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Vilcabamba: An Amazing Amazonian Story about Lessons in Longevity


In the Western Hemisphere a place exists where degenerative diseases seldom, if ever affects the population.
The people have no heart disease, no cancer, no diabetes, no stroke, no cirrhosis, no senility, no arteriosclerosis, nor any other morbid conditions connected with an interruption in blood flow that are commonly responsible for illness, disability, and death among industrialized people.

Since they don't die of degenerative diseases, the inhabitants of this place are able to live the longest of mankind's years - more than a century. Here you will learn about these centenarians, their daily routine of living, and how they conduct themselves so as to be the longest lived people in the Western Hemisphere.

In November 1981, my wife and I visited the Sacred Valley of Vilcabamba in the province of Loja, South America, where the centenarians live.

Although it is quite close to the equator, the climate is temperate, with a year round daytime temperature ranging from 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The Sacred Valley's lowest point is at 1,300 meters above sea level (4,225 feet). The valley had been isolated from industrialization's infringement until a road was built through the mountains in 1973.

Vilcabamba is an idyllic land of lush, subtropical agriculture where nearly every imaginable grain, fruit, and vegetable grows wild for the picking. The people could not possibly go hungry since they need only to reach out and take from nature's bounty. It is a veritable paradise on Earth, and by legend, proposed to be the original Garden of Eden.
Over the years the Sacred Valley has been variously called: "The Isle of Immunity for Heart Disease, The Land of Eternal Youth, The Valley of Peace and Tranquility, and The Lost Paradise."

It has been given these labels because of the valley's solitude, serenity, clean air, dazzling sun, nearly constant blue sky, pure mineral drinking water, medicinal herbs, green fields, towering mountains, friendly people, lack of illness, and a kind of ubiquitous beauty that penetrates to one's soul and provides a sense of well-being.

The name of the valley comes from the Quechua language of Inca derivation. It  is composed of two words, Huilco meaning "sacred" or "God," and Bamba meaning "valley"; hence, "valley of God" or "Sacred Valley."

In addition to visiting Vilcabamba and interviewing its centenarians, my wife and I uncovered a series of documents and records in the offices of the Provincial Council of Loja, the Lieutenant General's office in - Vilcabamba, the Church of Vilcabamba, and in the personal files of private citizens residing in the village. The report presented here is accurate; it has evolved from my observations as a full-time medical journalist. Funerals are few in the Sacred Valley. Its death rate is 17 percent less than in other rural areas of South America, and almost 50 percent less than that of the country's cities.

In fact, urban South Americans have a death rate equivalent to that of people in the U.S. where 54.7 percent of everyone who dies each year dies of heart disease.

The lifestyle of city residents in South Americans is far unhealthier than that of South Americans living in the mountains. Compared to longevity in the United States where only one in approximately 7,000 people live to the age of 100, in Vilcabamba about one in 64 live that long.

My wife and I took hair samples from 50 Vilcabambans - 10 children and 40 elderly. There were seven centenarians in this group, and Ecuadorian government officials told us that at least seven more live in the impenetrable jungle, back country, where they could not easily be reached.

Among the 812 residents of the Sacred Valley and some 3,500 more mountain people in the surrounding rural areas, there were many in their 70's, 80's, and 90's as well. One third of this mountain population were in the upper age brackets. We had gone to South America on a medical journalism research trip to do sampling of water, food, and the hair of Los Viejos (the old ones).

Upon returning to the United States, our laboratory analysis of the samples, conducted for over a year by MineraLab, Inc. revealed that the nutrient concentration contents of the centenarians' bodies and their mineral drinking water exactly match. Furthermore, MineraLab sent another medical investigator to bring back soil samples and found these match the mineral content of the elderly Vilcabambans as well.

Health practices of Los Viejos, which enable them to live the full extent of humankind's genetic code, may be modified and adapted for increasing the life expectancy of Western industrialized people.
Whereas Americans usually die at an average age of 76, it is possible to extend one's life to 120 years. You and I can learn much from studying the habits and lifestyle of Vilcabamba's centenarians so that we, too, may have such happy longevity.

The secrets of their long lives involve what they eat; the Balanced Minerals in Vilcabamba Drinking Water, the amount of exercise in their daily activity, sexual intimacy well into advanced age, pollution-free environment, and a peace of mind that permeates their outlook on most situations.

In evaluating the reasons for longevity among the inhabitants of the Sacred Valley, I consulted with Celso F. Benitez Suarez, former Lieutenant General (mayor) in Vilcabamba. Sr. Benitez gave me his impressions from a manuscript, entitled "Vilcabamba, World Center of Longevity."

It tipped me off as to history, customs, medicinal plants, diet, and documents proving the longevity of the inhabitants of Vilcabamba.

The former mayor also took my wife and me to visit the centenarians in their mountain huts and the village apartments. He conducted interviews with Los Viejos so that my Spanish interpreters could translate pertinent health facts for use in this booklet.

Sr. Benitez introduced us to the oldest known living man in the Western Hemisphere, Don Jose Maria Roa Valarezo, who was 131 years old as shown on his birth certificate.

Jose Maria Roa is a mestizo, which means he has mixed Indian and Spanish blood. Mestizos form the bulk of the Vilcabambian population. I confirmed that Roa's name was carved into the cornerstone of the church which he helped to build when he was 16 years old.

Remarkable old man that he is, Jose Maria Roa had progeny at age 107. When investigating gerontologists last tested his sperm for viability, it was found that at 119, he could still impregnate a woman. Roa's potency was found to be no different from other Vilcabamban centenarians.

His present wife is 67 and still menstruates. Menstruation for the Vilcabamban woman usually does not cease until they reach about 70 years. Sexual intercourse continues on a regular basis for the centenarians.

Former Mayor Benitez explained, "Sexually, they tend to be very methodical and very hygienic in their acts, careful not to abuse their physical and sexual potential, thus preserving their sexual drive and capacity to old age. They love large families and refuse to practice birth control.

One of the main reasons for the prolonged sexual capacity of these centenarians is their methodical manner of having sex." Their attitude toward sexual intercourse seems to be merely that it's a function of living similar to eating, sleeping, and moving. During the first six to twelve months of life, the children born in the Sacred Valley are fed exclusively from their mothers' breasts. Human breast milk is considered the most natural and proper way of nourishing a newborn.

The natives of the region firmly believe that "the child who is breast-fed rarely gets sick and rarely dies in infancy," provided the mother is healthy and has enough milk. Breast-feeding is utilized as a form of natural birth control. If a wife doesn't want to get pregnant, she nurses her child for up to three years. Newborns are delivered strictly by natural methods, usually in the mother's own bed at home with family, friends , and farm animals in the immediate vicinity. Birthing is nothing out of the ordinary for Vilcabamban woman. She's likely to have a dozen or more babies.
Weaning takes place some time around the child's first birthday when a mixed diet of mother's milk and easily digested solid foods is given to the baby.

The diet consists mainly of complex carbohydrates with very little animal or vegetable fat: mostly green and yellow vegetables with some eggs, milk, fruits, grains, cereals, only a tiny bit of meat used primarily for seasoning soups and stews, and other vegetable foods rich in protein.

In general, the Vilcabambans prepare their dishes with very little seasoning and hardly ever use salt.
They are fond of the sweet taste of pure sugar cane syrup which is loaded with vitamins and minerals. This sugar cane is pressed in a mill to extract the juice which is then processed into small bricks for use in sweetening beverages and in cooking. The making of "panella," the cane sugar bricks, is a principle industry of the region.
No chemical additives are included in food preparation. The food is organically grown and traditionally served in moderate portions.

The people don't eat a great deal. Hardly ever will you see a fat Vilcabamban, unless that person is newly returned from other urbanized areas where he has indulged in refined carbohydrates. The people eat fresh, whole food fresh from the fields, trees, vines, and bushes.

Cereals and Grains. Beans, oats, wheat, barley, millet, bran, tender corn, popcorn, rice, lentils, hops, arberjon, quinua, peanuts, coffee, anis, etc.

Tubers. Yucca, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melloco, ocajicama, carrots (white and yellow), turnips, radishes, and different types of onions.

Vegetables. Cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, swiss chard, pumpkin , peppers, hot peppers, black peppers, berro, and achocha.

Fats. Pork (most common), beef, chicken, and vegetables.

Oil. Vegetable oil.

Flour. Produced from all the different types of grains mentioned.

Sweets. Raw brown sugar (panella) produced in the local sugar mills, and imported white sugar.

Greens. Peas, aba, zaranda, green beans, porotillo, swiss chard, coriander, parsley and achochas.

Liquid. Pure water (from high in the Andes mountains), and without any sort of chemical ingredients.

Fruits. Banana plantains (green and ripe), oranges, tangerines, lemons, papayas, babaco, watermelons, melons, guava, apples, pears, capuli, peaches, pomegranates, niksperos, chirimoya, avocados, limes, maracuya, pineapples, grapes, blackberries, grenadine, grapefruits, bread-fruit, coconut, palmito, guanabana, mangoes, sugar cane, guayabas, toronche, and plums.

Meat. Beef, pork, lamb, goat, fish (dried, fresh and canned), guinea pig, rabbit, fresh game (danta, yamala, bear, deer), fowl of different sorts: chicken, ducks, turkey, geese, pheasant, wild turkey, and wild pigeons.

Eggs. From all fowl.

Milk. From cows, goats, and burra (Female donkey), from which the inhabitants produce different varieties of cheese, butter, etc.

Cooking methods. Dry kindling and wood from the local trees, particularly the Guilco and the Faique, or bramblebush. The reason for this is that minerals in the Vilcabamba water are natural substitutes for oral chelating agents that help to empty toxic substances out of the 10 billion cells in the human body and replace them with the necessary metabolic nutrients that maintain the body's organs, tissues, and other parts at the highest levels of healthiness.

Chelation (pronounced key-lay-shon) is derived from the Greek word chele meaning claw. In effect, the chelate substance gives a firm, pincerlike binding of certain chemicals to bivalent metals or other minerals. The chemical process of chelation incorporates the metal or mineral ion into a heterocyclic ring structure.

Certain chemicals, such as the enzyme bromelin found in fresh pineapple or the enzyme papain in papaya, both of which Vilcabambans eat regularly, close the ring structure and grasp heavy metals with this claw-like action so that they are encircled or sequestered by the complex ring, there by losing their properties.

