Good Pharma utilizes the power of functional mushrooms, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda in promoting well-being.
After Jill Portman and her partner Gary Shinner sold their popular Mighty Leaf Tea Company to Peet’s Coffee in 2014, Portman took a much needed 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 an illness that best responded to ancient herbal remedies with 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 (TCM) and Ayurveda. Here, Portman describes her journey from Mighty Leaf to Good Pharma.
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ICONIC: You took some time off between the sale of your popular Mighty Leaf Tea company and the Good Pharma launch. What were you doing in the interim?
Jill Portman: After we sold Mighty Leaf to Peet’s Coffee in 2014 (coming off an 18 year sprint), I caught my breath and regrounded before I started envisioning what the next chapter could look like. Gary and I love to travel and explore, so we booked lots of family trips.
We are also Vedic meditators so we joined our teacher in Rishikesh to deepen our respective practices. It was actually there, on the Ganges river, that I started to envision what the next chapter could look like.
ICONIC: Please describe your journey of discovery of ancient herbs as remedies.
Jill Portman: During our journey in tea, we were fortunate to travel extensively throughout Asia (as well as Europe) where we were exposed to many of these indigenous practices. When we returned from our trip to India we started playing around with the idea of combining both Eastern and Western herbs with functional mushrooms in a format that was not yet offered.
The notion that we could use these plant-based ingredients within the use of instant teas or coffees in a single-serve format and have it taste like a “Mighty Leaf indulging experience” intrigued us. It was complicated, but if we could make this happen, we could change the way consumers “self-care” in a ritualistic/satiating practice.
ICONIC: How did you fully educate yourself in the intricate fields of TCM and Ayurveda?
Jill Portman: We started by working in concert with a group of experts: TCM doctors, food scientists, nutritionists and functional mushroom experts/foragers etc. It was great fun, but a steep learning curve for me to say the least. My background is in sourcing fabulous teas from remote gardens and blending into great concoctions—not a lot of science there. I had to develop my left brain quickly. Being left handed, with a right brain/creative mindset, science is not my strength.
ICONIC: Can you share some of the potent ingredients used in your products, and describe their intended effect?
Jill Portman: We focused on efficacy as our mantra. Each SKU needed a blend of highly concentrated, bioavailable extracts that deliver results. To achieve this, we spent over a year developing our proprietary extract formulas that we trademarked ‘Rxtracts.’
Each has a unique blend of synergistic active plant-based botanical extracts that are full spectrum and concentrated to levels of 6:1 to 20:1. These extracts are compressed into granules and precision dosed into our infuser bag. During the steeping process these granules fully dissolve right into the cup (while the whole leaf tea or ground coffee infuses as one would expect).
A real life example: Customer A has an Oura ring. He enjoyed Rest Assured for the first time. His normal REM level is 70. After experiencing Rest Assured, his Oura ring registered a 90. That’s huge. We are changing lives one consumer at a time.
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ICONIC: Beyond the Good Pharma ingredients, you are a proponent of ‘ritual’ and its calming effects. How does Good Pharma fit into a daily ritual that can instill serenity and tranquility?
Jill Portman: We believe that the answers to a robust life are simply embodied in a consistent daily practice—a daily tea or coffee routine, from dawn to dusk. A practice that starts the day with balanced vitality sustained throughout the day, and winding down toward a rejuvenating deep sleep. It’s a cycle of daily life in awakening refreshed and full of energy in achieving fulfillment the following day.
We believe that the answers to a robust life are simply embodied in a consistent daily practice—a daily tea or coffee routine, from dawn to dusk.
ICONIC: Good Pharma products are produced in Morocco. How did you select this exotic locale as your manufacturing home?
Jill Portman: Twenty years ago, Gary and I were searching for a manufacturer to help us create a new concept (a hand-stitched whole leaf tea bag). We found this amazing family-owned business in Morocco that was creating something similar. They were able to adjust their processes to meet our objectives and the rest is history. Both companies prospered significantly over the years, but I have to say that our friendship that has endured has been the true prize. We will grow old together.
ICONIC: Your packaging itself is soothing. What is the significance of the differing black markings on each of the four varieties?
Jill Portman: We were excited about the mind/body energy created from yoga and other eastern practices. So, our design team came up with various poses to reflect the intended energy state of each SKU. They then overlayed shapes to mirror these postures.
Good Pharma products are currently found at establishments that share like-minded wellness principles, such as the Healing Arts Center and Spa at Sausalito, California’s Cavallo Point Lodge, and The Spa at Napa Valley’s Silverado Resort. A few specialty markets in California’s Marin County (Portman’s home) also carry the product, and customers can order online, saving 10% 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.