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November 12, 2020 8 min read

We joined forces with Nature’s Antidote for a giveaway on Vegan Day to give your body extra TLC and show you the power of nature. Just like Ohana, Nature's Antidote is inspired by nature.

Nature’s Antidote makes adaptogens, tonic herbs and fungi available to people and encourages to take them in daily rituals depending on what suits the individual. Their products can be easily integrated into everyday, while creating a moment to be in complete harmony with mind, body and planet.

Read on for the science of plant medicine, sustainable living and wellness practices for health and happiness.

Tell us about Nature's Antidote, and why it started.

When I (Lili, the founder) )was living with an indigenous tribe in the Brazilian Amazon for a few weeks, I was shown a different way of life, a life in harmony with nature. I wasn't expecting that it would have such a profound impact on the way I view healing, consumption and tradition. The tribe elders, or shamans, went into the forest to collect medicinal plants when there was an ailment to be treated, which changed my view about plants as medicine.

When I came back into my urban life, I started looking for plants that can help with city life problems, which are mostly stress related. I found fungi and a group of plants called Adaptogens, that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices.

At the time I was studying full time, in addition to working as a photo producer to afford life in London, and these plants made it possible for me to also start my own business Nature’s Antidote while still keeping sane!

What are beauty herbs and their benefits? 

There are certain herbs and fungi that improve our skin in various ways. Some by counteracting stress, which shows on the skin, and some simply due to their nourishing compounds and high levels of antioxidants.

  • Turmeric for example is a root that has been used in Ayurvedic practices for centuries. First of all it is full of antioxidants, which is great for the skin as it fights free radical damage, and then it contains high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds. Inflammation is a root cause for many diseases and irregularities in your skin health.
  • Another example is Chaga, a medicinal mushroom. Chaga is excellent for fighting against ageing and irritation in our skin. The fungus, full of antioxidants, vitamin D, melanin and selenium, is said to have the potential and power to combat the impact of what’s called oxidative stress - better known as wrinkles and sagging.
  • Reishi can also work wonders in supporting the health of our skin. With its high levels of triterpenes and beta-glucans (immune system assisting sugars), Reishi supports the skin’s natural ability to hold onto and retain moisture, to nourish and hydrate dry and irritated skin. Reishi’s highly hydrating property has been compared to hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that has featured in countless skincare brands throughout the past few years for its 'hydrating superpower'. 

Why are mushrooms a powerful ingredient, and how do the fungi vary? 

Mushrooms truly are magical. It’s well known that the use of medicinal mushrooms can:

  • Boost our immune systems.
  • Support our mental and cognitive clarity.
There seems to be a mushroom for anything:
  • Energy (Cordiceps)
  • Brain health, memory and focus (Lion’s Mane)
  • Destress (Reishi)
  • Support the skin against sun damage (Chaga)

Mushrooms share more of the same DNA with animals and humans than they do with plants, so I think that contributes to the fact why they work so well on the human body.

Most medicinal mushrooms need to be consumed in extracted form, as our body can't access all the healing compounds itself. Once extracted, the powder can be easily added to any hot/cold dishes and drinks, so it is super easy to integrate them depending on how it is easiest for oneself. I personally love to add them to hot drinks, they work super well in coffees or teas, but can also be added to porridge or risotto.

How do mushrooms differ from adaptogens, and how should they be used to increase effectiveness?

Adaptogens are a group of plants (and fungi) that make your body more resilient to stress both physically and mentally. In fact, some mushrooms are adaptogens.

Reishi for example is a powerful adaptogen and nervine at the same time, which has an incredibly relaxing effect on the body. Lion’s Mane is a nootropic, which are substances that increase focus and memory.

Generally adaptogens, nervines, nootropics and ‘unclassified’ functional mushrooms work really well together and can be mixed depending on Individual needs. It’s best to look into each benefit and then decide which one speaks most to you. And then it is about trying around and see how your body reacts and if you can add other herbs into your routine.

Just keep in mind, adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms improve the physiological functions of our bodies and are like a small upgrade to get the best of our system.

As immunity is a big concern these days, what do you recommend to boost it and stay healthy throughout the winter?

Medicinal Mushrooms, without a second thought! I’ve seriously not been ill at all in the past three years. Not once. And I know that this is due to the immense immune boosting powers of medicinal mushrooms.

Many functional mushrooms contain a group of polysaccharides called Beta Glucans, which have shown to modulate the immune system in a unique way. They boost it when it is low and lower it when it’s overworking. They have also shown very promising effects on fighting cancer cells or boosting the immune system during chemotherapy.

