What Are Food Forests

The PermaTree FoodForest(s) have been growing physically and also digitally, on the website. As you can imagine most plants need more than just 3 years to grow strong and even more to produce fruit. Even in the tropical climate we have at the farm. Currently producing from the list above are Bananas, Guayusa, Coffee and all the others including Bamboo, are still in the growing phase.

So we have been using the time to educate ourselves more on all the health benefits of the plants we are growing. Happy to share now and here with you, some of our learnings and findings.

The Food Forest is “Garden Eden”!

“Forest gardening” is a prehistoric method of securing food in tropical areas. These gardens exemplify polyculture, and conserve much crop genetic diversity and heirloom plants that are not found in monocultures. Forest gardens have been loosely compared to the religious concept of the Garden of Eden.

PermaTree Food Forest Status December 2018

We have the main overview Food Forest page which links to every element of the forest. So far (December 2018) we have been able to publish about the following healthy crops:

  1. Did you know that the Avocado tree carries monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid?
  2. Are you aware that the Banana act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria and  produces digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients?
  3. Did you know that the Coconut supplies an impressive 61% dietary fiber and contain two types of carbohydrates?
  4. Did you know that according to one legend the Coffee plant was discovered during the 9th-century by a Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi, when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant
  5. Imagine a energizing healthy indigenous beverage you have never heard of yet … which will give you energy and keep you awake but in a gentle way without making you nervous. Extremely healthy. Stimulates  the immune system. No yellow teeth, no bad breath. Sounds like something made up right? Guess what we discovered this amazonian beverage in our farm and its called: Guayusa It contains LOTS of Antioxidants, stimulant: Theobromine (found in cacao), amino acid: L-theanine (found in green tea) aaand Caffeine (found in coffee).
  6. Have you hear of a fruit which looks like snake eggs and tastes like apple with lemon but really tasty? In some places they call it the ‘memory fruit’ because of the high amount of potassium and pectin. But because of the odd looks, its better know as Snakefruit (salak)
  7. Did you know there is a tropical fruit where practitioners of herbal medicine in Asian, African and South American countries have used the bark, leaves, root, and fruits of the soursop tree to treat infections with viruses or parasites, arthritis, depression, stomach ailments, fever, parasitic infections, hypertension and rheumatism. It’s used as a sedative, as well. But claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have attracted the most attention. It tastes like strawberry and pineapple with an underlying creamy flavor of coconut or banana. Nothing less complex. This fruit is called Soursop (Annona muricata)
  8. And last but not least some information about the fastest growing plant in the world which does NOT  require irrigation, fertilizer or pesticides: Bamboo – it’s not only used for constructions as you may know but it is TRUE multipurpose crop, with over 1500 documented uses (!) One of them is that the bamboo shoots can be cocked and eaten (contains phytochemicals, which have antibacterial and antiviral effects in the body. They are a good source of dietary fibre. Bamboo shoots contain potassium, important for a healthy heart and to maintain normal blood pressure). The leafs can be used to drink tea or beer (Bambusa). The bamboo shoots MUST be cooked because most bamboo species contain cyanide compounds of varying levels, with species cultivated for food containing the least amount. 

Health Benefits of the Soursop Fruit and Leaves

Soursop grows  on a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree in the rain forests of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia and is a common food there. And here in Ecuador at the edge of the amazonas region in our organic tropical farm PermaTree. Its scientific name is Annona muricata. Also known as graviola, custard apple, guanabana and Brazilian paw paw.

Even so the English name, “soursop” is derived from the Dutch zuurzak which means “sour sack”, the soursop is a extremely tasty tropical fruit. It has flavors that are is a combination of: Strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavor notes that contrast with its creamy texture, which is similar to the flavors of coconut and banana. Here is yet another take on the flavor of soursop: It has a delicate fragrance that is tropical, fruity, musky.

 

Soursop Tropical Superfood

Superfoods have extra-large doses of vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants, substances that shield our bodies from cell damage and help prevent disease. Antioxidants are natural compounds found in foods that protect against the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation in our bodies. This can help us ward off diseases and live a longer, healthier life.

It is recommended that if you are not able to grow your own superfoods, be sure that when purchasing a commercially available tropical superfood, to select a organic one to get the maximum health benefits.

 

 

General Healing Benefits of Soursop?

