Presentation Transcript


Rooted Pharmacy was started by my girlfriend, Yuvana Ellappen, and myself, Theashen Moodley. Yuvana and I have had our own journeys with mental and physical health, nutrition (we’re both vegetarian) and spirituality. These journeys have taught us that sometimes; conventional medicine isn’t the answer, nutrition is the backbone of health and wellbeing, and that self-awareness and mindfulness are part of spiritual growth.

The lessons that we learnt and are still learning were used to form the 3 pillars of Rooted Pharmacy and dictate the product offering we have available. The 3 pillars of our organisation are phytotherapy, nutraceuticals and conscious consumerism. In this speech I will go through these pillars, by defining them, providing real life examples and delving into our product offerings. As our company grows and develops, these pillars will be expanded to try and create a truly holistic health care environment for everyone.


To define phytotherapy I would like to start with a question. Raise your hand if you have ever taken Disprin or used a face wash containing Salicylic acid? Salicylic acid is the primary metabolite of Aspirin, which is the active ingredient in Disprin, and it is found in numerous skincare products. Did you know that Salicylic acid was first isolated from willow bark in 1838 (PubChem, 2023). In fact, Salicylic acid is commonly found in Meadowsweet, White Willow, Lady’s Mantle, Ammoniacum, Wintergreen and Sweet Cherry (Chevallier, 2016).

So, what exactly is phytotherapy? Phytotherapy is the use of plant-derived medicine (called phytomedicine) in the treatment and prevention of disease. In hearing this definition, you may be asking yourself, “isn’t phytotherapy just herbalism with a medical degree?” Well, you’re not wrong. Phytotherapy is a science-based medical practice, were as herbalism is predicated on traditional knowledge (Heinrich, 2024). Phytotherapy bridges the gap between herbalism and conventional medicine. It proves, scientifically, the medicinal benefits of plant derived medications that our ancestors kept harping on and on about for centuries. Ironic right?

Why do we need phytomedicine when we have conventional medicine and herbal medicine? Firstly, as modern civilisations we tend to forget that we have only been using conventional medicine for roughly 70 years. Conventional medicine is founded on the principal of synthesizing and patenting isolated plant chemicals, like Salicylic acid, because you can’t patent the whole plant, but you can patent everything in it (Chevallier, 2016). Pharmaceutical patents allow companies to make huge profits by giving them the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling their pharmaceuticals.

Herbal medicine utilises the value offered by the whole plant and not just one isolated chemical. Plants contain numerous constituent chemicals that interact in complex ways to sometimes offer greater healing efficacy and fewer side effects to conventional medicine (Chevallier, 2016). While herbal medicine is fantastic, try asking your doctor to prescribe White Willow for your Arthritis. Homeopaths, herbalists and phytotherapists are some of the few people that know how to prescribe herbal medicine, their side effects and potential drug interactions.

Phytomedicine is based on scientific evidence, like conventional medicine, while offering the whole plant medicinal benefits offered by herbal medicine. Besides being the middle ground between conventional and herbal medicine, phytomedicine promotes self knowledge and discovery by making information available to everyone.

Rooted Pharmacy Phytotherapy Offering

Rooted Pharmacy has a growing offering of phytomedicine by suppliers such as Aether Apothecary, Cannaco, Crede, Elixinol, Liquid Gold Lube, Pannatural Pets and Rawbiotics. We will also be expanding deeper into this space so stay tuned to our social media for updates.

Because we are in the middle of the flu season, I want to use this time to provide some information on one of the products we have with us here today. The Immunity tincture is a herbal extract by Aether Apothecary that consists of Astragalus root, African Potato, Cat’s Claw, Birch Leaf and Lion’s Tail. Aether Apothecary uses a proprietary subcritical, triple-extraction method that ensures you are getting quality whole plant medicinal benefits at the highest potency (i.e., you don’t have to eat half a kilo of bark to feel the effects).

