Monday, December 31, 2018

Ayapana - Eupatorium ayapana

I just completed the update on Ayapana, wrote the new text for the 2nd edition of my book, and uploaded it into the Tropical Plant Database. Ayapana was not in the first edition of my book but it will be included as a new rainforest plant in the 2nd edition of The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs.  

Ayapana has three different Latin names (Ayapana triplinervis, Eupatorium ayapana, and Eupatorium triplinerve) but all three names refer to the same plant.  This made it a bit more time-consuming searching for all the clinical studies and published research on the plant since all three botanical names have been used when publishing studies on ayapana.

I was happy to see more research published on ayapana  over the last few years that continues to validate it's traditional uses in herbal medicine systems as a good remedy for liver problems which it has been widely used for. Two of these studies were conducted on the active chemicals in ayapana that were documented with liver-protecting actions.   New antimicrobial studies published on ayapana continue to support it's long standing traditional uses for colds and flu as well as other infections. 

I was surprised to see a new study which reported that ayapana could whiten or lighten the skin by interfering with a cellular process that produces melanin in skin cells.  Melanin is the chemical that allows our skin to tan in the sun.  Fair-haired and fair-skinned people like me produce less melanin than others, resulting in sunburns.  I'll be watching for more reports on this possible action since this study was pretty preliminary and done in vitro (in the test tube) rather than actual animal or human studies.  Personally, I need all the melanin I can get!  Of other interest, ayapana has recently been documented to have  mild sedative, and good anti-anxiety and antidepressant actions in a study with mice. I’m not quite sure how you make a mouse depressed, but, this study did look interesting.  There are far too many people relying on prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs in America and I wish there were more natural alternatives.

Personally, I've often used ayapana as a natural remedy for colds and flu.  Unlike many strong medicinal plants that have a strong, and oftentimes, objectionable taste, an ayapana tea actually tastes good.  It's mildly spicy, fragrant, soothing, and it works quickly to quiet coughs.  When I formulated herbal remedies for Raintree Nutrition, I added ayapana to the Amazon Throat Ez formula for this reason. I also included this plant to the formula because of ayapana's documented actions against various bacteria, like Streptococcus, which causes Strep Throat.
I've also used ayapana over the years to help ease nausea and upset stomachs, which is helpful when you have one of those nasty stomach bugs that seems to always go around. I've also seen it help people undergoing chemotherapy to help with nausea side effects.   In normal/average dosages (about a teaspoon of crushed ayapana leaves to a cup of hot tea) it's really effective in calming queasy stomachs and relieving nausea, but in higher dosages it can have the opposite effect.  I used ayapana when I formulated Raintree's Amazon Stomach Ez formula for this reason.

Some of the latest published research on ayapana clearly validate it's traditional uses for ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and other bowel problems like IBS and Crohn's. Ayapana has shown in animal studies that it can prevent ulcers, heal ulcers, protect the stomach and bowel from known toxins and irritants,  reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. You can find references to these studies in the plant database now and read more about them in my book.  Based on these studies and the continued practitioner reports by ayurvedic practitioners in India and the U. S. I’ve received and/or researched, I might move ayapana to my  personal top five herbal remedies to treat IBS, Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.  I have a couple of friends and relatives I’ll try ayapana on to see if it helps their IBS first.

Lastly, research on ayapana's anti-tumorous actions still continue to be published.  As is typical with plant research, once scientists have identified the main plant chemical or two they think is responsible for the plant's anti-cancerous action, research on the plant stops, and research on the individual chemicals begins. Drug companies cannot patent a plant or plant extract and they can't turn them into drugs to sell. So it doesn’t matter if a plant extract may contain numerous anti-cancerous chemicals, immune-stimulate chemicals, and other beneficial chemicals that all work together synergistically to achieve the plant’s anti-cancerous actions.  Their goal is to find a single novel plant chemical with anti-cancerous actions and they synthesize or copy it in the laboratory.  They still can't patent that synthesized chemical since it's naturally found in nature.  So their next step is to change it slightly or enough to make it unique and patentable.  These are usually called analogs or derivatives of the naturally occurring plant chemical they discovered.

 So far, scientists have reported that ayapana's anti-tumorous action are attributed to two plant chemicals called herniarin (also referred to as 7-methoxycoumarin) and thymoquinone. Research on these two chemicals have been published recently testing them against various types of cancers and tumors.  At least one research group has already synthesized and created derivatives of thymoquinone and are publishing research on those newly created chemicals.  More information on these chemicals and their other properties and actions will be in my new book and references to these studies are now in the Tropical Plant Database.

I personally have never used or recommended ayapana for any type of cancer.  I need to investigate this further to determine if the natural plant or it’s extract contains enough of these chemicals to be therapeutic and effective against cancer or tumors based on the dosages being used and administered in the studies on the chemicals. Ayapana does have a long established traditional use for cancer and tumors, I just don’t have any personal experience with it to specifically recommend it.

