Health & Lifestyle: An Interview with Sebastian Pole - Co-Founder & Herbal Director of Pukka

Thursday, 9 March 2017

An Interview with Sebastian Pole - Co-Founder & Herbal Director of Pukka
Pukka have been one of my favourite herbal tea brands for many years now, and I've recently started to explore their Ayurvedic health supplements which are a huge part of what the company believes in. The man behind the exquisite tea blends and the growing range of supplements is Sebastian Pole, the co-founder and Herbal Director of Pukka.    

I was lucky enough to be able to interview Sebastian to ask him about Pukka, why he loves working with herbs, what benefits the ancient Indian wellbeing practice of Ayurveda can bring to our modern way of life, and new Pukka products that he's currently developing.

Can you describe the Pukka brand in just three words? 
People, plants and planet – they’re at the core of everything we do. 

Given the political climate at the moment, a lot of people are very stressed and worried about their futures, especially the younger generation. What advice would you give to those who are looking at Ayurvedic methods to help them through these difficult times? 

Yes, it's choppy times on many fronts. Something that has always inspired me are the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian holistic philosophy that shows how to live a healthy, wholesome and more fulfilled life by balancing your mind, body and spirit. It teaches us to be proactive about our future, to take ownership of what we can be responsible for and to imbibe the power of nature. Just taking a few moments each day to marvel at the wonder of the world – a glorious sunrise, a fresh flower, some bird song – can help you stay inspired. If I ever feel a bit hopeless I sit and think of all the good things around me and make clear plans for what I can influence; for example, a few years ago I was feeling really down on the prospects of climate change so I thought ‘what can I do about it?’; so I signed up for renewable energy at home and we now make every Pukka teabag with renewable energy. Our power is in our hands.

For consumers who are new to Pukka, what one product would you recommend as a good introduction to the brand? 

I would recommend turmeric – either in the form of our Turmeric Gold tea or our turmeric supplements. Turmeric is making waves at the moment and for good reason. The potential benefits of this vibrant root for our own wellbeing are vast and there have been over 6,000 pieces of research which demonstrate this. It's been used for centuries to help keep the skin pure, the blood clean and the life long. In traditional Indian herbal medicine turmeric has been used to help maintain healthy blood, skin, circulation and as a nourishment to feed the whole body. And that’s why we’ve launched an entire range of Turmeric tea and supplement creations dedicated to this wonder spice.

I imagine this will be a hard one to answer, but what's your personal favourite Pukka product and why?

I probably connect with over 50 herbs a day through various cups of tea and supplements. I use Ashwagandha every day amongst a herbal-epicureans selection of teas. Ashwagandha is a wonderful herb that comes from traditional Ayurvedic medicine (Indian herbal medicine) and is now well known around the world. It’s classed as an ‘adaptogen’ – a herb that can help the body adapt to and cope with stress – and it has a reputation for supporting energy and having a rejuvenating effect on the whole body.

What are five herbs that you love working with?

My favourite herbs tend to be ones that are adaptogenic. Adaptogenic herbs have a normalising or balancing effect on the body and mind, reducing the negative changes that can happen in your body and mind in response to stress. Research shows that adaptogens can help improve energy, reduce fatigue, reduce anxiety, help people feel more positive, and improve focus and attention, amongst other benefits. To be classified as an adaptogen, a herb must be nourishing and also have no negative effects.

My favourite adaptogens are ashwagandha (for stress relief), ginseng (for energy), Triphala (for supporting the digestive system), Shatavari (for hormone balance) and Turmeric (for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits).
Sebastian Pole Pukka
You have travelled to some amazing places including the Himalayas and around India. What would be the one place you'd recommend that everyone goes to at least once in their lifetime just to experience it? And where would you love to travel to next that you haven't visited before?

The one place I would recommend everyone to go to is right to the centre of their soul to explore who you really are. You’ll find a whole lot of magic there. Otherwise, I love Glastonbury and would recommend that for a touch of the British mystical beauty we have on our doorstep. As for where I want to go next, I keep meaning to walk the coast to coast route from St Bees in Cumbria through the lakes to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. I must do it!

What advice would you give to people who are interested in starting up their own holistic, wellbeing brand in 2017?

The most important thing is to be led by your passion as well as your values so that you create a profit with a purpose. There are already so many products in the world so try and bring something of benefit to people, plants and planet. Then create the best team you can because however good your idea is, in the end, it’s all about the people you work with. And, finally, have as much fun as you can because there’s lots of hard work ahead….

Can you tell us about any new products that you're working on for Pukka at the moment?

We are about to launch a brand new fruity green tea called Wonder Berry Green, Made using 12 delicious health and beauty boosting fruits and herbs, Wonder Berry Green provides the ultimate antioxidant lift. 

As well as growing our popular tea range, we’ve also an exciting range of supplements launching later this year. We can’t say too much at this stage although the clue’s in the herb which will take centre stage: Shatavari. Shatavari is one of my favourite herbs and has earnt the nickname of ‘she who possesses a 100 husbands.’

This Spring, we are also launching a more potent version of our Ashwagandha supplement, which will offer all of the wellbeing benefits of this supportive and nourishing adaptogen, especially when it comes to stressed minds and bodies.

Huge thanks to Sebastian for answering my questions. I'm currently reading his book, 'A Pukka Life' which is a great introduction to Ayurveda and how you can incorporate its principles into your life. Full review coming at the end of the month in my books roundup! For more info on Pukka, visit their website pukkaherbs.com

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