Innovation That Matters

Relaxing soda uses kava to combat stress

Food & Drink

After many caffeinated years spent paying homage to Starbucks, Red Bull and countless other purveyors of high-energy drinks, consumers are increasingly being invited to slow down—with the help of the right beverage. Now joining the ranks of Drank, Purple Stuff and Slow Cow—which we covered two weeks ago—comes a new contender, aptly named Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda. Whereas other anti-energy beverages we’ve seen base their relaxing qualities on some combination of ingredients including theanine, valerian, melatonin and rose hips, Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda appears to differ in its use of kava extract, which is said to promote “euphoric relaxation” along with mental clarity. Kava has been used as a ceremonial beverage in the Pacific Islands for thousands of years, Mary Jane’s says, and can mirror the effects of alcohol without the negative side effects. Consumers can experience noticeable effects within 10 to 30 minutes of consuming it, and they typically last for one to two hours. Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda also contains passion flower extract, a calming herb used to treat anxiety and insomnia. (Despite its name, which hints at another relaxing herb, Mary Jane’s doesn’t contain marijuana.) The Kosher-certified drink is available from Mary Jane’s Denver-based online store at prices starting at USD 11 for four bottles; for every sale, Mary Jane’s donates USD 1 to the Modest Needs Foundation. Given the current economic recession, there’s certainly no shortage of stress around the globe. So will relaxing sodas become the new energy drinks? Maybe not, but they could well become a viable niche alternative to beer and other alcoholic beverages. While the company mentions that Mary Jane’s is coming to select 7-Eleven locations in the coming months, distribution is still limited—one to get in on early…?



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