Maca Smuggling Problem in Peru Leads to Price Hike in Maca


One of our popular superfood red maca powder has been out of stock for quite some time. The reason we have not brought them back in stock is because their prices (as well as cream maca powder) has soared many folds since last year.

Maca prices have gone up significantly (at least 4 and 5 times the prices before) for some time. This is due to unprecedented demand from Asian, in particular, Chinese buyers. It has been said that there were Chinese businessmen coming to Peru as tourists and offered maca farmers suitcases full of cash for their maca crop and at 4-8 times the market rate for their maca product. The maca farmers have been accepting such high price, even at the expense of breaking the contract of their long-time supporting Peruvian national producers. Maca is a product considered native to Peru and since 2003 a regulation bans maca to be exported as unprocessed raw form but now it has been smuggled in great volume out of the country. Fox news reported in August 2014 that “2,000 tons of this year’s 4,500-ton maca harvest” have been smuggled out of Peru.

It may be quite some time before we see maca prices normalising (if that’s ever possible). However, fret not. There are quite a few adaptogens like maca that works wonderfully just as well.

Nutritional Powerhouse – Pine Pollen (Cell Wall Broken)

First, there is the much cheaper nutritional powerhouse that is gaining recognition (thanks for Tim Ferriss’ introduction in hi book 4-Hour Chef), Pine pollen. This superfood can help combat all those phyto and xeno-estrogens that our environment is full of these days, from drinking water, pesticides, plastics and more.

Pine pollen is a complete protein source (about 30% protein) as it contains seven of the essential amino acids. It has over 200 bioactive vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and other super nutrients in every single serving. It is a wild-harvested super food with no added chemicals or preservatives. Besides increasing libido, it is also anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, supports hormonal support and strengthens the immune system. According to Chinese medicine, pine pollen enters through the five major meridians including the lungs, kidneys, spleen, heart and liver. The testosterone boosting qualities of Pine pollen works well for women as well. Women need testosterone too for good body function, just not as much as men. Pine pollen also has been used as beauty tonic for women for thousand of years.

#1 Rated Herb in Ayuvedic Medicine – Shilajit

Then there is powerful ayurveda herb Shilajit, which is still relatively lesser known in the West. It is a powerful adaptogen and Jing substance. Shilajit is a phytocomplex that contains over 85 minerals in their ionic form and triterpenes, selenium, phospholipids, humic acid and fulvic acid. These compounds have strong antioxidant properties (anti-aging), while the minerals help give Shilajit an energy-enhancing effect.

Fulvic acid is one of the main constituents of shilajit that has some amazing benefits.

  • Helps move minerals and other nutrients into the tissues that need them
  • Free radical scavenger
  • Supports the immune system
  • Most powerful natural electrolyte known, balancing our cells
  • Makes Minerals Bioavailable

Shilajit also contains humid acid that are known to give us:

  • Increased Energy
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Better Sleep
  • Less Pain
  • Stress Reduction

Shilajit works well with many other herbs and often improves their potency.

Natural Aromatase Inhibitor – Nettle Root

Increasing testosterone will be quite futile if aromatization happens. Aromatization is the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This not only means you won’t get the benefits of the testosterone, but it can actually be turned into something that works against you.

Nettle root is a natural aromatase inhibitor which has the reported ability to bind with the protein SHBG or the sex hormone binding globulin, due to its beta-sitosterol content. This promotes the circulation of free testosterone in the body so it can be utilized as an androgenic molecule rather than as an estrogen.

More researched than any other effect is what nettle root can do for prostate health. Nettle root is very helpful for men with all sort of prostate problems not just BPH. Some studies have looked at its anti-prostate cancer effects.

Nettle root also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to have some positive cardiovascular effects. Some people have even reported nettle root helping with baldness.

The Mushroom of Immortality – Reishi

Another antioxidant, anti-inflammatory that has the highest ratings among Chinese herbs is Reishi, also known as Ling Zhi and Ganoderma Lucidum. According to Chinese medicine, reishi is a premiere Qi and Shen Tonic Herb.

The reishi we sell  isn’t just one reishi, but includes four different varieties all mixed together in one blend:

  • Red Reishi
  • Purple Reishi
  • Black Reishi
  • White Reishi

Each of these mushrooms is likely to have slightly different benefits, thus giving you a broader range of effects.

Powerful Rejuvenator and Cleanser – Triphala

Triphala is one of the most often used herbal combos in ayurveda. Triphala means “three fruits” – Amalaki, Haritaki and Bhibitaki. Each one is great in its own right, but combined they become Triphala, one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda for balancing the five elements. It is a powerful rejuvenative to all constitutions, a rasayana suitable to all three doshas.

