Behind the Brand

Behind the Brand: Organic India

Settle in with a cup of your favourite Tulsi tea and discover why ORGANIC INDIA is one of the most humble tea-makers around.

Sarada - team leader for ORGANIC INDIA Australia & New Zealand, naturopath, & yogi - shares with us the driving force behind this ethical enterprise, explains why tulsi is 'The Queen Of Herbs' and more in this fascinating Behind The Brand interview. 

You have a unique business model, prioritising the planet and its people over profits. Can you tell us about how your model works and why you decided to structure ORGANIC INDIA this way?

ORGANIC INDIA was founded over 20 years ago with a mission to share India’s ancient Ayurvedic medicinal wisdom, in the form of herbal teas and supplements, with the rest of the world. But equally as significant, to establish a sustainable business model that would support the livelihood of thousands of marginalised farmers in India by providing training and education, enabling self-sufficiency and skills that could be passed on to future generations. 

Creating a truly ethical enterprise was important to us since it reflected the True Wellness we hold as a guiding principle.

After witnessing the critical and toxic state of India’s agriculture, ORGANIC INDIA began establishing partnerships with small family farmers throughout rural India, training them in organic regenerative agriculture methods and paying the costs associated with their certified organic accreditation.  This model works because we don’t just trade with the farmers, the farmers are part of the ORGANIC INDIA family.

From one farmer to a network of over 2000, over 10,000 acres of once degraded, chemically- ravaged soil has been transformed into productive organic farmland that produces quality organic crops and herbs. The farmers and their families consume the organic food crops themselves, whilst the herbs they cultivate become the beautiful organic Tulsi (Holy Basil) Teas and herbal supplements you see in stores around the world.

Along the way, ORGANIC INDIA has become a certified B Corporation, and for the last two years has placed in the top 10% of all certified B Corporations, scoring exceptionally well for ‘Mission and Engagement’, ‘Corporate Culture’, ‘Toxic Reduction and Remediation’ and ‘Supply Chain Poverty Alleviation’.

Organic India Tulsi Tea

The ORGANIC INDIA True Wellness Collection celebrates your overarching guiding principle, True Wellness. What does true wellness mean to you as a business and why is it an important part of your brand?

All ORGANIC INDIA products support health and True Wellness and are made with loving care. Each product is one link in a chain of connectedness between Mother Nature, our farmers and you. By choosing ORGANIC INDIA you are completing this chain, actively participating in our mission to create a sustainable environment of True Wellness, providing training and a life of dignity to our farmers, and bringing health, happiness and True Wellness to you.

ORGANIC INDIA teas are created around the ancient practice of Ayurveda. Which Ayurvedic herbs do you include in your blends and what health benefits do they offer?

We have many Ayurvedic herbs in the Tulsi tea range. Obviously, all blends contain Tulsi, The Queen of Herbs. Ashwagandha is possibly the most well-known herb we use. Like Ashwagandha, Tulsi is an herbal adaptogen, which means it assists the body-mind to respond in a healthy way to any form of stress whether that is physical, environmental, mental or emotional. It gives energy and stamina, without being stimulating. It also promotes calm, without being sedating. It is a nourishing, rejuvenating, balancing tonic herb.

Nourishment is a key theme across the Ayurvedic herbs- Gotu Kola nourishes the nervous system, Moringa nourishes the whole body with essential nutrition, Shankpushpi (in our SLEEP blend) nourishes our memory and intellect while we sleep soundly. Licorice nourishes the adrenal glands as well as the digestive system. 

If Tulsi is the Queen of Herbs in Ayurveda, then Turmeric is regarded the King of Spices, and Ginger is considered the Universal Healer. These ingredients feature across many of the blends as does Cinnamon, which is anti-inflammatory and balances blood sugar levels. 

We have a small range of caffeinated blends containing antioxidant rich green tea and the traditional Indian chai – Masala Chai, containing organic black tea and warming spices, blended with Tulsi. 

Stress-relieving, immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich, nourishing herbs are the common thread across the blends. 

The unique chemistry of Tulsi is highly complex, containing hundreds of phytochemicals that support us against germs, stress and disease.