Practitioners of herbal medicine in Asian, African and South American countries have used the bark, leaves, root, and fruits of the soursop tree to treat infections with viruses or parasites, arthritis, depression, stomach ailments, fever, parasitic infections, hypertension and rheumatism. It’s used as a sedative, as well.

But claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have attracted the most attention.

 

Soursop Fights Cancer

Soursop extracts from the leaf, fruit, and seed have been tested in laboratories for their anticancer effects for the past 40 years! Much of the research on the health benefits of soursop has been carried out by institutions independent of much of the pharmaceutical industry… The results of this research is generally made available to the public.

Some studies show these extracts to be active against breast (1) (2), lung (3), colon (4), prostate (5), pancreas (6) (7), liver (8), and skin cancer (9) cell lines. However, soursop products have not been studied in cancer patients.

  • One of five extracted from the seed of the soursop fruit was “selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells(HT-29)” and “10,000 times stronger” in inhibiting cancer growth than the chemotherapy drug adriamycin.(10)
  • In 1997, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggested that soursop showed better results in destroying breast cancer cells than chemotherapy. Studies conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have proved soursop extract to be effective against both breast cancer and liver cancer.
  • Soursop extracts were found to kill certain types of breast and liver cancer cells (11).
  • According to one study, the soursop plant is a proven cancer remedy for most types of the disease (12). Though the tests haven’t been conducted on humans yet, the possibilities are promising.
  • In 2011, the journal Nutrition and Cancer revealed highly promising research on soursop and breast cancer. Researchers found that graviola fruit extract (GFE) suppressed expression of a breast-cancer causing oncogene known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in animal models. According to the researchers, “a 5-wk dietary treatment of GFE (200 mg/kg diet) significantly reduced the protein expression of EGFR in breast tumors by 56% … Overall, dietary GFE inhibited tumor growth, as measured by wet weight, by 32%.”
  • In another Indian study conducted on various cell lines, soursop leaves showed 80% cell inhibition. The acetogenins in soursop inhibit the harmful compounds in cancer cells (13).
  • A cell study in 1999 showed soursop had anti-prostate cancer and breast cancer activity; another 2002 cell study showed that graviola exhibited anti-hepatoma (liver cancer) activity. Studies performed at the University of Nebraska found that graviola inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
  • Soursop extract had also inhibited the survival and metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells – and this indicates potential success in curing the lethal disease (14).
  • What possibly makes acetogenins unique is their ability to selectively destroy the cancer cells, without harming the healthy ones (15).

A well-maintained diet consisting of cancer-fighting superfoods such as the soursop can actually reduce the risk of various types of cancer and can also prove to be beneficial in treatment.

 

Soursop Treats Infections

Soursop can treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites, one of those being leishmaniasis, a disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of sand fleas (16) 
The leaves of the soursop tree are also used to treat a wide range of infections (17) 

 

Soursop For Gastrointestinal Health

Soursop is also found to have antiulcer properties. The fruit suppresses oxidative damage and preserves the mucus of the gastric wall (18). The significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the soursop fruit can help improve gastrointestinal health.

In one Brazilian study, the anthelmintic (the ability to kill parasites) properties of soursop leaf extract were studied (19). They studied the effects of a parasitic worm that caused gastrointestinal issues in sheep. The objective of the study was to inspect the effects of soursop towards the eggs and adult forms of the parasite. The study concluded that soursop is a natural anthelmintic, and since it could kill the parasites in sheep that caused them gastrointestinal issues, it might have similar effects in humans. More research is going on, though.

As per another report, excessive doses of oral iron can lead to gastrointestinal issues. Though soursop is a source of iron, the mineral content in the fruit is not as much as other ingredients – hence, it is unlikely to cause gastrointestinal distress. The same fact, again, could work for the benefit of the individual. For instance, an individual suffering from iron deficiency can be susceptible to anemia, which is known to cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal system. Though soursop is not an excellent source of iron, it does contain iron – and hence can be a healthy addition to an iron-rich diet to combat anemia (and the resultant gastrointestinal problems) (20).

 

Soursop Fight Inflammation

In a Brazilian study, inflammation caused by snakebite was found to improve with the administration of soursop leave and juice (21)  However, the components of soursop might also slightly aggravate the ill effects of snake venom – hence, we need more research in this aspect.