And don’t forget, always check my book or plant database for more information on possible contraindications and drug interactions.  Ayapana does contain a plant chemical well known and documented to thin the blood.

You can see some videos about ayapana on YouTube (mostly by herbal healers in India where ayapana is a well known and popular remedy) by clicking here.

You can search google to find ayapana products by clicking here.
You can search for ayapana products by clicking here.

Herbal Medicine Versus The FDA

Warning. . .  The first (of probably many) political rants!

Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3,000 BC. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used.

The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600 - 700 plant based medicines are available (and manufactured only by pharmaceutical companies) and are prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. People throughout the world and in all cultures still use herbal medicine today, and they are using these herbal medicines to treat, prevent and cure diseases and conditions. That’s what “medicines” do.

There is an entire profession which studies these traditional uses of plants which is called ethnobotany. There are library shelves overflowing with their research documenting which people use what plants, what they use them for and how they are used. These researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same diseases and conditions... meaning there had to be a specific reason the same plant was used for the same thing continents away from each other. Pharmaceutical companies know that; a large number of educated and trained ethnobotanists are employed by pharmaceutical companies. These ethnobotanists look for plants that people use effectively for various diseases and conditions and turn them over to their in-house researchers in charge of new drug discovery. These guys are looking for novel and active plant chemicals in these medicinal plants which have biological activity that they can patent and turn into pharmaceutical drugs.

But if you’re an American, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to limit your access to this entire body of research and knowledge. The FDA has declared that there is no such thing as herbal medicine or medicinal plants; there are only foods and prescription drugs (they ARE the Food and Drug people so that’s the only definitions they ever created). Under the food category there are dietary and herbal supplements but the FDA has declared that this category of foods cannot treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. The FDA has narrowly defined that this classification of food can only nutritionally support (as a food) the structure or function of an organ or a system. The FDA mandates the only claim allowable for dietary supplements are called “Structure-Function Claims.” One might read one of these “allowable claims” somewhere... This substance/product/herb/vitamin nutritionally supports healthy cholesterol levels. (But if I already had normal cholesterol, why would I need to nutritionally support that?)

But, as soon as a dietary supplement actually CHANGES the function or structure of an organ or system (say, by lowering cholesterol) or actually treats a disease or condition like high cholesterol, or someone who sells the supplement claims (even truthfully) it can treat a disease or condition, in the eyes of the FDA, that supplement automatically and instantaneously transforms to a drug. Worse; the person or company selling it now becomes a criminal by selling a unlicensed and unapproved drug and faces civil and criminal charges, fines, and even incarceration.

Here’s a great example of how this is supposed to work. There is a long history of use by people on almost every continent that prunes are a great natural remedy to treat and cure mild to moderate constipation (a health condition). I’ll bet even those 3,000 BC Egyptians knew it too. But if a company selling dried prunes, prune juice, or capsules containing dried prune juice actually says that truthful statement in their marketing materials, on their food labels, on their website, or refers in any way to this long established traditional use of treating or curing a medical condition, that food product is instantly transformed into a drug in the eyes of the FDA. Now that company is selling an unlicensed drug and subject to criminal and civil prosecution. The product in the eyes of the FDA is “unsafe” since there are no double-blind placebo clinical trials proving the safety and efficacy of prunes being used to treat or cure constipation.

So now prunes are a drug because some company said there was a long history of use of using prunes for constipation. You should get a prescription from your doctor for prunes to treat your constipation. But wait, first someone (stupid) has to conduct millions of dollars of clinical drug trials to prove that prunes will treat your constipation (despite the fact a billion people already know that) before anyone can make that claim or a prune drug is approved and blessed by the FDA. Maybe we should have drug warning labels on prune juice that say people without constipation might get diarrhea if they consume too much? But prunes are already in nature and cannot be patented. Who is going to spend $10 million dollars or more in clinical trials to prove to the FDA what we already know if any and everyone can then sell prunes with the now FDA approved drug claim that it can be used to cure, treat and prevent a condition like constipation? You got it - no one will. I’m sure the FDA would much rather you go to the drug store and spend your money on a FDA-approved, pharmaceutical-company-manufactured, over-the-counter chemical drug like miralax or ex-lax and avoid those unapproved and unsafe prunes all together. After all, the FDA is watching out for you, making sure you don’t do anything stupid or hurt yourself with that unlicensed and unapproved prune juice drug. Don’t you feel relieved that they got your back? Is it only me who thinks that the FDA is protecting the profits of the drug manufacturers selling approved drugs for constipation by silencing the truthful statements of companies selling prune products? I hope not. But that’s been the FDA’s operating model for many years.

