Vitanova - Blog

New Study: Ashwagandha helps bring your thyroid back into balance*

Your thyroid is only two inches long, but it plays a big role in how you feel. This gland secretes thyroid hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which control your body’s production of energy, help regulate your metabolism, and determine how your body responds to other hormones.

Sometimes, the thyroid gland gets off kilter, and things go metabolically haywire. Luckily, there’s an herb that can help regulate the regulator gland. A new study published on ashwagandha found regular use of this ancient herb can help normalize thyroid hormone production.*

Is your thyroid out of balance?

Your thyroid takes its cues from thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland. When your T3 and T4 levels are high enough, the pituitary gland takes notice and secretes less THS. When T3 and T4 levels are low, it releases more.

Usually, the pituitary gland keeps your thyroid hormones in balance, but sometimes the system misfires. If your thyroid is overactive, you may suffer from loose stool, experience unintended weight loss, and feel overheated.

The more common problem, though, is an underactive thyroid, which can lead to occasional constipation, weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, and cold hands and feet. If your thyroid is sluggish, you may find yourself being forgetful and feeling like you’re not running at full speed — physically or mentally. Getting your thyroid back in balance can help you feel like yourself again. That’s where ashwagandha comes in. 

Ashwagandha and your thyroid: study details

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, for almost 4,000 years. It uses span everything from enhancing cognitive function, to aiding sleep, to supporting metabolism, to benefitting athletic performance.* But one of its most common uses is to restore strength and vigor during periods of stress.* Turns out, that may be because of its effect on the thyroid.

A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the effect of ashwagandha on 50 people with elevated TSH levels. (Elevated TSH is an indication that the thyroid is working harder than it should to keep nearly depleted T3 and T4 levels up. Because of this, THS levels may be a better indicator of an underperforming thyroid than T3 and T4 levels.)

The volunteers took either 600 mg of ashwagandha a day or a placebo. After 8 weeks, ashwagandha improved TSH, T4 and T3 levels by 19 percent, 45 percent, and 21 percent respectively.*[1],[2] According to the researchers, ashwagandha “effectively normalized” thyroid hormones.*

How does ashwagandha work?

More research is needed to discover the exact mechanism by which ashwagandha modulates the thyroid, but it may have something to do with the herb’s status as an adaptogen.*An adaptogen is an herb that helps your body stay in balance, even under stress.* Unlike other herbs, which typically only work in one direction, adaptogens work in all directions. This means that whether hormone levels are a bit low or a bit high, ashwagandha can help bring them back to ideal levels.*

How should you take ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha root extract is available in capsules, tablets, powders, and tinctures. Because ashwagandha’s active constituents are called withanolides, it’s important to look for a formula standardized for withanolide content.

* FDA disclaimer

References

[1] https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2017/10/25/Ashwagandha-root-extract-may-support-thyroid-hormone-levels

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28829155

 

Zoë Tryon: Earth Medicine

I had just returned home from a trip to Ecuador. I stood pilling muddy clothes into the washing machine almost reticent to wash off the Amazonian earth, day-dreaming about hiking through the forest with indigenous friends to the biggest tree I’d ever seen, when the telephone rang. It was Kamal El-Wattar, a dear friend, who had joined one of the annual trips I lead to visit, and stay with different indigenous tribes in the Amazon and Andes of Ecuador. We’d had an incredible adventure, our group becoming our own tribe in the process, so I was thrilled to catch up with him. He told me that he was creating a vitamin company called Vitanova using ethically sourced botanicals, with every step of the process dedicated to showing respect for planet and people and that 10% of profits would go to indigenous cultures to preserve botanical knowledge for future generations. I was so excited, as Victor Hugo said, ‘nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come’ and here was a company that was going to support people in being their best vital selves through the vitamins, whilst supporting the natural world and those who protect and store her wisdom. So when he asked me to become a Vitanova Valiant I was deeply touched and honored to accept.

I look forward to sharing with you a few stories each month from my times spent learning from the unsung heroes and heroines and custodians of the earth.

Over the last ten years I have been privileged enough to spend time living with, and learning from many different indigenous cultures; those who live as their ancestors have done for time immemorial, speaking their own languages, hunting and gathering everything they need from the surrounding forest, food, medicine, building materials.