Toxic metals that are chelated out of the elderly Vilcabambans include lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, nickel, copper, and others. Thus, the Vilcabambans don't suffer from heavy metal toxicity. This is the major reason that they frequently live to be centenarians.

Toxic minerals trapped in the body cells of people living in industrialized Western nations are a result of the high levels of air, water, and food pollution that come from advanced technology. These minerals create the elevated incidence of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart and artery problems, diabetes, kidney disease, sex disorders, varicose veins, lupus erythematosus, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, liver disease, arthritis, cataracts, and others.

Vilcabambans living in the Andes of Ecuador where there are no factories, smokestacks, industrial wastes, automobile exhaust, foods with additives or impure water avoid such degenerations. Latest preventive medicine research unmistakably shows that weakening of the basic body chemistry in modern man and a breakdown of his immune system have resulted from two factors:
(1) nutritional inadequacy in processed foods and
(2) abundant build-up of toxic heavy metals in his body cells.

Vilcabambans avoid impurities of all sorts and chelate out of their bodies any possible stressors in the form of pollutants or carcinogens by the natural oral chelating agents they get from their natural foods.  Moreover, the healthy minerals in the Vilcabamba drinking water substitute for any possible heavy metal or calcium contamination which could produce hardening of the arteries.

Avoiding contaminants that might cause degenerative diseases is a part of the Vilcabamba lifestyle. The Vilcabamban centenarians remain in perfect mineral balance by drinking the rain water that collects - in mountain lakes 1,400 feet above sea level and meanders down the mountain over rocks, soil, and other mineral deposits. The Vilcabamba water contains minerals with normal healthy limits at almost all levels.

Writing in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, John A. Myers, M.D., of Baltimore, Maryland, suspects that the longevity of the Vilcabambans can be traced directly to the minerals in their drinking water and diet.  He says, .. each of these communities is situated in a valley supplied with water which washes silt from a mountain behind them .... These people drink the silted water; they fertilize crops with it; they eat the flesh and milk of animals raised on it, and have a constant supply of trace elements throughout their lives that is as good or better than any other place on earth." Dr. Myers believes that "these people maintain their health and longevity from the activation of enzymes in their cells by these mineral elements supplied to them in a fortuitously balanced concentration."

Joan and I checked the balanced concentration of Los Viejos' body minerals and compared it to other Vilcabambans of various age groups by taking hair samples and analyzing them for trace minerals.  Minerals are present in body tissues such as sputum, blood, urine, feces, skin, hair, nails, but they are most easily measured in hair tissues.
Through laboratory analysis of strands of hair, you can learn how to balance the minerals in your body through nutrition and food supplementation. The hair trace mineral analysis allows you to monitor toxicities and take detoxification measures. The oldest living Vilcabamban from whom we took samples of hair for mineral analysis was 131-year-old Jose Maria Roa, described previously.

In all, we performed hair mineral analysis on forty adults and ten children under age ten. Comparing the children's analysis to the adults provided us with a clue as to whether our hosts' potential longevity was an inherited trait, or acquired from their lifestyle. We concluded that lifestyle is the answer.

The hair mineral analysis shows no common genetic mineral trait between the adults and children. There is, however, a definite similarity among the centenarian mountain people. They all have about the same hair concentrations of exactly the same minerals. The children, on the other hand, who are from the village center and who eat processed foods, had standard hair analysis closer to that of Westerners.

In all, we analyzed seven Vilcabambans 100 years old or older, five in their 90's, ten octogenarians, eight septuagenarians, three in their 60's, three in their 50's, and four in their 40's. The hair mineral analysis we received indicated the reasons that these Ecuadorians live so long. Their hair's trace mineral analysis proved the minerals ingested in Vilcabamba water and food, including the sugar cane panella, are the sources of their good health.

The water and unprocessed food, produce a type of chelation process in their bodies - particularly the blood vessels. Additionally, other lifestyle factors such as their daily exercise, breathing the pure air with its negative ions, and the non-stressful community living contribute to their longevity. Degenerative disease, cataracts, liver disease, glaucoma, diabetes, senility, stroke, and others don't strike them.

Another scientific observation we made is that while the killer diseases are not present in the Vilcabamban centenarians, they are prevalent in larger Ecuadorian cities to the same degree as in the United States.
When one examines the public health records of Quito, Loja, and Guayaquill, which we did in addition to our travels to Vilcabamba, one discovers that the average Ecuadorian lives for 74 years. The old ones of Vilcabamba live approximately 50 percent longer.

Even more relevant is that the Vilcabamban lifestyle protects against heavy metal poisoning. The chelating mechanisms produced by optimal exercise, drinking mineral water and eating fresh food packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, hormones, and other nutritional substances, seem to protect them against heavy metal toxicity and other causes of degenerative disease.

The primary beneficial minerals present in the water are selenium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, chromium, calcium, sodium, potassium, molybdenum, vanadium, and lithium. The sodium to potassium ratio in these centenarians is perfect. Their calcium to magnesium to phosphorus ratio is ideal. The high natural chelation property of manganese combined with the antioxidative effect of selenium in their bodies is exactly correct.

These, with the exceedingly low heavy metal contents of cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, aluminum and nickel made Vilcabamba water practically therapeutic. They flush the arteries of atherosclerotic plaque when parts of their mineral contents are used by the body for dilution of cellular components.

In an interview about the Vilcabamba water, the laboratory director of MineraLab, Inc., Dr. Garry F. Gordon, said:
"The manganese alone in the Vilcabamban's water is the same as if the people were taking chelation therapy. The manganese taken into the cells, lining the arterial walls, helps to keep calcium (which brings on heart and artery spasm) out of the cells. Another mineral, magnesium, also displaces the cells' calcium. Heart disease and hardening of the arteries are prevented just by their drinking the water. "Furthermore, from our hair analysis, we see that the old ones' lack of lead toxicity is incredible. The latest report from the Danish Medical Journal indicates that children are poisoned in Denmark by 13.9 ppm lead content; one third of American children are suffering from 30 ppm lead poisoning.

Vilcabamban children have zero lead poisoning; Vilcabamban adults have not more than 4 ppm lead. This is absolutely amazing and may be due to the drinking water's chelation effect."

It's likely that the Vilcabamba drinking water and the fresh food they eat may make the manganese bioavailable to these people. Not so in the U.S., because Americans consume too much phosphorus in their soda pop, condensed milk, and beer, all of which tend to degenerate the blood vessels by the time the average American turns forty. The Vilcabambans' phosphorus-calcium ratio is ideal, and this may permit them to pick up bioavailable manganese more effectively than those people in industrialized Western civilizations.

North American physicians find no more than one in ten people with normal calcium-magnesium ratios. Most U.S. residents are not in calcium homeostasis. Their body calcium tends to leave the bones and lines the walls of the arteries. Calcium is the binding substance for the junk material that comprises atherosclerotic plaque.

In unhealthy Americans the calcium in their hair ranges between a 60 and 180 ratio; normal is between 20 and 60.
Some really sick Americans have calcium analysis showing 800 to 900, which indicates that they are osteoporotic, arthritic, and atherosclerotic, which in turn means their bones are losing minerals but their joints and arteries are calcifying virtually by the hour from calcinosclerosis disease.

In contrast to North Americans the elderly mountaineers of Vilcabamba do not suffer excessive calcium-causing disease. One reason is the natural calcium antagonist manganese, which appears to be bioavailable in the Vilcabamba environment - most likely in the drinking water and food.

Since it is biounavailable in the U.S. environment, Americans are victims of over 6 million spontaneous bone fractures each year. Only 1 out of 75 Americans show normal manganese hair mineral analysis while 9.5 of 10 Vilcabambans are normal.

Physicians who use nutritional medicine are quite conscious of the importance of minerals in maintaining health and long life. They often prescribe specific minerals in tablets, capsules, drops, granules, or powder. Nutritionists know that the foods eaten in industrialized Western societies are stripped of so many of their valuable nutrients in the process of being dried, stored, refined, frozen and canned ... or because they have been grown in depleted or chemically treated soils, that they must be supplemented with pills.

When you do not get sufficient amounts of these vital elements in your own food, your health and potential longevity are certainly going to suffer. The elderly Vilcabambans follow the established law of nature that says that mankind is meant to be an ambulatory animal. They work from dawn to sundown without benefit of mechanization, tending their crops and doing their farm chores.

They till by hand and use beasts of burden only rarely, for plowing must often be done on land angled at 25 degrees. There are few level tracts of land around the countryside. Farming is done on the sides of the numerous mountains, at elevations ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level.

The average old person living in the surrounding Andes mountains rises early, eats breakfast, and climbs a couple of thousand feet to his field where he has planted maize, potatoes, or one of the cash crops. He, with his wife working alongside him, pulls out tree stumps, turns over the soil, using only hand tools, plants seed, cultivates, and harvests for over eight hours of daily arduous labor. Sunday is his time of rest. He drinks the pure water of a nearby stream and eats fruit that grows on the trees around him. Vegetables from his garden he eats straight from the ground after washing off the soil.

The minerals he gets naturally in this way, keep his body cells functioning at peak performance. This is how the Vilcabamban manages to live to be over 100 years old. The health of the centenarians is remarkable. Exercise from laboring in the fields keeps their muscles strong, joints movable, and vital organs functioning well. Their diet also accounts for much of their freedom from degenerative illness. I interviewed Denis Burkitt, M.D., FRCS, FRS, a recipient of the Gold Medal of the British Medical Association, when he visited New York City to speak at Cancer Dialogue `80.

Dr. Burkitt worked for nearly twenty years as a surgeon in a teaching hospital in East Africa. During this time, he described a form of cancer which now bears his name (Burkitt's Lymphoma). He agreed that primitive people such as the Vilcabambans whose diet is based on beans, potatoes, and grain hardly ever contract degenerative diseases.
The fiber in their food acts as a natural chelating agent to protect them against carcinogens, and it keeps their blood cholesterol levels extremely low.

If cancer and heart disease, two killers that take the lives of 75 percent of all Americans who die each year, are absent from the elderly Vilcabambans' lives, this obviously gives them a much better chance of becoming centenarians. Another extremely chelating agent besides fiber in food is the lactic acid that is generated when a person exercises. The old ones generate much lactic acid in their muscles during the course of ongoing vigorous physical work. When they hack away at brush and undergrowth with a sharp-beaded machete, lactic acid courses through the arteries and cleanses them of atherosclerotic plaque. This is part of the reason their minds stay as alert and vital, as their supple bodies.

