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Adriana Ayales of Anima Mundi Herbals

The herbalist on preserving the rituals of ancient botany, shamanic healing and her advice on incorporating herbal supplements and organic foods into one’s diet.

We’ve never come across a brand quite like Anima Mundi Herbals. Founded by Costa Rican native and tribal herbalist, Adriana Ayales, the botanical apothecary line offers powdered superfoods, medicinal elixirs, essential oils and more — all crafted with ingredients sourced from rainforests in South America.

We’ve also never spoken to someone like Adriana before. Largely influenced at a young age by her grandmother, who was a psychic medium and practiced meditation and herbal healing, Adriana was exposed to rainforest plants and herbs — and their power — from very early on. Later, she went on to study Chinese medicine, clinical herbalism and botany. But launching her own brand was never part of her plan, having accepted the use of natural ingredients for healing as par for the course. A natural way of life, so to speak.

In what was perhaps a stroke of serendipity, Adriana became increasingly aware of the intrigue and interest that her homemade creations had on others; so she decided to focus on producing them on a larger scale. This is how Anima Mundi Herbals was born.

Talking of shamanic healing, the spirit of plants, production cycles according to astrological patterns and the alchemy of botany and herbalism, it’s easy to get lost in translation. But Adriana’s passion and knowledge is respectable and quite frankly, inspiring; perhaps even more so because all of it is second nature to her — just not to most of us. But it’s because of this reason that we can trust that her blends are all the more effective, and that she clearly knows what she’s bottling.

What is the most valuable lesson you learnt about botanicals from growing up in the Costa Rican rainforest, and how are you applying it to Anima Mundi’s creations?

The integration of body, mind and spirit into a formula. Within rainforest tribal formulations, the component of Spirit is very important, as plants are seen as fully embodied beings. The whole personality of the plant, just like a human being, has to be taken into account when combining it with other plants and making a formula.

For example, the proper mixing of Plantas Maestras (or ‘teacher-plants’), Master plants, and Supportive Plants when making individual formulations or even ceremonial brews, is highly important as its the composition of spirit-dynamics. This is the latent analysis of “chemistry” within rainforest-tribal style herbalism.

Adriana Ayales Apothecary Anima Mundi Après Avant

Tell us about shamanic-style healing, and how it can benefit our everyday lives.

Ah yes, this is a big topic! For me, shamanic style healing is the true integration of spirit into physical form. It is the path of honouring the ancestral patterning within our soul and psyche, accessing the truth depths of the inner ancient forest, and healing the self inside-out. This really sharpens our most valuable tool, intuition — the language of spirit.

How does astrology inform your formulations?

Archetypal astrology is one of my ultimate favourite tools in understanding dynamics; from family to self. This is why we call our formulations biodynamically-made, as we integrate monthly alignments within our production calendar, to ensure (as much as possible!) that our extracts are aligned to planetary cycles. We have monthly production cycles, so we follow monthly transits to better serve the process.

“I love buying raw shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil. They are the two best friends for most skin types and can be used from face moisturising, to removing makeup, to sex lube, to just about anything!”

Anima Mundi bridges ancient medical traditions and the use of plants for healing with modern medicine. How does each practice bring out the best in the other?

That’s a great question. We use the shamanic-based elements of rainforest herbalism, the harmonising principals of a formula from the Chinese-Daoist perspective and the nourishing elements of Ayurveda. For the most part, of course. There are numerous invaluable elements of each cosmology that we naturally use when composing other ideas.

Tell us more about the Healthy Lungs Herbal Smoke product. What was your inspiration behind it, and are they really healthy and harmless — especially for your lungs and throat?

The shamanic smoke during ceremony is what inspired this item. During sacred ceremonies in many traditions within Central and South America, as well as Native American, the spirit-healing powers of smoke is used as a tool. It is used as a sacrament for the spirits to enter deep states of meditation and for accessing “La Voz Mitologica”, the mythological voice, within.

In many other traditions, it is also used as a decongestant. It helps clear out and dry out phlegm if used wisely and sparingly.

Healthy Lungs Herbal Smoke Anima Mundi Après Avant

Are there natural alternatives to help someone stop smoking and deal with possible withdrawal symptoms?

Yes. I know quite a lot of people that stopped the use of nicotine with the assistance of an herbal smoke. It helps wind down the urge and withdraw symptoms of tobacco.

What is your advice to someone who is keen to start incorporating herbal supplements and organic foods into their diet?

My favourite is to start with powders and tonics. Powders are easy to integrate into regular beverages and foods without tasting the intense herbal taste — which for new folks is usually the element that “turns them off”. Tonics are concentrates that are easy to use that you can really see results fast. And again, they can be added into juices, smoothies, and tea, if the taste is too intense. But after sometime, most folks develop a palate for it, and start loving the taste of our plant friends.

What are your top three Anima Mundi products, how are they best used and who are they best suited for?

Our Adaptogenic Immortality powder is very loved. It’s a mix of our favourite mushrooms and heirloom cacao. They act as powerful immune houses, and help the immune system stay strong long-term.

Our Mangosteen Hibiscus powder is also very loved for its skin detoxifying effects. Many use it internally and externally to detox, clear and nourish the insides.

On the more esoteric level, our Lucid Dreaming Elixir/Insomnia’s Antidote and Dream Tea/Third Eye Tonic, which are used to induce lucid dreaming, is excellent for folks with insomnia issues that need to de-stress at night; as well as for folks seeking to enter into lucid sleep.

Mangosteen Hibiscus Anima Mundi Après Avant
Dream Elixir Anima Mundi Après Avant

Tell us about your daily skincare routine.

I’m a pretty simple person. I love doing masks with powdered herbs and clay, or slow cooking a precious flower oil for moisturising. I love also buying raw shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil. They are the two best friends for most skin types and can be used from face moisturising, to removing makeup, to sex lube, to just about anything!

I do love moisturising with freshly concocted herb oils. I usually use my own homemade oil, which is a mix of wild flowers, roses, and high vitamin C herbs extracted in a mix of oils such as jojoba, rosehip, coconut oil, shea and kukui butter. It is so nourishing and exquisite. I basically rub my whole body with it!

“Powders are easy to integrate into regular beverages and foods without tasting the intense herbal taste — which for new folks is usually the element that “turns them off.””

What does conscious living mean to you?

Conscious living for me is living symbiotically with the current cycles, honouring astrological transits, eating with the seasons and being as sustainable as possible. Being aware of our own mind and body, and the cycle that it’s in and how to honour that, is quite profound. Staying in-tune to your environment (as well as knowing to what environment to belong to!), surrounding yourself with a community of conscious folks, being grounded, eating clean, and sourcing goods from companies you trust.

Images courtesy of Anima Mundi Herbals