A Holistic Approach to a Healthier Period Cycle

02.04.2021 — The Frenshe Editors

Everyone’s menstrual cycle is a unique experience, to say the least. While some have more of an easy-breezy experience, there are plenty of women whose period cycles are painful, irregular, and straight-up abnormal. The important thing to note about the latter is that you’re not alone. Period issues are some of the most commonly reported symptoms among women of all different ages. On our mission to seek more holistic options targeting women’s wellness, we came across Elix—a tech-enabled brand that personalizes Chinese herbal medicine remedies for women’s wellness. We spoke to the founder of Elix, Lule Ge, to learn more about herbal remedies for women’s health issues, the future of holistic health products, and more.

On getting started…

After giving up hormonal birth control four years ago, Lulu found herself back in her generational roots of Chinese herbal medicine in effort to heal her menstrual symptoms. “I had always hated how hormonal birth control made me feel—nauseous, unsettled, and like my body was literally rejecting it,” she said. When she knew the time was right to steer clear of hormonal birth control, she found her body responded with a roulette wheel of debilitating pain every month. Stabbing-like cramps, sharp headaches, bloating, fatigue, and insomnia were part of her period cycle now, and she needed a solution.

“I was really frustrated by the lack of safe, effective, and sustainable alternatives, so I
reached out to my grandfather, who used to run a hospital in China,” she explained. Her father connected her with a close friend, Dr. Xia Hongsheng, the former Chief Physician of the Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital and an incredibly well-revered figure in the Traditional Chinese Medicine Community, to discuss her symptoms. Upon receiving an herbal tincture for her unique symptoms, the idea of Elix was sparked.

“We launched Elix – a clinically-backed women’s health company rooted in the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine – in March 2020 on International Women’s Day, with the goal of democratizing access to
personalized holistic healing and offering alternative solutions for menstrual cycle-related symptoms,” she said.

On personalizing each formula…

“Our proprietary online health assessment, a 50-60 question virtual exam, covers cycle symptoms, overall health, lifestyle, and more (35,000 people have completed it to date!),” she said.  The personalized
questionnaire on the Elix site mimics Lulu’s experience with Dr. Hongsheng, and helps visitors determine
which formula would be best suited to treat their individual symptoms.

“We use a Chinese medicine system called Pattern Diagnosis to identify and group a wide range of symptoms into a simple pattern of imbalances,” she explained. “Your pattern is considered the root of your disorder(s), and your treatment is tailored based on your unique combination of symptoms,” she added. The answers you provide in the online health assessment helps Elix determine your body’s pattern (or patterns) and the best herbal formula to help treat it.

How it works…

Elix is built on the principle that menstrual cycles are a vital sign for our overall health. The hero product, Cycle Balance, is tailored to heal menstrual symptoms by treating the hormonal imbalances and inflammation that
cause them. “We formulate all of our products with pure and potent liquid herbal extracts clinically proven to treat specific hormonal imbalances that are the root cause of painful symptoms,” she said.

Herbs have incredible healing potential.  “When it comes to period pain, we incorporate herbs that act to regulate the levels of prostaglandins and other cycle-related hormones that trigger uterine muscle contractions, causing pain, inflammation, and severe menstrual cramps to help regulate your cycle,” she explained.

Through slow, low-temperature liquid extraction of 100% organic plants, we process each herb individually to unlock the full, unique potential of our herbs. “Our platform also puts education first, with our free online health assessment, and  content vertical, The Wisdom, where you can learn more about the hormonal
imbalances at the root of debilitating symptoms and how you can heal naturally,” she said.

As for results, 93% of women taking Cycle Balance have reported positive results. “They’ve reported improved symptoms in the first month alone, with efficacy increasing over time – typically within 3 to 6 months
depending on the severity and chronic nature of the symptoms,” she said.