When my wife and I asked Los Viejos if anyone had experienced memory loss from senility or Alzheimer's disease, nobody knew what we meant, because such symptoms don't exist there. Exercise keeps the blood circulation moving so that brain cells are well fed with glucose and oxygen. The old ones are providing themselves with their own built-in form of chelation therapy.

In Rejuvenation, Johan Bjorksten, Ph.D., the developer of the cross-linkage theory of aging, said: "Certain exercise being beneficial for health is no longer doubted. This has mostly been ascribed to improvements in circulation and in muscle tones. It is an established fact that the lactic acid or lactate content of blood is about doubled during the time of moderate muscular exertion, and declines to the normal level abruptly, in a few minutes, upon cessation of the muscular action.
 
Since lactic acid is a fair-to-good chelating agent, it may help remove from the system, potentially crosslinking aluminum, cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic and excess iron, among others, thereby increasing longevity if depletion of the needed chelatable metals manganese, cobalt, zinc, iron and perhaps molybdenum is counteracted by supplemental medication or a couple quarts daily of skim milk.

The mass product of circulating elevated lactic acid is more dependent on the duration of muscular exertion than on its intensity. Therefore, it is predictable that the beneficial effects of exercise on longevity will be found to be highest in endurance type activities such as walking, jogging, rowing, skiing and swimming, where an elevated lactic acid content of blood is maintained regularly and for a considerable amount of time." Since agriculture is the principle economic enterprise in the valley, the vigorous physical activity of the old ones comes from working on farms or in fields without the help of mechanization and using oxen to plow only when impossible to turn the earth by their own strength.

Oxen are scarce in the highlands. The inhabitants clear the fields with a machete or, in some cases, buru the overgrowing brush to the ground. Brute physical strength is regularly employed instead of modern effort-saving machinery, for physical endurance is the main prerequisite to growing crops in Vilcabamba.

This physical effort starts early. Once the young men and women have completed six years of primary education, they become part of the working populace that daily cultivates the fields. Jobs for women are helping to harvest and prepare fruit, coffee, corn, wheat, and performing housework such as raising children, cooking, and washing. Men do the other hard physical labor. They cultivate pastures to feed the livestock, and sometimes raise sugar cane for molasses or distill alcoholic beverages, called "aguardiente." They grow tobacco for both local consumption and export.

Altogether, the type of agrarian existence these mountain farmers maintain demands great physical exertion. They work constantly: active exercise is a part of the daily lives of young and old alike. They toil from sunrise - to sunset, breathing fresh, unpolluted air, drinking pure water containing quantities of balanced minerals, eat a natural diet of unprocessed foods loaded with vitamins and minerals, all of which accounts in large measure for the health and longevity of the Vilcabambans of Ecuador.

This contributes to the excellent preservation of the centenarians' cardiovascular apparatus. The inhabitants of Vilcabamba do not suffer from that common disease in elderly persons known as osteoporosis, which generally affects women more than men. This has been proven by my taking X-rays of their spinal columns and using special techniques to measure the bones of the centenarians. There is a total absence of osteoporosis and there is a minimum, almost imperceptible degree of fractures in the spinal column. [Other peoples frequently show surprisingly high numbers of small fractures in their spinal columns.] We haven't found any fractures in the femurs of the centenarians, which are so common in other places around the world, and this is probably due to the diet and the permanent physical activity of the inhabitants of the valley.

Medicinal plants grow naturally and in quantity in the sacred valley, and for centuries the natives have made use of their miraculous curative qualities. The various medicinal herbs, vegetables, and fruits often are applied for preventive purposes or to correct occasional maladies that overcome a resident's immune system Modern allopathic medicine is just reaching this mountain valley. And, it is only over the past ten years or so that Vilcabambans have started to get sick and die from iatrogenic (doctor-caused) illnesses and pharmaceutically manufactured prescription products that their bodies are unable to assimilate.

More frequent cures used by the populace until now, consisted of merely indicating the general area where a pain or symptom was present and simply applying the corresponding herb or other plant to take away the malady.
Most elderly Vilcabambans believe that these herbs have kept them healthy, perhaps even saved their lives on numerous occasions. Herbology, as practiced by the Vilcabambans, ignores the scientific methods of modern therapeutics and substitutes traditional success with medicinal plants. Only a few of them have required professional medical treatment in hospitals or clinics in League - the closest large city.

"There are, in fact, many different kinds of plants which, according to the inhabitants of the valley, work real miracles for their health," says former Lieutenant Governor Celso F. Benitez Suarez.

Besides these medicinal plants, some other products are used for medicinal purposes. Different types of meat and their fat are also recommended for healing certain common maladies. Meat, such as bear and snake, may be eaten for healing sprains, bruises, and broken bones. Sometimes, only the fat, rather than the meat itself, is applied directly to the affected area. The natives of Vilcabamba have an ample source and knowledge of natural remedies.
These medicinal herbs, plants, and animals are often cultivated, bred and prepared in their homes.

This is part of their tradition and one of the more interesting and noteworthy aspects of their daily lives.
We must remember that for centuries these organic and natural methods have been the only means of remedying their maladies. Modern medicine has not been practiced in the region until recently. Scientists and doctors arrived in this sacred valley of the Andes with their technology and modern method; only to rediscover the organic and natural practices of the long- lived people of Vilcabamba.

As seen in The Guardian, February 15, 2003

I had only been in Vilcabamba half an hour when I saw him approaching, a blur on the lip of the highway. Luis Piñeiro, 84, was moving so rapidly along the Avenida de Eterna Juventud (the Avenue of Eternal Youth) that at first I mistook him for a man 40 years younger. It was only when we were almost face to face that I realised my mistake.
"How do you like our tropical paradise? Do you like fruit?" he smiled, thrusting into my palm a banana the size of a marrow. "We have a lot."

In worn leather sandals, with an empty sackcloth slung casually over his frayed brown suit, Piñeiro told me he'd been to town to sell pañella - blocks of raw sugar cane - and was now walking home. "Five kilometres, it's not far," he boasted through teeth rotten with decay. "When I was younger, before they built the road, I walked to Loja [the provincial capital] and back twice a week, some 50km." He waved as he walked on. "Hasta pronto!" See you soon.
I couldn't have asked for a better welcome to Vilca-bamba, the so-called Valley of Eternal Youth, where people are said to live to 130 and cancer and cardiovascular disease are virtually unknown. Situated in the lower Ecuadorean Andes, close to the border with Peru, Vilcabamba was, I'd been told, a veritable Shangri-la, a lush, subtropical valley with a perfect, year-round spring climate, pollution-free mountain air and crystal-clear drinking water, where every fruit, grain and vegetable imaginable grew wild.

Thirty years ago, the longevos, or long-living people of Vilcabamba, were a legend in university gerontology departments, a phenomenon to be bracketed with the centenarians of the Caucasus, Georgia and northern Kashmir. Like the Abkhazians and the Hunza, the Vilcabambans were an isolated mountain people subsisting on a meat-free diet of grains, fruit and vegetables. But, unlike the centenarians of northern Asia, the longevos were Catholics and had baptismal certificates to verify their claims. In the 1970s, the valley was inundated with gerontologists from Japan, Britain, France and the US, eager to interview old men such as Miguel Carpio Mendietta, who held court in the town square, boasting of their virility and capacity for hard work.

The gerontologists examined their teeth, eyes and ears, measured their blood pressure and connected them to cardiac and chest monitors. They took samples of hair, saliva and urine, took notes on their diet, and interviewed them about their genetic forebears and sexual preferences. Then, having declared that the secret of their longevity lay in a combination of the valley's benign climate, mineral-rich water, a vegetarian diet and the regular routine of hard agricultural labour, they left Vilcabamba to slip once again into anonymity.

I had come to find out what had happened after the scientists left; if age had been kind to Vilcabamba and, more importantly, whether there were any centenarians still living there. My chance encounter with Piñeiro seemed to augur well and, as I continued towards the town centre, I was soon passing other seemingly remarkable octo- and nonagenarians: women such as Maria Julia, a cherubic 88-year-old, or Leví Perez, a 97-year-old man with the whiskers of a Chinese coolie, weeding his garden in the fierce afternoon sun. Surely, further along the road, I would find similarly vigorous centenarians - women such as Clodovea Herrera, the 110-year-old who in 1974 had astounded scientists by threading a needle without the benefit of glasses, or Gabriel Erazo Aldean, back then 132, who attributed his long life to a diet of fruit, vegetables and drinking bears' blood.

I turned into the town's pretty plaza, where Miguel Carpio Mendietta, who in 1976 variously claimed to be 127 and 141, used to hold court, regaling journalists with tales of his numerous lovers and offspring - "12 children and 98 grandchildren"- a boast that led Granada's World In Action to dub him the "world's dirtiest old man". In those days, Vilca-bamba had no pavements and no cars, just a plaza with a small park and a church surrounded by adobe and wood-frame houses. Now, there is a two-lane highway with a bus and taxi service from Loja, and the plaza groans with Jeeps, SUVs and internet cafes catering to gringo backpackers and wealthy Ecuadoreans. Vilcabamba even has its own tourist office.

There were still plenty of centenarians in Vilca-bamba, the tourism officer, Milton Ruilova, told me, but the oldest inhabitant, Abertano Roa, had died in 2001, aged 126. The next oldest was Custodio Lúzon. He had a son living in Quito, aged 85. Since Lúzon had married at 25, that would make him "about 110". "He broke his hip a few years ago but he still hobbles about on crutches," Ruilova said. "You should find him at his home in San Juan de Vilcabamba." He pointed to a small hamlet perched on a hill overlooking the square. Reassured, I decided there was no hurry. After all, if Lúzon had lived 110 years, what difference could a few more days make?

Long before the first Spanish settlers arrived in the valley and began interbreeding with the Indians, the Inca recognised its rich agriculture and named it Vilcabamba: Quechua for "sacred valley". The views from the town are dominated by the Cerro Mandango, a striking 2,000m peak topped by vertical clay walls and a grassy ridge which, from a certain angle, resembles the face of a man looking up at the sky. If you climb to the top, you can make out the old Inca trail running along the mountain range to the west which acts as a natural barrier to the heat and humidity rising from Ecuador's coastal lowlands. To the east, the valley is protected from the Amazon's weather system by the formidable Ecuadorean Andes. Despite being just four degrees south of the equator, the valley enjoys almost continual blue skies and a mean annual temperature of 20C.

