When all your coolest friends are more likely to be seen at an edgy Friday night Spin class opens in a new tab than at the nightclub, it’s only natural that the trendiest drinks opens in a new tab are health-supportive, not hangover-inducing. We’ve got all the details on these tasty beverages opens in a new tab, plus their history, potential health benefits, and how to whip them up at home.
What Are Wellness Tonics, Anyway?
Wellness tonics (sometimes also called health tonics, herbal tonics or immunity tonics) do more than quench thirst — they’re the latest way to tune up your body’s internal systems. The hydrating drinks typically contain vitamins and minerals thought to protect cells and kick up the immune system. They’re also sometimes made with adaptogenic herbs — ingredients that can help optimize the body’s energy production and help the body adapt to stress opens in a new tab.
Where’d They Come From?
Before big pharma, there was big forest. Rather than writing a prescription, ancient healers and shamans foraged for ingredients — leaves, herbs, berries, mushrooms, spices — to customize elixirs for their patients. Herbalists in China, Egypt, Greece and India built their botanical knowledge over centuries, developing TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and the Ayurvedic principles opens in a new tab still used today.
So, Should You Start Sipping?
Totally — but keep your expectations in check. Tonics aren’t supposed to be a quick fix; instead they’re typically meant to be sipped over time. And, while ancient cultures have relied on herbs, spices and fungi for benefits for centuries, modern scientific study of many of these supplements is still in the works. (Always make sure your doctor is aware of any complementary or integrative approaches you’re taking, including tonics — some herbal ingredients can interact with medications.)
Look for some of these buzzy ingredients on the label of a pre-packaged wellness tonic, or pick one up in the supplement aisle to add to your own DIY brew:
Fresh or dried turmeric opens in a new tab. Historically used in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of conditions. Western studies show turmeric may help support heart, joint and skin health.
Probiotics opens in a new tab. Studies show this “friendly” or “good” bacteria may support the immune system and digestive system.
Apple cider vinegar opens in a new tab. May support digestive health.
Fresh or dried ginger opens in a new tab. Historically used in Asian medicine to settle the stomach. Western studies agree that ginger can help support digestive health.
Reishi mushrooms opens in a new tab. Known as the “mushroom of immortality” in Chinese medicine, the fungus may help support aging cells opens in a new tab.
Baobab. opens in a new tab A fruit native to Africa, the dried powder is often added to drinks and is packed with vitamin C opens in a new tab.
Elderberry opens in a new tab. Researchers funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health are currently studying Elderberry’s antioxidant effects.
Adaptogenic herbs like tulsi opens in a new tab and ashwagandha opens in a new tab. May help the body bounce back from stress opens in a new tab.
DIY IT: Whip Up Your Own Wellness Tonic
Though creating potions in your kitchen sounds like a complicated act of wizardry, it’s dead easy: If you can brew a cup of tea, you can make a tonic. All you need is the right ingredients and a touch of patience — some whisking, stirring, or steeping is required.
Ginger-Baobab Tonic opens in a new tab
Refreshing and soothing, cold and bubbly. Particularly great if you’re … well … not feeling so great. Try: Alaffia Baobab Powder.
Turmeric-Cider Tonic opens in a new tab
A little spicy and lot soothing. Perfect for a winter morning pick-me-up.
Rose and Elderberry Tonic opens in a new tab
A refreshing minty tea with a delicate floral aroma and a hit of antioxidants opens in a new tab. Try: 365 Everyday Value® Liquid Elderberry.
Maple-Mushroom Chai opens in a new tab
Gets you nice and toasty in colder weather with its cozy spices and reishi mushroom.
Red Fruit and Baobab Tonic opens in a new tab
A mix of cranberry, pomegranate opens in a new tab, and elderberry juice this drink is a bright and cheerful antioxidant bomb opens in a new tab. Try: Alaffia Baobab Powder and 365 Everyday Value® Liquid Elderberry.
Discover even more opens in a new tab expert tips and tricks, recipe ideas and video how-tos: Eat Real Food®