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The introduction of so-called "energy drinks" created quite a stir in the beverage industry, especially because these new beverages featured such natural stimulants as caffeine, taurine and ginseng. The purpose of these stimulating drinks was to ramp up the consumer's energy level for a few hours. Now several beverage companies have introduced "anti energy drinks," with brand names such as Slow Cow, V.i.B (Vacation in a Bottle), and Drank. Anti energy drinks also contain natural herbs, but these herbs and other compounds, such as chamomile, melatonin, and valerian root, are traditionally used to combat depression, lower blood pressure and induce a sense of calm. Consumers of anti energy drinks, at least according to the beverage producers, should feel more relaxed and calm within a few minutes of consumption.
The creators of many anti energy beverages did not seek to compete with popular energy drinks such as Red Bull, Jolt, or Rockstar. Some sources suggest the inspiration for anti energy drinks began in the underground hip hop culture. A homemade concoction called Purple Drank became popular as a communal beverage at hip hop parties, and one of its ingredients happened to be a purple prescription cough syrup containing codeine. The codeine and other medicinal ingredients turned the beverage into a mild to moderate depressant. Although the manufacturers of the anti energy beverage called Drank use natural and legal ingredients in their product, the flavor and color is similar to the underground Purple Drank.
Anti energy drinks may also contain ingredients found in many teas and noted for their relaxing effects. The motto imprinted on cans of Drank reads "Slow Your Roll," suggesting that consumers should adopt a slower pace in general, and destress whenever possible. Drinking a can of Slow Cow or Drank at the end of a stressful day should be seen as a vacation in a bottle, or acupuncture without the needles. In the same way some people may enjoy a warm cup of milk or hot tea before bedtime, others may want to consume an anti energy drink in order to decompress and recover from over-stimulation.
There are some concerns over anti energy drinks, however. Herbal ingredients such as chamomile, melatonin, and valerian root may not be federally regulated as "dietary supplements," but there may be some side effects associated with their use. The overall effectiveness of the natural herbs may also be questionable, since dietary supplements are not always subject to stringent scientific testing. Some consumers may feel compelled to consume an excessive number of energy drinks in the morning hours and use anti energy drinks to ramp down at night. This cycle of ups and downs could have a detrimental effect on the consumer's body if not kept in check.
Anti energy drinks are currently a very small niche market in the beverage community, but they can be found in selected drugstore chains and convenience stores. The market for such beverages may increase exponentially in the future, especially during times of economic and social uncertainty.
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