer. Among the most fascinating details in the book — and there are many — is the section on “Your Kitchen as a Sacred Space.” The place where you eat, Ayales points out, is a very intimate space. “It’s where you cook your prayers and manifestations into what fuels your body.” Keeping things arranged well is super important; in fact, Ayales says, “Studies have shown that a neat and clean home can actually lower cortisol levels.” It’s enough to motivate you to immediately rethink how you store your kitchen dishes and spices (Ayales advises to keep the items most essential to your daily routine out and at the ready). Also key is doing a spiritual cleansing: sage smudges, for example, help clear the atmosphere and should be part of your weekly cleaning routine (way more interesting than dusting, right?).
Once your space is freshly organized, Ayales reveals the top twenty items every guru should put front and center in her pantry — from spirulina to reishi. From there, she prescribes her go-to recipes for juices, detoxes and other essential boosters. As a novice in this department, I was relieved to find that Ayales gives step-by-step instructions for creating tonics and infusions from leaves and flowers. (If you’re unsure where to source all these ingredients from or don’t live next to an amazing health food store, Ayales provides a handy list of online suppliers).
Now more than ever, this is the kind of mystical-yet-down-to-earth advice we all need for navigating the mix of internal tension and uncertainty that often comes up around the New Year. And if you need to recipe to ensure a smooth transition, make it the Master Alkalizer. The green juice easily contains a day’s worthy of leafy greens and is designed to balance your alkaline state — to optimize everything from digestion to tissue repair — so your body can stay energized and able to work its own magic. Cheers to that.
1 cup kale
1 cup spinach
2 stalk celery
Handful of dandelion leaf
Handful of parsley
1 small burdock root
1 tsp turmeric root
Add all ingredients to juice, and blend.
Reprinted with permission from Healing Tonics © 2016 by Adriana Ayales. Published by Sterling Ethos. Photography by Jennifer Harter.