In 1994 Congress passed a law intending to keep this kind of factual and truthful knowledge about the value and benefits of dietary supplements available to all Americans. This law was passed by a huge grass-roots movement because, even back then, the FDA was harassing dietary and herbal supplement manufacturers and marketers. This law was called the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). But then Congress had to turn that law over to the FDA to implement and regulate. The FDA, under their regulatory powers, has published hundreds of regulations (and enforces others that they never even bothered to published) since that law was passed. Most of these regulations have eroded or even evaporated your access to that body of knowledge and research on natural remedies and herbal medicine.

Up until around 2005, someone selling dietary supplements was allowed to refer to the traditional uses of plants under certain conditions. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who regulates the advertising and marketing of dietary supplements, even wrote a guidance document to the industry concerning when and how these traditional uses could be used. Basically it had to be factual and not misleading. It needed to be clearly indicated that the traditional uses referred to may not be, or were not, scientifically validated. And, it should only be used if the product being sold was prepared in a similar manner as the traditional uses described.

But here was the rub... these traditional uses were usually always for the treatment or prevention of some health condition or disease. With few exceptions, medicinal plants were, and are, used as medicines... not to “nutritionally support an organ or system” as the FDA has mandated must be used  in marketing dietary supplements. So people were educated and the dietary supplement industry grew larger. The timing of DSHEA was also around the beginning of the internet and educating Americans became more efficient and less expensive. Americans learned about natural remedies thru these long standing traditional uses and used them for themselves and they worked! God forbid, they might have even bought fewer prescription drugs if the natural remedies worked for them. The drug industry and the FDA hated that. Some time after 2005 the FDA put a stop to anyone referring to these traditional uses. They didn’t write up a regulation as they were supposed to do. They didn’t inform the industry officially or ask for feedback and comments as they are required. The FDA simply added it to their enforcement protocols. Supplement companies were inspected or their website was reviewed and the company was notified that they were selling illegal drugs by making illegal drug claims. The new unofficial (and unpublished) enforcement was this: traditional uses were now drug claims if the traditional use referred to treating any disease or condition. This superceded the FTC’s guidance and approval of referring to traditional uses when legally marketing dietary supplements.

The FDA basically changed the entire “Education” part of DSHEA since herbal companies were no longer able to educate anyone about the truthful traditional uses of a medicinal plant or their products containing those plants. Prunes were never used to “nutritionally support the colon” or “nutritionally support digestive and elimination systems.” Making those types of FDA-allowable statements would be false and misleading and it couldn’t be supported in any of the published literature (isn’t it the FTC’s job to protect us from misleading marketing?). Prunes ARE a natural remedy to treat constipation. There are tons of references in the published literature to that effect. But the FDA now says, despite DSHEA and despite the FTC, they are going to criminalize all the true facts of medicinal plants or anything natural treating any disease or condition and encourage misleading advertising claims of some kind of non-existent “nutritional support” instead. And they did this without issuing a single regulation, or announcing it or justifying it to anyone.

The FDA has superceded the intent of the law Congress passed and has overstepped its bounds. Every year they publish new regulations that further erode your right to factual information about how natural remedies can positively affect your health and limit what natural product manufacturers can say about their products. The FDA has lost in Federal court numerous times over their suppression of factual information about dietary supplements and unfair and unconstitutional regulations and practices. Even after they lose in court, nothing changes, and they continue the same enforcement protocols with a business-as-usual mentality. The FDA doesn’t really answer to anyone... not the House, not the Senate, not even the President. Sure, the President appoints the head of the FDA, but doesn’t have any legal authority over how he or she runs the FDA thereafter.

Someone on the Hill needs to get the FDA back to the basic tenets about what DHSEA was all about and prevent them from changing the laws that were voted on in this Democracy that we supposedly still live in. That law originally said Americans have a right to factual and non-misleading information on the health benefits of supplements. Where is that right today? The FDA has defined and regulated that law to oblivion. Someone on the Hill needs to make the FDA follow the regulations the FDA is required to follow. If the FDA decided a new regulation was necessary to outlaw 95% of the traditional uses of medicinal plants by calling them drug claims and supercede another agency like the FTC, then put it in the Federal Register where all new federal regulations are required to be posted and justify why it is necessary. Then, as also required by law, give the industry and the American people who are affected by this new regulation time to provide their comments (and outrage) before the regulation is passed (and Congress or even the FTC has time to intervene or provide input). This is supposedly our due process. Why can the FDA totally ignore due process?

Maybe it’s time for another grass-roots movement like the one we did back in 1994 to pass DSHEA. It seems this one needs to be an enforcement action to enforce the laws of our country onto the FDA. One to bring them back into compliance with the law and remind them what the intent of the DSHEA law was all about. They should not have the right or the ability to operate outside the law as they do.

What Happened to Raintree Nutrition?

 (This was first published on the Raintree website on  12/30/2012)

First let me say that the FDA did not shut down Raintree Nutrition. It was my personal decision to close it down. From 1996 to 2012, Raintree Nutrition, Inc. sold the rainforest herbal supplements that are being discussed herein and shown at These products and proprietary formulas were developed by me over the 17 years I have been studying rainforest medicinal plants. I have been a leader in the industry in educating people about these powerful medicinal plants of the Amazon and in those endeavors I've written two books and authored the extensive Tropical Plant Database.

In the last 5 years the FDA has gotten progressively worse in prohibiting free speech and suppressing factual and non-misleading information about natural products and herbal supplements. Basically now, if you sell a supplement, you can't say anything about it, can't say what to take it for, how to use it, or refer to (or link to) any third party document or published research.

In 2012 the FDA demanded that the Tropical Plant Database be removed from the Raintree website. Despite the fact that the Tropical Plant Database had been online on the Raintree website for over 15 years and met all "written regulations" as a third party document, and it was completely factual and well researched and referenced, and was not false or misleading, they said it (suddenly) made medical claims for the products my company sold. I complied, and moved it to another website in May of this year and based upon their demands, didn't link to the database website in any form and fashion from the Raintree site. That still didn't please them. I was then told to remove all of the information on the product pages concerning contraindications, drug interactions, and other important information people using the products must have. That was THE turning point for me.

For example, on the graviola product page, it said that there were animal studies which indicated that it might lower blood pressure and you should be aware of that possible side effect... that people with low blood pressure should monitor that closely. I knew in the 12 years my company has sold this product, that this was a possiblity in some people. But the FDA said I couldn't say that and that I was making an inferred claim that people could use graviola for hypertension. Well, everyone knows we were NOT selling graviola to treat hypertension (we had a different formula for that!), but that didn't seem to matter.

These days, graviola is sold by lots of other companies (and NOT for hypertension!)... I've done a great job creating a market for it! And now, those companies aren't supposed to say that either and they certainly can't say that graviola is one of the leading natural products for cancer either. That's when I decided that the wealth of information, research, and years of practical use I have compiled (and that the FDA was trying to make go away) was much more important to stay out there in the universe than it was for me personally to make a profit selling herbal supplements. So I decided to let all those other companies sell the graviola supplements (and other rainforest herbal supplements) and I'll continue to be the source of all the important information you need to know about how it use it, what to use it for, and what possible side effects, contraindications and drug interactions you need to be aware of.

Many of the plants and products Raintree previously sold are now available from other companies. As I've said, I've done a great job encouraging competition over the years (so that more rainforest plants can be harvested and help with rainforest conservation efforts) You'll just need to do some hunting and research to find them. A good place to start is in the Sustainable Rainforest Product Page located at where you'll see the companies I've found that are already selling rainforest herbal formulas or bulk plants

I have also uploaded all the information you need to make my own proprietary formulas like N-Tense, Myco, SPIRO and all the others. Rather than to sell these formulas to another company to manfacture them, I decided to give them to the Universe so anyone and everyone could make them. I am hoping that it is not too long before several companies decide to launch these highly effective formulations under their own labels. And as always... competition will keep the prices fair. All of the instructions on how to make the formulas are now on the old product pages (WITH all the contraindications, side effects, etc again!) and can be accessed at

So Raintree Nutrition, Inc. officially closed it's doors on December 21, 2012. The phones are gone and the lights are off and it is no longer in business in any form or fashion. If you need assistance or want any further information about these plants or formulas, please use these discussion forums. There is no longer any customer service personnel or customer support since the company has closed. I'll be monitoring these forums as time permits. I'm still working hard on the plant database and other pages of the website to finally be able to say all the things I never could say for all these years. Visit the site often... I'm uploading new stuff every day! The Tropical Plant Database is back where it used to be at

Happy New Year,

Leslie Taylor

Welcome to Leslie Taylor's New Blog


My name is Leslie Taylor and I am the founder of Raintree Nutrition, Inc., a company that was a leader in creating a world-wide market for the important medicinal plants of the Amazon Rainforest since 1995. More information about me can be found on the Raintree website and in the introduction to my book.

I have authored two books on rainforest medicinal plants: Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest and The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs. I am also the author of the extensive Tropical Plant Database that has been online since 1996.

I am currently writing a new series of rainforest medicinal plant guides to help educate people how to use these amazing rainforest medicinal plants effectively to benefit their health.  More information on the new series of books is located here.

Welcome to Leslie Taylor's New Blog

Hello! My name is Leslie Taylor and I am the founder of Raintree Nutrition, Inc ., a company that was a leader in creating a world-wid...