Research in South America and tropical Africa had emphasized on the anti-inflammatory properties of the roots, barks, and leaves of the soursop tree (22). The ability to treat inflammation is good in soursop, and it can be used for relieving arthritis.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory effect, soursop is also known for its analgesic effects(23) 

 

 

Soursop Diabetes Treatment

According to a Nigerian study, soursop possesses anti-diabetic properties. The two groups of rats tested in the study had a significant difference in their blood glucose concentrations, with the group treated by soursop having lower concentrations than the other (24).

The soursop leaf aqueous extract was found to inhibit and even prevent the hepatic oxidative damage caused in diabetes patients (25) 

 

Soursop Kidney And Liver Health

As per one Malaysian study, soursop extract was found to be safe in rats that were being treated for kidney and liver ailments (26) Similar observations could be observed in humans as well.
According to another Indian study, the acetogenins in soursop can kill the malignant cells of 12 types of cancer, with liver cancer being one of them (27).

 

Soursop For Respiratory Health

One Nigerian study states the efficacy of soursop leaves in treating respiratory conditions like asthma (28).

 

Soursop Relieves Stress

As per a report by the University of Connecticut, soursop can be used extensively for the treatment of stress and other issues like depression (29).

 

Soursop For Hypertension

Soursop has been used in folklore for treating hypertension. This can be attributed to the antioxidant potential of phenols in the fruit, according to a Nigerian study (30). As per an Indonesian study report, soursop contains good nutrients that can help lower blood pressure levels in human adults (31).

 

Soursop For Better Immune System

A Korean study states that the intake of soursop can enhance immunity. This can be attributed to the bioactive compounds in the fruit. Oral intake of soursop leaf extracts was found to reduce edema in rat paws, which is usually caused due to a weak immune system (32). The study concludes by stating that soursop leaf extract has the potential to stimulate immunity, and hence can be used in the treatment of immunocompromised patients. Soursop can also be made a part of the diet to improve the overall lifestyle quality.

The juice of the soursop fruit was found to provide more micronutrients than its pulp. But the pulp has more amount of vitamin A than the juice. Soursop is also rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that strengthens and boosts the immune system. Beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, also contributes to an enhanced immune system.

Another report published in a journal by The University of West Indies talks about a study where patients with different forms of cancer were given different foods, soursop being one of them. The objective of the experiment, as stated in the report, was to enhance the immune system of the patients (33).

 

Soursop Treats Fever

The soursop fruit has been traditionally used to treat fever. In Africa, a decoction of soursop leaves is used to control feverish symptoms and convulsive seizures. In fact, the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito (which transmit dengue fever), showed great vulnerability towards soursop extract (34).

As per an Indian study, the soursop fruit and its juice can not only treat fever, but also act as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery (35) The fruit can help treat fever in children as well; soursop is widely used for this purpose in Africa (36).

 

Soursop Relieves Pain (Analgesic)

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, soursop can work as an analgesic. The mice used in the study were made to writhe, post which the soursop extract was induced in them. The experiment produced desirable results (37).

 

Soursop Treats Rheumatism

According to studies, the internal administration of soursop leaf decoction was found to exhibit anti-rheumatic properties. And the leaves, when cooked and topically applied, helped ease rheumatism and abscesses (38). In Africa, the unripe fruit of soursop is used to treat rheumatism and arthritic pain (39) Even the mashed leaves of the soursop tree are used as a poultice to treat rheumatism.

Soursop also contains anthocyanins, tannins, and alkaloids that exhibit anti-rheumatic effects.

 

Soursop Improves Eye Health

We have seen soursop is replete with antioxidants.

They donate electrons to free radicals, which neutralizes them and prevents them from causing harm. Bottom Line: Antioxidants are molecules that fight damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures. Antioxidants do this by giving electrons to the free radicals and neutralizing them.

These antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E, zinc, and beta-carotene, have been found to decrease the risk of eye disease. The antioxidants also reduce oxidative stress, which can otherwise cause cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (40)

 

Struggling With Parasites In Latin America

In Latin America, I continuously struggle with bacteria’s. While traveling now almost two years, I mostly struggled with amoebas – the bad ones! The thing is, here, the water is often contaminated mostly of cows poo or other fecal sources. Local people often told me, that the tap water is drinkable but in fact, it’s not! Only in big cities where drinking water is purified… But still, the amoeba, for example, does not die from purifying the water with chlorine. For short-time travelers you can use a water filters but still you’re not 100% on the safe side, because the water you use for washing you’re dishes, for example is still contaminated. This was my first mistake, which I wasn’t thinking about in the beginning. So I do now heat up the water (it has to boil! Electric water heater is not a option!) and use it to lay my dishes in there for a minute, to be sure I am killing all of the bad bacteria’s!

