.Search for Elixirs

Are they magic or medicine?

Ask five local wellness experts to explain the word “elixir” and be ready to hear five unique answers. By most counts, the word elixir is used to describe a botanical blend associated with medicinal properties, often containing various herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients.

Historically believed to possess mystical or alchemical powers that could heal ailments or grant immortality, some degree of skepticism is understandable. But that would be like throwing out the remedy with the root water.

I began my search for answers at Go Ask Alice, an herbal apothecary on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, where I asked the staff person where I could find the elixir section.

She steered me toward the tincture section, an array of small glass dropper bottles, where she explained tinctures are highly concentrated herbal extracts that can be combined with other ingredients to make an elixir. She recommended I walk a few blocks down to the Roxa, Metaphysical Tea House and Elixir Bar, where I knew right away, I had found the right place.

Slightly overwhelmed by the kaleidoscope of hammocks and the large handwritten menu, I was hesitant to splurge on what at first glance looked like a wizardly menu of herbal tea.

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The barista suggested I try Druid’s Council, which contains gotu kola, ginkgo, spearmint, and a list of herbs for improving mental clarity.

When my drink order was called, I picked up the large recyclable to-go cup. It tasted like a warm strawberry smoothie with large chunks of fruit, so filling it was practically a meal. This was an elixir I could get behind.

Still searching for answers I headed to Staff of Life’s vitamin and cosmetic department.  They walked me toward a wall of small glass bottled tinctures, similar to the Alice display, also used to make elixirs.

Sierra, the manager, suggested I look at the refrigerated drink section, with a great selection of tonics. But tonics are not elixirs, or are they?

I continued my quest at New Leaf. When I asked a wellness staffer about elixirs, she explained she considers it a marketing term. She said it’s one that reemerges now and then, in products ranging from drinks to eye cream, both of which were on sale that day. Also on sale was a Giovanni 2chic Leave-In Conditioning & Styling Elixir.

Feeling more confused than ever, I eventually reached out to Jazmin Grant, owner of Roxa Tea Lounge.  Grant explained herbal elixirs have countless purposes and properties ranging from social elixirs that have mood- and mind-altering effects to elixirs that support and tonify various organ systems. 

 “Just as an example, we have a social elixir that replicates the feeling of being drunk on alcohol without having any alcohol in it at all,” she said.  “It contains fermented succulents and plants from Africa that have historically been used for this same purpose. We call this elixir the “Wander Lust”.  

“Mercury Oil” is a shot concocted by a man who hikes into the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to pick over 100 herbs which he later ferments for seven years. ”The demilitarized zone is free from human interaction or frequencies so the herbs thrive out there,” she said.

Roxa elixirs always contain exotic herbal ingredients, and the mystical essence that goes with it. So now we know, tinctures are concentrated herbal formulas used to make tonics and elixirs.

Tonics are believed to fortify specific bodily systems, like immune or digestive imbalance, and to support overall health. Elixirs are botanical remedies used to address a specific imbalance in the body, with a healthy shot of mystical lining the way.


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