As the wellness market in America began to boom in the early 2000s, plenty of ancient practices from various cultures were suddenly co-opted by white entrepreneurs and corporations in a pattern that is about as old as colonialism itself. But, in the ensuing years, the industry at large has began to realize how backwards this kind of appropriation is, and support for companies that are run by people who are actually from the cultures where these traditions originated. has expanded. One of the focuses of this site is to highlight companies that go back to the source, and are run by people who have a personal connection to what they’re selling.
Enter Kola Goodies, a new company from Sajani Amarasiri who is a Sri Lankan immigrant and an entrepreneur several times over — Amarasiri also founded Colombo Coop, a creative, community-focused co-working space in Sri Lanka that was the first of its kind in the country. But back to her more recent venture, Amarasiri started Kola in March of last year, partially because she realized all the herbs and superfoods that she’d taken for granted growing up in Sri Lanka weren’t widely available elsewhere. Accessibility and knowledge, particularly of the Ayurvedic herbs and supplements she grew up with, are at the core of the company.
These powdered superfood mix-ins include an offering focused on Ashwagandha root (dubbed Ashwa-Wow), a turmeric tonic mix (Golden Glow), the Go-Tu Power Move, that primarily features gotu kola, an herb known for boosting memory and collagen, and last but not least, a superfood plant mix dubbed the Super Green Latte, that’s based on an ancient Sri Lankan breakfast drink called Kola Kanda, which translates literally to “green porridge.” The supplements come in ten-packs of single-serving sachets at $22-$26 per pack, or in larger 3.5 oz resealable bulk packages that range from $28-$32, a very affordable price point when it comes to adaptogens and nervines.
For the Go-Tu Power Move and Ashwa-Wow supplements, the sole ingredient in each is in the name — the gotu kola herb and ashwagandha root respectively — offering the kind of simplicity that few products do, and getting to the core of Amarasiri’s goal for her company. All of the powders are completely plant-based, totally vegan, and have zero sugar added, they are simply ancient ingredients adapted for western lifestyle and convenience. The gotu herb that Kola uses is sourced from Sri Lanka and can be used in smoothies or mixed with milk or water, it can also be used as a topical at-home mask by mixing the powder with yogurt, honey and lemon. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, only works if ingested, and is best when mixed in smoothies, or with coffee, milk or water. Personally, I started taking ashwagandha regularly a few months ago and it helped mellow out my stress response immeasurably.
As far as the Golden Glow mix, it features a number of other spices aside from just turmeric, including ceylon cinnamon, cardamom, ashwagandha, black pepper, ginger, and nutmeg. It also includes powdered coconut milk, which adds flavor and helps the body ingest the curcumin, the active chemical in turmeric. Finally, the Super Green Latte (previously dubbed the Kola Miracle Smoothie) is a mix of a more gotu kola, ceylon cinnamon, a nourishing plant called moringa, curry leaf, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and powdered coconut milk. There’s a quiz on the site to help you determine what adaptogens might be best for your lifestyle, and all this information is available there as well.
And though Ayurvedic medicine is becoming more and more popular in America, partially due to its ties with yoga, there are few companies like Kola that are run by entrepreneurs who actually share this heritage and aren’t simply co-opting it. Kola is an immigrant-owned, women-owned business that is just getting started, but has all the momentum of a product that will soon be incredibly popular. From the colorful, aesthetically-driven packaging to the insistence on pure and simple sourcing, these supplements are a no-brainer for anyone looking to boost their adaptogen intake or reset their nervous system.
Check out Kola’s goodies here.