Jovial King was raised "off-the-grid" in the Vermont countryside, where spending hours outdoors connecting in nature was part of daily life - an experience that made a lasting impression and permanent impact on her professional trajectory. Fast forward to Jovial's kitchen table where Urban Moonshine, her herbal medicinal bitters and tonics company, was formed. We sat down with the women behind this now national brand to chat about her connection to the earth, the benefits of herbal medicines and the power of creating a life focused on vitality. Oh! And don't miss her personal mantra - it may be our favorite yet!
How did your path to founding Urban Moonshine begin? What is your personal attachment to its mission to infuse herbal medicine with the modern world?
I was raised deep in the countryside of Northern Vermont on an off-the-grid homestead. I spent endless hours wandering in the woods, swimming in the creek, climbing trees and digging around in the garden. It was a childhood deeply immersed in plants and exploration of the wild, uncultivated power of nature. As I grew, I found I had a great love of plants, herbal medicine and an interest in healing. I felt empowered by knowing the medicinal benefits of what grew in the garden and wilds around me. As human beings we are hard-wired to consume plants—lots of them. I started Urban Moonshine in my kitchen six years ago, and it has gone from a booth at our local farmers market to a national brand in that time.
As my co owner of Urban Moonshine, Guido Masé, always says, we are experiencing “plant deficiency syndrome”. Maybe it’s not about how bad our diet is and what we need to take out— less sugar, less fat etc. Maybe its about what we are missing—a rich diversity of plant chemistry that makes our body thrive. So yes, I’m ready to infuse herbal medicine back into our modern lifestyle—that’s the goal of Urban Moonshine. It’s a mission that gets me excited and brings meaning to my life.
What are the key benefits to herbal medicine and what sort of transformations have you seen as a result?
Herbal medicine is the people’s medicine. It’s cheap, it’s effective, it’s safe, and it empowers the people using it. We are stuck in an allopathic medicine paradigm—a focus on disease and treating symptoms. Herbal medicine is about health and vitality. It’s about cooking with more onions and garlic. It’s about harvesting the first dandelion greens in spring. It’s about making a cup of chamomile tea after a long day of work. It’s about busting open my cupboard when my kids are sick and having enough basic knowledge to take care of them. To care for them not just with a pill, with the passion of romping into the back yard, gathering herbs to make tea to bring down their fever, boost their immune system, and nurse them back to health. It’s not about rebelling against my doctor (because I love my doctor), but about working in harmony. Doctors are great for emergencies, tests and treating serious issues. My home apothecary (including my backyard gardens) is the best thing to keep my family healthy, well and away from the emergency doctor’s office visit!
How has your life changed since founding Urban Moonshine, and what are your hopes for its future?
Oh, my life has changed in so many ways! It’s been a lot of growing up for me and a big transition for my family. I started Urban Moonshine when my sons were 1 and 3—in between naps, nursing marathons and folding the laundry. It’s gone from kitchen counter to a national brand. Urban Moonshine has a life of its own now and is on a path to greater things than I could have ever imagined! We are growing into a larger space this summer. The new space will include an herb shop, classroom space and community herbal clinic. We are looking forward to growing Urban Moonshine in addition to bringing an herbal resource to our local community.
What does work/life balance look like for you?
Being fully engaged, present and working hard. And then also having enough time to sit back, think and read, play with my children and move my body. My quality of life is super important to me and I try my best not to sacrifice it.
What are your favorite resources for a modern take on herbal medicine?
The herbal conferences that are now happening across the country are phenomenal and have evolved greatly over the last 20 years. They would be my first stop for learning more about herbs and connecting with herbalists in your area. Urban Moonshine has a great online herbal course that is both traditional and relevant modern science. There are new books coming out every day on herbal medicine. And then, of course, Rosemary Gladstar’s books never get old.
Do you live by a motto or mantra? If so, what is it?
Do good. Be kind. Stay inspired. Live your passion. Never give up. Be grateful for what you have. Aspire for more.
What are some of the core values that anchor your lifestyle?
I lead with my heart. My intuition is my number one tool. I lean heavily into both. Pay attention to your gut. Gut instincts are what lead me every day. The most powerful tool in the toolbox.
What are some easy-to-implement ways women can begin to incorporate herbal medicine into their everyday routine?
Cook with more garlic and onions and the herbs you can find in the produce section or farmers market. Drink a cup of herbal tea after dinner. Plant some herbs in your garden. Sprinkle some rose petals in your bath. Burn incense once the kitchen is clean and life has settled down for the day.
Finally, what are a few everyday items you wouldn't want to live without?
I would say other than my own herbal products—raw coconut oil, Juniper Ridge Sweetgrass Incense, the Wild Unknown Tarot Deck, Lunaroma’s Nourishing Facial Elixir and essential oil blends and the New York Times!
p.s. Have you met The Adventurer?