Prevent!

Wash your foods with clean water, when preparing them. Avoid eating refined flour and sugar, don’t feed you’re bad bacteria’s. Avoid contact with dirt, because bacterial eggs can be found there. Having a diet based on meat, is easy to come in contact with parasites. Prevention for family members; cut you’re nails short so they stay clean and wash you’re hands often, especially before preparing food and after petting animals. Use separate towels and wash clothes in hot water. Oh by the way, here, in Latin America, laundry usually washes you’re cloth with cold water and dry them afterwords in the dryer. Hand washing clothes is common. If they use hot water when it’s heated up by gas.

Disease

How ever, luckily there are some people which never struggle from bacterial disease but it’s not proofed that they don’t have any! So, I probably went through all diseases you can ever expect from bacteria’s! Also mood wise I was a other person! I was quickly annoyed and I lost all my patience. No joke, this was a hard time for me. I couldn’t stand myself! And I was always hungry – Arrg! With my, almost pregnant looking, blown belly.

Antibiotics

antibiotics_amobeas

Colufase antibioticum

Here, in Latin America, they only know antibiotics. The bad thing about that is, they do not only kill the “bad” they also kill the good bacteria’s. So, often after a antibiotic treatment I was struggling with a other disease which is called candida a fungal. We all have candida in our bodies, like bacteria’s as well, but if they take over it can be unpleasant. After my experiences with antibiotics which, depending on the doctor and country, can completely drain you. Which means, awful long sitting on the toilet for minimum one day! But do not lose your mind, like I did, it will stop and go away. Just drink a lot of water I recommend coconut water to stabilize the important things you’re body needs while this process.

 

Master Tonic

master_tonic

Master Tonic

I started researching and found the promising Master Tonic a natural treatment. The first problem was to find apple cider, because in Latin America it’s damn hard to find it! I mostly failed because of not finding the needed ingredients! Meanwhile I luckily found a organic, alternative vinegar and started my Master Tonic. I followed the instruction, it’s a awful “juice” but I stayed strong! A few weeks later things didn’t changed at all and I went to the doctor again! Recipe here

 

 

 

Neem Leaves

deworming-medicine-2

Neem leaves

I then, by coincidence, met a guy who told me about the Neem leaves. Which he made a brew out of it and it sounded really promising, while he told me, that the Neem brew healed all of his tourists disease. I also found interesting facts about Neem on the internet and I was convinced. But back in the town, where I lived back then, was no Neem to find… So again I failed. Here a wonderful indian recipe, which I will try as soon as I get my own Neem tree in our food forest.

 

 

 

Noni Fruit

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Noni del Quindío. Extracto natural de Noni.

Noni is a really special fruit! Actually it does not really taste like a pictured tropical yummy fruit rather bitter and awkward, but if it helps for medical reason – I am in! Noni has the ability to defend you’re body from cancer or if you have cancer it can help stop growing it. Which sounds awesome! They say: Noni contains components that can help human body to regenerate cells and to increase the defenses of it, naturally. Also tumors, sunburns, allergies, arthritis, asthma, better circulation, colds, cough, depression, diabetes and it has an remarkable effect, against 7 different kinds of harmful bacteria, effective against fungi and parasites. Our friend in Colombia Quindío makes this powerful Noni extract! Source

 

Fermented Food

kimchi

Kimchi a Korean fermented dish

Then people told me to eat or drink fermented food to beat up you’re gut and fight against the bad bacteria’s. I was animated to try it. From Kombucha to fermented vegetables like Sauerkraut. But luck wasn’t on my site because the fermentation always rotted. I didn’t used the right jar and the whole fermentation was totally new to me. So I gave up and was disappointed. More about fermented food here. On the other side, if you’re struggling with candida don’t eat any fermented food, because you’re candida will love it and grow even more, because of the sugar amount in fermented foods. By the way, don’t eat anything with sugar even fruits. Only vegetables, I tell you! More about a candida diet here

 

