Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 7

The word ‘paradise’ means different things to different people. To me, it means a place where people live beautifully and in peace. Where they can feel positive about themselves and the environment. A place where they have the ability to do what is best for mankind; without worries about religions, money, time tables, ego and selfishness. A natural environment for all that is good.

In this respect, I worry about the state of mankind. This concern gives me the ammunition to do what we do at Paul Penders Company.

Father Joseph and Paul

This last week I have experienced paradise, as it should be. I had the enormous privilege of meeting and talking with Father Joseph Chittoor, a true visionary and humanitarian, and wondered why he never got the Nobel Peace Prize.

I was thinking about my 2 aunts who were devoted nuns in Holland and both artists as well. They were offering me their convent to do “animal tests” on them for 6 months in hopes of convincing the Dutch Government that animal testing was cruel and inhumane. 60 truly devoted nuns were waiting for me each day for the cause in hopes of ending animal suffering in Holland. And finally they won, as Holland was the first country to legalize no-animal tests for cosmetics.

With that in mind I hope that Father Joseph Chittoor will be seeing more results from what he started 20 years ago. His vision to empower women who had nothing, the daughters of the woods, in a rural area in India, giving them the tools to take care of themselves and their families. Now 375 of them own Vanamoolika and when I was there their songs of prayer had quite an emotional impact on me. I have made the commitment to support the work of Father Joseph Chittoor.

Dr. Deepa Chirakkal

I was a guest of his creation and I cannot remember anything over the last years that have gripped me as Vanamoolika and “the daughters of the woods ” has. This charitable organization that they proudly own and that is supported by Indocert certifying their lands as organic and all of their products as a result. The Ayurvedic plant medicines are now accepted and they own their own GMP manufacturing unit.

They looked at me as a foreigner from another part of the world that could help in their growth, to help more daughters of the woods in more parts of India.

One of these daughters became a licensed and professional Ayurvedic doctor and heals though their own produced plant medicines, yoga, and meditation and Ayurvedic treatments.

Paul Penders Company has made a commitment to them. It will be for many years to come and it will involve lots of devotion, sharing of knowledge and happiness for all involved. Together with Joji we have formed a Paul Penders India company that will guide, assist and train the daughters of the woods in being more effective in their work. We will send over our own R&D people and we will assist in exporting their beautiful organic Ayurvedic products to many countries, including China, Europe, USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia and more.

We will set up a travel agency EcoBio Wellness Tourism Club where people from all over the world will be able to go to Vanamoolika – stay there for a week, get medical Ayurvedic consultations and ancient treatments such as yoga, meditations, and Ayurvedic massage.

Ayurvedic Massage Center

Visitors will be fed some of the most delicious vegetarian (and some non vegetarian) foods coming from Vanamoolika’s own gardens. They will stay on 15 acres of land with rolling hills, and a true jungle of medicinal plants and trees. They will stay in cottages made from the wood of 3o different medicinal trees. Even the beds are made from 30 different medicinal trees! I can guarantee you, when you wake up in the morning you will feel refreshed and wonderfully energized.

Joji, as part of Paul Penders India, will help to further develop the training programs for the daughters of the woods, strengthening their work with certified organic cultivation of herbs, plants, fruits and trees producing them into Ayurvedic medicines. The one and only Ayurvedic system given by the Acharya that originated 5,000 years ago. Increasing their GMP factory will bring more financial means, helping expand the vision and work of Father Joseph and all 375 daughters.

The Paul Penders Company has donated their first automatic filling machine for filling cosmetics that are proudly produced in Malaysia. Cosmetics that will now contain 22 certified organic herbs lovingly cultivated and harvested by the daughters of the woods. All of these herbs certified organic by Indocert, the government certifying body associated with NOP (National Organic Production, USA) . Paul Penders Company is donating a website for them as well.

Thank you Vanamoolika, the future will be good and the vision of Father Joseph Chittoor will be executed!

