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Nature's pharmacy: Star Anise or Tamiflu will beat the flu?

by Onika Amell, tropical plant expert

Star Anise - Illicium verum - gets its name from the star shaped fruit... with many culinary uses. So many international dishes get their unique flavor from this wonderful spice. Any lovers of wonderful Vietnamese noodle soup "Pho" out there? Did you know that beautiful, aromatic spiciness in the broth derives from this very plant? In fact, it is the signature flavor of Pho!

Not only does this spice shine in the kitchen, but it has amazing health benefits. It contains shikimic acid, which is a vital component of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu! It boasts with antioxidants and vitamin A and C, which help to fight free radicals responsible for premature aging and diabetes. The oil derived from this plant contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, which is used to treat cough and flu. In addition, drinking Star Anise tea will help digestive issues such as bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation and nausea. It is one of the main ingredients of Masala Chai...



PeopleCats ruling TopTropicals Kitchen. Healthy Treats for Humans

TREAT OF THE DAY: The Secret Health Booster: the Real Russian Borsh

While PeopleCats continue ruling our gardens, getting their daily treats and helping us to survive, they suggested we share some special treats for humans, besides exotic plants and plant boosters...
It is - our favorite Russian Borsh that we make for our TopTropicals International team! It is the most delicious and healthy meal ever invented, for both adults and kids. It boosts your energy, makes you feel warm, wealthy, and happy!

This soup, along with Russian Vodka, is the secret of Russians' Survival Mode - how to stay healthy, strong, tough, and resistant to any virus.

The recipe of the Real Russian Borsh involves very simple, inexpensive, and easy to find ingredients. However, making it right takes a little bit of time (which we sure have now!), since Russians like to make things complicated and from scratch... they use whole foods!
Take your time and enjoy the process - it is a part of this secret recipe. At the end, you will be rewarded with a healthy, tasty meal for the whole family for the whole week! And, it is only $2 per serving!

And remember, it is spelled Borsh (not Borscht!), according to the real Russians.


Please tell us how you liked it! :)

TopTropicals PeopleCat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!


Nature's farmacy: Coronavirus cure discovery? Cinchona - Fever Tree

by Alex Butova

As the world's health experts race to find a cure for the novel coronavirus, this drug have jumped to their attention - Chloroquine. It contains alkaloid Quinine, extracted from the bark of the Cinchona, or Fever Tree.
We receive many questions from our customers if we carry this plant. Although we do not offer it at the moment, we definitely can tell you more about this interesting medicinal plant!

If you like gin and tonic, you will be familiar with the bitter taste of the tonic which is provided by quinine. While it is now mainly used to add a flavor to our favorite tipple, the Cinchona tree bark once held a place as one of the most important drugs in history.
Cinchona was discovered in the 1630s as a treatment for malaria and, for 350 years, was the only effective cure known in Europe until synthetic replacements were developed in the 1940s. Malaria remains today one of the deadliest diseases known throughout the tropics, but up until the 20th century the disease was prevalent throughout Europe, including Britain.

The Cinchona tree is native to the Eastern slopes of the Andes with a range across Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Once the bark became an established medicine, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, demand started to outstrip supply. Threats of overharvesting and the desire to control the source of this precious bark drove various competing empires to source this plant for themselves. Understandably, the Spanish, who were in control of this area of South America, actively tried to prevent this, but failed to establish successful plantations themselves. A race to source and cultivate Cinchona ensued, and eventually both the Dutch, in Indonesia, and the British, in India, founded government controlled plantations for the mass production of quinine.

Chloroquine appears to have "broad-spectrum antiviral properties" and effects on immune response, and to be effective against severe acute respiratory syndrome... As the rest of the world, we are looking forward to the research results and hope the cure will be found soon!

In the meantime, let's just have more Gin-n-Tonic!


Support small businesses!: People helping People

As Americans hunker down during these unprecedented times, many of us are thinking about our friends and neighbors (from all corners) who own and operate the many businesses that make up our local and virtual communities. Everybody is worried about the future, and this worry extends to small business owners and their employees.

While there isn't a lot we can do as restrictions are put in place, there are some steps we can take to be there for our favorite businesses.
- Carry-out and delivery is an option for many restaurants. You'll get a break from cooking and the restaurant is still making money.
- Buy gift cards from your favorite establishment. Businesses that are closed now will be open again and this is a great way to help these establishments get so much needed revenue right now.
- Shop online. Even if the goods won't be available right away. It's a great way to support a business while practicing social distancing.
- Make a donation. If your situation allows for it, consider a donation to a business that could use it to keep their shops open and employees working.
- If you use a service provider who won't be needed or can't get to you to provide their service (house cleaner, lawn service, therapist), consider paying the person regardless. Your generosity could be a real game changer for them, and you will get those services from them eventually.
- Leave good reviews. Words of support can mean a lot for business owners, now more than ever.