I have also spent time with those who have lost their ancestral lands, sacred and medicinal plants through contamination by oil companies, those whose languages are dying out, those whose young are leaving to the frontier jungle towns. Most of whom are fighting hard to preserve their culture, their land, their way of life, wisdom of the elders, the respect for the earth, botanical medicines and the spirituality of their people. They are fighting for their children and grandchildren, but as an Achuar elder told me, they are ‘protecting the forest even for the children and grandchildren of people who are threatening our land for they too need clean air to breathe and our forest is the lungs of the earth,’ Mario Wisum.

I am really excited to be partnering with Vitanova as they support these incredible human beings preserving language, culture, and botanical knowledge, so that together we may all thrive.

Next time I look forward to sharing the Kichua of Sarayaku’s view of Kawsak Sacha or “living jungle.”

GABA: The secret to relaxation and sleep

Quick: What do valerian, passionflower, lavender, magnesium, and L-theanine have in common? If you said they’re natural ingredients people use to relax and get to sleep, you’re right. But another thing they have in common is GABA (short for gamma aminobutyric acid). All of these sleep-promoting substances either increase the body’s production of GABA, make it more active in the body, or mimic its actions.[i],[ii],[iii],[iv]

A calming brain chemical

GABA is the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter (or brain chemical).* In other words, it’s a natural relaxant, putting the brakes on the neurotransmitters that amp you up.* GABA can be found in some fermented foods, but your brain also manufactures it.

How does GABA work? Brain scan studies show it helps the brain manufacture alpha brain waves, indicative of a state of relaxation.* That’s important, because if you can’t stop the gears in your mind from turning when you turn in, you won’t be sleeping any time soon.

Brain wave Cycles Brain State
Beta 15 to 40 per second Alert, attentive, focused
Alpha 9 to 14 per second Relaxed, reflective, meditative
Theta 5 to 8 per second Daydreaming
Delta 1.5 to 4 per second Asleep

Researched benefits of GABA

In 2006, Japanese researchers tested GABA’s calming powers on 21 people, eight of whom had acrophobia, or fear of heights. In the first phase of the experiment, researchers measured non-acrophobic volunteers’ brain waves at baseline, as well as 30 minutes and 60 minutes after they took either GABA (100 mg) or a placebo. GABA increased calming alpha brain waves and decreased stimulating beta brain waves.*

Next, the acrophobic participants took GABA or a placebo and then crossed a suspension bridge. When taking the placebo, their salivary levels of IgA (which protects against immune challenges) fell. But they were significantly higher if they took GABA — indicating GABA helped reduce situational stress.* The researchers concluded, “GABA could work effectively as a natural relaxant and its effects could be seen within 1 hour of administration.”[v]

GABA has also been studied for its effect on sleep.* In a 2016 single-blind, placebo-controlled study of ten people with sleep difficulties, volunteers took the equivalent of 100 mg of pure GABA for a week, stopped taking it for a week, and then took it for another week.[vi],[vii] GABA:

  • Reduced sleep latency, or the time needed to fall asleep*
  • Increased the proportion of non-REM sleep — the most restorative part of sleep*
  • Was absorbed quickly, within 30 minutes, and left the system quickly
  • Helped people feel more rested versus placebo*
  • Did not cause grogginess upon awakening*

How does GABA work?

GABA modulates the nervous system by slowing it down.* Basically, it causes your neurons (i.e. your brain cells) to fire less frequently.* This action increases relaxed alpha brainwaves and decreases aroused beta brainwaves.* That’s important, because for you to fall asleep, your brain must descend from beta to alpha to theta and finally to delta.

Unlike many supplements, which are not experiential, GABA is the kind of supplement you can feel working very quickly. You should be able to feel your brain relaxing within an hour of taking it.*

References:

[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8573216

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7979830

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19006051

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21226679

[v]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=relaxation%20and%20immunity%20enhancement%20effects%20of%20gamma%20aminobutyric%20acid%20(gaba)%20administration%20in%20humans&cmd=correctspelling

[vi] http://www.kosfost.or.kr/journal/view.html?uid=9307&start=20&sort=Regnum-0&Vol=25&Num=2&code=Fsnb&JLang=en&mod=vol&year=2016&book=Journal&aut_box=Y&sub_box=Y&pub_box=Y

[vii]https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2016/06/03/GABA-ingredient-shows-sleep-benefits-Study

RESPECT — Supporting free and exceptional education to break the poverty cycle in San Francisco’s highest at-risk neighborhoods.