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika

Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 6
Inspirational Visit to Indocert;
Indian Organic Certifying Agency

Paul visiting Indocert

The long journey back from Vanamoolika to Kochi was a 10 hour-fight. The road consisted of endless hairpin turns, filled with huge lorries, as it threaded through the massive mountains. If you consider the acrobatic movements of typical Indian roads, it was an exciting accomplishment to arrive in Kochi, the beautiful city of Kerala State.

In Kochi, a meeting had been organized with officials of Indocert, the Indian organic certification body. Indocert is associated with NOP (National Organic Production, USA) certification with the acceptance of conformity assessment for accreditation of certification bodies by USDA.

Meeting at Indocert

We had a meeting with Mr. Sreekumar, Deputy Director of Indocert and Mr. Praveen Kumar, the

Program Manager. Vanamoolika has strong connections with organic certifying bodies while the President of Vanamoolika himself is director of various organic farmer associations. All cultivation methods and products of Ayurvedic Vanamoolika are certified organic.

Readers of this blog are aware of several objections Paul Penders Company has against the practices of some of the certifying organic bodies. Now I had the opportunity to formerly share them at the right place. These include the high costs involved and yearly fees. We also object that Ecocert and others allow certain chemicals to be certified, even PARABENS are allowed. We strongly disagree with this.

The Paul Penders Company is at the brink of a strong cooperation with Vanamoolika, including promoting their beautiful Ayurvedic products in and outside India as well. Paul Penders Company will have its R&D and Regulatory people traveling to India soon to discuss how we can clear up the misconceptions and resolve our objections. The goal is to obtain certification of Paul Penders products. We deserve that certification as we use the best certified organic ingredients already.

Today was a good closure to an exciting trip and tomorrow we will make a summary including the exciting news ahead in supporting Vanamoolika, obtaining their wonderful herbs, and supporting “the daughters of the woods.”

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika

Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 5
Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic Massage Center

Every day in this Indian paradise called Vanamoolika (medicinal herbs) I am called at 7AM for a typical Ayurvedic massage to start out my day with positive feelings and fresh energy.

This massage is a true experience by itself and no comparison to Swedish, Thai, or whatever massages, because an Ayurvedic massage it is also an Arurvedic message! It is a physical as well as a mental and emotional experience.

From my hut that is entirely built from the wood with 20 medicinal plants I walk through a variety of trees and bushes all cultivated for Ayurvedic medicines. It is a short walk to the place where every day my masseur waits my arrival.

Paul Penders Getting the Ayurvedic Treatment

There is some drizzle and rainclouds seemingly every morning and combined with the mountains, it is an astonishing view. The Vanamoolika medicinal farm is located 5,000 feet above sea level and the air is very clean. There are no sounds other than a few chattering birds watching me and probably talking about me as well!

The massage place is also a small wooden hut and the masseur greets me with a pleasant smile which it seems Indian people were given by God. When you look at them all seems right in their world. Peace and order. Well at least this is the case for my daily morning massages.

I need to fully undress and am given a piece of cotton with two cords. I am then asked to sit before the massage table, which is carved entirely from one piece of tree. It is beautiful but quite heavy! Before lying down the masseur puts warm herbal oil on my head and prays.

Afterwards I lie on the table and ritualistic moves begun. What makes this massage technique so different from other techniques is that they make long sweeping movements from the top of the hands to the bottom of the feet about 20 times which is very rapidly executed on each side of the body. Truly exhausting for the masseur, as he is almost out of breath, but then continues with my hands only. The same massage strokes are done with me lying face down , so both sides of the body get to feel the energy.

I tell you, the feeling of the warm oil is quite a pleasant experience!

Oil on the Head

The last part of the massage (which takes up to one and a half hours) is the head and many movements are being done from very barely-touching-gentle to much more firm techniques. Then it is time for the shower. You have to be very careful because of the oil dripping from the body. Trying to simply stand while taking a shower can be hazardous!

I had this same treatment for 3 days but on the 4th day the unique ancient head treatment starts and this is a true experience by itself.