It's time to rally! Together, let's support the 99.9% of businesses that are considered as "small business" but they employ more than 47% of the private workforce in the US!

Stay safe. Be patient and kind. There is no better time to strengthen our bonds, to stand together, to help each other through this storm, and come out the other side stronger. Together, we will.

TopTropicals Cat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! Donations accepted from our website. Thank you and God bless you and your pets!


Garden Sustainability Tips: Live your Life. Dig your Garden.

You can grow herbs and vegetables that can be easy incorporated into your home landscape. You don't need a raised bed for a few little things that will come really handy for your kitchen.

1. Parsley. Get a small 4" pot parsley plant from a local garden center. It grows super fast and just one plant can provide great healthy addition for your cooking for a few months. Plant in in full sun, under a tree or shrub, where it gets hit by a sprinkler.
2. Dill. This one grows from seeds quickly and easily. It also needs full sun and regular water.
3. Chives, or Green Onion. Don't through away "bulbs" from chives you got from the store. Stick them in the ground, pretty much anywhere in your garden. You will have supply of fresh chives loaded with vitamins right away (withing a few days!) and for many months. You can also plant an onion bulb (root-end down... duh) - this one will produce greens even faster!
4. Bay Leaf. If you live in a mild climate, plant a Bay Leaf in your yard (closer to the door - closer to the kitchen!). It is a wonderful healthy spice for soups and stews that makes them super flavorful. If your winters are cold, keep the plant in a pot. Bay Leaf makes a great undemanding houseplant that needs bright light, but very little water.
5. Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow, heat tolerant and even grow in lower light, so they are easy to incorporate into any existing landscape. Get Sunshine Boosters to double your crop: see how it works.
6. More herbs and spices. Check out our large selection of herbs and spices - they are on sale today!
7. Garden work is a great exercise. While the gym is closed - get to gardening. Read about Fun workout and Calories Burning Gardening.
8. Lemons. Vitamin C is your best friend for boosting immune system, and Lemons have tons of it! In areas where citrus can grow outside, Lemon tree is a must-have for your garden, or at least find a friend who has one! Citrus also makes a great house plant, so you can keep it in a pot, too. Just make sure to have a grafted tree that will produce right away.

Lemon Juice Health Booster Recipe

1. Squeeze juice from 1 lemon and mix it with 1 cup of water.
2. Add ice cubes and 1-2 tbsp of any flavored syrup (optional). You may add some fresh mint for Mojito flavor.
3. Enjoy this drink at least once a day.
4. Get a bunch of lemons, squeeze fresh juice into ice cube trays and freeze. 1 lemon = makes 1 ice cube. Store in freezer and use 1-2 cubes to make the above drink, daily.

Besides being rich in vitamin C that will boost your immune system, Lemon juice is a Natural medicine that helps to treat:
- cold and flu
- headaches and high blood pressure
- stomach problems
- insomnia
- and much more
Drinking lemon juice on regular basis will make your body stronger and more resistant to infections and many illnesses.

Please take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay healthy.


Thank you from Top Tropicals PeopleCats

"Hold a true friend with both hands"
- Nigerian proverb -

Cat friends, thank you for your support!

"...Dear Friends at Top Tropicals,
Thank you for your Photo of Saint Gertrude of Nivelles. I did not know about her. Now I can meditate upon her to help all cats. Our pets, plants, and loved ones will help us during this world crises. My bees and garden certainly help me.
Again, thank you for your plant advertisements, (they are an education in themselves) and for your caring about I gatti! Saint Gertrude will help!
All best regards, auguri, di Frank La Rosa Mazza di Del Mar, California"

TopTropicals Cat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! If you want to help, you may do so directly from our website. Check out the Video: Meet PeopleCats of TopTropicals and more Cat of the Day stories.

Mr B is saying Hi and for those asking about his GPS on his collar: he uses Tractive for his personal cell service. Mr B makes 2-3 miles a day, staying active and healthy. Not bad for a 13 y.o. cat!


Back to Earth Check List

1. Stay calm. Remember, it's not the problem that creates the biggest problem; it is our reaction to it.
2. Focus on positive. Do not dwell on things you can't change. The Universe will unfold as it should, and your happy thoughts will provide the guidance.
3. Get connected with the Nature. It has all the answers. Go outside and see the Sun, the Sky. Now it is finally the time to smell the flowers.
4. Bring simple good things in your every day life. Like a simple food recipe, or a good movie with a happy end.
5. Connect with friends and talk only about nice things (remember 2)
6. Start a vegetable and fruit garden. Begin your sustainability with herbs at the end of this email. We will help you step by step in our next letter.
7. Go to bed with happy thoughts. Together, we will make it.

