• 12Feb

    About Us

    PhytoTrade Africa was established in 2001 as the trade association of the natural products industry in Southern Africa. Our purpose is to alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity in the region by developing an industry that is not only economically successful but also ethical, sustainable and Access and Benefit Sharing compliant.

    http://phytotrade.com/products/kigelia-africana/ My friend uses this stuff on burly zits but it pretty much looks like a miracle skin cure from “the Sausage Tree of Africa” He thinks it is amazing, you should totally try it. It looks incredible, here is a site to read all about it.
    Kigelia africana
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kigelia+africana It really doe
    ~Sausage Tree~ Kigelia Africana Bignoniaceae African Whole Fruit!!!
  • 16Jan
  • 16Jan



    From T – “be careful with lemon balm because what appears to be lemon balm can be a poisonous citronella like plant.”

    12 Things to Do With Lemon Balm

    12 Things To Do With Lemon Balm

    (Find these and more lemon balm ideas, in my new Kindle ebook: Things To Make With Lemon Balm.)

    Things To Make With Lemon Balm ebook

    Lemon balm is an easy to grow herb that not only attracts bees to the garden, but is also a great anti-viral with relaxing properties that are helpful for soothing frayed nerves and calming hyper children.

    Traditionally, it’s been used to gently treat colic and upset stomach in everyone from infants to elders. A leaf can be chewed to freshen the breath or crushed and placed on a bug bite to help ease the itch.

    If you’ve ever planted lemon balm, you know how one tiny plant can quickly take over a large portion of your garden! Last week, I talked about using some of its abundance to make a lip balm for cold sores. Today, I thought I’d share a dozen more things to do with this prolific little gem.

    Important Note: While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm can inhibit thyroid function. If you have severe hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or are on thyroid medication check with a doctor before using large amounts internally. If you’re pregnant, nursing, on meds or have any other questions or concerns, do further research and talk with a qualified health professional before use.


    12 Things to Do With Lemon Balm:

    1. Make a sleepy time herbal syrup – place about 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves into a small pot and add enough water to just cover the leaves. Simmer, covered partially, until the liquid is reduced in half. Strain out & compost the leaves. While still quite warm, measure out about 1/2 cup of the concentrated tea and stir 1/4 cup raw honey into it. Add more honey to taste, if you wish. You can make larger or smaller batches – keeping a ratio of about 2 parts lemon balm infusion to 1 part honey. Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Dose by the spoonful at night to help calm and relax everyone from children to adults. (Keeping in mind that honey should not be given to infants under one year old.)

    2. Chop fresh leaves and sprinkle on fruit salads; drizzle with honey or a dressing made of yogurt and honey.

    3. Make a glycerite – Fill a jar with leaves. Cover with a mixture of 3 parts vegetable glycerine to 1 part water. Cap and let this sit in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain. Dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed to relax and calm. Store in your refrigerator for several months. (Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs.)

    4. Make a relaxing, tummy soothing tea – Fill a jar with fresh leaves. Pour simmering hot water into the jar then cover the top with a saucer so that none of the vapors escape. Let steep until cool enough to drink. Sweeten to taste.

    5. Moisten cosmetic clay with lemon balm tea to dab on blemishes and bug bites as needed.

    6. Fill a bath bag with lemon balm leaves and rose petals. Hang from the spigot and let the water run through as the tub fills. (No bath bags handy? Try a thin white sock with a knot tied at the top.)

    7. Add finely chopped leaves (1 to 2 TBSP) and lemon zest (a pinch) to your favorite scone or muffin recipe.

    8. Make a tincture – Add leaves to a jar until about three-quarters filled. Pour in 80 proof or higher alcohol until the jar is filled. Cap with a non-metallic lid and store in a cool, dark place for about 4 to 6 weeks, shaking periodically. Strain and store for at least a year. Adult dose is 1/4 teaspoon (which is also about 1 dropperful or 1 ml) at a time, as needed. I usually mix with equal parts honey for better patient compliance. This is a great stomach soothing, anti-viral concoction, perfect to take when you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or bug. Lemon Balm is also a component in my trusted Favorite Cold & Flu Tincture.

    9. Make a vinegar – fill a jar about 3/4 full with fresh leaves. Cover with apple cider vinegar. Cap with a non-metallic lid and let steep in a cool dark place for a few weeks. Strain and use as a hair wash or add to your bath water. You can also use this in food dishes & salad dressings instead of plain vinegar.