The entire body is totally wrapped in cotton and then the eyes are covered with cotton balls. Cotton is then placed on the head from the chin to the eyebrows, leaving only the upper forehead exposed. This special body wrapping is done to protect the body from reacting to abrupt temperature changes because the plant oils applied to the head are warm. When temperature is not regulated, unexpected responses may occur.

Over the head hangs a clay pot filled with warm oil and a string of cotton hangs below. This is when the actual treatment begins. The cotton string will be cut and oil flows or drips onto the forehead creating a sensational feeling. But that isn’t the sole purpose.

The flow of Bala Thailam (medicated oil) is made from cedar herbs that smell like a mix of Northern California coastal trees and calendula oil from the German forest, that I use to buy. It is controlled and is being poured or dripped in different ways and at different times. This is called the wellness treatment to improve the blood circulation and blood cells in the brain.

Handcarved Ayurvedic Table

There are also different disease related medicinal treatments using different oils and different movements in the Ayurveda. This pouring and dripping of oil takes about 30 minutes and each time the clay pot is being refilled with the same oil.

The sensations and feelings experienced are emotional as well as physical. When you are entirely packed in cotton with only partial head exposure, an emotional sensation is indeed experienced.

Ayurvedic treatments are a daily routine here for me and start my day with renewed energy as I attempt to take in as much as possible in this truly unique experience. Being on this special land makes one forget the days and become only interested in learning more and more about the people and their sharing of simple but true wisdom in order to better the world.

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika

Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 4
A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor

Dr. Deepa Chirakkal

This a great story, one of the 375 (who I called) power women is an ayurvedic doctor. I met her at the premises of Vanamoolika and was so impressed by her fresh looks and thoughts. Here is a woman who owns a farm (no less than 14 acres) who uses compost of worms cultivating organically grown bananas, pepper, nuts and medicinal plants…. she has a guesthouse for people to stay, and oh yes!! besides all that she also has a lovely family with two children, and…how do I forget this to mention, also a busy medical practice.

I asked her how? Why?

Basically she always wanted to become an allopathic doctor and when her father had heart problems, she accidentally met up with the cardiologist who supported natural medicines, including ayurveda. Ultimately, her father escaped surgery. Obviously this had a huge effect on his daughter and after she talked with the cardiologist this changed her life and she decided to become an ayurvedic doctor.

She said ayurvedic medicine has immense qualities and her eyes became emotional and full of temperament. You can see she is a true believer in what she sees on a daily base by helping people for a fraction of the costs of allopathic medicines. Most of all she sees better results as well. People get their original radiance back is what she said. Dr. Deepa Chirakkal now treats her patients mainly with Yoga, Acupressure, Fasting, Meditation techniques, Healing of the Mind, Purification, and Education. Of course Medicinal plants come partly from her own certified organic farm, then process at the Vanamoolika plant.

She employs 7 farmers…. of course, only ladies! including widows who she can pay well and she feels it is wonderful for the community as a whole. Her future plans are to further expand the certified farming, as well as build more guesthouses for homestay for people from other countries to be educated and promote organic farming. She also wants to be more involved with ayurvedic children medicines.

To me she is the type of woman, with spirit, energy and wisdom. I look forward to meeting her soon again at the time when we start processing the certified organic herbs from this special part of the world.

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika

Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 3
The President of Vanamoolika

Mr. J.P. Chackosan

Today I interviewed Mr. P.J. Chackosan, President of Vanamoolika (which means medicinal plants). He is also the Director of the Indian Organic Farmers Producer Company, the Executive Secretary of The Organic Farmer’s Fair Trade Network, as well as the Director of The Organic Foundation (FOARD).

The effects cycle of ayurvedic herbs and flowers

Talk about experience in the matter of certified organic ingredients! It seems this man, who has hand-on experience, has successfully led the Vanamoolika organization in promoting the use of the ancient Ayurveda through a network of certified organic growers. An organization consisting of only women!

