In light of our current (and ever-evolving) focus on menstrual health, we're honored to spotlight Mimi Millard of De Lune, a menstrual tonic that is formulated with a blend of very specific, essential nutrients and herbs that serves as an all natural solution to period pain.
For centuries, women have referred to their period as their "moontime," as the phases of the female menstrual cycle (follicular, ovulatory, luteal, menstrual) naturally sync with the phases of the moon (waxing, full, waning, new). As women's health advocate Shannon Cohn explains in this talk, these are topics that have traditionally been taboo in society: menstruation, cramps, periods, etc. "Below the waist issues," she says, "are the last great women's health taboo and the problem with all of this is that if we don't begin to talk openly about our bodies, then we won't know that something is wrong."
Painful periods are not normal, yet there's a growing number of women suffering from hormonal imbalances and more severe menstrual woes, including PCOS and endometriosis. While there are no specific cures, holistic lifestyle practices are helping women find much relief. Luckily, there are now several modern tools available to support us during our moontime. From acupuncture services to menstrual tonics, consciously crafted products are occupying more space on the shelves of wellness boutiques, including our own, allowing us to experiment with a variety of natural options to find relief, rather than popping a pill.
I have been so fortunate to bridge such a special connection with Mimi over the past year, leaning on one another for words of support and exchanging ideas about how we can heighten awareness and education regarding period pain and menstrual self-care. In addition to Mimi's incredible words in our Boketto Moment feature below, we're so happy to share that we'll be offering a Menstrual Health Workshop in partnership with Mimi and De Lune later this month: Hormone Protocol for Nourishment + Ease, so that individuals can understand the importance of proper nourishment for hormonal balance along with ways to begin implementing their very own hormone protocol that includes De Lune in an effort to find relief throughout the various symptomatic phases of your moon.
What is your inspiration and philosophy behind De Lune?
De Lune was born out of necessity; I desperately needed a product that didn’t exist. A product that would alleviate my debilitating period pain but without the negative side effects of conventional painkillers. I’ve always considered myself a conscious consumer, and felt frustrated in the past with the lack of transparency and naturopathy that was apparent in the medicine I had to take on my period. That very frustration inspired me to create an alternative option: De Lune. The goal was to create a solution that actually supported my menstrual health systematically with herbs and nutrients, instead of just covering up the pain. The name “De Lune” roughly translates to “of the moon”, which I chose to convey the importance of embracing the natural monthly cycle.
Three of De Lune’s core values are sustainability, empowerment, and self-love. That means using organic, ethically-sourced ingredients that support the health of your body and your planet. It means empowering people to control what they consume and make their own smart choices for their bodies, even when they’re in pain. And it means creating opportunities for people to embrace the rhythm of their bodies just as they are.
When I first got my period as a kid I was so upset and terrified; no one had told me about it or prepared me. That’s why it’s so important to our philosophy that we make De Lune’s messaging as inclusive and educational as possible. I want De Lune to feel welcoming and comforting to menstruators of all different backgrounds, genders, and ages!
Would you mind explaining a bit about the herbal blend and essential vitamins and minerals in the new variation of De Lune and why they are so important to menstrual health?
The new De Lune tincture is a nutritional and herbal supplement that is designed to alleviate period pain. It’s a liquid formula that can be quickly added to water or tea. This tincture was formulated alongside our in-house Registered Dietitian, Courtney Mayszak, who drew on all the menstrual health research (and firsthand experience) we could gather. Each ingredient was hand-selected based on the best available scientific evidence to address period pain in a systemic, holistic way.
De Lune contains supplements of Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Iodine, and B Vitamins, which are so commonly depleted during menstruation. Magnesium in particular helps to ease cramping by relaxing the uterine muscles, while Zinc boosts blood circulation in the uterus, which brings soothing oxygen to the inflamed area. Iodine, Iron, and B Vitamins have been shown to address a broad range of PMS symptoms and restore the blood supply. Essentially, the tincture is a one-stop-shop for the minerals and vitamins that are particularly important during menstruation.
De Lune combines all these powerful nutrients with a blend of organic herbal extracts: ginger, calendula flower, dong quai, cramp bark, motherwort, and fenugreek seed. These ingredients have been used for thousands of years to treat inflammation, cramping, and mood swings. Cramp bark in particular is known to be a fast-acting cramp reliever, while motherwort has been shown to help regulate mood.
Combining nutritional and herbal supplements in this way can have a powerful effect not only on cramps but also on other PMS symptoms (fatigue, migraines, breast soreness, etc). Believe me, it’s powerful stuff.
Do you feel that there is a societal lack in regards to menstrual health education?
Sadly, yes, there is a frightening lack of menstrual health education in the world. I know I was never taught about my own menstrual cycle in school, and this is the reality for many kids. It makes menstruation a scary and confusing time for young people. How can you know how to care for yourself if you don’t even understand what’s going on with your body?
It is no surprise that the biggest obstacle with De Lune has definitely been education. Periods have long been a taboo topic, and many people are still not ready to openly discuss them, even in school. On top of that, we have the obstacle of educating consumers that natural solutions can work just as well as conventional ones, if not better. It’s a tricky task to create educational messaging that spreads period positivity while not alienating people.
On the bright side, we all have the power to create and spread more knowledge about periods! 10% of De Lune’s profits go towards (much-needed) menstrual health research, and even gathering all our customer feedback is research in its own right. As we continue to build an online community of people who want to share their period experience, we are all participating in global knowledge sharing! It’s pretty incredible, considering the stigma around discussing periods. Underneath that stigma, people are really longing to share their stories and swap information. I’ve been particularly impressed with the work of LOOM, a reproductive empowerment community based in LA. They have a beautifully warm and inclusive approach to this kind of knowledge sharing, and I believe that is the way forward – to a menstrual health revolution. Let’s normalize these conversations together.
In what ways do you honor and nurture your menstrual cycle?
My journey to an empowered period has really been one of learning self-care. I gradually learned what nutrients and rituals would be best for my health during my cycle, and I stopped looking at my period as something to dread.
Tracking my cycle has been a big part of learning to care for my period. I use the Clue app because it tracks so many different bodily factors that fluctuate throughout a menstrual cycle (cramps, breast soreness, breakouts, fatigue, sex drive, and much more) and helps me learn more about myself each month. After three years of tracking now, I have accumulated so much data on my own body’s patterns that I can predict many of its nuances. It is a game-changer to be able to anticipate your mood swings, cramps, or bleeding and plan your self-care accordingly! I also like tracking my cycle because it keeps me in touch with the lunar cycle. Whenever my first day aligns with a New Moon, or my bleeding aligns with a Full Moon, I get dorky excited.
To manage my severe cramps naturally, I supplement my nutrient intake during my bleeding days, and the day before (tracking helps with that). Instead of popping a painkiller, I celebrate myself with a warm glass of tea and a few droppers of De Lune. It’s a much more conscious, holistic, and body-positive ritual than scrambling for an ibuprofen at a drugstore. (But there will always be those days!)
Finally, I use my period as a wonderful excuse to take it slow. I’m intentional about what I expose myself to during my period, because I know I’m more sensitive to crowds and stressful situations. It’s a monthly time of rest and re-set for me… that I savor.
How do you visualize or describe your personal Boketto Moment?
Bath time is always a Boketto Moment for me. The womb-like warmth of water allows me to completely zone out and go somewhere quiet and primal in my head. My baths are particularly long during my period and may also feature tea, chocolate, and incense…
Photo courtesy: Mimi Millard of De Lune