Cloud Forest Botanicals was born in 2008 on Jaramillo Mountain, near the town of Boquete, Chiriqui province, Republic of Panama. Within the rolling borders of CFB, there are multiple unique micro ecosystems, each with the ability to sustain different plant forms.
Today, within the eight acre farm you may walk through a mountain hardwood forest of towering trees dripping with wild orchids, purple and red epiphytes with an under-story of wild gingers and exotic heliconias. Then stroll through a meadow planted with rows and rows of Arabica coffee trees and pick a bunch of bananas. Stop and eat an orange or a guava fruit. Sit by a reflecting pond in a natural wetlands where springs encourage wildlife to water, frogs to spawn, and papyrus, elephant ears, lilies and God knows what else to grow with abandon.
From the start, a common theme emerged as we wanderedthrough gardens and woods. Lifelong mountain residents would identify various trees, leaves, shrubs and plants and gave us the local names. They would say, “This leaf is medicine; use the bark of this tree for medicine; the root of this plant is medicine; this herb flower is medicine.” We began our research, building on the knowledge we already had from our previous lives in the Appalachian mountains of NC and the Australian bush country. Fascinated, we looked for more “medicine plants” and found them.
Another teacher appeared. A tall, strange man—half gringo, half Panamanian—who had spent the last 30 odd years tromping through the jungles, studying with curanderos (local medicine doctors), and formulating tincture recipes for the use of the plants he studied to help people heal, without depending on modern pharmaceuticals. Frank Gruber, or Franklin as we took to calling him, decided we were serious inquirers and he began to share his knowledge with us. He helped us identify plants, gave us a few herbal remedy recipes, steered us in certain directions, and hinted at mysteries we were too “young” in the field of herbalism to know.
He also introduced us to Doña Maria, a 101-year-old (documented) curandera who, at a mere four and one- half feet tall, walked us through her five acre garden, pinched off leaves, pulled up shoots and roots for us to take home to grow, and gave sometimes explicit and sometimes mysteriously veiled instructions for their use. We were blessed to visit with her twice and to gain both her trust and friendship.
With the enthusiasm of those who don’t really know what they are getting into, we began to experiment. From our pasts we recalled hearing: “Use mint for an upset tummy” or “Make a tea from rosemary to clear your head” or “Pour boiling water over eucalyptus to clear the sinuses.” Many of the plants are wild and wonderful with limited and specific applications. Some are very exotic and only grow here, in the Cloud Forest, and they are potent and mysterious natural medicine.
We tested everything on ourselves. We drank nasty teas and delicious teas. We made tinctures, infusions, and decoctions. We dug roots, chopped leaves, took photos, researched, asked questions, and learned. The big lesson: we did not get sick or die. In fact, we got better and our potions and tinctures got better. Then, we tested everything on our friends with the same result–no one got sick, no one died. In fact, many left their ailments behind them. They got better. Then they began telling their friends.
As the word of our medicinal herbs spread, the locals wanted ever more of our remedies so we began doing limited production of herbal remedies and tinctures. People began to pay us for the remedies and natural skin creams we formulated. And, as people got better and continued to get better, the word continued to spread. Our business just grew like Topsy.
Today, Cloud Forest Botanicals’ herbal remedies are available in several locations in Panama or purchased directly at the local feria on Tuesday mornings. Our commitment is to make the purest, most natural and most effective natural herbal products possible at the most reasonable cost possible. Each product is researched, tested and is based on both centuries of herbal knowledge and the most currently available pharmaceutical research. Each product and tincture is hand-crafted in small batches from plants that are grown organically or wild-crafted from the Cloud Forest jungle. We use no artificial preservatives, thickeners, stabilizers, perfumes in our natural herbal products…EVER.
If you do venture to Boquete, we would love to bid you a hearty bienvenido, offer you a cup of our world famous Mariposa Azul organic coffee, and give you a tour of the farm to see these marvelous plants growing everywhere. Meanwhile …
…we are pleased to have associated with GoldenGeezers.com to provide these truly wonderful products to the aging gentlemen, their wives, family, and friends. You don’t have to attend our local Tuesday market to do so but may order them directly from GoldenGeezers.com at farm-direct prices. Click on the link today and lose your aches and pains tomorrow. Do it NOW.