Scott Linde and Nitsa Citrine, the couple behind the “transformational foods” of Sun Potion, are turning ancient herbs into everyday rituals.
“Look at the rainbow!” Scott Linde, the founder of Sun Potion Transformational Foods exclaims. We’re hiking in the park near the Santa Barbara home he shares with Nitsa Citrine, his partner in work and life, when the most magnificent, full-blown rainbow appears over a nearby mountain. It seems an apt display for Linde to point out, as someone who’s made it his life’s work to bring the magnificence of nature, specifically plant materials, into everyday modern life. For the uninitiated a glance at Sun Potion’s offerings may seem esoteric—names like anandamide and polyrachis ant don’t necessarily roll off the tongue. But it’s the inherent accessibility of Sun Potion’s products that makes them so special.
It was during a five-year stint living in the nature of Ojai, California, that Linde became fascinated with plants and their benefits, traveling, studying, and digging deep into the history of ancient herbs. Linde, who considers himself a conduit (“the plants really want to work with the humans,” he says), casually drops phrases like “Taoist internal alchemy practices,” but when it comes to why he started Sun Potion, the reasoning is much more simple. “I was doing things out of intuition,” he says. “Really just wanting to have a good time and share what I loved about these plants with other people so they could have their own experience.”
One of those people was Citrine, who Linde met shortly after starting Sun Potion and moving to Santa Barbara. “[I thought,] ‘Oh, this is great, there’s this person who loves chlorella too,’” Linde says with a smile when I sit down with the couple over an epic spread of plant-based food at Mesa Verde, a Santa Barbara restaurant. “I was his best customer,” Citrine says, with a proverbial wink to her voice that let’s me know she’s made this joke before. She took over the design of the line soon after they started dating, and is now Sun Potion’s creative director, her down-to-earth nature a perfect complement to Linde’s ethereality. But when our conversation turns to quality, he’s all business. “It’s very, very important,” he says. “People could take a mediocre or even good-quality herb every day and they will never have the internal health experience that you get with the best example of something. If there’s one governing principle, quality is it. We only sell things that I personally want to eat every day.”
Those things come from very specific places, like the cacao, which is harvested on a volcanic mountain in Ecuador irrigated only by rainwater, or the chaga, “king healer mushroom,” which is wildcrafted on horseback in Canada’s Northern Alberta region. “Sourcing materials is one of my favorite things to do,” Linde says. “Someone recently called him a ‘source-eror,’” Citrine adds with a laugh. It’s this level of attention and quality that gives Sun Potion products their potency. “The tonic herbs contain plant information that is nowhere in the rest of the food chain. Even if you’re eating biodynamic lettuce and stuff, that plant information that’s in something like an ashitaba isn’t there,” Linde says. “You’re getting specific information from the plant kingdom that speaks directly to your nervous system, directly to your blood, or nourishes your kidneys in a way that no other food can.”
Linde is quick to say that Sun Potion isn’t doing anything new, quite the opposite. But making these “ancient lineage-keeper herbs” so readily available, along with a wealth of information and history, for people to take and appreciate as they please, is something that hasn’t been done like this before. And the result, they say, can be truly transformative. “If you remember once a day to stop, slow down a moment, nourish yourself, and listen to the body to see if it needs anything, that can have an amazing effect,” Citrine says. “I forget how impactful that moment is but it really makes a difference.”
STRAWBERRY CASHEW CACAO: THE MICROCOSMIC JAM
A potion to elevate the collective mood; nourish and activate creative energy, collaborations, and stamina; and cultivate a certain sweetness in presence.
8 oz. Brewed Gynostemma Tea (We recommend the Spring Dragon blend from
2 tsp. Sun Potion Pine Pollen
2 tsp. Sun Potion He Shou Wu
2 tsp. Sun Potion Reishi Mushroom
1 ½ tsp. Sun Potion Astragalus
3 Tbsp. Sun Potion Heirloom Cacao Powder
2 Tbsp. Sun Potion Tocos
16 oz. Raw, Sprouted Strawberry Cashew Pearl Milk (Ours comes from local Juice Ranch, but it is easy to make a similar milk at home. Feel free to sub another raw nut or seed milk of choice and add 4–5 fresh strawberries to blending process.)
Cacao or pine pollen (optional)
Pour tea into high-speed blender. Add the dry herbal powders. Pulse a few times. Add cashew milk. Pulse a few more times until creamy and frothy with good vibes and love. Pour into favorite cups, and, if you like, serve with a sprinkle of cacao or pine pollen on top. In joy!