It is essential to opt for extracted mushroom powders, as the Beta Glucans need to be drawn out by hot water extraction (they are water soluble) as our body can’t access the Beta Glucans without it. If someone buys pure mushroom powder they would have to extract it themselves by boiling the powder for at least 2 hours, but in case of Chaga mushroom even up to 10 hours.

What are your top 5 tips to cultivate a mindfulness/meditation practice to foster self care?

  1. Get into a routine of practicing gratitude. Gratitude raises your vibrational frequencies in an instant and by that you do not only feel better but also attract positive things more easily. I love to bring 3 things to mind that happened the previous day that I am grateful for.
  2.  Customise the practice to your own needs, which means ideal time to meditate, the different exercises, the circumstances, etc. Some people prefer to meditate with music, or listen to a guided meditation, some people prefer in stillness. I, for example don’t enjoy meditating in the morning that much. My mind is calmer in the evening and my meditations go much deeper. I try to stick to gratitude in the morning and meditate in my bed before sleep.
  3. Do it regularly. They say it takes around 6 weeks to create a habit but the gold lies in consistency. It’s better to meditate daily for only 5 minutes than it is to do it once per week for an hour. So consistency, even for short periods will create a deeper impact.
  4. Try around with incorporating things like medicinal herbs and/or ceremonial cacao into your practice. Certain plants have different properties, ceremonial cacao for example is really heart opening, while Reishi works with the Third eye. You might be able to reach other depths when switching up your routine once in a while.
  5. Work with the moon cycle. Full moon and new moon are both great times to create rituals, full moon to go inwards, release patterns and behaviours and New Moon for manifesting and deciding what you want to bring into your life for the cycle ahead.

 

How can one 'recharge' internally and externally, and how are the two connected?

I think that ‘slowing down’ is the right way to start. By slowing down, I mean:

  • Taking time for yourself.
  • Turning the gaze inwards.
  • Listening to your body.
We are so busy and rushed nowadays and our wellbeing gets squeezed in between appointment and calls. It is also important to point out that every body is different and certain routines and diets might not necessarily work for you, just because they worked for someone else.

When you start to slow down and start to listen to your body you can find out what it needs and how certain things that you feed it make you feel. You can start asking ‘does it make me feel good?', 'does it increase my energy?', or 'does it deplete my wellbeing in any way?'.

The Kybalion (found on Amazon here), a philosophical novel written in way back in 1908, suggests that our current outer reality is a mirror of what’s going on inside of us. Research has found that your outer appearance is connected to our internal wellbeing.

For me personally, I have found that drinking pure cucumber juice of 2-3 cucumbers on an empty stomach in the morning, followed by an adaptogenic drink of different medicinal herbs and fungi after about an hour, increased my skin immensely. It makes my skin softer, less wrinkled and more hydrated.

I only realised that by trying and tuning in. I also realised that coffee does not make me feel that good because it dehydrates me, so I replaced my morning coffee with something that worked for me.

In my case that was something that still contains caffein, as I like the kick, so I tried around and found a coffee replacement with Guarana, which I mix with Turmeric and other herbs and adaptogens.

This combination of cucumber juice and coffee replacement works well for me but it might not for every body. So I encourage people to try around and create their own rituals.

Share a bit about the inspiration of the brand and products. 

Nature’s Antidote is inspired by ancient medicine practices such as Ayurveda and Traditional Medicine that all have prevention as their underlying emphasis.

We want to empower individuals to take their healing and health into their own hands, tune inwards and start to listen to their body. People often need a wake-up call in form of a disease, before they start to reflect their lifestyle choices and realise that the way they have been living, what they have been feeding their body, was actually not beneficial.

There are certain plants and fungi readily available that have immense healing and preventing powers, and by adding them into your life, you improve your physiological functions. With Nature’s Antidote, I want to make these available to people, so that they can improve lives further down the line.

Who are the Kayapo and how do you support their longevity?

The Kayapo are an indigenous tribe that live in the Brazilian Amazon (read about them here on Natgeo's page). They have been relying on century old traditions and live in harmony with nature. They never take too much from the forest or wildlife and share within their community.

Their territory is slowly decreasing, due to illegal mining and logging, which is tragic and does not only impact the tribes directly, but also us in our Western world. The rainforest are the lungs of our planet and if these vanish, the climate of the Earth will drastically change everywhere.

What fascinated me, when I had the chance to live with them, is the dedication when it comes to fighting for their territory. I truly believe that they are the best chance we have to protect the rainforest, as it is their home they are fighting for.

That is the reason why we donate 1 GBP of every product sold to the Kayapo, which directly funds their quest in protecting their territory, which is time, energy and money consuming.

To find out more about Nature's Antidote, check out their website (https://naturesantidote.co.uk/) and follow them on IG (@natures.antidote). 


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