    10. Make candied lemon balm leaves – This is a favorite kid activity around here! Beat an egg white with a tiny bit of water. Dip lemon balm leaves in the mixture, then dip in sugar. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can air dry these, though we like to speed up the process by putting them in a 200 degree F oven until they look dry, but not browned. Check after 20 minutes and every 5 to 10 after that.

    11. Make Lemon Balm & Honey Butter – Mix half a stick (4 tablespoons) of softened butter with a pinch of finely chopped lemon balm. Add a drizzle of honey to taste. Yummy on hot fresh bread or biscuits!

    12. Make an herbal water - Fill a jar with fresh lemon balm leaves and a thinly sliced lemon. Pour in cold water until it reaches the top. Refrigerate for several hours. So refreshing on a hot day!

    Do you enjoy making things from the plants that grow around you? If so, let’s keep in touch! Subscribe to my newsletter HERE to get my latest herbal projects, recipes & soap making ideas sent straight to your inbox each month. No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.

    You may also like:

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  • 16Jan
    lemon balm Overview Information


    From T – “be careful with lemon balm because what appears to be lemon balm can be a poisonous citronella like plant.”



    Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family. The leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make medicine. Lemon balm is used alone or as part of various multi-herb combination products.

    Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache; and for mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia.

    Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves’ disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites.

    Lemon balm is inhaled as aromatherapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

    Some people apply lemon balm to their skin to treat cold sores (herpes labialis).

    In foods and beverages, the extract and oil of lemon balm are used for flavoring.

    How does it work?

    Lemon balm contains chemicals that seem to have a sedative, calming effect. It might also reduce the growth of some viruses.

  • 11Jan

    Fresh Basil

    The quintessential herb of summer, basil adds its subtle magic to just about every kind of dish from appetizer to salad to dessert. A member of the mint family, basil adds a slightly sweet Mediterranean-inspired flavor to a range of dishes. Grow your own or pick some up at the local market and get cooking.
    Basil Vinaigrette-



    • 1. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until chopped. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil, vinegar and crushed red pepper and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


    • PESTO

    Adapted from The Garden of Eden

    Note: Darcy (from the Garden of Eden) made a basil pesto, so if you would like to follow her instructions, find the recipe here.

    3 cups herbs* such as basil, cilantro, parlsey, chives, etc., rinsed
    1/4 cup nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pine nuts**
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice (I juiced half a lemon)
    3/4 tsp. kosher salt
    1 tsp. freshly-ground pepper
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup grated dry salty cheese such as Pecorino or Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano (D- Parmezano!) (walnut cheese)



    Smashed Grape Cocktail


    • 12 grapes
    • 6 basil leaves
    • 1 tbsp. honey
    • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp. simple syrup (SIMPLE STEVIA SYRUP -D)
    • 4 ounces vodka = omit (D)
    • 2 cups soda water
    • ice


    1. Place 10 grapes in the bottom of a shaker and smash up with a cocktail muddle. Pour contents through a sieve and reserve juice.
    2. Rinse shaker and place basil in the bottom. Lightly muddle to release oils. Top with simply syrup, grape juice and lemon juice and stir. Add ice  over top. Add honey and soda water and shake.
    3. Cut two grapes in half and place 2 halves in each glass. Pour shaker contents in glasses and serve.
    4. Serves 2.


    • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
    • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
    • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste)
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    1. Place the basil, walnuts or pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
    2. Turn the motor on and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast, and pulse a few more times to combine

    Tomato And Peach Salad With Red Onion And Basil,Chilled Summer Squash and Basil Soup,Basil Ice CreamStrawberry Basil Paletas, BASIl Hummus,  Caramelized Peach Caprese Salad With Smoked Sea Salt, Greek Olive Pesto, Raspberry Basil MojitoGrilled Corn With Basil Butter,e Zucchini With Basil, Mint And Honey

    Basil Butter – Do it with Coconut Oil/Olive Oil – D

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 1 cup basil, loosely packed
    • 1 tablespoon sea salt
    • Melt.
  • 23Dec

    Buscopan (hyoscine)


    Main use Active ingredient Manufacturer
    Stomach and bowel cramps Hyoscine butylbromide Boehringer Ingelheim

    How does it work?

    Buscopan tablets contain the active ingredient hyoscine butylbromide, which is a type of medicine called an antispasmodic. It is used to relieve colicky abdominal pain that is caused by painful spasms in the muscles of the gastro-intestinal (GI) or genito-urinary (GU) tract.

