BANGKOK — I was halfway through the first bottle when I caught myself staring at a particular spot on my monitor, having abandoned whatever task I’d been working on. Still, I downed the rest of the bottle, and that’s when I noticed my heartbeat slow.
I yawned, but decided against a midday Tuesday nap.
Was it my imagination? No way could a bottled drink from 7-Eleven – presumably FDA approved – could have such a bodily effect. I waited for the weird heart arrhythmia to wear off, and I drank the second bottle.
“Seriously, I feel like my heart is beating in a weird chill way,” I messaged my mildly concerned colleagues, before curling up for that cat nap.
This was my experience as a guinea pig for the “Relaxing Calm Sappe Beauti Drink,” the latest fad to sweep Thailand since the weekend, when online reviews popped up swearing it causes people to laugh uncontrollably.
Two bottles and some time later, a smile did break out across my face, but whether from the absurdity of the situation or the juice, I can’t be sure.
While some remain unconvinced the lavender- and lychee-flavored white grape juice drink could induce any sort of reaction, others report widely varying symptoms of sleepiness, relaxation, alertness and – of course – the giggles.
“I bought it because they said it would improve my mood. It’s true! I laughed at whatever joke people threw at me. I also became more awake. It’s great for work,” @Frvkprp tweeted.
On Wednesday, it was hard to find the stuff on shelves, as people continued sharing their hilarious reactions under hashtag #SevenReview.
The supposed giggle water contains 20 milligrams of chamomile, 20 milligrams of lemon balm, 5 milligrams of lavender, but the active ingredient is clearly the 10 milligrams of amino acid L-Theanine listed on the bottle. Although L-Theanine is a naturally occurring, relaxing substance found in tea. A cup of black tea may contain 20 milligrams of it, and green tea approximately 8 milligrams.
In other words, the drink is potentially as relaxing as a cup of tea with a nice blend of relaxing chamomile and lavender.
The admin of the Sappe Beauti Drink Facebook page responded to an inquiry to assert that L-Theanine “affects the nervous system and can induce relaxation, decrease stress and balance emotions.”
According to Drugs.com, Theanine “may also have effects on the cardiovascular system and play a preventative role in cancer; however, limited clinical information is available to support these claims.”
Were that not enough to assuage fears, the 35-calorie Relaxing Calm Sappe Beauti Drink also won a Healthier Choice seal by public health officials.
— ╰I to the M♡╮ (@FRVKPRP) April 14, 2017
— นรั้มไสยเองจร๊ 🌧 (@sraisaii) April 17, 2017
‘I didn’t think it would work. I laughed all the way home from 7-Eleven, including at passers-by. Is this water or marijuana tea?’
— 555555555555 (@bensst_en) April 17, 2017
‘I was laughing after reading the reviews while I was drunk. So when I got to drink it … 55555555555555’
— นิโคชาร์จ (อสุรา) (@Nicolas_JJ) April 17, 2017
‘I drank half a bottle and then put in in the fridge. The result? I’m laughing at my fridge.’
— 🌦 (@umrohlive) April 17, 2017
‘I’m laughing so hard at my mom while she’s watching TV. Now she’s making rice, and I’m still laughing 55555555.’
— nene💕 (@nenechayaoat) April 17, 2017
‘Can’t stop laughing at the phone ringing or dog barking. I’m still smiling as I type.’
Apparently, the fad is emptying convenience stores of product.
— 프래 (@Praerizzer) April 18, 2017
คือนี่ก็ไม่ขนาดเดินหัวเราะอะ แต่แค่รสชาติน้ำก็อยากยิ้มแล้วอะ ละมุน ชอบๆ
— 0.8cm (@Beat2x_) April 17, 2017
‘I didn’t laugh at the blue Sappe drink, but it’s relaxing. The smooth taste makes me smile.’
— Yingnuchxx (@yingnuchxx) April 18, 2017
‘You need 200 milligrams of L-Theanine to feel a difference. There’s only 10 milligrams in the drink, so what the hell are you all laughing at?’