Propolis

propolis

Propolis from bees

I heard, the first time, about Propolis in Bolivia, where they mad soap out of it, but actually there is a lot more potential! Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. Propolis has a wide range of antibacterial properties. It also has anti-fungal and anti-viral powers. Health benefits here. Instructions: Take 3 drops per kilo or 3 capsules half an hour before each meal. Recommended are cycles of 7 days with an interval of 7 days after treatment. Times to ensure a repetition of 3-5 for complete elimination of parasites or bacteria. instruction source

 

 

Think Local

Actually there are tons of natural treatments and recommendations out there but I couldn’t really find one person who guided my though a proper instruction which was really helping against my problem. So I had to search for local medicine plants and also ask local people. Encountered so far:

Supports by: Rheumatism, arthritis, cancer, wounds, gastric ulcers and intestinal complaints, chronic pain, improve immunity, colitis, viral and fungal infections, such as herpes and candida. Source

The latex of this tree is used for: Bacteriostatic, bactericide, fungicide; is also traditionally used to treat influenza, tonsillitis, herpes, uta, burns, acne, colds, diseases of tonsils, gingivitis, cervicitis, lose weight, control bleeding. Source

  • “Jergon Sancha” o “Oro verde”, Araceae Dracontium, (South America)

Helps against: Snakebite, asthma, menstrual disorders, chlorosis, and whooping cough, natural remedy supposedly for HIV/AIDS, cancerous tumors, gastrointestinal problems, hernias. Uña de gato and Sacha jergon together can be used in the treatment of AIDS. Source

  • Copaiba, Fabaceae Copaifera (South America)

Beneficial effects of Copaiba are due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-tetanus, antiseptic and anti-hemorrhagic properties. Copaiba oil or resin is used by indigenous tribes for skin sores, psoriasis and other minor skin problems. Other actions; increases expels worms, kills fungi, bacteria and germs, reduces acid. Internal: 5-15 drops, 2-3 times daily.

Is a species of flowering plant. The alkaloid cryptolepine is a potent antimalarial. The plant also has potential for treating Type II diabetes and is considered a powerful systemic antibiotic. It contains the antibacterial alkaloids cryptolepine, quindoline, and neocryptolepine.  The roots are also used as a yellow dye. More infos here

More about medical plants: plantas medicinales, plantas medicinales selva

Easy DIY recipe

  1. South American traditional remedy; 3 very small teeth garlic, into a cup. Pour very hot water over them. Let it sit all night and drink the water on an empty stomach in the morning. (Although there are regions where people bits of garlic also swallow).
  2. Eat these foods daily in salads or desserts: onion, avocado and pumpkin seeds and papaya. Or for tuff situations; eat a whole day salad with garlic and walnuts. Drink a cup of horchata in the morning and immediately afterwards ten pumpkin seeds.
  3. Boil ½ teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon of gentian root, chamomile bitter ½ teaspoon and ½ cup of water for 10 minutes. turn off the heat and it stand for another 10 minutes. Take it for nine days for children in between 9 and 12 years. Double dose for adults and halve for baby’s.
  4. Boil a bunch of mint in a liter of water for a few minutes. Drink it on an empty stomach (2 tablespoons), 2 crushed garlic and 1/4 (small) glass of milk or water.
  5. Mix 2 tablespoons dried pumpkin seeds and ground, half a glass, with warm water and taken on an empty stomach.
  6. 1/4 cup coconut milk with 4 pumpkin seeds.
  7. 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons papaya seeds (mixed) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil which helps to eliminate parasites.
  8. Take 2 tablespoons of honey with water of a orange peel.
  9. 40 Pumpkin seeds for a jar of one Liter, a medium papaya with skin and seeds, liquefies all, the original recipe goes with milk but can be added with coconut milk instead or water. Strain all three ingredients. Take this juice 3 times a day. In the last one give 2 tablespoons olive oil
  10. Eat on a empty stomach a coin big peace of a papaya leave. The bitterness of the leaves helps to paralyses the parasites and expels them.

Source

Easy solution with Piperazin

For now, I go with Piperazin, which I found as pills, in a herbal shop. Piperazin is an organic compound. Their mode of action is generally by paralyzing parasites, which allows the host body to easily remove or expel the invading organism, likewise what Pumpkin seeds does. Piperazin exist since the 50ties but I never heard about it before and It worked well so far! After a package, 6 days, take an interval of 7 days and repeat then the treatment to be sure.