ONEDROP Wellness inherits the millennium-old legacy of Ayurveda and holistic medicine to bring novel herbal products that help you stay effortlessly healthy. In this interview, founder Mannar Mannan discusses the amazing health benefits of herbs and his vision for the future of herbal nutrition.
I'm an environmental engineer by profession, but I was always very keen on working with herbal nutrition and functional foods.
Since 2005, I've been formulating herbal products and functional foods. The concept’s still evolving, but traditionally, Indian dietary practices have a lot of functionality. The new generations forget a lot of the ancient knowledge of the food system that we had. We’re trying to revive that muscle memory of what grandma used when we had ailments as kids. This is true globally, but in India specifically, even in the last generation, we had this practice of using herbs in our daily diet.
When we started in 2015, we had the notion that if herbal nutrition can be as easy as drinking a glass of water, then it’s possible that everyone will adapt to it. People already know the herbs because there's a lot of information being shared on the internet as to which herb is good for what so we don’t have to educate them.
The basic idea was to make it very simple but at the same time, very potent, compared to the homemade alternative. It should be more potent and powerful than the conventional methods of taking a capsule or taking it in powder form.
This is how we came up with our herbal drops. Unlike capsules and powders, the use cases for herbal drops are endless. You can add them to water, coffee, or tea as it’s easily dissolved in water as well as in oil. You can add it to food as well – salads, cooked dishes, or even boiling soup.
We started with Indian herbs, but we received a lot of inquiries from other countries and every country has its popular herbs and so we thought we should also offer global ones. That's why we added basil, rosemary, valerian, and thyme which aren’t typical in India.
We plan to expand our product offering so by the end of 2022 we’ll have around 120 different herbs in our store. Whatever common herb people know of can be found in our herbal drops collection.
The versatility is much better than any other product. We’ve been piloting it for the last two and a half years and from April 2022, we’ll be launching commercially.
Right now, most of our customers are in India, but we’ve seen a lot of interest from the US as well. We have around 100+ business customers in the US. We’ve had some inquiries from people who make carbonated drinks machines with regards to the addition of concentrates to complement their product. We’ve also had some very interesting inquiries in Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, and New Zealand.
Currently, what we see is that people aren't able to use herbs daily despite wanting to. This is because they don't have daily access to fresh herbs and they don't know how to use them.
Take ginger for example. There are many methods for using it. One way is to crush it and keep the juice, leaving out the sediments. Another way is to intake fresh ginger. People see it as complex and the complexities are associated with making herbal potions or drinks or incorporating these herbs into a daily diet.
So one challenge is knowledge, the second is availability, and the third is the complexity associated with the herb.
Officially, our products fall in the supplements category, but we like to call them functional foods because there's a therapeutic value attached to them. That said, we don't claim any therapeutic value. Instead, we leave it to the customers. They know what cinnamon, ginger, and basil are good for, and some of them already use them as home remedies. Our drops just make it easier to adopt as a daily habit.
We currently process 25 different herbs, each with its own specific health benefits. For example, ginger helps with digestion and can remove fat accumulation in the blood vessels. Black Cumin is good for people with a fatty liver and cumin removes the gasses in the digestive system.
Another area where herbal drops can be used is mental health. Often, people hesitate to take a drug because they don’t want to be labeled as mentally ill. In those cases, herbs like thyme, rosemary, valerian root, and chamomile can help to keep you active, improve your mood, and regulate your sleep without being medicated.
A sip of valerian tea can immediately reduce overthinking and calm down the mind. Vetiver, an Indian herb, is becoming globally popular now as an immediate natural tranquilizer for children with ADHD. When you include it in your daily diet, It can help maintain a tranquil lifestyle.
We specifically made our line of herbal concentrates for water because it’s something that we drink in good quantities every day. We believe that our technology will change the way people drink water.
There’s a global trend toward drinking flavored water, alkaline water, ionized water, mineral water, and any non-normal water. We have a first-mover advantage because our concentrates are designed to make natural flavored water. We were the first company to offer 100% natural concentrates without any coloring.
Our first idea was that if we want people to drink it with water, the water should at least look clear. If you drink turbid colorful water, even if only mildly colored, you feel like you’re drinking something else. Psychologically, it feels more like drinking a concoction or a herbal drink, but when the water is very plain, visually clear, and with a pleasant flavor, you’ll create a habit of it. These are very simple day-to-day herbs that give a flavorful feel.
We believe that we can convert a sizable portion of the global population to drink their daily water with these herbs. Each one of us has some problem that gives us a reason to try it at one point or another. If you find yourself getting sleepy in the middle of a working day, you can make a habit of drinking rosemary water, which is very pleasantly flavored and improves your mood instantly.
We believe people will start drinking herbal water and make it a habit, and that a good portion of the population will carry herbal water in their bags wherever they go. This will change the way we drink water.
It can also change the way we consume herbs. Currently, this kind of format doesn’t exist in Pharma, but it’s the most convenient form. People will shift more towards herbal drops rather than capsules and powders, not just for the sake of convenience, but also because of the effectiveness of these herbs.
In our production, we use a nanotechnology process that makes these active compounds into nanoparticles. This is an established drug delivery system but so far, it’s only been used in very advanced drugs where they convert the active compounds into nanoparticles and put it in a carrier for the customer to tremendously increase the bioavailability. We’re using almost the same technology to give a day-to-day experience that’s far more effective than using fresh herbs.
It goes with water so naturally, the bioavailability increases. We have reduced the size of the active compounds so the bioavailability is much more potent. When we compare normal herbal nutrition, it's not only easy and flavorful, but it’s also more potent. Customers see improvements within a week's time. We have several such feedbacks from our customers, especially people who suffer from insomnia and blood pressure. Unlike conventional herbal remedies, our customers see the results quickly, so we believe that this technology will change the way people consume herbs.
Currently, we only sell our products on Amazon India, but starting from May 2022, our products will be available in the US through amazon.com, and a few months after that, they’ll be available globally. Our website currently caters only to the Indian market, but from May, we’ll be shipping all over the world.