You create your teas with a ‘whole herb philosophy’. Can you explain what this means and why it’s beneficial?

Whole herb prescribing is a traditional Ayurvedic prescribing principle. It harnesses the wisdom of the entire herb- rather than selecting a standardised extract. We are using whole herb consciousness to meet the innate healing intelligence of the body, to nourish, and to heal.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tulsi is such an impressive herb. Can you share with us why it’s the primary ingredient in ORGANIC INDIA teas?

How much time do we have?! 

In Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicine system and the oldest traditional medicine system in the world, Tulsi (or Holy Basil) is considered ‘The Queen of Herbs’. Also known as Sacred Basil, Mother of All Herbs, and The Incomparable One - Tulsi is the herb that has been literally worshipped by the ancient sages and wise people of India for its life-giving properties. Yogis and meditators have used Tulsi to awaken higher states of consciousness for over 5000 years. Traditional householders in the Hindu religion keep Tulsi in an earthenware pot in the courtyard or by the doorstep of the family home to purify and protect all inhabitants.  This herb is steeped in history and culture for its incredible healing properties. 

As an herbal adaptogen (an herb that supports a healthy stress response), the stress-relieving, mood-enhancing and immune boosting effect of this incredible plant is the basis for all blends in the ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi range. 

Modern scientific research confirms that Tulsi reduces stress, enhances stamina, relieves inflammation, lowers cholesterol, eliminates toxins, protects against radiation, prevents gastric ulcers, lowers fevers, improves digestion, provides a rich supply of antioxidants and other nutrients and supports blood vessels, liver and lungs.

The unique chemistry of Tulsi is highly complex, containing hundreds of phytochemicals that support us against germs, stress and disease.

Organic India Farmers

Your admirable business model ensures an impressive network of over 2,000 family-farmers and wild-crafters in northern India learn and practice eco-friendly farming techniques. We’d love to learn how your farmers produce your ingredients. 

All of our farmers (including many women) and tribal wild-crafters are educated in organic and biodynamic agricultural practices and we cover the fees associated with acquiring organic certifications. But our commitment goes beyond the farm to help enhance the lives of our farmers through fair-market wages, access to healthcare, education and training, empowerment and gender equality programs as well as infrastructure improvements. When farmers succeed, their villages also prosper, leading to a collective increase in quality of life.

You’ve spoken before about ‘wild harvesting’ being an important part of ORGANIC INDIA’s farming philosophy. Can you explain what this means?

Most of the Ayurvedic herbs incorporated in the Tulsi tea range and the herbal supplement range are grown by our farmers. However, some herbs cannot be cultivated- only growing in wild forests and therefore need to be carefully monitored and harvested to ensure sustainability. ORGANIC INDIA ensures proper training and monitoring of wild harvesting to ensure these herbs can thrive for future use. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We adore the entire ORGANIC INDIA range, often struggling to decide which blend to brew. If you had to pick one, which tea in your range can’t you live without?

Ooh, this is hard- I have a favourite blend for every hour of the day.

Some of my morning faves are Tulsi Original, Turmeric Ginger & Tulsi WELLNESS.

Some of my afternoon favourites are the sweeter blends - Tulsi Licorice Spice, Tulsi Peppermint, Tulsi Sweet Rose (on ice in Summer) or Tulsi Masala Chai with bonsoy and some natural sweetener.

Evening teas that I love are Tulsi SLEEP, and Tulsi Honey Chamomile

As you can probably see, I couldn’t live without my Tulsi tea ☺ 

Are there any exciting new tea blends in the works? If so, can you give us any hints?

Yes! Tulsi Green Ashwagandha is on the boat - a delicious, invigorating blend of Tulsi, Green tea, Ashwagandha and Lemongrass. Just in time for Spring ☺  

We also have a couple of very specific immune-boosting blends based on traditional Ayurvedic beverages that are currently being named. I can’t wait to share these with our Aussie community.

Miranda Gray

Article by Miranda Gray

Miranda has had a background in the health and wellness industry for over eight years, and is a co-founder of Aussie Health Products.

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