In another story we will meet these women. Most of the women are from small farming families or tribal women, “The daughters of the woods” as they call themselves. They started with nothing and are now making a living that enables them to have their children educated in rural areas of the country where poverty is widespread.

Having been with Mr. Chackosan for several days, I have gained a lot of respect for him. I also wanted to know more about him, besides his work implementing the vision of Father Joseph Chittoor; the priest who started the fascinating organization of Vanamoolika following his personal belief that women are especially powerful when given the tools to develop themselves as well as their families and communities.

Preparation of Ayurvedic Medicine

Prior to meeting Father Joseph Chittoor, Mr. Chackosan was a pharmacist with a Bachelor of Science and totally involved with allopathic medicines. That all changed almost overnight when he “converted” from allopathic medicines to natural medicines after discussions with Father Joseph Chittoor.

He was then convinced of the ability to help poor people better their lives as well as enjoy good health at affordable prices. In the area of Kerela, before Vanamoolika was founded, there were no natural concepts developed and treatment charges for allopathic were not affordable to the poor. Father Chittoor led the way and introduced Ayurveda from the ground off, which means: “producing the ancient ayurvedic medicines according to ancient formulations.”

However, Ayurveda like many things in this modern life is being misused because of overstated marketing and selling claims. Ayurveda has become expensive in many parts of India as well as all over the world. Many are using it for their own financial benefits and charging exorbitant sums of money for treatments and preparations that are combined incorrectly and they do not produce the results that should be.

Ayurveda has become very popular but following this particular avenue was never the vision of Father Chittoor.

His philosophy goes back to the roots of Ayurveda, and to making home remedies according to strictly Ayurveda rules as a superior healing system based on science. A healing system affordable for everyone.

ACHARAYA teaching the ancient ayurvedic scripture

What about the future of Vanamoolika in these regards? Mr. Chackosan tells me he wants to rejuvenate the system of Ayurveda as much as possible. Rectifying the system of the Ayurvedia Pharmacopia, in accordance to the ancient book written 5,000 years ago. This includes the original diagnosing techniques, healing methods and product formulations according to the ancient vision of the MAHARSHIS; the saints who were religious teachers. They were talented groups of gurus – ARYUVEDA ACHARYA – who did their writings over different centuries. Their ‘thoughts’ became ayurvedic medications over the centuries as the patients came to them. The ACHARAY prayed to God and medications were then given. According to Mr. Chackochan, this is how it all started. In those ancient times there was no writing. That came later.

Generation after generation, writings that came later developed into the Ayurveda Pharmacopedia, and it is still being worked on today.

Vanamoolika wants to do just that – treat people according to the original ayurvedic ways without the modern marketing hocus-pocus. To bring ayurvedic medicine to everyone because ayuvedic’s cost is in fact low compared to the allopathic medicine. The vision of father Joseph Chittoor and Vanamoolika is the vehicle to make it work. People who become farmers of the ingredients of ayurvedic medicines and all of the farmers that deliver some 700 herbs and plants and trees are all certified organic by Indocert.

Mr. J.P. Chackosan

My question to Mr. Chackosan is why is he working with women to get this all off the ground? According to him, women are genuinely more interested in family matters and are more dedicated to the family liberalization, which in India still is an issue in rural areas. Ayurvedic medicine, when applied to the ancient way can never be abused because of this system itself. Women are generally better organizers, better healers, talk more direct about family issues and act accordingly and thus achieve greater results.

As western women, you may ask – what is in this for me and my natural skincare regimen? We at Paul Penders are using LevensESSENTIE 22 certified organic herbs with purpose. A purpose similar to the ayurvedic principle.

We at Paul Penders are very proud to announce that we will be buying the same herbs now from the Vanamoolika organization which protects and conserves medicinal plants in “God’s Own Country” (which is the State of Kerela in India) .The same herbs cultivated by these small certified organic farmers where chemical fertilizers and pesticides are strictly not allowed to be used. Paul Penders feels proud to buy these herbs from an organization conducted by women. Women who are paid fair prices, as well as share in the proceeds of sales and profits of the organization.

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika