Mantras, Herbs, & Ashrams
An Evolution of Environmental Awareness
By Chitra Gunderson



Growing up in Southern California during the 60’s was a mind-expanding experience that shaped my life in ways I never expected. Rejecting the corporate path my parents followed, chanting mantras to evoke spirituality, and indulging in the psychedelic revolution . . . All in all the 60’s ‘experience’ led me on a spiritual path seeking a higher meaning, renouncing material life and connecting to the earth.

As an adventurous free-spirited person, I traveled the world living in ashrams in India, communes in Australia, and villages in Fiji Islands, opening my eyes and consciousness, and broadening my view of the world beyond the confining borders of typical American life.

Although the trend toward natural, healthy living was a positive step, the awakening of consciousness that went on for me in the 60’s generally did not include emphasis on protecting the environment around us.

Most of us still did not have a clue that robbing the earth’s mineral, water, and plant resources and contributing to air and water pollution would cause atmospheric gases, creating ozone depletion, climatic shifts, and increase natural disasters and serious health problems.

In fact, the gradual evolving of environmental awareness took over twenty years before becoming a semi-mainstream concern, creating an environmental generation gap between babyboomer parents, and our environmentally-educated children.

So, although living in spiritually-centered communes aided my own personal growth and awareness of nature — I found myself in the late 90’s dropping back in to mainstream society, seeking a more environmentally-outreaching purpose. I wanted something that combined my love of herbs (legal herbs), and nature, that satisfied my intrigue with the rainforest, and indigenous cultures of undeveloped countries — I wanted something that connected it all.

Then, while attending a seminar in Florida, I overheard a wo-man talking to a group of people about some type of wild herbs she was selling. A few keys words — wild plants, rainforest, Indigenous communities — quickly caught my attention. I listened closer, pretending not to be overly interested — after all, I didn’t want to be ‘sold’ on anything.

I listened closely as she explained, “These herbs are different from what we can get at the healthfood stores — they are growing wild in the Amazon Rainforest in the most fertile soil on earth and are sustainably harvested by Indigenous communities who have used them to improve health for thousand of years.”

She continued, “I work with the Amazon Herb Company who partners with fourteen villages in Peru and Brazil. The local shamans harvest the plants, giving their communities a sustainable way to support themselves using their rainforest lands.

“The company also uses 10% of their net profits to give back to the communities and toward rainforest preservation. It is a win-win-win…we get these amazing wild herbs, the Indigenous communities have a sustainable way to support themselves, and the rainforest is being protected.”

I had never heard of anything like this before. I started tuning in, hanging on every word she was saying, hoping to hear more about the company, the herbs and how I could get involved.

Suddenly I realized that my pretend aloofness hadn’t worked — I had been ‘sold’ on what sounded like the perfect match that would connect all of my interests — herbs, nature and Indigenous cultures. Giving way to my curiosity, I blurted out, “What company is it? Where do I get the herbs?”  

What I didn’t expect was that although she very willingly told me about the Amazon Herb Company, she seemed reluctant to place an order of herbs for me or tell me anything about how I could get involved with the business. I couldn’t figure her out . . . Was she testing my sincerity or trying to increase my desire?

My determination ensued, stalking her every minute I had free from the seminar. By the end of the day I was totally frustrated with my attempts, it was pouring rain and I needed a ride back to my friend’s house where I was staying. “Do you need a ride?” A voice from behind called.

It was her, offering me a ride . . . I quickly accepted. Finally, I had my chance, she was cornered in the car with rain pounding on the windows — arriving at my destination, I would not get out of the car until she told me all about the business opportunity, how to get involved and placed my order for the rainforest herbs.

Four years later, I’m still feeling fabulously healthy using the rainforest herb formulas, helping others get started in an eco-business that creates residual income, and I am doing my part to help save the planet — loving every minute of it. The most satisfaction comes from knowing that every bottle sold is helping save rainforest lands, the source of more than 80% of Earth’s oxygen.

One way the Amazon Herb Company pro-actively works to preserve the rainforest is by hiring attorneys and engineers to properly survey and deed rainforest lands to the village communities, giving communities the power to keep unscrupulous loggers from destroying the rainforest’s plant resources.

Being involved in pro-active efforts with the Amazon Herb Company to protect the rainforest, and preserving the healing power of wild plants growing in virgin soil, has provided me a fulfilling ecological business supporting Indigenous cultures, and offering a model of prosperity and health alternative to the world.

However, the environmental generation gap continues as baby-boomers are still reminded by our more environmentally-aware children to recycle everything, conserve energy, and preserve forest lands — after all, the condition in which we leave the earth will have an effect on their future health and pollution problems.

For more information about how you may take part in preserving our most valuable medicinal plant resource, the Amazon Rainforest, contact Chitra (888) 310-2570 or you may e-mail her:  

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