Nooci – “women energy” in Mandarin Chinese, and pronounced “noo-chee” – is the name of an American supplements brand founded by Stephanie Tan, an entrepreneur who wants to make traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) more accessible and bring it to the masses.
Launched in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Nooci is targeted at a generation of women who live fast-paced, modern lifestyles.
Tan, Hong Kong-born and US-educated, says: “I thought I could create a brand that could demystify TCM and make it more approachable and understandable for women like myself who don’t have time to boil herbs.”
In Hong Kong, Tan has launched three plant-based products.
One of them is ReNoo – an all-in-one, everyday supplement made specifically for a woman’s constitution. ReNoo transforms strong-tasting, often bitter Chinese herbs into a light drink that Tan describes as “barley meets green tea”.
Another, Noo Moon, was designed to provide relief from PMS symptoms including fatigue and anxiety.
In March, Nooci began partnering with local tea brand Matchali and created two special health drinks that contain its supplements. The drinks are available at Matchali’s cafe in the Star Street precinct in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island.
Tan’s entrepreneurial journey began 12 years ago, when she moved back to Hong Kong from New York. She developed nasal allergies and was given a “cocktail of medications” by a doctor – but nothing worked.
She continued to take them until she fell pregnant with her second child during the pandemic. At that point, she made the decision to stop.
“I didn’t want to take over-the-counter pills like I did in my first pregnancy, so I thought I should try to rediscover alternative solutions. That is when I rediscovered TCM herbs,” Tan says.
“I have grown up with TCM as part of my life and, growing up in Hong Kong, my grandmother would make me TCM soups and teas every time I was a little sick, but I never really understood TCM herbs.”
When Tan began her research, she found that “the entire modality was confusing” and realised that there was “a lack of transparency around the herbs”. As a result, she decided she had a good opportunity to use science to make TCM easier to understand – and easier to swallow.
“We wanted to make something that can be taken daily without a prescription and also the bitter taste from TCM herbs could be minimised,” Tan says.
Enter Nooci – a brand that embraces an East-meets-West ethos, from team structure and ingredients to principles and techniques.
“We’re taking the best of both worlds, adopting the ‘ancient wisdom meets modern science’ approach, working closely with our TCM practitioners, integrative doctors and scientists to derive our proprietary made-for-women formulas.
“We also combine TCM herbs with other clinically backed ingredients to achieve the greatest synergistic effects as they work better together to elevate each other.”
All the herbs used are fully traceable and responsibly sourced from vetted suppliers around the world, and have undergone multiple rounds of rigorous in-house testing.
Tan says there has, in recent years, been a new wave of TCM fervour among Hongkongers.
“Especially after Covid-19, a lot of my friends that have not found TCM are like, ‘I think I have long Covid and need to go [to try it]’,” she says. “People are coming to understand that good health takes time.”
Moving forwards, Tan said she is looking forward to cultivating fun partnerships with Nooci.
“When young people think of TCM, they might think it’s for the older generation and it’s hard to relate to. I want to make it modern and make it cool.”
The Matchali x Nooci crossover
Tan recently partnered with Hong Kong tea brand Matchali to create two special herbal drinks. Both Tan and the founder of Matchali share a belief in the effectiveness of all-natural herbal remedies.
The two seasonal “HK Classics Reimagined” drinks featuring TCM ingredients and Nooci’s ReNoo are available at Matchali’s flagship store at 5 Moon Street in Wan Chai.
Chestnut Yam ReNoo Latte (US$7)
This tastes like Horlicks but is packed with health benefits, thanks to the inclusion of ReNoo, chestnuts and Chinese yam. The natural sweetness from the fresh ingredients is balanced with a hint of green tea.
The addition of ReNoo helps reduce bloating, promotes digestion, reduces sugar cravings, promotes metabolism and provides a natural energy boost.
Hojicha Coix Seed Lemon Tea (US$7)
This is a healthy twist on Hong Kong-style lemon tea and is made by brewing coix seed and lemon with roasted hojicha tea. Coix seeds, which can be found in ReNoo, are a popular ingredient in many TCM recipes, as they are subtle in taste and are packed with many benefits.
The addition of lemon is inspired by the changing of seasons as we head into spring and summer, as the fruit can help dispel heat and detox the body. (Source: scmp.com)
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