NAMAS-TEA: The Healing Ritual of Good Pharma

After Jill Portman and her partner, Gary Shinner, sold Mighty Leaf Tea Company to Peet’s in 2014, Portman took a much needed and much deserved break before considering her next move. That move ended up being a re-entry into the beverage market, inspired by her personal journey in dealing with a medical illness that responded not to Western medicine, but to ancient herbal remedies featuring plant-based ingredients.

Good Pharma launched mid-2021 and is the result of Portman’s deep dive into the worlds of functional mushrooms, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda. During her 20-year journey in building Mighty Leaf, she traveled frequently to remote corners of the world where she was offered a window into these alternative healing practices and where, time and again, she witnessed and participated in tea ceremonies alongside these centuries-old medicinal rituals.

Jill Portman, founder of Good Pharma

Over the last four years, Portman has conferred with keepers of ancient medicinal knowledge about creating and optimizing formulas while foraging the world for the best and highest quality mushrooms and plant-based botanical extracts. “Our unique process converts these key botanical extracts into proprietary granules that deliver a far superior experience through concentrated bioavailability. We call these Rxtracts,” said Portman.

These natural ingredients are the heart of Good Pharma’s four distinctive teas and coffee blends packaged in colorful individual packets with yoga pose-inspired graphics and manufactured in Morocco by Portman’s business partner whom she and Shinner met during their years of travel. Each blend is intended to provide alternative wellness within a daily practice.

Brain Gain is an Arabica coffee blend enhanced with lion’s mane mushroom and rhodiola extracts to support cognitive health and focus. No Worries is an Ayurvedic herbal tea boosted with jujube seed and other complementary botanicals to enhance a state of relaxation and calm. Rest Assured is proposed as a tasty herbal blend to enhance deep, restorative sleep; lemon balm, lemon myrtle, and other Western herbs offer a refreshing, lemony infusion. Resilience supports the immune system with its fresh brew of chaga mushroom extract and Japanese green tea.

The clever and soothing prep is as relaxing as the beverages are tasty. Each is presented within a specially crafted, pour-over infuser that attaches to a coffee mug/cup. “It’s super convenient, as you just add hot water and stir to activate our potent Rxtract granules,” said Portman, whose selection of the word “pharma” in her product name might seem surprising for one who found relief outside big pharma. “We call this ‘nature’s pharma.’ Good Pharma is an indulgent, sensorial ritual that can be enjoyed joyfully while optimizing our personal well-being.”

Such good intentions do not overlook flavor, and Good Pharma more than delivers on taste. “The smell and taste are what made me aware this was a special product,” said Good Pharma fan Tom Ferguson, a San Anselmo-based advertising executive. “The taste was incredible; it was subtle, yet amazing. The process by which to prepare and brew the tea invited a sense of awe and enjoyment. It felt like I was in control of the process, which made it feel very organic.”

And the effect? Added Ferguson of Resilience, “I had alertness and energy that no other brew has provided.”

The Good Pharma product roll-out has been targeted to establishments that share like-minded wellness principles, such as the Healing Arts Center and Spa at Sausalito’s Cavallo Point Lodge and The Spa at Napa’s Silverado Resort. A few specialty markets in Marin County (Portman’s home) also carry the product, and customers can order online, saving 10 percent via subscription.

Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Fran Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is an experienced travel, wine, and general feature writer for a variety of luxury lifestyle publications and websites. Prior to her journalism career she established and managed the Golden State Warriors' first official community relations department and efforts. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtfully eloquent writing. When not traveling, she can be found walking her Northern California neighborhood with her beloved golden retriever Nate.