    Hyoscine works by relaxing the muscle that is found in the walls of the stomach, intestines, bowel, bile duct and urinary tract. This type of muscle is called smooth muscle or involuntary muscle. It normally contracts and relaxes in response to natural body chemicals called neurotransmitters. The contractions are caused by a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. These contractions are not under our conscious control and we are not normally aware of them. However, if the muscles go into spasm this can cause pain.

    Hyoscine stops the spasms in the smooth muscle by preventing acetylcholine from acting on the muscle. It does this by blocking the receptors on the muscle cells that the acetylcholine would normally act on.

    By preventing acetylcholine from acting on the muscle in the GI and GU tracts, hyoscine reduces the muscle contractions. This allows the muscle to relax and reduces the painful spasms and cramps.

    What is it used for?

    • Spasms of the stomach, intestines or bile duct (gastro-intestinal tract), including those associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    • Spasms of the bladder or urinary system (genito-urinary tract).

    How do I take it?

    • Always follow the instructions given by your doctor. These will also be printed on the dispensing label that your pharmacist has put on the packet of medicine.
    • The usual dose for adults and adolescents over 12 years of age is two tablets taken four times a day. To treat IBS symptoms treatment should be started with one tablet three times a day. This can be increased up to two tablets four times a day if necessary.
    • The usual dose for children aged 6 to 12 years is one tablet taken three times a day.
    • Buscopan tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water. They can be taken either with or without food.
    • If you forget to take a dose take it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose. In this case just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as usual. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
    • This medicine should not be taken on a continuous daily basis or for prolonged periods of time without the cause of your abdominal pain being investigated by your doctor.


    • This medicine may cause blurred vision and so may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery safely. If affected do not drive or operate machinery.
    • While taking this medicine you should consult your doctor immediately if you experience severe, unexplained abdominal pain that doesn’t go away, gets worse, or occurs with symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel movements, abdominal tenderness, decreased blood pressure, fainting, or blood in your stools.
    • You should also consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following while using this medicine: red and painful eye, possibly with headache, loss of vision, or seeing haloes around lights. These symptoms may be caused by an increase in pressure inside the eyeball and require urgent investigation by your doctor.

    Not to be used in

    • People with an abnormally large or dilated large intestine (megacolon).
    • People with a condition called myasthenia gravis, which involves abnormal muscle weakness.
    • People with an eye condition called closed angle glaucoma.
    • People with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency (Buscopan tablets contain sucrose).
    • Buscopan tablets are not recommended for children under six years of age.

    This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

    If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

    Use with caution in

    • Elderly people.
    • People with heart problems, including a fast heart rate (tachycardia) or heart failure.
    • People with an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
    • People who are susceptible to blockages in the urinary tract and difficulty passing urine, for example men with an enlarged prostate gland.
    • People with constipation or who are susceptible to blockages in the intestines.
    • People with a high temperature (fever).

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding

    Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

    • This medicine is not usually recommended for use during pregnancy as its safety has not been established. It should only be used if the expected benefit to the mother is greater than any possible risks to the developing baby, particularly in the first trimester. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
    • It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk, although only small amounts are likely to be found due to the properties of the medicine. The class of medicines that this one belongs to may reduce the production of breast milk. The manufacturer states that this medicine is not recommended for use during breastfeeding. Get advice from your doctor before taking this medicine if you are breastfeeding.

    Side effects

    Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

    Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)

    • Increase in heart rate (tachycardia).
    • Dry mouth.
    • Small blisters on the hands and feet (dyshidrosis).
    • Allergic skin reactions such as hives or itching.

    Rare (affect between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 people)

    • Difficulty passing urine (urinary retention).

    Unknown frequency

    • Hypersensitivity reactions such as narrowing of the airways (bronchospasm), swelling of the lips, throat and tongue (angioedema), rash or anaphylactic reaction.

    The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine’s manufacturer.

    For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

    How can this medicine affect other medicines?

    It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.

    There may be an increased risk of antimuscarinic side effects, such as dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty passing urine, reduced sweating and confusion, if this medicine is taken with other medicines that have antimuscarinic effects, such as the following:

    • amantadine
    • antihistamines, eg promethazine, brompheniramine, chlorphenamine, diphenhydramine, triprolidine
    • antimuscarinic medicines for Parkinson’s symptoms, eg procyclidine, orphenadrine, trihexiphenidyl
    • antimuscarinic medicines for urinary incontinence, eg oxybutynin, trospium, tolterodine
    • antipsychotics, eg chlorpromazine, clozapine, thioridazine
    • antisickness medicines, eg meclozine, cyclizine, hyoscine hydrobromide
    • codeine
    • disopyramide
    • nefopam
    • other antispasmodics, eg atropine, propantheline, dicycloverine
    • tricyclic antidepressants, eg amitriptyline, clomipramine.

