NutraWomen Wednesday: Stephanie Wang, founder and CEO of KA! Empathogenics

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags nutrawomen wednesday kanna Mental health

The woman behind Kanna Chews is educating others on how the South African succulent can help with mental health, open the heart, and connect us with nature and others.

Stephanie Wang, Founder and CEO of KA! Empathogenics is a former corporate finance analyst turned podcaster who is on a mission to help people through the power of plants–more specifically kanna (Sceletium tortuosum​).

“It's a succulent that originates from Southern Africa and it was traditionally taken by the Khoikhoi and San, the indigenous of South Africa, for mental health issues. They've been sort of the traditional stewards of this plant,” explained Wang. “Not only does it help mentally by calming stress and also lifting mood, it's a natural serotonin reuptake inhibitor and also serotonin releasing agent. It also is incredibly helpful for cognitive function, for improving memory and focus. And most beautifully, it's a heart opener, so it helps people come into more emotional openness, more empathy towards both ourselves and others. And the Khoikhoi and San also would traditionally take it when they went on multi-day hunts because of kanna’s ability to improve endurance and maintain stamina, so it's really interesting on that level as well.”

A huge part of Wang’s mission is giving back to these indigenous communities who steward the kanna in her supplements.

“We are honored to share plants discovered by these tribes with the rest of the world. We source our kanna from a provider that gives back directly to the Khoisan people, and are actively seeking a partnership of our own with an aligned non-profit,” she said.

Wang added that kanna is not hallucinogenic or psychedelic, rather it’s psychoactive, where it actually makes one feel more present.

“Kanna is a felt experience. It's subtle and sober, but you will feel it. It is subtle–yet powerful.”

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