An Ayurvedic Beverage Premiers at Whole Foods

MissionRoot, an organic beverage formulated with fruits and herbs used by the ancient Indian healing practice Ayurveda, are now available at 20 Whole Foods Markets in the New England region.

The bottled tea contains natural extracts of ayurvedic ingredients such as ginger root, tulsi herb, hibiscus flower and amla fruit. The product contains no high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or beet sugar.

To give back to the country that inspired MissionRoot, the company will invest 5% of its profits in The Akshaya Patra Foundation, one of the world’s largest non-governmental school lunch programs, which provides hot meals to more than 1.3 million school children in India every day, enabling higher rates of school attendance and an improved focus on learning.

MissionRoot founder Soham Patel is a first-generation Indian-American. Growing up in suburban Chicago in a Gujrati household, Soham did not embrace Indian culture in his early years.

“Even though I’m Indian and grew up in an Indian home, I ignored my heritage and didn’t realize all the goodness that came from my Indian roots until I was in my early twenties,” said Mr. Patel. “I started MissionRoot because I wanted to incorporate that goodness into everyday living in America.”

To formulate MissionRoot, he began by consulting the ayurvedic practitioner closest to him: his mother. As a Bharat Natyam dance teacher, his mother always kept a pitcher of homemade ayurvedic beverage on hand to refresh her students: lemonade flavored with ginger, turmeric, chili powder and salt. For inspiration, Mr. Patel also looked to staples of life in his parents’ home city Ahmedabad, such as Tulsi plants and the lemon juice drinks sold roadside.

With age-old recipes as a starting point, Soham formulated MissionRoot’s beverages. He did so with the help of famed chef and flavorist Barr Hogen, who developed Odwalla beverages and food bars during her nine years as creative chef for that company.

All three of MissionRoot’s launch flavors contain fresh-pressed ginger root, a cornerstone of ayurvedic practice and a standby in Indian kitchens throughout the world. This
“super root” is believed to promote good digestion and to increase absorption of nutrients into body tissues. Ginger root is considered anti-oxidizing, anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting.

It comes in three flavors:
Tulsi – Often referred to as Holy Basil, Tulsi is used in ayurvedic healing to promote purity and lightness of body. Tulsi cleanses the respiratory system of toxins and relieves digestive pressure. It is used as a treatment for colds and coughs. Essential oils found in Tulsi have strong antiseptic qualities.

Amla – The Sanskrit word “Amla” translates to “Indian gooseberry” and this fruit contains bioflavonoids, flavones, polyphenols and carotenoids. It is also a rich source of Vitamin C.

Hibiscus – The botanic Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, or Chinese hibiscus, is valued in ayurvedic practice for its soothing effect. Hibiscus is also used to remedy coughs and colds and to prevent high blood pressure and liver dysfunction.

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