Astragalus Root is known in traditional Chinese medicine to be a qi tonic – that which restores and balances life force energy. This root shows exceptional benefit to the immune system, being an ally in defending off any contaminants and pathogens through increasing white blood cell production. It additionally has shown to be a phenomenal medicine to boost other tonic herbs and immune boosting herbs, therefore heightening their effects on the body. It has shown some other benefits in reducing allergies, promoting kidney health and supporting heart health (Aether Apothecary, 2024).

African Potato is full of plant sterols and sterolins, this amazing African gem contains a chemical called beta-sitosterol which scientists have found to strengthen the immune system, even in cases where physical stress is present. It has even been researched for aiding in treatment of HIV and cancer (Aether Apothecary, 2024).

Cat’s Claw is a tropical vine that has shown amazing benefit in supporting natural immunity and providing balance to an under or overactive immune system. It has been shown to decrease the likelihood of infection and is additionally a great anti inflammatory (Aether Apothecary, 2024).

Birch Leaf contains high amounts of vitamin C. It is not only an amazing source of antioxidants, which aids in maintaining cellular health, but additionally (due to vitamin C) is a great antimicrobial. Vitamin C also allows for better absorption of nutrients which supports the entire body. Birch leaves are high in flavonoids which protect the body from oxidative stress. Birch leaves also contain tannins and saponins which promote the development of T-cells. Birch leaves are a great detoxifier for the liver and kidneys (Aether Apothecary, 2024).

Lion’s Tail (aka Wild Dagga) are towering orange beauties are a true ally in preventing infection and nipping one in the bud if it has started. A great medicine for upper respiratory ailments. It acts as an expectorant, easing coughs and sinus infections. Lion’s tail also eases headaches, calms a fever, tonifies the liver and contains leonurine which is both an antioxidant and cardioprotective (Aether Apothecary, 2024).

The Immunity tincture is one of the best ways to avoid ailments and infections before hand, thus ensuring that your body is strong enough to ward off the risk of disease.


“You are what you eat?” Show of hands for those that have come across this phrase. A lot of us have heard this phrase or seen it somewhere, but let’s take it one step further. “You are what you absorb from what you eat” is a quote from Andrew Chevallier, the author of the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Andrew explains in his book that the nutrients you put into your body strengthen and support the action of the digestive system, thus speeding up the rate of processing food and improving the absorption of even more nutrients (Chevallier, 2016).  

Another great saying was by the Greek physician Hippocrates, who was known as the father of medicine. He said, “let food be your medicine.” Pretty amazing quote from a guy that lived over 2400 years ago and died at the age of 90, in a period where people were dying because they didn’t wash their hands before eating. So, what does a herbalist author, a Greek physician and food have to do with nutraceuticals? Well, the word Nutraceutical is a combination of the word “nutrient” and “pharmaceutical”. A nutraceutical is a food that offers basic nutritional value in combination with medicinal or health-promoting properties. Nutraceuticals are grouped into four categories, namely dietary supplements, functional food, medicinal food and farmaceuticals (Meštrović, 2022).

Dietary supplements are products that contain nutrients derived from food products in a liquid, capsule, powder or pill form. Functional foods have enriched or enhanced components that may reduce chronic disease or provide health benefits beyond the nutrients that the food already contains. Medical food is administered internally, for dietary management of a disease or condition. Medical food is administered under the supervision of a doctor and has nutritional requirements that are established by medical evaluation and are based on recognised scientific principles. Farmaceuticals come from modified crops and animals, that offer medical value (Meštrović, 2022).

Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer and osteoporosis are some of the leading health conditions in South Africa that can benefit from nutraceuticals (statista, 2019) (Zikmund, 2024). Furthermore, half of all adult South Africans are either overweight (23%) or obese (27%). In a blog post I wrote recently, which you can view on our website, I reviewed how probiotics may help people lose weight. The conclusion was that a low-fat diet coupled with probiotics (a nutraceutical) will result in weight loss when compared with diets that don’t contain probiotics. I also concluded that a high-fat diet coupled with probiotics show exceptional promise in slowing weight gain and may even contribute to weight loss in some instances.