It is popular mainly for its colon cleansing actions. In Ayurveda, the colon is the seat of good health. Regular consumption of Triphala gently and slowly purifies the entire digestive system, rejuvenating down to the cellular level. This actual helps more food absorption to take place leading to healthy weight-loss (more energy from food means fewer calories to eat) and boosting one’s quality of life. Triphala is commonly mixed with Shilajit.

Indian Ginseng – Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions. It is most well-known for its restorative benefits. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” indicating that the herb imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion, and has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness.

Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as “Indian ginseng” because of its rejuvenating properties, even though botanically, ginseng and Ashwagandha are unrelated.

The Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Used to Treat Auto-Immune Disorders
  • May Inhibit Tumor Growth
  • Has a Calming Effect and May Help Reduce the Effects of Too Much Stress
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Works on the HPA Axis and Neuroendocrine System
  • Effective for Anxiety and Cloudy Thinking
  • Helps Lower Blood Pressure
  • Stabilizes Blood Sugar and Lowers Cholesterol
  • Immune System Support
  • Increases Production of Bone Marrow and Sperm
  • Diuretic
  • Increases Blood Cell Count and Hair Melanin
  • Increase Libido and Sexual Function

For people who suffer from insomnia and anxiety, having a cup of hot milk that contains a teaspoon of powdered Ashwagandha before bedtime is beneficial.


Kondo Marie – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organising

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 1.33.54 pm

Late last year, Sweng and I put our hands on New York Times #1 Best-selling guide to de-cluttering, Kondo Marie’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organising.

It is Kondo Marie’s zen-like de-cluttering philosophy that intrigued and inspired us to start reading her book. Instead of conventional tidying up methods that give quantitative guidelines (reduce your bins of clothes into half, have X number of good shirts, pants, dress etc), Kondo Marie (or so-called KonMari method focuses on qualitative de-cluttering. “Does this item spark joy in me?” is the only question you need to ask yourself when you pick up each of your item, one by one, and answer truthfully.

Since then, we have started cleaning out our house and both Sweng and I truly benefited from Kondo Marie’s teachings. We are both not hoarders to begin with, so the result is not life-changing, but it is indeed very gratifying to see living space in our wardrobes, filled with pieces that we individually love and now wear often. I also developed a habit of removing all my items in my bag after my day’s work and place them in allocated space (yes, every single item – purse, umbrella, keys, bus pass, small bags containing small miscellaneous item such as tissue packs, clipper and plasters). All my bags go into designated shelves much like parking lots for them. This gives me a sense of accomplishment every day. Things are tidier, the bags can breathe better and I can find my items easier.  I must confess though that the organisation of books and toys in our house are still not up to the vKonMari standard. It is tricky with young children in the family. But I have made the silent resolution to deal with it some time later, probably the June holidays.

It is a key point in the KonMari method that this de-cluttering work be done swiftly in a short span of time (in our previous experience, we took a week). And if done properly, we only need to do it once in our lifetime. The rest are just daily simple upkeep.

It is gratifying to know that none of Kondo Marie’s clients have reverted back to their decluttering lifestyle after adopting her method and I can see why. If you truly follows through KonMari’s method, you would have internalised her philosophy and realised for yourself how many items you really need, what kind of lifestyle you really want to live, what kind relationship you want to build and other deeper realisation, and there would be no turning back because you would find yourself more peaceful and at ease with your present. So why would you want to go back to your old cluttered lifestyle?

I highly recommend this book to anyone (and not just hoarders). You might be interested to check these videos to learn more about the KonMari method:

Kondo Marie talks about her book and what she does

Kondo Marie speaking at Google Play

Kondo Mari helping a client tidying up her bookshelves

KonMari method of folding shirt

KonMari method of folding underwear

World Vegan Day – $5.00 Gift Certificate


We want to celebrate World Vegan Day (1 November) with you by giving our loving customers $5.00 gift certificate! You can redeem this one-time discount code when you shop at BGO Ecoshop from now till 2 November 2014. This is on top of our items on Specials  and Quick Sale

Discount code:  1november

The discount coupon can also be applied on our newly added items:

Idocare Cleaning Products – Family Size!

Idocare Tangerine Breeze All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

& Deal of the Week (Buy 1 Get 1 Free!)

(While stocks last)

For orders by email, just quote this coupon code and we’ll apply $5.00 discount to your total. And yes, the Gift Certificate is transferable, so let your friends know!