Hi Shawn, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with natural products? You’re also a naturopathic doctor. What role do herbs play in that practice?
Well, my name is Shawn Manske and I grew up in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada.  I lived in Buffalo, NY, before moving to Colorado three years ago.  I first got interested in nutrition while attending Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.  At first it was for my own health and interests.  I ended up attending the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, one of seven accredited four-year, post-graduate Naturopathic Medical schools in North America, and received my Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.  I practiced as an ND for five years in Ontario, Canada, before moving to Colorado.  In our four-year program, we took three years of Botanical/Herbal Medicine.  While not every naturopathic doctor gravitates to or utilizes herbal medicine, I would speculate that the majority do, using either herbal supplements or tinctures.  I was always drawn to medicinal herbs, even before becoming an ND, and have always believed in the role herbs play in our everyday lives and in optimizing health.  Herbs can really help support the functioning of our bodies. However, we need to learn to slow down and give them time to do so.

What does a “typical day” at WishGarden consist of for you?
Most days as a Territory Account Manager find me visiting stores and staff, reviewing sales, training staff on our formulas or answering questions they have about health conditions and how our formulas can support those conditions, or discussing various herbs.  On top of that, I set up our WishCart Mocktail bar at various events and stores to introduce customers to some of our lifestyle formulas in an attractive, tasty way that can show them how fast and effective our formulas can be.  I also present a variety of informational lectures regarding health of the body and how our formulas can support health in customers in varying stores.

Natural products seem to be all the rage these days. Do you think we are witnessing a change in consumer attitudes towards the environment and natural products?
I definitely think we have seen a big increase in consumer attitudes and awareness of natural approaches to improving health in the past decade and this only continues to increase.  I think more and more people are becoming dissatisfied with the current medical system’s approach to chronic disease and healthcare.  You can see this just by the sheer number of stores carrying natural supplements and the vast range and amount of natural supplements available to consumers.  On top of that, there are now far more alternative or complementary healthcare practitioners offering their services for the increasing number of people seeking out those treatments. 

You’re from Canada. Do you also see growing interest there in herbs and natural products?
While I don’t spend much time in Canada anymore and haven’t for years now, I definitely have seen a similar increase in interest and awareness of natural products since I graduated from medical school in 2010.  The big difference I noted in the United States in the natural products industry is the huge amount of supplements and herbs available and the stores that carry them.  You can find them almost anywhere, whether in large chains such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, King Soopers, Sprouts, etc., or at an independently owned health food store or co-op.  You don’t have to drive more than a few miles, at least here in Colorado, to find them at a store.  In Canada, while they have increased in store availability and range of products, it’s nowhere near like it is in the United States.

What is your favorite herb and why?
Ouch! This is like asking me who my favorite band or musician is — and I’m someone who loves music and appreciates a vast range of favorite bands and artists. Well, I really love schisandra, because it is a superior tonic and adaptogen, classically known to support the liver, immune supportive, supports the nervous system, and is known as the five-flavor fruit because it has all five-taste qualities present (sour, bitter, pungent, salty, sweet). That said, I am also a huge fan of bacopa for its mental and cognitive support, and I also like hawthorn, a superior herb for supporting the heart and cardiovascular system.

Do you have a favorite WishGarden product?
Yes, I do. I love our Liquid Bliss.  This formula makes you feel grounded and open and at peace. It’s such a nice feeling to take the edge off of our everyday tension and stress.  I take it before going to concerts, before giving lectures or big staff trainings, or when I just want to feel a little more chilled out.  That said,  a very close second is our Genius Juice formula. I love the mental refresh it gives if you’re feeling a little foggy and mentally sluggish.  It’s a nice pick-me-up without being too stimulating.  I use it in combo with Liquid Bliss before concerts; in addition, I also use it when I go hiking, skiing, or when playing hockey, as it’s a great circulatory mover to get things going.   

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.