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How This Came to Be

The Charismatism Tea Company Story

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March 2008 - On the road to recovery!

When I first got sick, I relied on a product that I had been using off and on for several years, "Green Tea Antioxidant Blend" manufactured by Puritan's Pride. I was so pleased with this product for so many reasons that I often took advantage of their "Buy 2 Get 3 Free" and gave them out to my friends. I would take them regularly along with my vitamins for long periods of time and then I would forget and fall off until I felt bad or sad or mad again. Then I would pull out the bottle and almost immediately, that "pretty" feeling would reappear.

 
I had a small stockpile when I was diagnosed from my work as an EMT but those ran out fairly quickly now that I remembered to take two daily. I tried to create a good combination of herbs and multi-vitamins along with these two magic green pills every day and day by day, I got stronger and happier and began to rebuild my life. I turned a hobby of making jewelry into a real business and I opened a small shop which I still operate. Things were moving along just fine and my health was holding supplemented only by a once a month shot for the cancer side effects and my regular bunch of herbs. Then something happened to my "Green Tea Antioxidant Blend."


It wasn't in the new Puritan's Pride catalog. I called and placed the order successfully. The operator had no explanation for its absence from the catalog. The next time I ran low, I figured I would buy a case, just to make sure. They were only expecting me to live another six months as it was. I had become so completely aware of the difference in my emotional state while taking those two pills everyday that I truly believed that they were essential to my quality of life. They made me feel beautiful. And the better I felt emotionally, the better my health became.
 
That's when the unthinkable happened. I was told by the operator that this product had been discontinued. There was no stockpile at any warehouse. There were no plans to make a replacement product.   Period.   I whined. I pleaded. I talked my way up the chain of command as far as I could go and even with my story about having cancer and believing their product aided in my quality of life, the best they could do for me was offer to provide my doctor with more details of their proprietary blend if he would write a request for it and substantiate my health claims. 
 
Well, that didn't happen.
 
Even though my doctor has remained open minded regarding my herb use, he could not do this. I was freaked. My supply was ending. I had stopped taking them to save the last week's worth for when I would really need it. I tried all kinds of outlets to find more. I ran "want ads" on eBay. I am ashamed to say that I even went back to two friends I thought may not have taken theirs. One HAD taken it and the other had SOLD it! 

All along, I was raised with a healthy understanding of Mother Nature's gifts. I already took herbal supplements to try to help my body stay healthy. Garlic, glucosamin, chondroitin, multi-vitamins with minerals, lecithin, cayenne and milk thistle for detoxifying. I read carefully the ingredients in the Puritan's Pride formula. I was familiar with most of them so I tried to recreate them. Nothing provided the "pretty" feeling that I wanted so desperately to retain. Too much green tea and I got jittery. I distinctly felt the differences in the individual ingredients and I tried to find dosages that were comfortable but nothing gave me the feeling I was looking for. In desperation, I went back to the label to once again look at the herbs I had dismissed because I didn't recognize them or couldn't find them in the vitamin aisle.

Rhodiola rosea. Now what the heck was that one?  I had never heard of it before. And it wasn't in any of my herb books. So I looked it up online and lo and behold-----this botanical was an ancient plant used in Russia and China and India. It was in a newly created category of herbs called adaptogens and apparently worked some kind of magic on the chemistry of the brain to reset it with a feeling of well being. (You can read some of my research by following links provided in this site.) I searched the internet for products containing rhodiola. Finally, on a site called iHerb.com, I found a brand of rhodiola that came in several strengths from 100 mg to 800 mg. I wisely ordered the 100 mg so I could play with the dosages. So thus began my journey with rhodiola.

I was already taking my regular herbs, all the ones I mentioned plus I had added Pomegranate, Mangosteen, Cat's Claw, Pau D'arco and Tumeric to help with the cancer fight. I was taking so many capsules that I got to thinking about making a tea out of the ones that were compatible.

 

OK, Rhodiola doesn't taste very good so I added other herbs to try to blend a product that addressed my needs and still tasted good enough to drink without holding my nose. I kind of liked the tea I ended up with but it still needed something. I experimented with natural sugar substitutes but they detracted more than they added so I made a list of all the naturally sweet botanicals I could think of and began researching which ones would provide the most benefit in the drink. Goji berries, along with Pomegranate and Mangosteen provided the solution to the sweet flavor. I had already employed Sarsaparilla to bind my other flavors together and a small amount of Green Tea. My biggest intention was to create a drink that had no drug interactions, no toxic levels and virtually no stimulants. I had managed to blend in two of my previously favorite herbs, Milk Thistle as a cleanser and White Willow for gentle analgesic pain relief. With the addition of the adaptogens for strength and stamina and stress relief as well as mental support and complimenting that combination with the synergistic combination of two nervines, Damiana and Passion Flower which have a calming effect and increase the flow of blood and thus oxygen to the brain, well, my formula seemed complete.

 

It took a lot of tries, 13 to be exact to get the formula to the place where I felt the "pretty" feeling and also had strength and stamina and just bushel baskets full of inspiration. Then came the inspiration to maybe get my friends to try it. That snowballed into, man, you ought to bottle this stuff. My first trials, when I decided to start a company were delivered in sterilized Dassani water bottles. I brewed the ingredients separately and mixed them and dispensed them out of a refrigerator in my jewelry shop. Through trial and error and with the help of loving friends, I came up with the formula for Zana13 Adaptogenic Tea. One of the largest hurdles I came to after I knew what I wanted was finding the ingredients. The first bulk Rhodiola I found was over $90 a pound.  As more Americans are hearing about it, the supply is becoming a little easier but with all my newfound Rhodiola bolster, I decided to import my own.

 

I found sources for all my herbs in the countries where they were growing. I have now made relationships with growers in China, India and Mexico and the United States for the 14 herbs in my blend. I have maintained my commitment to purchase only organic or wildcrafted produce when possible and all of it has been sampled and tested to enforce standards of purity and proof of absence of fungus, mold or contamination. I still mix my formula in a big bowl, 20 cups at a time before I pour it into the 12 gallon airtight cannisters prior to bottling. I hired some kids from my neighborhood high school along with my friends and neighbors and we glove up and wear masks and pour the tea powder into jars. I hope to turn this cottage business into a real economic opportunity for my community as well as a way for everyone to pursue better health and drive.

 

So here it is. And to my friends who waded through Zana4, Zana7 and especially Zana9, you have my heartfelt gratitude and love.

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