Today we are interviewing our Master Herbalist & Founder, Bradley Mascuch. He is an essential part of Onáya and is in charge of product development and production. Bradley’s expert knowledge of medicinal plants along with his extraordinary attention to detail make Onáya one of the most innovative herbal companies in the natural products industry. His expertise is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism, and experiential knowledge of Amazonian plants . He has a Masters of Science in Chinese Medicine and has been a practicing clinician for over a decade. He has helped thousands of people with herbal medicine and acupuncture. Bradley can often be found studying chemical constituents of plants, historical herbal texts, and the medicinal benefits of plants from around the world. He continues to deepen his knowledge of medicinal herbs by traveling to South America and with internships with American herbalists. He has visited and learned from indigenous communities and elders in several continents. We are extremely fortunate to have him on our team.
Q: What has influenced your journey to get to where you are today?
A: My journey has been and continues to be a long and windy road. Although it is hard to detail all of the unexpected twists and turns that have brought me to where I am today, I am glad to be here. I feel fortunate to have listened to my heart and to have met many wonderful people and mentors during my journey. As Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." That has made me who I am along with an intense love of plants and the natural world.
Q: Where did your interest in herbal medicine start?
A: I have always been fascinated by the natural world. As A child my parents took me into the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee every weekend to hike and explore nature. That is where my love of plants first started. However, I first became interested in herbal medicine due to a viral infection as an adult. I recovered from the initial illness but was left with debilitating chronic fatigue. Western doctors did not have solutions for me other than to wait for symptoms to improve. After several months of suffering through this, I thought, “There has to be a another way.” This led me to start exploring plant medicine as a way to heal myself. With some trial and error, I was able to use different herbs to recover all of my energy and strength. It was an illuminating experience that led me to pursue alternative medicine as a profession.
Q: What are your responsibilities at HBB?
A: We are a small company at the moment, so I wear many hats. However, I have two main duties currently. I am our Chief Science & Technology Officer and I am in charge of all production related duties. I absolutely love the CSTO aspect of my job as it allows me to research and implement different herbal combinations to make the most effective products available. I’m a bit of an alchemist really. That said, I also love being in charge of production. I feel that production is the other half of making outstanding products. To have a formula or an idea is huge, but in order to have the end product reflect the genius of it’s creation, the manufacturing process needs to be precise and attention to detail must be observed during every step of the way.
Q: What has made you a believer in your CBD products?
A: My own results with our CBD. When I first learned of CBD I, like many, was very skeptical. It sounded too good to be true. However, at the insistence of one of my mentors I started researching scientific literature on CBD. As I read, I thought, “Ok there might be something here.” Based on this I started using CBD personally and also giving it to my patients (We own an acupuncture clinic). All I can say is that the results were phenomenal. The results in fact were far beyond what my expectations where. As this was the early days of CBD, quality was still an issue and I noticed that different products gave varying levels of success. Based on this my wife and I said, “We’re herbalists, we know plants and quality formulations, we can do better!” Our products work extremely well because we source the absolute best raw materials and are extremely attentive to every step along the way in manufacturing process. I can honestly say after working in this industry for a few years now, the results I feel from our products are superior to other CBD products I have tried.
Q: How would you describe your connection to medicinal plants?
A:That’s an interesting question. My connection to medicinal plants is multifaceted. I of course have an intellectual connection in the sense that I regularly study the properties of individual herbs and their chemical constituents. I also have a tangible/ physical connection to medicinal plants because I use them regularly myself and I also dispense them to patients at our Acupuncture clinic. I am able to personally feel how I am affected by the plants I use and I also get to observe how they are physically affecting my patients. I think this is a big difference between our company and others. We’re practicing clinicians so I’m not following an herbal recipe because I read about on the internet. I’m choosing and working with herbs based on thousands of years of empirical use and my years of experience working clinically with medicinal plants. Finally, I have a spiritual connection to plants as well. A few times a year I do a fasting meditation for several days wherein I eat only a small amount of rice every day and sit in meditation. During this time, I will choose one plant/ herb to work with. I drink a tea of this plant multiple times a day and truly feel the essence of the plant. I gain a great deal of insight during this exercise and I can only describe the outcome as a spiritual connection with the plants.
A: CBD has helped my wellbeing in two major ways. One, I have been able to greatly diminish my everyday aches and pains that seem to increase with age. Prior to CBD I would simply suffer through these, but now, I am able to greatly reduce or eliminate these complaints. Second, I am a much more relaxed person when using CBD and my stress is so much more manageable now.
Q: What question do you get asked the most about your CBD products?
A: I don’t get asked any specific question on a regular basis, it seems that what I’m encountering is that folks don’t know a lot about CBD or how it is supposed to work. I’m finding most people are asking for CBD education right now versus any one specific question or topic. That is why we’ve been working diligently to create customer education on our website (link) and also on our Instagram page (link).
Q: What do you believe sets HBB apart from the rest?
A: I believe there are two main things that set us apart from the crowd. Quality and Knowledge. We have worked tirelessly to source the highest quality materials for all of our products. There are a lot of people jumping in on CBD at the moment trying to make a quick buck and with that comes a lack of quality and safety in products. I’m seeing a lot of very inexpensive products on the market and I can tell you that from seed to shelf it is a costly process to bring high quality products to the consumer. If you are seeing a cheap product for sale thinking you’re going to save yourself money, think again. You’ll end up with a product that doesn’t work, or worse yet, a product that is potentially unsafe. Every batch of our products is tested for contaminants and we post all of these results proudly. Furthermore, we have chosen to use exceptionally clean extraction methods while still preserving the potency of our products. A lot of cheap products are extracted with chemical solvents such as butane, pentane, or even hexane. This is a very inexpensive way to produce products but leaves the end consumer with unclean CBD that has potentially negative impacts upon their health. I would go on, but we would be here for hours, I’ll save the rest for a future blog. Thank you for your time and the great questions.