Vitanova gives 10 percent of all proceeds to the preservation of botanical wisdom and to organizations that provide real hope and change in the world.

OnePurpose School is creating a free and exceptional public charter school in the

Bayview Area of San Francisco that will provide an innovative education to the city’s highest-poverty neighborhoods, and an essential step to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Vitanova has joined with Oracle and Sensato Investors, amongst others, to support this incredible local organization, OnePurpose School.

Vitanova CEO Kamal El-Wattar expressed his vision. “We are excited to be part of supporting our local community through OnePurpose School. They will provide a holistic approach to education by providing the child and their family with services such as organic food and after-school care and counseling, which leads to success in their endeavors.”

Why is this program important to Vitanova?
Currently, demography equals destiny in the U.S. If you start out in poverty, you are almost certain to end up in poverty. The best way to break the cycle of poverty is education, specifically a college degree.

OnePurpose School is committed to supporting low-income children on their road to college graduation. It helps the individual child, their parents and siblings—and, critically, their future children—beat the cycle of poverty.

OnePurpose School believes every child can thrive in an environment that supports curiosity, effort and engagement. Students who are supported at home and in their community do better, achieve more and are happier at school, which leads them on the path to success in life.

You can donate to OnePurpose School here and learn more about how Vitanova pays it forward here.

with RESPECT, dignity is restored

At Vitanova®, it is our respect for the planet and its people that shapes our actions. Vitanova proudly supports and sponsors several organizations designed to create real, positive change in the world and announces its support of Numi Organic Tea Impact programs, which includes H2OPE Madagascar, H2OPE Assam, and the Water Crisis.

Vitanova pays it forward by donating 10 percent of proceeds to preserve botanical wisdom and knowledge within the communities we partner with around the world. Like our own Vitanova botanical growers, the Numi Tea farmers are the stewards of organic, healthy nutrition. Vitanova discovered that Numi Tea shared a similar ethos and learning of the incredible work that the Numi Foundation is doing to restore dignity through providing clean water access to its partners, Vitanova wanted to support them in this important work.

The Numi Foundation works to bring clean, safe drinking water to Numi Organic Tea sourcing partners around the world.

Why is this important?

  • Did you know that 1 in 10 people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water?
  • Or that more people die from lack of water and sanitation each year than other forms of violence, including war?
  • Did you know that 4,000 children die every day from water-related diseases?
  • Despite the dangers, women and children usually bear the responsibility for collecting water for the family. Many are required to walk up to six hours a day to collect and carry it.

“The Numi Foundation is the manifestation of what we believe is needed to improve the lives of our community. It’s how we extend our intentions of goodness and fairness to the greater world.” — Ahmed Rahim, Numi Foundation Co-founder

Find out more about how Vitanova pays it forward here, and you can learn more about Numi Teas Impact programs and donate here.

Vitanova Paying Forward: Helping Support Environmental Education


Vitanova pays forward 10% of all its proceeds to help support culture and language preservation. This Summer, Vitanova went to the Ransel Buku school in Borneo to give a donation to this forward-thinking, environmentally conscious school. Ransel Buku gives children from 5 poor fishing villages a chance at a education. They stress the importance of cultural preservation, recycling, environmental issues and the importance of stopping deforestation. To donate to Ransel Buku go to: www.tinyurl.com/donateranselbuku.

Vitanova Vitamin Brand Travels to the Amazon to Help Preserve a Tribe’s Culture and Botanical Knowledge

Professor Maurizio Gnerre, Timothy Rose, & Kamal El-Wattar of Vitanova with members of the Amazon Shuar Tribe. (PRNewsfoto/Vitanova)

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The co-founders of Vitanova, a vitamin brand that uses a variety of medicinal herbs in its supplements, traveled to the rainforest this summer to meet with the Shuar’s tribal elders as part of their “Paying Forward” project. Vitanova donates 10% of all profits to the preservation and revival of botanical knowledge worldwide.

