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Stressed? Try Plant-based 'Feel Free' for Relief

by Roger Porter

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday June 28, 2022

Stressed? Try Plant-based 'Feel Free' for Relief

In the hyper-speed age we live in, anxiety creeps into every corner of society. That little nerve gremlin comes into our lives through news and social media, politics and government, and as of late the economy and public health. Folks use all types of methods to curb occasional anxiety with marginal results. Some methods may even cause side effects that balloon into a larger problem than the initial anxiety. Botanic Tonics, a fresh-faced company that launched in 2020, aims to change that with Feel Free. What is Feel Free? It's a wellness tonic made from ancient South Pacific and Southeast Asian plants that promotes feelings of ease and comfort, bliss and euphoria. One swig of this elixir, which comes in a tiny blue bottle the size of a 5-Hour Energy shot, melts away the occasional stress and anxiety and you are well on your way to a harmonious and productive day.

If Feel Free sounds too good to be true, a closer look reveals its true nature: a proprietary blend of natural ingredients already used in various beverages and products found all around the world. The main ingredient, Kava, comes from the Piper methysticum plant found in South Pacific islands. For centuries, Polynesian people have dried the roots of the plant and used it in beverages like tea and served during ceremonies and social gatherings. The other active ingredient, Kratom, comes from the tree located in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. Though more controversial than Kava, Kratom may not be approved by the FDA but it has not been outright banned or scheduled as a controlled substance. As such, a blend of the two ancient plants, sourced from 100% all natural leaves and roots, and without any additives or synthetic substances, produces the Feel Free concoction that is taking the wellness beverage market by storm.

Don't believe Feel Free is making waves in the beverage industry? "It's the fastest-growing brand in the United States," says J.W. Ross, founder of Botanic Tonics and the creator of the Feel Free formula. "500 new stores are added each month. It outsells Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy in many 7-Elevens and is the second top selling drink in Erewhon stores in Los Angeles." Like a catchy pop sensation that gets dropped on Spotify and races up the charts overnight, Feel Free spread through word-of-mouth. "Store owners start talking," adds Ross, leading to the wellness drink's wildfire-like spread.

With no signs of slowing down, Ross reflected during a recent interview about how Feel Free came about and its wider impact in the health and wellness industry. Like many great stories, it started with an ending. "I stopped drinking 12 years ago and though I saw a vast improvement in my life, I still didn't have the life I wanted," he shared about his recovery journey. "I was a dry drunk, as they say."

Through his career in oil and gas and then a transition into financial tech, Ross found himself in Southeast Asia for work. His time there opened his eyes to Eastern medicine and the plethora of plants and herbs used in healing practices. "Being the researcher that I am, I set out to find something to replace alcohol as a social lubricant without inebriation. I went into the market and everything I found that was legal didn't really do anything; everything I found that was illegal did too much."

After years of experimentation and a growing number of strains (similar to the way cannabis has a multitude of strains), Ross explains that he found the right mixture, a concoction that delivers on his original pursuit to find a replacement for alcohol. Additionally, it's a productivity enhancer and a social lubricant beverage that cuts out all the negative side effects of inebriation. "I use it on a daily basis and it works fantastic for me."

Still, curious consumers may be wondering: are the substances in Feel Free addictive? "That's not the right question," Ross is quick to point out. "Anything that makes you feel good can lead to dependency. The question you should ask is if this will hurt me physically or socially in the long term, and I have seen no indication [Feel Free] causes harm if consumed in moderation." Commercialization came quickly after Ross' friends and family - guinea pigs for the wonder elixir - urged him to find a way to go to market.

As Feel Free scales the consumer beverage space, Ross says he has no intention to sell. "I like that I'm providing something that is helping people. I constantly get emails about people sharing that they cut back on alcohol or how it helped someone connect with their family again because it's a heart opener," he says toward the end of the interview. "That's what is valuable to me." Time will tell if Feel Free becomes the game-changer it purports to be. Till then, a reprieve from occasional stress and anxiety, pervasive in today's world, may be exactly what the doctor ordered.