Beyond Juice: Tapping The Good Earth

The latest mega-nourishing beverages are a forager’s dream, made from roots, berries, herbs and mushrooms.
Photo courtesy of Simples

By Stef McDonald

Los Angeles might be the unofficial juice capital of the country, but a new variety of drinks for optimal health is quickly building popularity from the ground up. Cafes, restaurants and juice shops are serving herbal tonics, elixirs and lattes made from plants—specifically, roots, berries, herbs and mushrooms.

“When you provide the body with this level of deep nourishment from plants, all systems function optimally,” says Traci Donat, founder of Simples, a new Santa Monica shop with a line of plant-based tonics on tap. It’s one of many LA emporiums currently selling healing brews of plants, fungi and flowers:

NETTLE

Source: Herbaceous plant

What It Contains: Vitamins A, Bs, C, E, protein, calcium, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

What It Can Do: Support the body’s adrenal glands to calm those who are stressed, anxious or run-down.

Where to Drink It: Nettle tonic at Simples in Santa Monica; nettle’s leaf tea at LifeFood Organic in Santa Monica and Hollywood; stinging nettles tonic at Plants & Lovers Kitchen in Eagle Rock.

OAT STRAW

Source: Plant

What It Contains: Antioxidants, vitamin B and essential minerals, iron, calcium and magnesium.

What It Can Do: Calm nerves, replenish nutrients.

Where to Drink It: Oat straw tonic at Simples in Santa Monica.

SCHISANDRA

Source: Berry plant

What It Contains: Antioxidants

What It Can Do: Fight stress, sustain energy, support focus and concentration, lower inflammation, improve liver function, balance hormones and regulate blood sugar.

Where to Drink It: Schisandra tonic at Simples in Santa Monica; ground schisandra berry powder (in jar for purchase or to be added to drinks) at Moon Juice in Venice, West Hollywood and Silver Lake.

ROSEWATER

Source: Rose petals

What It Contains: Vitamins A, B, C and E, and flavonoids

What It Can Do: Hydrate, boost your mood.

Where to Drink It: Rose tonic at Simples in Santa Monica; “The Wolf” (wolf berry, nopal, pearl, rose water, aloe, lemon, lakanto) at Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs in Century City and Hollywood; rosewater lemonade at Kismet in Los Feliz; The “Love Shack” with Bulgarian rosewater at Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs in Century City and Hollywood; “Expansive Joy” with reishi and rose at Plants & Lovers Kitchen in Eagle Rock.

REISHI AND CHAGA

Source: Mushrooms

What It Contains: Antioxidants and zinc

What It Can Do: Calm and de-stress (reishi), and replenish (chaga), and support balanced hormone production (both).

Where to Drink It: Immortal/Ayurvedic Latté with chaga at Cafe Gratitude in Venice and Hollywood; Moon Juice in Venice, West Hollywood and Silver Lake; “Fungi Palmer” with reishi and chaga at Lifehouse Tonic + Elixirs in Century City and Hollywood, “Chaga Latte” at Shroom Room in Venice; “Reishi Cappuccino” at Erewhon locations across LA; “Medicinal Shroom Dandy “coffee” with chaga at Honey Hi; “Eternal Life” with reishi and chaga at The Punchbowl in Los Feliz.