I'm Going to Africa

I’m here at Terminal D of the Miami International Airport, waiting to get on my flight that will take me back to Africa.

People are hustling past me as I sit in a long row of padded blue vinyl seats and write to you. Everyone around me is chatting away on their phone… but I just noticed as I listen that I can’t understand most of the conversations. Almost none of them are in English.

I guess it’s because almost everyone flying out of these gates is traveling overseas, back to their home country.

It definitely gives me a sense of how far away I’m going. Not that I would ever complain…

I have the greatest job in the world. I feel privileged that I get to travel around to different countries to explore ancient systems of healing and discover traditional healing herbs.

I’ve gone to Tanzania, Peru, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Columbia, India, Ecuador, Brazil and Bali to bring back remedies and cures you can’t find anywhere else.

But the most incredible part of every trip I’ve taken has been the people. They’ve been so caring and kind to me. Especially tribesmen from the most remote parts of the world who haven’t seen very many Westerners.

I’m very lucky to be going back to Africa.

This trip I’m going to Uganda, then Rwanda, Kenya, and finally South Africa.

My son is coming with me for the first two weeks of the trip. And my sister is coming for a few days, and then she’ll bring my son back to the States so he can go back to school.

We’re hooking everything up so that I can be connected to you while I’m there. I have a phone that can take photos and videos, but I’ll be bringing something a little nicer with me to get some really good footage and photos of my trip.

One of the things I’d like to be able to photograph is the Maasai people, who I’m visiting again. They’re an amazing people. They’re so incredibly healthy.

I’ve also set up meetings with local healers and herbalists, along with some hiking and safari side trips. I’ll be climbing Mt. Elgon, the highest point in Uganda. You can see four countries from up there. It’s not quite as tall as Mt. Kilimanjaro, which I climbed the last time I was in Africa, but you can see it from Mt. Elgon.

I especially want to go on a gorilla safari – so I can see them in the wild while you still can.

I’m going to Bwindi National Park in Uganda. It’s one of the last two remaining places where there are wild mountain gorillas. The other is Rwanda, and I’m going there, too.

Uganda is unique in that it has both chimpanzees and gorillas in the wild. It’s one of the last few places where chimps live in the wild.

But I also want to get to know the people there. That way I can fulfill what I’ve always felt is my purpose. I want to go to those places where many natural cures and forgotten healing practices originated. I want to see them firsthand being used by the people they originated with so I can bring a fresh, personal perspective on natural health back to you.

That’s what I experienced when I traveled to India. I went to learn about Ayurveda, the oldest system of healing in the world.

But my trip took me to the isolated country backwaters of the state of Kerala, at the southern tip of India. There, I found and visited the very first Ayurmana or “ancient healing house” and met the Ayurvedic masters while they practiced.

But I’d heard about a tribe called the Kani that live deep in the forests underneath the Agastya Malai Mountain near the birthplace of Ayurveda. They were the original inhabitants of the area for thousands of years. I wanted to visit them because they use herbs unknown even to Ayurvedic medicine.

When scientists first went into the area looking for herbs and plants, they often took Kani tribesmen along as guides on their difficult treks. The scientists noticed the Kani eating a kind of fruit that kept them energetic and agile.

When the Kani offered the exhausted scientists the fruit, they felt an immediate increase in energy and strength. But the Kani were reluctant to tell the outsiders anything about it. They said it was a sacred tribal secret.

Their secret turned out to be a completely unknown herb called arogyapacha. I ate the berries myself and found the effect I got was a kind of renewed stamina and concentration.

When researchers studied the herb, they found that the animals they gave it to could swim faster and farther and just didn’t get tired.1

Arogyapacha is loaded with NADH, a co-enzyme that helps you produce energy. And other studies have found that the herb is an antioxidant, and can also protect DNA from damage.2

The Indian government is now working with the Kani tribespeople to produce agoryapacha in a sustainable way. You can get it as part of an herbal formula they call Jeevani, which is available at local health-food stores. You can also buy it online at websites like sanjeevaniherbals.com and cochinayurvedic.com.

It’s the only plant of its kind in the entire world. In fact, the Kani showed me some of the more than 25 new plants that no one had ever seen or heard of before Westerners came.

And this is something I always want to do. Go places and find out for you firsthand about the things I read about and study.

I want to see for myself how the native cultures live. With that as a goal, and having been to other places where native cultures live, I think my background in medicine and science will help me integrate some of what I see. In this way, I hope I can help you in some small way, and perhaps bring you things that you otherwise might not hear about.

1. Tharakan B, Dhanasekaran M, Brown-Borg HM, Manyam BV. “Trichopus zeylanicus combats fatigue without amphetamine-mimetic activity.” Phytother Res. 2006 Mar;20(3):165-8.
2. Tharakan B, Dhanasekaran M, Manyam BV. “Antioxidant and DNA protecting properties of anti-fatigue herb Trichopus zeylanicus.” Phytother Res. 2005 Aug;19(8):669-73.