Reader's Digest was the first to suggest that something of note might be occurring here. In a 1955 article, Islands Of Immunity, Dr Eugene H Payne drew attention to the low incidence of cardiovascular disease in the region. A year later, another doctor, Albert Krammer, travelled from the US to Vilcabamba to recuperate from a heart attack, returning home feeling "better than I could ever remember". Soon stories abounded of heart patients from Quito, Mexico and Japan who, after a few weeks in the valley, found themselves bounding up steep mountains.

It wasn't until the arrival in 1969 of Miguel Salvador, an Ecuadorean heart specialist, however, that doctors began to notice the other benefits of living in the valley. Salvador examined 338 men, women and children chosen at random. He found that they were free not only of arteriosclerosis and heart disease, but also of cancer, diabetes and degenerative diseases such as rheumatism, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's. But what impressed him most were the numbers of old people, and the fact that they were all extraordinarily fit. He found that one in six people in Vilcabamba was over 65, twice the US average and five times that of the rest of Ecuador. A 1971 census confirmed Salvador's observations: out of a total population of 819, nine were centenarians. In comparison, the US at the time boasted only three centenarians per 100,000.

On the face of it, the results were extraordinary. Gerontologists Alexander Leaf, then chief of medical services at Massachusetts general hospital, Boston, and David Davies, of University College London, rushed to Vilcabamba to photograph the longevos' baptismal certificates and conduct their own interviews. After taking a series of blood samples, Leaf tentatively concluded that their longevity was the result of intermarriage between Spanish survivors of the 1822 Battle of Pichincha and the original Indian populations, which had resulted in a mestizo (mixed-race) population with a unique gene pool.

Davies had a different take. In an article in New Scientist, subjectively titled A Shangri-la In Ecuador, he enthused about Vilcabamba's climate, mineral-rich water and abundance of fruit - dietary and environmental factors that Davies suggested were the prime cause of the centenarians' rude health.

However, not everyone was impressed with the gerontologists' conclusions. Grace Halsell, a former White House staff writer and journalist who spent two years in Vilcabamba, argued that they had missed the point. In a book about her experiences, Halsell concluded that the key reason for the Vilcabambans' vitality was their Buddha-like acceptance of life and death. The viejos lived in and for the moment: "[They] could not imagine why those who came to study them put so much emphasis on their years. They would look at me disbelievingly when I kept inquiring about the possible causes and reasons. I finally realised that they preferred to talk about the challenge of today, rather than the fact that they had defied the actuarial tables."

These were the old people I had come to meet. I hoped that, at a time when the science of ageing is increasingly focused on new genetic technologies and gerontologists are no longer interested in talking to old people, the viejos might still have something worth saying - if not how to extend our lives, then how to live them when and if we make it into treble figures.

For the most part, the old people I met were lively, cheerful and mentally acute. I was struck by how they always seemed to be in motion. Twice I bumped into Isabella Piñeira, a remarkable nonagenarian with cataracts and a sway back, struggling home barefoot beneath a huge bundle of sugar cane. She didn't need to work to feed herself because, like other pensioners in Vilcabamba, she was given free meals by the local longevity foundation. As another active nonagenarian, Miguel Angel Carpio, told me when I bumped into him returning from his allotment in Yamburara, his metal pail full of fresh oranges, lemons and avocados, "I try to eat just grains and vegetables: the food that I grow myself. It's free of pesticides."

Even those who found themselves disabled in later life managed to remain active. Lucilla Victoria Guerrero, a handsome 98-year-old who had suffered a hip facture at 93, still walked wherever she could, with the help of a wooden crutch, and spent her afternoons baking with her daughter. As a young woman, she had supported her family by walking the length and breadth of the sacred valley, selling alforjas - saddlebags made from cloth.
But the longer I spent in Vilcabamba, the more those actuarial tables nagged. Like most of the nonagenarians and centenarians I interviewed, Señora Lucilla couldn't recall her birthday and was unable to produce either a church- or a state-issued birth certificate (apparently, she had left it with one of her daughters in Loja for safekeeping). Rosendo Guerrero, hoeing his maize field in the fierce midday sun, told me he was 105. When we met again three days later, he was 98. "The reason I've lived so long is because of the chicas [the girls]," he told me. "Right now, I'm looking for another wife. Do you know one I might like?"

The tourist officer's claim that the town's oldest centenarian, Abertano Roa, had died in February 2001, aged 126, was particularly troubling. The oldest documented centenarian in the world is Jeanne Louise Calment, a Provençal woman who, according to the record books, had died in 1997, aged 122 years and 164 days. But Roa had apparently been in possession of a baptismal certificate dated November 15, 1874. If the church was to be believed, Roa had outlived Calmet by more than three and a half years - a remarkable feat.

The tourist officer had pointed to an article on the wall of his office about Roa and his wife, Sarah Rebecca. In the accompanying photograph, they stood arm in arm, a picture of loving devotion. "She died a few months after him," Ruilova said. "It broke her heart." A beautiful story but, as I discovered when I examined the official state death register, some details didn't tally. The Roas had indeed died nine months apart - Abertano in February 2001, Sarah Rebecca the following December - but in the register his birth year was 1894, making him 106. Had the church made a mistake, or was the Abertano Roa born in 1874 a different Abertano Roa from the one who had died in 2001?
Unfortunately, neither the registrar nor the local priest, Father Ocina, could explain the discrepancy. But according to Richard Mazess, a specialist in osteoporosis from the University of Wisconsin, it would not be the first time that a Vilcabamban had exaggerated his age. In 1978, Mazess conducted a detailed census of the centenarians then living in the valley, setting the names in the early baptismal records against his own genealogical trees. He found that Miguel Carpio Mendietta, who had died in 1976 at "about 130" and whom the official death record placed at 112 years, had actually been born in 1883. In other words, World In Action's "dirtiest old man in the world" had been a sprightly 93-year-old.

Similarly, Gabriel Erazo Aldean, another famous centenarian whom Halsell had identified as 132, was 95 at his death in 1977. According to Mazess, both men had simply adopted the baptismal certificate of an older deceased relative who shared the same name - an easy feat in Vilcabamba, where intermarriage has resulted in members of the same family sharing identical patronyms and matronyms. Indeed, Mazess found that none of the 23 "centenarians" then living in the region had achieved their century; at best, 10 were aged between 85 and 95. Nevertheless, Mazess was struck by their musculoskeletal health: the viejos seemed to have the bones of teenagers, a factor that he and another gerontologist attributed to the effect of the magnesium and other minerals in the drinking water. Moreover, Mazess concluded that, given the small size of the population - 4,400 in the immediate area of the town, 14,300 in the geographical zone noted for longevity - even if the valley supported only one centenarian, it would be "exceptional".

I hoped Custodio Lúzon might be that exception and decided to visit him the following afternoon. Who knows, perhaps he had a cedula - a state-issued identity card - confirming his age? The next morning I was sitting in the plaza when I saw a crowd approaching along one of the avenues. A group of mourners were making their way towards the church, a pair of coffins hoisted high above their furrowed brows. One, I discovered, contained the body of a man who had been stabbed in an altercation the previous day. The other contained Señor Lúzon.

I later learned that Lúzon had died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. He had fallen sick just five days before. According to Father Ocina, his last words were, "I've lived long enough. It's time for me to go." He then asked for his sombrero, grasped it to his chest and died. The medical examiner gave the cause as pneumonia. Lúzon's age, as recorded by the notary, was 105, one year short of Roa's.

Lúzon's death seemed to mark the end of a chapter. As far as I could establish, there were no more centenarians living in Vilcabamba. "The problem is the old people don't lead the same lives as before," said Ocina. "The highway from Loja, electricity, the cars and backpackers, they've changed everything. Now the old people prefer to sit in their homes and watch the tourists go by."

There was just one possibility, said Ocina. In the valley behind Cerro Mandango there was a small village called Quinara, where a parishioner called Pilco had a cedula giving his birth year as 1900. If Pilco were still alive, that would make him 102 or 103. The next morning I set off early, determined not to repeat my mistake with Lúzon. Everyone in Quinara knew Vicente Pilco, but it was my driver who spotted him first. He was sitting crouched by a post outside his house, a wiry old man in a white baseball cap.

He was very deaf, and told me that he'd lost his hearing about 15 years ago. Other than that, he was in good health. His handshake was like iron - the result of a lifetime of working sugar cane with a machete - and he had no difficulty in standing for a photograph, or in furiously kicking his dog away when it refused to get out of the picture. The youngest of three, Pilco had outlived his siblings. He attributed his health to the fact that, when he was young, his father had fed them a mainly vegetarian diet of maize, yucca and fruit, with lots of eggs and a little meat.
He seemed too good to be true. At a guess, I would have said he was in his 80s or early 90s - did he have a cedula?

Pilco rummaged inside for a moment, then emerged with a small laminated plastic card. "Cedula de Ciudadania [citizenship card]," it read, followed by an ID number and his date and place of birth: "August 23, 1900, Vilcabamba."

If the document was accurate, then Pilco was indeed as old as he said he was. In a population as small as Quinara's, to have lived beyond 100 was, in Mazess's phrase, "exceptional". Perhaps something unusual was occurring in Vilcabamba after all.

Pilco was the only viejo I met who could verify his great age, but it is unlikely that he is the only centenarian living in the region. The Ecuadorean government recently conducted the first national census in 30 years. The preliminary findings suggested that, if there are any longevos left, they are a dying breed. Since 1971, Loja's population has fallen from 410,000 to 279,000 - the result of young people emigrating to cities in search of work.

It's an impulse Pilco understands only too well. "God knows why I've lived so long, I suppose it's my destiny," he shrugged when I asked him to account for his longevity. "All I know is that life without work is hardly worth living. That's what I miss, working in the fields. The problem is, nobody around here wants to employ an old man."
And that's the nub of it: whatever the gerontologists say about climate or diet, what's the point of living for ever if you have nothing to live for?

In Vilcabamba: The Valley of Long Life by Glen Clayton, he asks does Vilcabamba hold the secret to immortality?

When the medical world began studying longevity seriously in the 1960s, scientists flocked to Abhazia, Georgia, the Hunza, and Vilcabamba, Ecuador, sites renowned for the long life spans of their residents. In 1978, Dr. Richard Mazess published a study claiming that in Vilcabamba everyope was exaggerating their true ages. Since proper birth records did not exist, he based his premise on a genealogical survey of families in Vilcabamba, combined with baptism records that are for all purposes illegible. Whether his conclusions are correct or not, they were accepted as fact.