    If this medicine is taken with domperidone or metoclopramide the actions of the medicines may cancel each other out. This is because metoclopramide and domperidone increase the motility of the gut, whereas hyoscine reduces it.

    If you experience a dry mouth as a side effect of this medicine you may find that medicines that are designed to dissolve and be absorbed from under the tongue, eg sublingual glyceryl trinitrate tablets, become less effective. This is usually because the tablets do not dissolve properly in a dry mouth. To resolve this, have a drink of water before taking tablets designed to dissolve on or underneath the tongue.

    Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

  • 21Dec


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  • 20Dec



  • 14Dec

    Palo Santo-Aromatic Gem of the Coast


    Unlike ceibos, palosanto trees are all about subtlety. Their drab appearance makes them nearly impossible to distinguish from many of the other scraggly trees and bushes found in the dry coastal forests; however, what unmistakably sets them apart is their soothing, sweet, musky scent. One of my favorite olfactory pleasures is the aroma of palosanto wafting out of the hillsides after a light rain.


    In the same family as myrrh and frankincense, palo santo (Bursera graveolens) literally means “holy wood” and has been used by shamans since pre-Incan times for clearing negative energies and healing.

    Today, locals frequently burn dry sticks of palo santo to produce a rich, aromatic smoke to keep mosquitoes away. The sticks are also used to produce a tea to help cure symptoms related to the flu and asthma.


    Use of essential oils of palo santo is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and is said to contain many healing properties to treat a plethora of maladies including arthritis, allergies, inflammation, cold and flu symptoms, depression, and anxiety to name a few. The oils are used directly on the skin in key areas (wrist, temples, soles of feet, etc.), can be diluted with other oils such as almond to produce massage oils or spritzers, and used in aromatic diffusers.


    Palo santo trees themselves are relatively short-lived, approximately 40 years. The oils are extracted only from fallen, dead trees so it is important to buy products from sources who collect only naturally-fallen trees and who are involved in replanting efforts. Deltatau Palosanto in Puerto Lopez is one of those sources (we don’t have any affiliation with them–we just like their products).


    Ceibos and palo santo trees represent just two of the incredible and diverse plant species found in this region. There are countless ideas for business niches left to be filled to promote greater education and appreciation of the dry coastal forest ecosystem. Examples might include leading hiking, mountain biking and birdwatching tours, the manufacture and sale of products directly using kapok fibers, or even photo-based souvenir products such as ceibo post cards and calendars, neither of which can be found here, at least to my knowledge. Like so many things in Ecuador, the possibilities are endless.

  • 28Nov


    1. Boost immunity. The polyphenols and flavonoids found in green tea help your body stay strong and fight against infections.

    2. Thwart cardiovascular disease. Green tea helps prevent build-up in arteries and blocks the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LCL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL).

    3. Guard against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Green tea may help protect brain cells from deteriorating and restore damaged cells.

    4. Keep asthma in check. Green tea can help reduce the severity of asthma. It contains theophyline which acts as a relaxer for the muscles that support the bronchial tubes.

    5. Reduce tooth decay. The antioxidant “catechin,” found in green tea, has been linked to the destruction of bacteria and viruses that cause various dental conditions and throat infections.

    6. Lower blood pressure. Green tea has been found to repress angiotensin, which spikes blood pressure levels.

    7. Fight ovarian cancer. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate or EDCD, a potent antioxidant that has been observed to suppress the growth of ovarian cancer cells and stimulate apoptosis (cell suicide).

    8. Reduce the risk of colon cancer. Numerous studies have concluded that green tea helps halt colon cancer cell growth and regular green tea drinkers are 50 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

    9. Promote longevity. Polyphenols, which are green tea’s primary antioxidant, fight against free radicals which helps your body fight against aging.

    10. Kick breast cancer. Green tea has been found to inhibit cancer cell metabolism in breast tumors.

    To fully reap these benefits and others scientists suggest drinking green tea regularly, citing three cups a day as the optimal amount. While there are many drinks that now contain green tea, it’s best to consume it the way people have for years — fresh and seeped in hot water — if you want the real benefits. Recently, it has been recommended to avoid drinking green tea while eating as it can hinder nutrient absorption from other foods. Drink at leisure, but use your best judgment.