I mentioned earlier in the week that I finally met up with Merry of Mill Creek Herb and picked up a bottle of her Thrive Tonic. I have now been taking the “tonic” for a full week and wanted to report back on my experience thus far.
According to Merry, who is a trained clinical herbalist, Thrive Tonic is a blend of herbs which are slated to “nourish, strengthen and support the body to withstand the effects of stress, improve digestion and assimilation, boost nutrition and assist in maintaining the balance within.*”
The pamphlet Merry gave me recommends Thrive Tonic be used every day to aid in a variety of health issues.
Reduce stress, increase energy, improve digestion, think more clearly, sleep better…?? Sign me up! Nick didn’t see any of this and was instead only interested that I was taking a tonic for “enhanced libido.” Boys will be boys. As far as he is concerned this stuff is Love Potion Number 9.
Thrive Tonic comes in a few “flavors.” There is of course, Original, as well as Original with Licorice, Original with St John’s Wort, Original with Echinacea, and Original with Cocoa. Each “flavor” has an added supplemental value. For instance, the St John’s Wort – which is the one I opted for – has Hypernicum perforatum (scientific name for St John’s Wort) which is said to aid with “overall happiness” and is commonly used as a treatment for depression (clinically proven more successful than Prozac and placebo). St John’s Wort has also been touted as an option for Parkinson’s patients which is of particular interest to me because my father in law has PD.
Why and How
Thrive Tonic is made up of a blend of herbs, which Merry either picks herself high up in the mountains, or she purchases from certified organic harvesters if not available locally. The concoction has quite a long ingredient list but I wanted to know what each part was doing for me – so, I looked them up.
- Fireweed Leaf – good source of vitamins C and A and can also be used as an antiseptic to clear minor wounds
- Dandelion Leaf – is used as a detoxifier and helps remove excess water. also helpful in the creation of bile to help metabolize fat and balance cholesterol levels
- Gingko Leaf – helps with brain function and mental clarity, also improves blood flow and fights free radicals
- Turmeric Root – thought to help aid arthritis patients, help treat Alzheimer’s and some types of cancer
- Stinging Nettles Leaf – appears to be a one stop shop for a multitude of ailments – from treating head lice to improving skin tone, it also helps clear allergies, reduce inflammation, and ease joint and muscle pain
- Cinnamon Cassia Bark – one of the 50 Fundamental Herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, cassia bark is thought to aid in cholesterol management and blood sugar regulation
- Schisandra Berry – regulates sweat glands and the bodies feeling of “thirst” also aids in kidney function
- Fennel Seed – one of the key ingredients in Absinthe and also licorice, fennel is thought to treat digestive disorders, improve eyesight, treat colic in young children, improve milk supply for nursing mothers, and treat chronic coughs.
- Eleuthero Root – helps to prevent cold and flu and is also a great stress reliever
- Oatstraw Stem – used to prevent anxiety and panic attacks, boost immunity, build strong bones, calm young children and also to treat depression
- Astragalus Root – boosts the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease
- Ashwaganda Root – has been shown to reduce tumors in clinical mice and has shown improvements in clinical studies with Alzheimer’s model mice
- Artichoke Leaf – used to lower cholesterol, treat heartburn and aid in proper digestion
- Rosemary Leaf – high in antioxidants, rosemary leaf is also thought to aid in memory function and to reduce inflammation
- Ginseng Root (American) – aids in sexual dysfunctions, most often used as an energy supplement (pretty much every energy drink has ginseng in it), effects the secretion function of the pituitary gland effecting sperm production and menstrual cycle (you can read about how it is thought that the plant increases sexual desire but reduces male fertility as a means of controlling the herbivore animal population here)
- Reishi Mushroom – lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol – is also thought to have anti-cancer qualities
- Other ingredients such as vegetable glycerin and water are “inactive” ingredients and used merely to create the liquid formula.
Okay, so lots of good stuff in there and I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you.
Does it work?
I have only been taking Thrive Tonic for a week. I purchased a small sample last week and have faithfully taken my teaspoon full each morning. I have to admit that I thought it would taste disgusting. After all, I’ve taken herbal supplements in the past and let me just say that they usually are pretty dreadful. Thrive Tonic is incredibly sweet and tastes like a spoonful of honey. It’s almost too sweet and I often found that I needed a “chaser” after my spoonful. It doesn’t taste bad its just incredibly sweet. You can also mix it into juice, tea, oatmeal – anything really – and that does help mask the flavor quite a bit.
And yes, I do believe that it works. I didn’t really expect to feel dramatically better but I did. On a run with Nick I noticed that I felt great and that I was “in the zone” – then I noticed myself not falling asleep on the train coming home from work – I also noticed myself waking more rested and ready to start my day. At first I didn’t realize these were the effects of Thrive Tonic. I’ve been journaling how I feel (as recommended by my Tri Training reading materials) and I was trying to figure out “what’s different” and “why all the improvements” – the only “new thing” I could attribute my feelings to was the Thrive Tonic – I’ve done everything else same ol’ same ol’ – so that must say something about its efficacy right?
Then I thought, OK now that I’ve done a week with Thrive Tonic, I’ll do another week without and see if the improvements go away? The only problem… I feel so good and I don’t want to just give that up for the sake of “experiment.” I like how I feel and I like not being tired all the time. I like getting a good night’s sleep and waking up refreshed. I like having the extra energy to stay up and watch a movie after a long run. Am I really willing to risk all of that just to see if its the Tonic that provides me all of this? I’m not so sure.
So yes, as far as I can tell, Thrive Tonic really does live up to its promises.
You can find Thrive Tonic at Merry’s Shop, Mill Creek Herbs in Salt Lake City or at the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market (she’s in the north east corner) every Saturday.
You can also purchase online at ThriveTonic.com
Want to know more? Merry has a book called Herbs for All, Herbal Knowledge for Home, Kitchen, Garden and Health Care she also offers classes at her shop where you can learn about things like herb gardening, using herbs with kids and family, and medicinal use of herbs at home.
*As with all such statements about herbs and supplements, this one has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration** and the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
**Personal side note, the FDA really should start evaluating herbs and supplements. For one thing, we’d be a lot safer if we had warning labels about the interactions and also the dosages. Many herbs are just as potent, if not more so, than OTC and perscription drugs – we should have a better system of monitoring the food safety of these items. [end rant]
*Disclaimer* I am not a dietician, herbalist or any other type of trained professional. I am sharing my personal experience taking Thrive Tonic and excerpts of what I have read about the various herbs. Please consult a professional before starting any herbal supplement or supplement routine. I was not paid to write this post nor did I receive compensation of any kind. As always, the opinions shared are my own.
Do you take herbal supplements? If you do, what are you taking and why do you like it?