Mazess, who is a specialist on osteoporosis, had come here to study the remarkable lack of the disease in Vilcabamba. His studies were never really finished, since he became totally absorbed with the exaggeration thesis. He stated that only one centenarian in a population base this size was out of the ordinary. Two 100 year old residents here would be more than a miracle and deserve ampie study, At that time, 15 people in the valley claimed to be over a hundred. Mazess said they were all liars. He listed ten people he considered to be between 85 and 95, and who claimed to be centenarians. Of that list, two people are still alive. Since the list was made in 1978, it would seem that Dr. Mazess has an obligation to do more research around Vilcabamba. However, he is now "retired" and still too busy to follow up his original report. In fact, hardly anyone in the scientific world is interested in the theme of natural longevity any more. The fad has passed and laboratory advances have made field work superfluous. Dr. Alex Leaf, who carne here with National Geographic, now quotes Richard Mazess as the authority on the old liars from Vilcabamba, and spends all his time researching fish oils. Perhaps fish oils are the salvation of humanity, and certainly it is more convenient than a trip to southem Ecuador. But there is still a whole lot to leam here in Vilcabamba that will never be discovered in a lab.

In 1982, Dr. Morton Walker arrived in Vilcabamba to investigate the cell mineralization of the local residents and its relationship with genetÌcs and the natural environment. Though Dr. Walker was not in Vilcabamba for very long, he managed to pinpoint numerous very interesting facts that establish the direction of future research here. For a long time there had been some controversy over whether the supposed longevity in Vilcabamba was due to genetic factors. Since this area has been renowned in Ecuador and Peru for many generations as a sacred place where old people abound, some scientists were sure that it must be a gene that was responsible.

Morton Walker took hair samples from the nape of numerous residents of various ages. These samples were carbonized and analysis was performed in a California lab. The results showed exactly why the folks of Vilcabamba have healthy, long lives. When examining the data on children, one finds the kind of random mineralization that is common everywhere and is mostly due to genetic variation. By the time that they are young adults, there are many similarities in their cell mineralization. Once the people of Vilcabamba are 50 years old, their body minerals are virtually identical, and accumulative toxic metals are at very low levels.

Dr. Walker also had samples of the river water and various foods analyzed to see how their mineral ratios related to the cell minerals in the populace. These were even more revealing. The ratio of minerals common in all the old people was the same as the mineral ratio ofthe local water. Foods that were irrigated with river water also had the same basic ratio. So, what's going on at the cellular level in Vilcabamba?

Dr. Walker was already studying tbe relatively new field of mineral chelation at that time. It was not difficult for him and the lab technician, Gary Gordon, to connect Vilcabamba and natural chelation. Mr. Gordon stated that the people of Vilcabamba are getting a sophisticated chelation treatment from their environment for free. Dr. Walker claims that the ratio of calcium, magnesium and manganese in the water is virtually perfect, preventing calcium from leaving the bones once it is absorbed. This obviously is the reason that Vilcabambans, who consume less than half the calcium that most Europeans do, never suffer from osteoporosis. This is what Richard Mazess missed while worrying about exactly how old everyone really was.

Besides preventing osteoporosis, this ratio of minerals keeps calcium out of the blood where it will inevitably mix with nasty cholesterol and clog up the artenes and veins. All this loose calcium floating around in most older people's blood is stiffening up everything in their bodies that should be supple. And of course, everything that should be hard and durable begins to crumble. In Vilcabamba, old people can still heal a broken bone, and they don't suffer from any diseases that have to do with calcium metabolism.

In Vilcabamba, old people can still heal a broken bone, and they don't suffer from any diseases that have to do with calcium metabolism.

What is it about the food and water of this place that makes it special? Fifteen kilometers above Vilcabamba is the continental divide and the highest local peaks. Up there it is almost constantly precipitating in one way or another. All water, including rain water, has some mineralization. Only water distilled in a lab is pure. So, when our rain, drizzle or sleet fall on these mountains it is already carrying some dissolved solids. The ground on the very high ridges of the Andes is covered with thick grass-like plants that grow and die; but since they can't really rot at the temperature up there, they just continue to grow one on top of the other. What this creates is a deep vegetable sponge that filters and mineralizes the water as it passes through. The Andes in this area were covered by glaciers during the last ice-age. These glaciers carved out shallow basins in the rock at about 3,000 meters of elevation. Now, they are lakes and their water have virtually the same mineralization as the river water in the valley below. The kinds of rocks that make up the lower terrains of the Andes are not particularly reactive to H20. So, all the minerals in Vilcabamba water, and the most important ones in the irrigated food chain are coming from a vegetable source. These grasses of the Andean tundra and the forests that grow in wind-protected clefts are feeding on glacier-ground rock particles of an ancient age.

Fortunately for Vilcabamba, far below, there are no dikes of precious metals lacing the upper watershed. Otherwise gold miners would have long ago contaminated the high creeks with mercury and other toxic by-products found all over the Andes. In fact, gold is found almost every place else around, besides the Vilcabamba watershed. Also, these highlands are too rough and rocky for agricultural purposes. Therefore nobody's been fertilizing or fumigating up there. No one even lives up that high, since pasture animals cannot survive on this rough grass. Its minerals are balanced, but it has almost no protein. This tundra, cloud-forest area is useless, besides producing the most therapeutic water on the earth's surface.

Some folks in the USA are already copying the mineralization of Vilcabamba in the lab. They sell the anti-oxidizing trace minerals of Vilcabamba and of course the bone preserving ratio of macroelements. Naturally, their products are far too expensive for even the richest people in Vilcabamba.

Vilcabamba means Sacred Valley. The name comes from an Incan dialect called Quichua. It is composed of two words: Huilco meaning "sacred" or "God" and Bamba meaning "valley"; hence, "valley of God" or "Sacred Valley". Luis Fernando de la Vega first established Vilcabamba as a town on September 1st, 1756. Vilcabamba is located in the southeastern province of Ecuador called Loja, 42 kms south of the city of Loja.

The Valley of Vilcabamba has been reputed for it's ideal climate as a place of Longevity. Since the early part of the century, foreign scientists and visitors have come to study the Valley. Their aim has been to research all aspects of the geography, climate, soil and water conditions in the hope of discovering the key to the longevity of it's inhabitants.

Japanese scientists that came to study "los Viejos" (The old Men"), came with a negative ion producing machine. They realized that because the valley is already charged by negative ionization the machine could not produce any effect on the ambiance.

"The "old men" live many years in Vilcabamba because they breath this pure air that produces a "chelating" effect on their bodies", concluded the Japanese.

Scientists from the U.S. found that the secret to the longevity of the people in the valley was due to the perfect mineral balance found in the drinking water . A well known Gerontologist named Morton Walker wrote in his book that the water produced a "chelating effect". The human metabolism did not have to adjust to extremes in temperature, hence that energy was utilized in the elimination of toxins from the body. Scientists believe that the longevity phenomena was due to the use of the "Yucca Tuber" (to help digestion) and other vegetables which assimilated the minerals from the water.

Richard Mazes, a Gerontologist with the University of Wisconsin felt that the age factor was of relative importance. He felt that more important was the fact that these old people had bones of teenagers. This was very unique in the world, it occurred in no other place in the planet, it was scientifically more important than the age these people had.
Articles have appeared in Readers Digest, National Geographic and in other important publications of the world.

Species grown in huertos include a variety of fruit trees, coffee trees, banana plants, sugar cane, corn, yuca (cassava), grains, beans and lentils, and garden vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage, etc..  Fruits grown include a wide range of citrus, such as lime, sour and sweet lemon, oranges, and mandarins. Tomato de arbole is also popular. Trees such as the guaba and pomarrosa are also often found in huertos, more for shade and humidity than edibility.

A Few Species Often Found in Huertos:

  • Banana (Musaceae family),
  • Papaya tree (Caricacea family, Carica papaya) It contains papain, which is a digestive enzyme and a chelating agent. (See Waters of Longevity in Section 1 for an explanation.) The fruit and the seed can also contribute to cleansing.
  • Passion fruit, maracuyá (Passifloraceae family, Passiflora edulis)
  • Cassava, yuca (Euphorbiaceae family, Manihot utilissima)
  • Agave, mejico or penco (Agavaceae family, Furcraea andina and Agave americana)
  • Century plant, flor de novia or peina de indio (Agavaceae family, Yucca guatemalensis) they are eaten in salads.
  • Bamboo (Poaceae or grass family)
  • Rose-apple tree, pomarrosa (Myrtaceae family, Syzygium jambos) This fruit can be eaten raw or used to make preserves and wine.
  • Palton tree (Lauraceae family, Beilschmiedia alloiophylla)
  • Fig tree, higueron (Ficus species)
  • Huilco or wilco (Mimosaceae family, Anadenanthera colubrina)
  • Ceibo (Bombaceae family, Ceiba insignis)
  • Custard apple, chirimoya (Annonaceae family, Annona cherimola)
  • Espiritu santo (Crassulaceae family, Kalauchoe species) According to a local guide with traditional plant medicine knowledge, an infusion of the leaves can be used for intestinal problems.
  • Acacia, faique (Mimosaceae family, Acacia macracantha)
  • Guayabilla (Myrtaceae family, Psidium guineense)
  • Chamana (Dodonaea viscosa)
  • Moshquera (Euphorbiaceae family, Croton species)
  • (blood of the dragon) -- whose healing properties are increasingly recognized by western science – the latex from this shrub can reputedly be used to speed healing of wounds and to treat tooth pain.

LAST CAPITAL OF THE INCAS: VILCABAMBA

Vilcabamba is a very little village one hour South of Loja in the very South of Ecuador. This village is specially known for the longevity of its inhabitants. Not too long ago a man died after 132 years! Quite impressive!

Though, since the hospital arrived as well as the products of consumption such as sodas for example, they are not reaching those ages anymore!

Thousands of chemical reactions occur in the body every minute. For optimal energy, digestion, vitality and optimal absorption of nutrients we need the right enzymes in our body. And as we age the levels of enzymes the body manufactures declines.

A gorgeous little town nestled between the jungle and the mountains...muy tranquilo...muy tranquilo.


From MEDICAL JOURNALIST REPORT OF INNOVATIVE BIOLOGICS FOUND: NATURE’S PERFECT FOOD

Catastrophic is how most health educators probably would describe the lack of wellbeing and vigor of people residing in Western industrialized nations. The World Health Organization classifies the United States as the twentieth healthiest nation. About one-fifth of all Americans suffer from some form of degenerative disease such as arthritis, glaucoma, emphysema, kidney disease, liver cirrhosis, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, or some other serious illness.