"The best way out is always through" - Robert Frost -


March 17: Day of Saint Gertrude the Patron Saint of Cats and Gardeners

Cat Patron: Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, 626 - March 17, 659

Did you know that March 17 is not only the day of St Patrick, but also of another Saint? Saint Gertrude of Nivelles!
Cat lovers revere Gertrude of Nivelles most of all. After all, gentle Gertrude is the Patron Saint of Cats and Cat lovers. The idea seems to have started in the 1980s, more than 1300 years after she lived. Some sources say the first publication to link Gertrude and cats was a 1981 catalog, Metropolitan Cats, put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Since then, the idea that Gertrude is the patron of cats - and cat owners - has spread. She is the Patron of Cats, the Recently Diseased, Gardeners, Travelers, Those with Mental Illness, and Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats.
Most of us can find themselves in this list!
St Gertrude's feast day of March 17 is observed by gardeners, who regard fine weather on that day as a sign to begin spring planting!
See more info

TopTropicals Cat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCat Community! If you would like to help, you may do so directly from our website: 6464 Donation for Cats - TopTropicals Cat Club. Every little bit helps. All donations will go to cat care, and you will receive appreciation surprise presents from TopTropicals, including TopTropicals Cat Club bumper sticker. Thank you, and God bless you and your pets!

Check out the Video: Meet PeopleCats of TopTropicals and more Cat of the Day stories.


We got a letter that we must share!

To the folks at Top Tropicals,
This is not really a question, more of a statement of gratitude. Top Tropicals has been my go to resource for everything tropical plant related for more than a decade... You have always been a source of information, knowledge and of course, beautiful plants. And now, more than ever, in these stressful times, I find myself returning to the world of plants that I love so much. Staying out of the public and away from friends and familiar places is hard on many of us. I guess they are calling it "social distancing" and I understand the sensibility of it all. So I take great comfort in spending relaxing time with my other friends and family, my plants. The weather is getting warmer, Spring is in the air, and I choose to not worry about things I can't change and instead I will devote time, energy and love to my special plants. Thank you Top Tropicals for being there for all of us gardeners and plant lovers. I look forward to browsing your newsletters each week to see pictures of the People Cats and to pick out my next best friend!
Sincerely, Becky M. - Woodland Hills, CA


Meet PeopleCats of TopTropicals. Cats of the Day: Abu, Raja and their 9 lives.

"Every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending." - Wise Man

Just a couple weeks ago you met Abu and his tiny sister Raja whose Mom died after a car accident, and Kristi rescued her two little kittens. Who knew that the troubles were not over... yet. The kittens looked very weak and undernourished, with lots of fleas and infected wounds... Kristi took them to the vet and after intensive care they started to look much better... until a few days ago Raja woke up with paralysis in her back legs... while sores on Abu's paws didn't heal. Kristi rushed them both to the hospital again.
The vet said it all didn't look good... that symptoms looked like possible rabies or cat coronavirus! He said that chances are, the kittens wouldn't last long and he put them in 10 days quarantine.
Day and night we all at TopTropicals have been praying for the little babies. Every day vet's updates got worse... it was hard to believe that after all the efforts to save them, they may be gone!
Then all the sudden, after 5 days in the hospital, a miracle happened. All tests came out negative! And the kitties started getting better, fighting bad infections under doctor Bowers care. Raja got back on her feet. There is still a long way to full recovery from their miserable experience of a street life, but Something saved their lives! Doctors, prayers... or simply Kristi's BELIEVE that they WILL make it! She told them when she left them in the hospital: "You have to keep fighting, you are fighters." And they did. The Nurse said Raja hissed at her every time she walked by, but when Kristi came to pick her up and opened the cage, Raja rubbed her ears and just pressed her head in Kristi's hand.
Now they both at home, sweet home, taking medication and eating sooo much!
"I just kept thinking after all they have been through this can't be the way their story ends!" - Kristi says.
Have happy and loooong lives, kitties! All 9 of them or whatever you have saved!

TopTropicals Cat Club

Thank you everybody for supporting us in helping PeopleCats, especially local customers who leave donations in our Cat jar in the office. If you would like to help Raja and Abu to pay their bill for 5 day hospital stay under intensive care, you may do it directly from our online store, by purchasing item 6464 Donation for Cats - TopTropicals Cat Club. Every little bit helps. All donations will go to cat care, and you will receive appreciation surprise presents from TopTropicals, including TopTropicals Cat Club bumper sticker. Thank you, and God bless you and your pets!

Check out the Video: Meet PeopleCats of TopTropicals and more Cat of the Day stories.

After their live threatening experience, Raja and Abu are back home safe and sound and eating like there is no tomorrow! Now, there IS tomorrow, kitties, you made it!