Below is a list of the incredible adaptogens, anti-inflammatory, immune-strengthening, and hormone balancing herbs used in Elix’s proprietary blends for Cycle Balance, Stay Well, and Get Well:

    • Andrographis: An anti-inflammatory aid for colds and fevers, Andrographis is a strong antioxidant (also known as Indian echinacea)
    • Angelica Sinensis: Angelica is a powerful anti-inflammatory that’s proven to reduce uterine spasms (aka cramps), regenerate blood cells, stimulate circulation, as well as immune response
    • Astragalus:  Astragalus can boost
      the number of stem cells in bone marrow and lymph tissue, helping them become active immune cells
    • Atractylodes: Atractylodes is an acute and chronic anti-inflammatory agent, as well as a powerful hormone balancer, proven to ease a wide range of menstrual symptoms and boost immune health
    • Bupleurum: Bupleurum is a powerful herb with immunoregulatory actions that supports pain, depression, and stress relief associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause
    • Chaga: Chaga reduces the severity of diseases as it is an antimicrobial and anti-virulent
    • Cinnamon Cassia: Cinnamon Cassia is a strong antibacterial and antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that also support blood sugar levels and cholesterol reduction
    • Corydalis: A potent pain reliever, Corydalis is proven to ease uterine and upper abdomen cramping, and relieve insomnia due to pain
    • Cyperus: Cyperus is well known for regulating menstruation and reducing symptoms such as cramps, breast tenderness, and mood changes
    • Da Zao: Da Zao is an antioxidant and known therapeutic agent for virus infection through anti-inflammatory activity
    • Gardenia: When it comes to menstrual symptoms, Gardenia Pod is proven to reduce cramping, minimize headaches, combat acne, and moderate mood swings
    • Ginger: More than a delightful, warming spice, Ginger is clinically proven to ease menstrual cramps as well as reduce nausea & bloating, and has anti-inflammatory & antimicrobial properties that support immune and respiratory function
    • Ginseng: Ginseng modulates adaptive immunity through stimulation of antibody production by B cells and activation T cells while increasing innate immunity and fighting fatigue related to stress and chronic illness
    • Licorice: Great for abdominal discomfort, Licorice is ideal for
      treating menstrual cramping, and has been shown to relieve digestive discomfort
      and regulate bowels. It is also an antiviral and antimicrobial harmonizer,
      supporting how immune-boosting herbs work together in formulas
    • Mint: So much more than its refreshing flavor, Mint is an effective, natural pain reliever that’s been shown to reduce stress and even help with PCOS. Mint is also a potent antioxidant and antibacterial
    • Motherwort: Used for thousands of years in China, Motherwort relieves menstrual pain by enhancing blood flow to the uterus and regulating stress hormones.
    • Moutan Cortex: Moutan Cortex is known for its powerful ability to reduce inflammation and promote blood flow, making it an excellent treatment for severe menstrual cramps
    • Poria: Poria is an edible mushroom that suppresses inflammation (reducing menstrual cramps) and protects nerve cells (alleviating depression and boosting mood)
    • Reishi: Reishi enhances immune response by increasing white blood cell production
    • Rhodiola: Rhodiola is an adaptogen that lowers infection intensity, and supports the body’s ability to handle physical or mental pain, improve sleep, and decrease fatigue
    • Safflower: Safflower petal reduces inflammation, promotes blood circulation, and is especially great for regulating an irregular menstrual cycle
    • Skullcap: Skullcap reduces the inflammation and spasms that cause menstrual cramps, while cooling and calming the body and mind. With antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, this herb is widely used in China to treat influenza and pneumonia, amongst other ailments
    • Szechuan Lovage Root: Szechuan Lovage Root is widely used for its ability to boost blood circulation and reduce inflammation, which is how it effectively minimizes menstrual cramping
    • Toosendan Fruit: A wonderful antioxidant and adaptogen, Toosendan Fruit helps your body adapt to a variety of stresses, which is especially useful during menstruation
    • Vitex Berry: Vitex Berry is an ideal hormone balancer—especially in cases of estrogen dominance—and helps keep the menstrual cycle regular
    • White Peony: Known as the woman’s herb, White Peony is proven to reduce pain and cramping while promoting peaceful sleep during menstruation

Herbs for PCOS and irregular thyroid function…

“We’re really proud that nearly 40% of our community report that after being diagnosed with these
chronic health conditions and trying almost everything, she has finally been able to experience relief from the symptoms of PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, and other factors of secondary dysmenorrhea by incorporating Elix formulas into her wellness regimen,” she said.

While Elix formulas won’t “cure” any of these common hormonal conditions, research shows that specific anti-inflammatory and hormone-regulating herbs can help to alleviate symptoms. As always, it’s important to consult your doctor before combining herbal treatments with existing medication.

Other Elix products include Immunity Duo, Stay Well, and Ginger Aide for overall wellness. If you’re leaning towards incorporating more herbal remedies into your wellness routine, you can learn more about Elix, Chinese herbal treatments, and the science behind it all on their website.

[Lead photos: Instagram/@elixhealing]

The Frenshe Editors