In all parts of the industrialized world, heart disease and cancer together are claiming the lives of nearly 75 percent of populations despite monumental advances in science. While diverse opinions exist for such negative statistics relating to human health, we do know with certainty that just a century ago many of the illnesses affecting us today were either rare or nonexistent.

The subsequent questions relating to the conundrum of industrialized populations which deserve answers are: why are people who live under the umbrella of technology so sick? What are we doing wrong? How may we correct our inadequacies? If found, can the answer be enlisted quickly? Answers to these questions make up the bulk of the information offered in this article.

A Historical Perpective on Health and Nutrition
The lifestyles of our ancestors kept them free from the modern maladies that currently plague people. Yes, there was much less environmental pollution in the past, and the food quality was definitely fresher and more nourishing then. It’s logical to conclude that the consumption of fresh and more nourishing food is a factor in the retention of good health.

Even today, we see that people who reside in isolated areas and eat a somewhat primitive diet that’s less refined routinely live to be octogenarians (80+ years of age). A lifespan to one hundred years of age and beyond is not so infrequent. There is no secret to the centenarians’ longevity. The one common denominator shared by long-lived cultures such as the Ecuadorian Vilcabambans of the high Andes, the Georgians of the new Russia, and the Hunzas on the steppes of Pakistan is their consumption and absorption of massive amounts of "living" enzyme-rich, nutrient-dense foods, most of all including large amounts of green vegetation.

In November 1982, I was the medical journalist who reported findings by a scientific expedition which spent two weeks in Ecuador investigating the centenarians of Vilcabamba. During this period I saw that Los Viejos (the old ones) took in from five to fifteen times the amount of nutrients as are eaten by most North Americans twenty years ago and definitely today. The food and water consumption of those old ones had been monitored and measured diligently then by the expedition’s investigators, and my wife Joan recorded their findings. She was the scientists’ secretary, who also gathered hair tissue samples from the elderly subjects being examined.

Upon our return to the United States two weeks later, Joan and I provided soil, food, water, and the hair tissue samples of Los Viejos for laboratory analysis by Mineralab, Inc., located in Hayward, California. The president of Mineralab then was the renown wholistic physician, Garry F. Gordon, M.D., D.O., now of Payson, Arizona. From Dr. Gordon’s evaluations I was able to confirm that Los Viejos remained inordinately healthy and long-lived because they usually consumed great quantities of water drawn from pristine mountain streams, at least twelve servings of organically-grown vegetables, fresh-picked fruits, whole grains, and various lactofermented foods which had been predigested by a variety of microorganisms. In the modern lexicon, nutritionists currently call such beneficial bacteria probiotics.

As a result of explorations among the Vilcabambans, I subsequently wrote and saw published nine clinical journal and magazine articles plus a small book about their practices. My journalistic efforts revealed that the long-lived inhabitants of Vilcabamba truly are what they eat and drink. The content of their hair tissues exactly matched what they took into their mouths. Those several long-ago laboratory analyses undertaken by Dr. Garry Gordon had proven this.

The Status of Modern-Day Health


From their measurements, nutritionists tell us that an adult living in North America or Europe consumes approximately 4.8 pounds of food daily. In an eighty-year lifetime, therefore, about 70 tons of edibles pass through the average person’s stomach—an immense quantity to consume and process. It’s no wonder that some folk with nutrient absorption problems or other gastrointestinal difficulties are adversely affected by environmental pollutants such as automobile exhaust, excessive sun, factory particulates, cigarette smoke, plus additional sources of atherogens, carcinogens, and allergens.

The content of Perfect Food consists of the following ingredients:

Cereal Grass Juices: Juices squeezed from cereal grasses include Kamut, Barley, Oat, Wheat, and Alfalfa. Cereal grass juices are useful for detoxifying, healing, and alkalizing one’s body. The product’s juices are made from certified organic grasses which are dried below 88° F as a method of preserving their enzymatic activity. These grass juices are powerful sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, chlorophyll, and antioxidants.

Phytoplanktons: Nutrient-dense algaes are the phytoplanktons numbered among the Perfect FoodÔ components. They include Spirulina, Chlorella, and Dunaliella.

Spirulina has been used by hundreds of thousands of people for nearly a century to ameliorate the symptoms of hypoglycemia, diabetes, anemia, malnutrition, and fatigue. Phycocyanin, the bluegreen pigment present in Spirulina, has been found to enhance immune system function, protect against cancer, and possibly aid in the treatment of viral disorders. The Spirulina contained in Perfect FoodÔ is predigested through lactofermentation so as to greatly increase its bioavailability.

Chlorella is proven as beneficial in protecting the body against harmful radiation. Chlorella is also known to remove harmful substances from the body including heavy metals, PCBs, and other toxins. Chlorella is quite high in antioxidants, particularly the carotenoids.

Kelp, Dulse, and other sea vegetables are among the world’s richest sources of minerals, and they are part of the Perfect FoodÔ formulation.

Vegetable Juices: Incorporated in this green superfood are a wide variety of vegetable juices including Carrot, Beet, Tomato, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Parsley, Spinach, Asparagus, Celery, Cucumber, Green Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, and Onion. Vegetables such as these are nature’s richest sources of disease-fighting phytochemicals.

Acerola Cherry: As nature’s most concentrated supply of vitamin C, acerola cherry furnishes this crucial vitamin as a premier antioxidant. It is important as an everpresent booster of the immune system.

Seeds, Legumes, and Grains: As powerful containers for nutrients of growth and energy, the seeds, legumes, and grains in Perfect Food have no equal among any other green superfood.

LESSON IN LONGEVITY

Miguel Carpio is not a man of moderate appetites. Each day he consumes, by his own admission, 40 to 60 cigarettes and two or three shots of a potent home-brewed rum that would sear the innards of a lesser man. But physicians know better than to caution Carpio about his excesses this late in the day. After all, he is 128 years old. 

Carpio is a native of Vilcabamba, a tiny Ecuadorian village nestled high in the Andes 300 mi. south of Quito, which for centuries was linked to the outside world only by a rutted dirt road. A 1971 census revealed that of the 819 people there, nine were centenarians and nearly one fifth were over 65. The oldest of them, 142-year-old Jose David, died in 1973. His friend Carpio has since reigned as the town's senior citizen.

Born and raised in Vilcabamba, Carpio has 14 children, 98 grandchildren, 56 great-grand-children, and several great-great-grandchildren, and is himself the child of extraordinarily long-lived parents. Not surprisingly, he has never in his life been to a doctor. "Never had to," he says.

When a resident of Vilcabamba finally does give up the ghost, the cause of death as often as not is influenza or simply an accident, for high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer are all but unknown there. And yet at first blush, the townspeople's robust health and longevity are difficult to reconcile with their poverty-stricken life-style. Most Vilcabambans live in primitive dirt-floored huts without benefit of plumbing, sanitation facilities, or electricity. Medical care is often unavailable.

Diet: Diet may be the single most telling factor in the Vilcabambans' long life. On an average, Carpio and his neighbors consume 1,200 calories a day consisting mostly of vegetables, fruit, unrefined sugar, and very little red meat. Harvard medical professor Dr. Alexander Leaf, who visited Vilcabamba in 1971, says, "The weight of current medical opinion would concur that a diet such as described for . . . Vilcabamba would delay development of arteriosclerosis--that is, fatty deterioration of the arteries of the heart."
Advice: Carpio really can't account satisfactorily for his having reached six-score years and eight, but he has made enjoying himself a priority. "Every few months I get the feeling to have a good drunk," he says, "so I buy a bottle with a friend and we empty it."

But Vilcabamba's biggest claim to fame is its reputation as the "Valley of Longevity." This reputation was perpetuated Ín the 1970s when a series of magazine reports, among them one by National Geographíc, claimed that an unusual number of this valley's inhabitants were reported to be 100 to 120 years oíd. Although those tales tumed out to have been exaggerated, there are a number of very healthy, energetic people in their 80s and 90s bounding around this hilly countryside like nimble but wizened mountain goats. (Whether this is in any way connected to the ingestión of San Pedro juice we couldn't say.)

A prescription for living to a jolly old age

Deep in the heart of the Andes Mountains, near the equator, there is a remarkable village.

It’s similar to other Latin American towns and communities: Some people work the fertile land for fruits and vegetables ... others herd cattle and other livestock ... other folks craft goods by hand to sell at the weekly market. The children of the village go to school and laugh and play. And the tropical rainforest that cradles this picturesque valley supports every exotic image in full. The village is called Vilcabamba (VEEL-cah-BOM-bah), and it’s every bit as quaint, charming and colloquial as we’ve described it.

But at its roots this humble, industrious village is actually very different from other places that seem familiar, for this village is home to one of the most unique and exciting discoveries of the modern age.

For decades, medical, anthropological and sociological professionals have marveled at the claims of longevity of Vilcabamba Valley residents. You see, it’s been documented that inhabitants of this village and the surrounding area regularly live past 100 years of age!

These villagers are thriving. They’re active in their hobbies and jobs, they love to spend time with family and friends, and they go about their day as if they had not a care in the world.

Their lives are free from virtually any arthritis, heart disease and cancer, and they don’t know the stresses of most modern societies.

Their active, work-to-survive lifestyle and their simple diet do contribute to their longevity, but scientists repeatedly point to the drinking water as the valley’s true source of strength. It’s been shown that a one-day serving of this special water contains the optimal proportion of minerals and nutrients that support the phenomenal results. That’s where VíaVienté comes in.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of scientists and researchers over the past 50+ years, VíaVienté introduces a daily nutritional supplement formulated with the same “miracle minerals” that are found in Vilcabamba’s sacred drinking water.

This is the first and most important step to helping you live a more youthful life!

An Amazing Amazonian Story
 
Dear International Friend,
Since receiving the message on the origins of Amazon BIRM, (Biological Immune Response Modulator) many have been asking about its origins and its creator. While in Ecuador, we had more time to discuss the creation. We sat in the luxurious conference room of the Hotel Quito one afternoon and recorded these notes.

The roots of BIRM began when Dr. Edwin Cevallos an Ecuadorian M.D. moved to Mexico in 1973 to specialize in oncology and radiology. He was very surprised to learn that 60% of all the medicines used to treat cancer were originally from plants. The active ingredients were used exclusively in the beginning but were later produced synthetically to meet the demand for the treatments required and to allow drug companies to patent what nature gave away free.