The New York Times states; “…of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, nearly half are in danger of extinction and are likely to disappear in this century. Languages are now falling out of use at a rate of about one every two weeks.”

The Shuar language is one of those endangered—jeopardizing the community’s culture as well as their ancient knowledge of medicinal plants. To help preserve the traditions, the Paying Forward project encouraged communication between Shuar generations by pairing elders who speak the language with their grandchildren. In this way, the knowledge was passed down directly. A database of 50 botanical remedies has been transmitted, photographed and is now part of a growing archive.

Timothy Rose, Vitanova’s Creative Director, also traveled to meet the Shuar. “We got an opportunity to research new, exciting botanicals as well as meet the indigenous knowledge-keepers,” said Rose.

Vitanova is engaging with the world’s leading linguists, anthropologists and indigenous communities to preserve life-saving plant species and the knowledge about those plants––both of which dramatically affect all of humanity.

Global pharmaceutical companies are looking to plants as a source of new drug candidates. A child suffering from leukemia in 1960 faced a 10% chance of remission. By 1997, the likelihood of remission had been increased to 95%, thanks to two drugs derived from a wild plant native to Madagascar.

When asked about the project’s impact Vitanova’s botanical knowledge liaison, linguistics Professor Maurizio Gnerre said, “With the support of Vitanova, we’ve put children together with elders and created a special school for the kids to learn their own language and interact with nature.”

“Vitanova knows that when a language and culture dies, vital botanical information goes along with it. And, that affects not just the indigenous people but all of us,” said CEO, Kamal El-Wattar.

Vitanova founders are invested in programs around the globe. This month, Rose is traveling through Indonesia to meet with tribal knowledge keepers to continue the project.

Re-posted from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vitanova-vitamin-brand-travels-to-the-amazon-to-help-preserve-a-tribes-culture-and-botanical-knowledge-300503090.html?tc=eml_cleartime

Vitanova travels to the Amazon to help preserve a tribe’s botanical wisdom.

The co-founders of Vitanova, a vitamin brand that uses a variety of medicinal herbs in its supplements, traveled to the rainforest this summer to meet with the Shuar’s tribal elders as part of their “Paying Forward” project. For the past two years, Vitanova has donated 10% of all profits to the preservation and revival of botanical knowledge worldwide.

According to the New York Times, “…of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, nearly half are in danger of extinction and are likely to disappear in this century. Languages are now falling out of use at a rate of about one every two weeks.”

The Shuar language is one of those endangered—jeopardizing the community’s culture as well as their ancient knowledge of medicinal plants. To help preserve the traditions, the Paying Forward project encouraged communication between Shuar generations by pairing elders who speak the language with their grandchildren. In this way, the knowledge was passed down directly. So far, a database of 50 botanical remedies has been transmitted, photographed and is now part of a growing archive for current and future use.

Timothy Rose, Vitanova’s creative director, also embarked on the journey to meet the Shuar. “It was a chance to actually see firsthand the community and the effects of the program.” says Rose. “We got an opportunity to research new, exciting botanicals as well as meet the indigenous knowledge-keepers themselves. We have a commitment to our customers to be on top of new discoveries and work toward preserving what is out there.”

“The natural landscapes and vegetation were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my life,” adds Vitanova CEO, Kamal El-Wattar. “Most moving was to be a witness as the elders shared their love of nature and their botanical remedies for various maladies.”

Vitanova is engaging with the world’s leading linguists, anthropologists and indigenous communities to preserve life-saving plant species and the knowledge about those plants––both of which dramatically affect all of humanity.

Archeological studies have discovered that the practice of herbal medicine dates as far back as 8,000 years ago in China, and written records about medicinal plants date back at least 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who used plants such as laurel, caraway and thyme as medicine.1,2

Today, global pharmaceutical companies are looking to plants as a potential source of new drug candidates.2,3,4,5,6 According to the Center for Biological Diversity, of the top 150 prescription drugs in the United States, at least 118 are made from natural sources––and some of the drugs are life-saving. A child suffering from leukemia in 1960 faced a 10 percent chance of remission. By 1997, the likelihood of remission had been increased to 95 percent, thanks to two drugs derived from a wild plant native to Madagascar.

