WAKU Wellness tonic founders Nicolas Estrella, 26, and Juan Giraldo, 29, blended 20 herbs known for their health benefits to make an infusion inspired by the fabled “healing water” of their homeland Ecuador.
Nature provides the goodness of plants but relies on man to act as its compounding pharmacist.
Healing water has been consumed for centuries in the Andes Mountains, said CEO Giraldo. “The name comes from the word wanku, which means “together” in Quechua, the language of the indigenous people of Ecuador,” he said. Ingredients include dried mint, rose petals, chamomile, lemongrass and Escancel, a bright reddish-purple botanical with aromatic leaves steeped to treat symptoms of colds and lung disorders.
The drink, called “horchata lojana” locally, is an anti-inflammatory usually consumed daily with meals and known to aid digestion and cure other ills, Estrella told the Boston Globe.
Giraldo said the company works closely with indigenous farmers
from Chuquiribamba in the southern Andes region where harvesting ingredients
for the drink improve the livelihood of growers, he said. The village is in the
province of Loja, which is known for its culture, people and for being a
combination of highland, cloud forest, and jungle, he said.
He said Loja is the perfect place to cultivate and grow a wide variety of organic herbs and flowers because of its good weather and rich soil. The village has fewer than 3,000 hardworking people, almost all of whom are farmers who love and make their living from nature. “Our dream is to create a brand that customers really LOVE and is good for their body, by sharing traditions from the Andes Mountains of Ecuador with the world, and make a bigger impact on more families,” he said.
The crowd-funded ready-to-drink beverage launched one year ago this fall and has since found its niche in natural and health food locations in and around Boston where the two now live. The blended of infusions is best served chilled. Flavors include the original Lemon Hint, Lemon and Passion Fruit. WAKU Wellness sells for $4 per 10-oz bottle.