In 1976, he returned to Ecuador realizing that Ecuador possessed some of the greatest biodiversity per square kilometer in the world. He saw that there was vast information concerning medicinal plants developed and used by Ecuador's ancient ancestors and still used by shamans and curanderos.

He gave the example of quinina, which is quinine. This familiar product has been used in the treatment and cure of malaria throughout the world. He explained to us that discoveries of many antibiotics from plants are still being made in the Amazon. Because of this and his great interest in finding new cures, he dedicated his career to the study of plants from the Amazon region.

During his research, he observed that his patients' general state of health improved noticeably when he gave them the essential ingredient of BIRM a variety of Bittersweet Nightshade. Laboratory examinations indicating anemia and the patients' inability to assimilate nutrition was greatly reduced. Generally, he found that their state of well being was improved 80% with his plant extract. He also noted that patients who were treated with chemotherapy had a better tolerance to the toxic effects of the chemical treatment. Further observation determined these patients had an improved quality of life over those who did not receive the plant extract.

Though his focus was on helping his cancer patients he also discovered that other types of infirmities his patients had (in addition to their cancer) were also improved with amazing results. Among those were arthritis, lupus, allergies and asthma. Dr. Cevallos conducted studies over 12 years showing that the plant extract from the Amazon acted fundamentally at a systemic immune leveler.

In 1990, the success of his program had become so well known that AIDS patients began coming to Quito requesting treatment. At that time in Ecuador, just hearing the word "AIDS" made it politically impossible for Dr. Cevallos to treat these patients there. The fear of contamination and risk to the public health was a highly emotional concern. Yet he was adamant about helping these patients so he started a study in the U.S. at the Birmingham Institute.

There were 3 phenomenal aspects about BIRM that were uncovered. First, there was a definite effectiveness of this product against high-level toxins. Second, the Birmingham Institute laboratory was able to observe a significant antiviral action. Third, this plant extract was capable of protecting against the massive destruction of the T-4 lymph cells. Through the action of super antigens, even in the absence of a virus, thousands of these T-4 lymph cells died instantly. According to the Institute's study, the BIRM protected these T-4 cells by 60%. Finally, the study was done to determine the content of this extract by using magnetic nuclear resonance. The report revealed a sugar of the lowest possible molecular weight. In 1989, Lancet Magazine discussed this theory of the lowest molecular weight being an ideal substance to spark the immune system and protect it from the destruction of lymphatic cells.

Further study was made of the micronutrients of the BIRM and the research found that 1000 parts to the million correspond to calcium. It is well known that calcium is essential to the equilibrium and that this ingredient is fundamental to the entire metabolic system. This is why BIRM has such a spectacular effect on anemia.
The BIRM, he said, has the capability of maintaining the nervous system. Additionally, it has magnesium, manganese and other principal ingredients essential to the muscular and metabolic equilibrium.

Also, he reminded us that results can be evaluated in as little as a month. He has been treating and testing for 25 years on his very sick patients. Of these patients, he found that many have benefited, some more, some less but all experienced positive results. It is important to remember, he says, that the product works upon being ingested and that its action is immediate on the immune cell system.

I hope this answers many of the questions we have received and that this may help you enjoy greater investing and business. Merri and I are in excellent health but find that BIRM brings us greater energy, vitality and clearness of mind so we can do the work that we feel we must.

The Youngevity Story


Craig Keeland a multi-millionaire decided that he wanted his family and himself to live and look younger longer but, he wanted it to be in the best and safest way possible. Craig looked for and hired the best doctors and scientists that were involved in Anti-Aging research that he could find. He found out that in the Vilcabamba village in the high Andes Mountains of Ecuador the people live well past 100 years old. So they went to the Vilcabamba village to find out how and what was the secret to their longevity. They discovered that it was the water that they drank and used to water their fields with.

The doctors and scientists took samples from the area and from the people themselves. A doctor Morton Walker who was the head of the team that went to the Vilcabamba village took hair samples from Mr. Jose Marie Roa who lived to the age of 137 as shone by his birth certificate who sired his last child at the age of 105 (Who was 32 at Roa’s death). Dr. Walker was so overwhelmed by his finding the village where people seem to live endlessly, that when he returned to the United States he wrote “Secret to a youthful long life.”

Dr. Walker’s research showed that the hair samples of the villagers exactly matched the mineral content of the water they gathered from around the village to drink. Their body chemistry was in perfect harmony and balance – which was responsible for their amazing longevity. Vilcabamba’s agriculture includes every possible grain, fruit, and vegetable growing wild for the picking. Using Dr. Walker’s research, Craig Keeland had the waters of Vilcabamba analyzed and the mineral content duplicated using the latest technology in nutritional science. He commissioned Dr. Harvey Ashmead, the “Father of Chelated Minerals” at Albion labs to develop the unique mineral profile which Youngevity has named “MIRACLE MINERALS”.

Dr. Richard Cutler, former chemist for the department of Cellular Biology at the National Institute of Heath, was the leading researcher on aging for over 16 years. Before Dr. Walker’s research, Dr. Cutler’s only proof that anti-oxidants extend the life span was on laboratory animals. When Dr. Cutler was introduced to Dr. Ashmead’s data on the Vilcabamba water, he was convinced that he had found the first proof that his formulas work equally on humans. Finally, Craig commissioned the world’s leading herbalist, Mark Pedersen to develop an herbal profile based on the nutritionals which were abundant in the Vilcabamban diet.

The safest way to manufacture the product was to Pharmaceutical Standards but, the minimum the licensed F.D.A. laboratory he chose, would only make 25,000 bottles. He ordered the first 25,000 bottles and he put them into one of his extra office rooms in his office building and he and his family started taking the product. Everybody who saw the boxes in the room asked what’s this all about? He gave some of the bottles to anybody who asked about them and soon after everybody came back and said this stuff is good, can I have more?

Well needless to say. Craig being a smart business man he created the Youngevity Co.

Indeed, hotly discussed by scientists from around the world, is the still open question about the "Valley of the Centurions", or the "Valley of Longevitey". The fact is, that ´till today, there has never been one reported case of a death from heart failure, and the valley inhabitants are full of dash way into old age.

Southern Ecuador
The Andean village of Vilcabamba in southern Ecuador enjoy an outstanding life expectancy according to a governmental report published in 1971 which revealed a very high rate of centenarians. There had been a tradition of people in this region claiming to be more than 120 years old. When he first visited Vilcabamba, Dr Leaf was convinced that the claims were valid. Dr Leaf was introduced to several inhabitants such as Miguel Carpio who, at 123, still smoked, drank and chased women, and Hermelinda Leon, 94, who actively managed the Vilcabamba bakery. Vilcabamba was at this time very popular among western gerontologists. Dr David Davies, a fellow from the Medical College of London reported meeting scores of men and women still active and in good health at 150 years old. In his book (The Centenarians of the Andes), Davies attributes the longevity of the Vilcabambas and other inhabitants of the Andeans to a high intake of trace minerals such as gold, magnesium and cadmium. (8)

Vilcabamba - The Last Capital of the Incas

From the time of the conquest until 1572, the remnant of the Inca civilisation inhabited the area now known as Vilcabamba, an inhospitable region of mountains and jungle between the Urubamba and Apurimac rivers. In 1539, the first capital of this region, Vitcos, was abandoned by Tito Cusi Yupanqui after the death of his father Manco Inca. He moved his people deeper into the forest where he founded a new capital which came to be known as Vilcabamba la Vieja. This last refuge was finally captured by the Spanish in 1572.

What Is In It? The Vilcabamba Mineral Essence

In the "Eden-like" environment of Vilcabamba, high in the Andes Mountains, the water contains no toxic minerals. The minerals in the water are naturally "Chelated" when the water is absorbed by the lush vegetation. This is the "Essence" of the VME story. The water contains an ideal profile of non-toxic Essential Minerals and is made "Bioavailable" by living plants.

The Story Behind The Products:
The story of Vilcabamba is a story of people who live their lives in a state of youthfulness The water of Vilcabamba contains the perfect combination of minerals for a youthful life.

The Vilcabamba mineral essence(s) (VME) is a patented chelated formula that contains the same unique combination of minerals found in the waters of vilcabamba.

Are you asking, "So what? How does this benefit me?"

The Vilcabamba Mineral Essence" Youngevity's Secret To Live Longer & Look Younger

  • Vilcabamba is a city hidden deep in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.
  • One Person in 64 lives beyond 100 years of age (compared to 1 in 7000 in the USA)
  • Oldest man in Vilcabamba fathered a child at 105 and lived to be 137.
  • Vilcabamba residents are free from cancer, diabetes, coronary disease and senility.
  • The secret to their longevity and health is in the water of Vilcabamba.
  • The water of Vilcabamba contains the perfect combination of minerals for lasting life.
  • Vilcabamba Mineral Essence® (VME) is a patented chelated formula that contains the same unique combination of minerals found in thewaters of Vilcabamba.


Does Vilcabamba hold the secret to immortality?

When the medical world began studying longevity seriously in the 1960s, scientists flocked to Abhazia, Georgia, the Hunza, and Vilcabamba, Ecuador, sites renowned for the long life spans of their residents. In 1978, Dr. Richard Mazess published a study claiming that in Vilcabamba everyope was exaggerating their true ages. Since proper birth records did not exist, he based his premise on a genealgical survey of families in Vilcabamba, combined with baptism records that are for all purposes illegible. Whether his conclusions are correct or not, they were accepted as fact.

Mazess, who is a specialist on osteoporosis, had come here to study the remarkable lack of the disease in Vilcabamba.

So, what's going on at the cellular level in Vilcabamba?

Dr. Walker was already studying the relatively new field of mineral chelation at that time. It was not difficult for him and the lab technician, Gary Gordon, to connect Vilcabamba and natural chelation. Mr. Gordon stated that the people of Vilcabamba are getting a sophisticated chelation treatment from their environment for free. Dr. Walker claims that the ratio of calcium, magnesium and manganese in the water is virtually perfect, preventing calcium from leaving the bones once it is absorbed. This obviously is the reason that Vilcabambans, who consume less than half the calcium that most Europeans do, never suffer from osteoporosis.