Rooted Pharmacy Nutraceutical Offering

At Rooted Pharmacy we have entered the field of nutraceuticals in a manner that is well researched and validated. Some of our nutraceutical offerings come from suppliers such as Aether Apothecary, Cannaco (for pets), Crede, Culture Lab, Elixinol, Happy Culture, Rawbiotics and Tubby’s Kitchen. If you visit our stall, you will see our infused vegan hot chocolate offering, which is a vegan hot chocolate with a herbal infusion of one of our Aether Apothecary tinctures or our CBD tincture.

This is the simplest form of nutraceuticals as we take our herbal tinctures and add them to a drink. This helps shift the thought process from merely seeing food and medicine separately, to letting food be your medicine. We will be expanding our nutraceuticals into more readily consumable products so keep an eye on our social media to see what’s coming.

This month we focused on probiotics and in the theme of nutraceuticals I want to read some of my blog post on 5 of the best probiotic foods that aren’t yoghurt. If you’re lactose intolerant, then this shit is just for you. No pun intended. The 5 probiotic foods that I discussed in the blog were Water Kefir, Tempeh, Kimchi, Kombucha and Pickles.

Water kefir is made by fermenting a combination of sugar water and water kefir grains for between 24 and 48 hours (Ajmera, 2023) (Guzel-Seydim, et al., 2021). Studies have shown that water kefir may lower (Guzel-Seydim, et al., 2021):

  • Anticarcinogenic or anticarcinomic effect (prevention or delay in the development of cancer).
  • Hepatoprotective effect (prevention of damage to the liver).
  • Cholesterol lowering effect.
  • Blood-sugar reducing effect.
  • Anti-microbial effect.
  • Modification of gastrointestinal system.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity (helps to relax the veins and arteries).
  • Improve wound healing.
  • Anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Anti-oxidant effect.
  • Gastroprotective effect.

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food that is made by fermenting soybeans, wheat or a mixture of soybeans and wheat (Teoh, et al., 2024). Tempeh has a firm, dry and chewy texture, with a slightly nutty taste, like mushrooms. Tempeh is a great vegan or vegetarian high protein meat alternative, which is also packed with nutrients (Ajmera, 2021). Studies have shown that tempeh may offer the following health benefits (Teoh, et al., 2024):

  • Anti-diabetes effects.
  • Cognitive function improvement.
  • Cholesterol lowering properties and cardiovascular health improvement.
  • Antitumor and anticancer properties.
  • Anti-aging effect.
  • Antihypertensive effect (reduces high blood pressure).
  • Gut health improvement and antidepressant effect

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that consists of fermenting cabbage with seasonings. Kimchi may also contain other vegetables like celery, carrot, cucumber etc (Snyder, 2023). Studies have shown that kimchi may offer the following health benefits (Park, et al., 2014) (Snyder, 2023):

  • Antioxidative and anticancer effect.
  • Antimutagenic effects.
  • Boosts immune function.
  • Antiobesity effect.
  • Antimicrobial activities.
  • Improved gut health.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Prevent yeast infections.

Kombucha consists of sugar, black tea and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) (Smith, 2022) (Leech, 2023). Check out our stall to see our kombucha offering. The following lists some potential health benefits of kombucha (Kapp & Sumner, 2019):

  • Antimicrobial benefits.
  • Improved liver and gastrointestinal function.
  • Health prophylactic and recovery through immune stimulation.
  • Detoxification effects.
  • Antioxidant effects.
  • Antitumour properties.
  • Inhibiting the development and progression of cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes managements.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Normalisation of central nervous system function.

The act of fermentation pickling is broadly defined as the preservation of fruits, vegetables etc. in a mixture of salt and water (Stevens, 2023). Correctly fermented pickles have shown the following potential health benefits (Behera, et al., 2020):

  • Lowers serum cholesterol.
  • Immunity booster and prevents cellular damage.
  • Protector from diabetes.
  • Antimutagenic activity.
  • Broad spectrum antimicrobial, auto-aggregation, and co aggregation.
  • Improve digestion and enhance gut microbiome.

