April 3, 2023

Paul F. Austin welcomes JW Ross, founder & CEO of Botanic Tonics, to discuss his kava-kratom-based alcohol alternative, Feel Free.

Find episode links, summary, and transcript here.

JW Ross is a lifelong innovator and inventor of Botanic Tonic’s “Feel Free” plant-based tonic. He started his career as a Texas oilman who experienced immense corporate success that was tainted with alcohol addiction. After hitting rock bottom and going to rehab, JW purged alcohol from his life and completely pivoted his career. He went on life-changing trips to the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, where he discovered botanical medicines whose ingredients have been used for centuries socially and for wellness. After discovering these plants, JW dedicated his life to finding an herbal solution that would replace alcohol and still give him a euphoric lift with positive impact. He home-tested many concoctions, finally finding the perfect recipe, which turned into the Feel Free tonic recipe.

  • Enjoy $40 off your order of Feel Free: Use the code 3WAVE at checkout.


  • JW’s struggle with alcohol addiction, which led him on a search for alternative social lubricants.
  • How alcohol is an “outlier” among other ancient forms of social lubricants around the world.
  • Feel Free vs. alcohol.
  • Feel Free vs. cannabis.
  • Understanding kratom: types, processing, and effects.
  • Are kava and kratom addictive?
  • JW’s current research and legislative efforts with kava and kratom.
  • Kava tolerance, and JW’s thoughts on alcohol- vs. kava-drinking societies.
  • JW on sourcing ingredients and his vision for Botanic Tonics.

Key Links:

Episode Sponsors:

  • This episode is brought you by Psyched Wellness, creators of Calm, an over-the-counter Amanita Muscaria extract that may help to reduce stress, ease muscular tension and promote restorative sleep. Go to and use code THIRDWAVE23 to get 15% off.
  • This episode is sponsored by Beckley Retreats, a leading holistic wellbeing company that offers transformative self-development programs by leveraging the science-backed power of psychedelics in concert with supportive therapeutic modalities. As a trusted partner of Third Wave, we strongly recommend the upcoming retreats for Beckley in Jamaica, as well as many other locations. Head to to book your transformational psilocybin program today.

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