Without thriving languages, however, the information about these plant medicines might be lost. The Endangered Languages Project is another organization that’s getting the word out about the topic. “With every language that dies, we lose an enormous cultural heritage; the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most important, we lose the expression of communities’ humor, love and life.”

Vitanova’s botanical knowledge liaison, linguistics Professor Maurizio Gnerre, discusses the impact the Paying Forward program has had on the Shuar community. “With the support of Vitanova, we’ve put children together with elders and created a special school for the kids to learn their own language and interact with nature.”

Gnerre has been working with the Shuar for decades, including Shuar tribal chieftain and head of the Shuar Language Rescue Project, Angel Antun. “We are so thrilled to receive help from Vitanova,” says Angel. “We must pass down what we know from our elders to our young people, or else our knowledge will be lost forever. Language loss means the end of our people.”

Along with their commitment to the Shuar culture, Vitanova founders are invested in other programs around the globe, from Indonesia to Eastern Europe to North Africa. This month, Rose is traveling through Indonesia to meet with tribal knowledge keepers. In addition, Vitanova is exploring various economic models for the vitamin brand, including purchasing botanical ingredients for use in future products.

“Our future health depends on preserving this knowledge,” says Rose. “Untold numbers of cures are out there. Vitanova knows that when a language and culture dies, vital botanical information goes along with it. And, that affects not just the indigenous people but all of us. We just can’t allow that to happen.”

  1. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/525340/
  2. Leroi Gourhan, “The flowers found with Shanidar IV, a Neanderthal burial in Iraq,” Science, vol. 190, no. 4214, pp. 562–564, 1975. View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  3. R. Seidl, “Pharmaceuticals from natural products: current trends,” Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 145–150, 2002. View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  4. -J. Li and H.-Y. Zhang, “Western-medicine-validated anti-tumor agents and traditional Chinese medicine,” Trends in Molecular Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1–2, 2008. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  5. W. Corson and C. M. Crews, “Molecular understanding and modern application of traditional medicines: triumphs and trials,” Cell, vol. 130, no. 5, pp. 769–774, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  6. M. Schmidt, D. M. Ribnicky, P. E. Lipsky, and I. Raskin, “Revisiting the ancient concept of botanical therapeutics,” Nature Chemical Biology, vol. 3, no. 7, pp. 360–366, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  7. https://phys.org/news/2010-09-one-fifth-world-threat-extinction.html#jCp
  8. Kara Rogers, Out of Nature, “Why Drugs from Plants Matter to the Future of Humanity,” pp 216, 2012.
  9. Ethnopharmacology and integrative medicine – Let the history tell the future. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 10 Apr-Jun; 1(2): 100–109. Pulok K. Mukherjee, P. Venkatesh, and S. Ponnusankar

VITANOVA NUTRACEUTICALS APPOINT NEW EXECUTIVE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Sequoia Laboratories LLC parent company of Vitanova Nutraceuticals, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan McFarlane as the company’s chief operating officer effective on July 5, 2017.

Ryan’s roles in his 19 years in the pharmaceutical industry have run the gamut from Operations, Quality, Science and Technology to Finance and Operational Excellence to Business and Corporate Governance.

Prior to his new role with Vitanova, Ryan held the title of Global director of Operational Excellence at Patheon Pharmaceuticals where he championed value capture initiatives across the Patheon network.

Before his role with Patheon, Ryan was the director of Supply Chain for Banner Life Sciences™, one of three standalone business units of $2.1 billion in revenue of privately held DPx—the company formed from the merging of Patheon Pharmaceuticals (PTI on the Toronto Stock Exchange) and the pharmaceutical business of Netherlands-based DSM (DSM: NA on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange). Reporting directly to the president of Banner Life Sciences™, Ryan was commissioned to ensure the development, manufacturing and commercialization of multiple deliverables for prescription pharmaceuticals, OTC and nutraceutical products in markets in the Americas and Europe.