Conscious Consumerism

When I was first learning about meditation, I watched a video of a seminar by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, an accomplished Tibetan Buddhist and meditation teacher. He completed an exercise with the audience on who should be allowed to meditate. I would like to repeat that exercise with everyone here. Rinpoche said that only those that are self-aware are allowed to meditate and thus I will determine through 3 questions who in the audience is allowed to meditate.

Raise your hand if you feel like you are self-aware. Those that have raised their hands are self-aware, and thus you are all allowed to meditate. Raise your hand if you feel like you aren’t self-aware. Those that have raised their hands are aware that they aren’t self aware and are thus self-aware. So, you are allowed to meditate as well. Lastly, raise your hand if you aren’t sure if you are self-aware. Those that have raised their hands are aware that they aren’t sure if they are self-aware and thus, they are self-aware. So, you are also allowed to meditate.

The point of the exercise was to prove that everyone is self aware, regardless of your own predisposed belief in your self-awareness, and that everyone is allowed to meditate. Now that everyone is aware that they are self-aware, do you believe that you are a conscious consumer? A conscious consumer is someone that is mindful and aware of their buying habits and the products they choose to purchase (Monaghan, 2023).

If you buy something that is inexpensive then you may be aware of your finances and mindful of not overspending. If you buy something that is sustainable then you may be aware of your environmental impact and mindful of reusability. If you participate in holistic health care here, then you may be aware of your internal struggles and you are mindful of the healing you require.

If we, as a collective abide by conscious consumerism we may have lasting impacts on social equity, climate change, sustainability, global healing and so much more. Ultimately, conscious consumerism should always be about one’s own values and is a personal experience.

Here are 7 ways to be a more
conscious consumer.

  1. Check your consumption – do I really need that extra-large slab of chocolate or am I just stressed?
  2. Do your due diligence – is my body wash cruelty free?
  3. Push for systemic change – does this brand use child labour?
  4. Support culture, not companies – is this brand local or are these ingredients locally sourced?
  5. Use your voice – use customer service to voice your opinions and complaints, but keep in mind that the person on the other end is getting minimum wage and is just as gatvol as you.
  6. Buy second hand, buy better – can I thrift that jacket I really wanted, or is this packaging recycled?
  7. Combat consumer culture, find what’s right for you – did google just programme my brain into wanting these shoes or do I really want these shoes? (Monaghan, 2023).

Rooted Pharmacy and Conscious Consumerism

All the brands that we partner with at Rooted Pharmacy offer some element of conscious consumerism and all our brands are proudly South African. If you’re looking for beauty products that are vegan, cruelty free, organic, for all skin types, earth friendly and do not contain harsh chemicals then check out the Back 2 Nature and Hey Gorgeous products at our stall or our Nomakade and Crede products online. If you’re looking for aromatherapy that may help to reduce pain in the body and improve the body’s stress response, while also repelling mosquitos then check out the Palo Santo incense at our stall (Nunez, 2020). If you want sustainable and earth friendly cotton pads, toothbrushes and body brushes then check out our Natural Life products online.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for phytomedicine, nutraceuticals and products tailored to conscious consumers then Rooted Pharmacy has you covered. For more information on any of the topics discussed here today, feel free follow us on social media, check the blog posts on our website or come and have a chat with us. Thank you and have grounded day!


Aether Apothecary, 2024. Immunity - 30ml Extract. [Online]
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Ajmera, R., 2021. Why Tempeh Is Incredibly Healthy and Nutritious. [Online]
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Chevallier, A., 2016. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: DK Publishing.

Guzel-Seydim, Z. B., Gökırmaklı, Ç. & Greene, A. K., 2021. A comparison of milk kefir and water kefir: Physical, chemical, microbiological and functional properties. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Volume 113, pp. 42-53.

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Monaghan, M., 2023. What is Conscious Consumerism – And Is It The Future?. [Online]
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[Accessed 23 May 2024].

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[Accessed 24 May 2024].

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Patra, J. K., Das, G., Paramithiotis, S. & Shin, H. S., 2016. Kimchi and Other Widely Consumed Traditional Fermented Foods of Korea: A Review. Front Microbiol, 28(7), p. 1493.

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