Pharmaceutical-inspired wellness gets a stylish touch in Jerusalem

Better skin, better digestion…with a foodie (and even boozy) twist

UZI ELI stocks a long list of hot and cold immune-boosting options for winter. ( (photo credit: YAEL SILBERBERG)
UZI ELI stocks a long list of hot and cold immune-boosting options for winter. (
(photo credit: YAEL SILBERBERG)
The trend of food as medicine has long been an undercurrent in the way Israelis eat – there’s a reason we all crave mom’s chicken noodle soup when we’re sick! But this seemingly innate pull goes well beyond our Jewish family staples. While wellness pioneers like Uzi Eli have long touted the benefits of wellness beverages like his etrog-based juices, it’s only recently that a growing list of juice bars, restaurants, and even cocktail lounges are putting pharmaceutical-inspired elixirs front and center.
Mooshoo, a new secret underground lounge in Tel Aviv where entrance is granted via WhatsApp direct message (lucky for you, dear reader, we have that number: 054-700-0163), looked to ancient Asian remedies for the inspiration of their entire cocktail menu.
“The birth of Mooshoo came from the idea of a meeting between a mad pharmacist crazy about medicinal plants and passionate bartenders and mixologists,” says owner Emanuel Dayan. “In short we are marrying medicine with the alcohol world.”
The use of lavender, for example, gives the Pina Pho-Bo cocktail a calming and relaxing effect.
“Combined with the coconut and pineapple, you’re completely escaping and de-stressing,” says Dayan.
Meanwhile, you’ll find curcuma in the Kenko cocktail.
“This ingredient was specifically chosen because of its anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting properties, while althea officinalis, more commonly known as marshmallow plant, used in the En-Musubi cocktail is known to heal sore throats and soften skin.”
Dayan goes on to underscore that Mooshoo was created to offer a wide range of remedies – from relaxing effects to energetic effects (natural green coffee!), to aphrodisiac ones via ingredients like guarana. There’s even a Black Swan San cocktail made with Tequila Reposado and homemade black sesame syrup, which was created to help repair skin damaged from the Israeli sun.
While Mooshoo takes a glitzy, high-brow approach, Uzi Eli has been casually brewing his elixirs in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market and at the top of the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv for nearly two decades – and the lines outside of both locations (with a new branch opening on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street) attest to their long-lasting, healing, and taste bud-pleasing power.
“We try to have a conversation when people come in,” says Uzi Eli’s daughter Maayan, who runs the Carmel shop.
“The idea is to find out what ailment the customer is trying to treat, be it a sore throat, diabetes, a hangover, or pretty much anything else, and help them best deal with it. For example, as we get into the winter months, cold remedies are top of mind, so our shots made with turmeric, ginger, cayenne, black pepper, and lemon are great for boosting the immune system.”
And it’s not just juice and smoothies that Uzi Eli offers. Come winter, hot concoctions – like their Royal drink, which blends cacao with spices and other medicinal ingredients – are particularly popular.
Another major player in this space is Anastasia. The Tel Aviv vegan eatery, which recently opened a new space for vegan cheeses, desserts, pastries, and catering services, also launched a trio of pharmaceutical-inspired wellness shots.
“The wellness shots were developed to provide a short, fast, and strong wellness boost,” says manager Assaf Aroetty. They include Immunity Boost, made with ginger, turmeric, hemp oil, orange, and cayenne pepper; as well as Health Chlorophyll, made with aloe vera, chlorella, apple, and lemon; and lastly, Energizing Cacao, which is made with raw cacao, chia seeds, maca powder, chili, hazelnut, date, coconut oil and coconut sugar.
Meanwhile, over at Urban Shaman, co-owner Udi Sahar, a naturopath, clinical herbalist and yogi, has slowly been introducing the Israeli market to the power of newfangled concoctions like mushroom coffee and mushroom hot chocolate. Mushrooms are, in fact, high in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and polysaccharides, which is why they’re considered powerful superfoods that can help strengthen the immune system, boost energy, balance hormones, ease stress, and help support healthy cholesterol. And we assure you that mushroom hot chocolate is a lot tastier than it sounds.
“Studying Western modern herbalism made me aware as far as how potent plants can be and how they can dramatically affect the organs in our body and our overall well-being,” says Sahar, who sells organic and vegan fare online and at his Tel Aviv restaurant.
“Many of our beverages were also inspired by my travels throughout South and Central America and India, where I went to study medicinal folklore from local healers and practitioners.”
This is, of course, not to say that pharmaceutical-inspired beverage blends are going to replace everything in your medicine cabinet, but there’s certainly no harm in injecting some superfoods into your morning coffee or after-dark cocktail. To get the ball rolling, Sahar and Dayan each shared one of their favorite pharmaceutical-inspired recipes.