During his time with Banner Life Sciences™, Ryan and his team launched three first-to-file prescription products, one nutraceutical product and have repatriated seven ANDA prescription products. The team was also responsible for managing the private-label fish oil lines for Sam’s Club, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

Prior to his role with Banner Life Sciences, Ryan was part of the Senior Leadership Team as director of Business Management at a newly acquired Patheon site, Banner Pharmacaps. His mission was to build high-performing departments for the site—including Business Management, Technology Transfer and Costing and Quotations. In addition, the site controller and Ryan jointly accomplished $191 million in revenue for the P&L of the site in his tenure with the company.

With his new role at Vitanova, Ryan is looking forward to making Vitanova products part of people’s everyday lives.

In his downtime, Ryan enjoys travel, cooking and fitness.

Vitanova Pays It Forward: Building a School by Hand

This July, Vitanova co-founder and Creative Director Timothy Rose and his son Luca traveled to Rio Blanco, Ecuador, to help build a community school, plant trees and learn firsthand about sustainability in the world’s most biodiverse region.

Ser is a hand-constructed, green school deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. It is a small, community-owned space nestled in the jungle that promotes intercultural, nature-based free learning for children five and up with a heavy focus on environmental, botanical and healthy living. This artistic learning community was founded in 2010 by a group of families seeking to create a harmonious living space and a respectful learning environment for their children.

Vitanova became aware of the school recently during the founders’ trip to Ecuador to visit the Shuar community. Since Vitanova has been paying forward 10 percent of all its proceeds to help indigenous peoples maintain their languages, cultures and botanical wisdom, Vitanova cofounders Kamal El-Wattar and Timothy Rose thought this would be a great project for the brand to support.

“We were looking for something that would really make a difference in the lives of this community and something physical we could do to help that happen this summer.”

Rose brought his teenage son, Luca, with him and got to work.

“We literally grabbed plants, shovels and heavy gloves and got to building. Many companies throw money at things, but it is something really special to be there on the ground making a difference.” Rose pointed out.

Ser teaches the community not only techniques of sustainability learned from the local Shuar tribes but also how to create an edible forest from a permaculture perspective. They believe that education should include a deep love and appreciation for the environment and a healthy, harmonious balance with nature.

“We have designed and adapted four hectares of Amazonian forest to permaculture. An environmentally friendly place where it is produced onsite and the reuse of organic waste and biomass in general is implemented.” says Ser family investor Julián Larrea Arias.

With the participation of the Shuar, Achuar and Quichua families (indigenous Amazonian peoples), the school has planted an Amazon vegetable garden where yuccas, bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, citrus, ginger, guava and other plants grow organically.

The Ser school also participates in the National Reforestation Program of the Ministry of the Environment and are developing actions for the protection and conservation of more than 30 hectares of native forest, home to one of the greatest diversity of plants and animals found in the world.

In addition to the 100 trees planted since the project began, more than ten one hundred-year-old pituca trees 35 meters high bear fruit and self-fertilize.

“We strengthened the forest by planting native trees at risk of extinction, such as mahogany, cedars and cannelloni,” adds Arias.

Apart from the botanical commitment and positive educational opportunities for the community, the school also employs bio-construction using bamboo canes (native bamboo) harvested on their land. The cane is ecological because it is a giant grass that is renewed with the cut. Ser also builds composting centers, organic orchards and dry ecological baths, without sewage treatment. Everything is off the grid and 100 percent recycled.

Ser also boasts a multipurpose green space, soccer field, an art space, hammocks and play areas. The school is built on the concepts of respect for nature, self-sustainability and creativity.

“The connection between health and nature is core to Vitanova’s values. What this school is doing mirrors the company’s own beliefs. Having the opportunity to help the school and bring my own son along to learn about the Shuar people, sustainable farming and botanical knowledge was one of the best moments of my life.” Rose concludes.

“The natural state of living beings is to be healthy. Getting away from nature and its cycles is what makes us sick,” says Arias.

Vitanova is committed to helping preserve botanical wisdom, language and the indigenous knowledge keepers. They pay forward 10 percent of their earnings to help build schools, preserve cultures and promote a healthy, sustainable environment.

To learn more about supporting the Ser community school, write to julianlarreaarias@yahoo.es. To learn more about Vitanova’s Paying Forward language preservation programs, go to www.vitanova.com.

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