Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mary Janes' Relaxing Soda

I came across something a little different, recently, that advertises itself as a perfectly legal and healthy alternative. Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda, claimed by its purveyors, offers something many people find in substances that might have limited medical use but aren’t quite legal. Interestingly, they suggest this frosty drink proffers the mellow without the hangover.

The claim to an all-natural experience includes a pretty limited ingredient list as well. Carbonated water, Cane Sugar, and Herbal Extracts. Mary Jane’s Soda, Inc. maintain the beneficial properties of each of these ingredients on their website. The soda is “lightly” carbonated to open the taste buds rather than overwhelm. All-natural Cane Sugar has a preferred taste to the more common Corn Syrup. It is the Herbal Extracts, however, that lends the real punch. Of these they list two specific extracts: Passion Flower and Kava.

Passion Flower’s leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America and were adapted by the colonists. The fresh or dried leaves of Maypop are used to make an infusion, a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its painkilling properties. This plant has been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids which are MAOIs with anti-depressant properties. The flower and fruit has only traces of these chemicals, but the leaves and the roots are often more potent and have been used to enhance the effects of mind-altering drugs. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked.

Kava is a tranquilizer primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones. In some parts of the Western World, kava extract is marketed as herbal medicine against stress, insomnia, and anxiety. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded that it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety. Safety concerns have been raised over liver toxicity, although research indicates that this may be largely due to the use of stems and leaves in supplements, which were not used indigenously.

Since most people do not consider the negative side effects of their legal drugs of choice, I do not think many who would drink this will either. I just thought it interesting that there is such a drink being peddled in a way that just about anyone can get it.
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