Besides preventing osteoporosis, this ratio of minerals keeps calcium out of the blood where it will inevitably mix with nasty cholesterol and clog up the arteries and veins. All this loose calcium floating around in most older people's blood is stiffening up everything in their bodies that should be supple. And of course, everything that should be hard and durable begins to crumble. In Vilcabamba, old people can still heal a broken bone, and they don't suffer from any diseases that have to do with calcium metabolism.

In Vilcabamba, old people can still heal a broken bone, and they don't suffer from any diseases that have to do with calcium metabolism.

What is it about the food and water of this place that makes it special?

Fifteen kilometers above Vilcabamba is the continental divide and the highest local peaks. Up there it is almost constantly precipitating in one way or another. All water, including rain water, has some mineralization. Only water distilled in a lab is pure. So, when our rain, drizzle or sleet fall on these mountains it is already carrying some dissolved solids.

The ground on the very high ridges of the Andes is covered with thick grass-like plants that grow and die; but since they can't really rot at the temperature up there, they just continue to grow one on top of the other. What this creates is a deep vegetable sponge that filters and mineralizes the water as it passes through.

The Andes in this area were covered by glaciers during the last ice-age. These glaciers carved out shallow basins in the rock at about 3,000 meters of elevation. Now, they are lakes and their water have virtually the same mineralization as the river water in the valley below. The kinds of rocks that make up the lower terrains of the Andes are not particularly reactive to H20. So, all the minerals in Vilcabamba water, and the most important ones in the irrigated food chain are coming from a vegetable source. These grasses of the Andean tundra and the forests that grow in wind-protected clefts are feeding on glacier-ground rock particles of an ancient age.

Fortunately for Vilcabamba, far below, there are no dikes of precious metals lacing the upper watershed. Otherwise gold miners would have long ago contaminated the high creeks with mercury and other toxic by-products found all over the Andes. In fact, gold is found almost every place else around, besides the Vilcabamba watershed. Also, these highlands are too rough and rocky for agricultural purposes. Therefore nobody's been fertilizing or fumigating up there. No one even lives up that high, since pasture animals cannot survive on this rough grass. Its minerals are balanced, but it has almost no protein. This tundra, cloud-forest area is useless, besides producing the most therapeutic water on the earth's surface.

Additionally, Via Viente contains the pure mineral waters from Equador's Vilcabamba Valley. The Vilcabamba Valley produces more centenarians per capita than any other population in the world. Many demographers and scientists believe that the unique mineral waters of Vilcabamba play an integral part in the LONGEVITY of these people.
Their lives are FREE from virtually any ARTHRITIS, HEART DISEASE and CANCER, and they don’t know the stresses of most modern societies. Their active, work-to-survive lifestyle and their simple diet do contribute to their longevity, but scientists repeatedly point to the drinking water as the valley’s true source of strength. It’s been shown that a one-day serving of this special water contains the optimal proportion of minerals and nutrients that support the phenomenal results. That’s where VíaVienté comes in.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of scientists and researchers over the past 50+ years, Via Viente introduces a daily nutritional supplement formulated with the same "MIRACLE MINERALS" that are found in Vilcabamba's sacred drinking water. Each dose of Via Viente provides the minerals found in one liter of Vilcabamba mineral water. This is the first and most important step to helping you live a more YOUTHFUL LIFE!

With a product like Via Viente, the fact that this just started on July 1st and a direct line marketing compensation plan that is unbelievable, this company is positioned to be the fastest growth company to startup in years. You've heard of ground floor opportunities, well this is truly that. Via Viente is still in PRE-LAUNCH. You will not believe how fast this is growing.

THE HEALING POWER OF VÍAVIENTÉ'S™ PHYTONECTARS

What are the unique selling propositions of VíaVienté™?

  • Vilcabamba mineral water
  • Equator grown fruits
  • Standard potency PhytoNectars™
  • A unique blend of 11 PhytoNectars™
  • Great taste
  • Science based proven tonic effects
  • Quality manufacturing and testing
  • Patent pending formula

What are the benefits of VíaVienté™?
It is a vitalizing healing and constitutional tonic. That means that you will look and feel great when you take it. The beneficial powers include antioxidant and antiaging effects. The ability to help protect against the health challenges of everyday life. It will give you more energy, relief from stress and greater immune system support to

Is it possible to take too much ViaViente? Is there an overdose issue? I'm also taking an Antioxidant blend and Vitamins.

A. There are no toxicity issues with ViaViente
and the only overdose would be expressed as bowel intolerance (diarrhea). We have had people take 8 oz. at a time and feel no ill effects. ViaViente works well with other dietary supplements.

Can pregnant or lactating women take this product?

There are no restrictions for Pregnant or lactating women (always check with your physician).

Is there any reason someone with a specific condition or on specific medication, in chemotherapy or radiation should not take this product?

No restrictions due to health concerns.

Is there a child age minimum? Any dosage or age parameters?

No restrictions due to age. A child's dose is 1/2 the normal dose.

Are there possible reactions to taking this product? Headaches, Jitters, Nausea?


No known side effects when taking the product as directed.

What about people taking natural hormone products? Will ViaViente be sufficient to help in this area?

ViaViente is not designed to supply the isoflavones of natural hormone therapy, but it is a great compliment to NHT.

What about Calcium? Do we as women need the additional calcium to prevent osteoporosis?

Calcium is naturally present in ViaViente from the Vilcabamba mineral water it contains. However, additional calcium should be taken by those that are concerned about osteoporosis.

How many grams of sugar? How many grams of carbohydrates?

Each dose of 2 tablespoons contains 5 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of sugars.

How do they get the Vilcabamba Water shipped to the lab?

The Vilcabamba mineral water is bottled in a food grade facility right in the Vilcabamba valley and shipped in sealed bottles to our domestic manufacturing plant.

I would like to know what source is the minerals in your product. Are they colloidal or angstrom? I realize not all minerals out there used by other companies are the highest quality and I always ask this question. Can you please tell me all you know about the minerals used in this formula. I am very against carbonates, or any usually ending in "ate."

The minerals are chelated. Chelation makes the minerals more absorbable (bioavailable) by wrapping the minerals in amino acids.

I was asked by a prospect if the product is pasteurized. She was concerned because of the fruits in the product and the fact that she remembers the Odwalla Juice fiasco from several years ago. How might I respond?

ViaViente is not pasteurized, but it is carefully checked for microbiological contamination and has a preservative system in it to insure a clean safe product.

Regarding diabetes and hypoglycemia. Where is ViaViente on the glycemic index? Is it safe for diabetics? Is it helpful to diabetics?

Regarding Diabetes and Hypoglycemia: We are just calculating the sugars and carbohydrates that ViaViente contains. They will be published on the web site soon. Incidentally it appears that each dose of ViaViente contains 5 grams of fruit sugars and 20 calories. As for ViaViente's effect on blood sugar, several studies point to it being a hypoglycemant, but we have no specifics yet. In the long term, it will be of great benefit to those who suffer the oxidative effects of diabetes.

Candida. Are there ingredients in ViaViente which are anti-fungal, and therefore might help people with Candida?


Yes, particularly the scullcap in ViaViente and the elderberry have traditionally been used in cases of Candida.

How are the berries been handled after they are picked? Also, where are they grown?


The berries are freeze dried and then ground into a fine powder. The berries are grown throughout the world, but we select particular varieties grown as close to the equator as possible, since those berries have the highest ORAC values.

We are a bit unclear whether all the minerals originate from the Vilcabamba region, or whether they are simply formulated to be the same proportions.

The minerals come from a combination of Vilcabamba mineral water and Vilcabamba mineral essence (Using the Albion patented process). The mineral proportions in the water change during the spring runoff and during the dry season, so we standardize them using the Vilcabamba Mineral Essence.

The Website says "it's grandparents include Frankincense and Myrrh, garlic, coffee, and guarana. Its grandparents were Samuel Thompson's Composition tea, Jason Winter's tea, Essiak tea, and Swedish bitters." This raises many questions. I'm assuming there is a strong blood cleansing component, which is why Essiak and Jason Winter's tea were mentioned. Please explain why these other things are listed. I don't see much in common between coffee and Frankincense.

The reason for mentioning other famous healing and energizing tonics is to make the point that they all contain the same healing element, that is polyphenols. This group of healing nutrients form a common thread that runs through all healing tonics.

Are there any GMO ingredients? Can the product be certified free of GMO contents? What is used for fertilizer? People are asking about why it is not labeled 'Organic'.

Organic certification: Some of the PhytoNectars can be certified organic, such as the Aloe, and elderberry, but in some cases, the fruits are not available in a certified organic form. We are however, working to obtain certification on each of the PhytoNectars in ViaViente. That process often begins before each crop season and the project is too new to get to each locale and vendor this season.

Some people are saying that ViaViente is a complete supplement. I think this may be inaccurate, since it does not contain things like essential fatty acids. I also wonder about the amount of B vitamins in ViaViente. Please give us some guidance regarding the need for other supplements.

Is ViaViente a complete supplement: By that, I would have to say, does it contain RDA quantities of Vitamins and minerals. The answer to that is yes, so in that way, ViaViente is a complete supplement. However, even though it may qualify by government standards, you are correct in your reasoning that ViaViente does not contain EFA's in significant quantities, nor does it contain protein in levels high enough to make it complete. However, it is fair to say it is a complete vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant.

How much of the Vilcabamba Minerals are in ViaViente?

Each 2 tablespoon serving of ViaViente contains the same quantity and ratio of minerals found in one liter of Vilcabamba mineral water. The minerals in ViaViente come from a combination of three sources. 1. The Vilcabamba mineral water itself. 2. The ten PhytoNectars in ViaViente. 3. The Vilcabamba Mineral Essence which is an organic complex of minerals that exactly matches the ratio of minerals found at Vilcabamba.

In conclusion

What is the secret to their long lives? Over 50 years of research has revealed the startling source of this well spring of life. As simple as it sounds, it's in the water. As their drinking water seeps down from mountains as high as 14,000 feet through a vast series of vegetation pools, waterfalls, and artesian wells, it collects nutrients and forms the most efficient combination of minerals on earth. Science has verified that the water of the Vilcabamba Valley contains the precise combination of minerals and nutrients - in the right proportions - to bolster the body's systems and functions.

What modern science has proven about the 13 essential minerals needed to sustain a healthy human body, Vilcabamban waters have been providing its residents naturally for hundreds of years. No toxic or heavy minerals, no unnecessary elements ... just God's own prescription for living a more youthful life.





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Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for medical advice provided by your physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. You should read carefully all product packaging and labels. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your physician or health care provider. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.