Supernatural HRBLS – we know them, love them, and simply cannot get enough of them. They are the bite-sized allies we long to keep around at all times, especially during moments of heightened stress and anxiety, or when we simply need something to chill us out and wind us down. It’s such a genius and thoughtful approach to modern wellbeing when we find ourselves on the go and in need of quick support.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Rachelle Robinett, founder of Supernatural, who has found her niche in combining plant-based and natural medicine with practical lifestyle habits. Truly, she’s a remarkable and very striking being – warm, intelligent, down to earth, and of dedication and service to her community. She kindly invited me along to her newly opened Brooklyn-based café where we had the opportunity to chat about plants, people, ritual, routine, running a small business, and almost everything in between. Trust me when I say that you can always expect something new and exciting up her sleeve – she knows how to keep you on your toes with her inquisitive mind and contagious approach towards living life abundantly well.
What is the inspiration and philosophy behind Supernatural?
Supernatural as a business and as company was created out of a demand, which is to say that I didn’t decide that Supernatural would “be” – I didn’t decide that this was going to be a thing and that it was going to be shaped and colored this way and that I was going to deliver it to the people. Rather, the people asked for it of me, and that is part of the philosophy simply because it was birthed out of request.
I am in service of other people’s wellbeing and I believe that is the core of this business – and doing so with the intention of being truthful, sincere, and reasonably accessible. I share a lot of education about food, but I do not require that anybody must use exotic ingredients. I advocate for herbs that are accessible, common, regional, and gentle on the planet. For example, I’m a big fan of garlic, cinnamon, and mint – things that are medicinal and that we’re naturally surrounded by.
Also at the very core of Supernatural is plant-based wellness, which encompasses food, herbs, and the natural environment. The inspiration is simply the natural world, as well as the people who have asked me for this to come into being.
What people, places, things, or experiences help to nurture and inspire your creativity?
Primarily, there is a deep well of inspiration and a creative course that I don’t even want to claim lives inside of me – it feels more like a well, or a spring, that I receive access to when I can separate myself form the material world. Spending time in solitude or nature and getting away from technology and extracting myself from the everyday working of business and even social engagements further supports this nurturing.
There is a compass that has helped direct me throughout my life – there is the sound of the breeze, there is the voice that I use to write – and that to me is a force of nature, if you will. It is getting in touch with a life force, a creative force, something intuitive, something sublingual, and something that guides us if we can feel it, hear it, and see it in order to be in touch with it. I also call that ether, which is something that we don’t really have a word for, and partly why I believe that words are not sufficient to understand the human experience. As a writer and inquisitive mind, I gave up the idea long ago that there are words to totally describe it (ether). And all of that is a little bit of a tangent to say that this force, this breeze, is where I tap most of my creativity from.
On a more practical level, I am inspired by other herbalists and people in the food community, including chefs, farmers, and activists. I am also inspired by my partner, who has an amazing way about food, and preparing and serving it with so much care and joy that it’s clearly so much more than just a dish.
I am inspired by every single weed in every single sidewalk; every leaf, every tree, every glint of sunlight – I think you can use the word obsessed again to describe my relationship with the natural world, even living in a place like New York. Remaining connected to it is very inspiring.
Your HRBLS herbal chews are brilliant, and adored by the Boketto community! What moments do you, or your clients, find them most helpful?
Travel is very popular. It’s also those everyday moments of stress, anxiousness, and worry. I think that people use them preventatively by having one or two a day as a way to treat their nervous system well – to restore it, but also to strengthen the muscle of being able to adapt to situations that cause stress and anxiety, which then allows us to go through them again with less and less support.
Having them readily on hand in a moment of need is what I intended and that is how people are using them. And for those two things to be matched – that’s magic! That’s exactly what I hoped for an envisioned.
What are some of your treasured New York hidden gems for finding a bit of respite, despite the chaos that can come with living and working in the city?
My number one escape is just going for a run. Being outside, even if I’m walking on a sidewalk, is still beautiful. I’m looking at the changing leaves, the sun is setting, I can feel the breeze on my arms and I know where nature is and where I am in it. For me, running is my absolute favorite thing and the small connections to being outside are so valuable.
Second to that, I love hopping on my bike for all of the same reasons. It’s a really wonderful way to experience New York and be out of the subway system while gently exercising. Most often, I will cruise to Prospect Park and ride the loop until I’ve exhausted all of my energy, and then I’ll cruise back home feeling really refreshed.
My partner has introduced me to surfing in the Rockaways. New York City is really amazing for that – who knew that you could even go surfing here? But you can, and for us it’s just a quick thirty minutes on the subway.
There are also lots of little neighborhood parks. I don’t live in an area that’s very green, however I have a small neighborhood park that I can walk to in order to read a book or practice yoga in a different environment. I really encourage people to seek those places out, because even in this urban jungle, those hidden gems are everywhere. The last time I found myself reading on one of those little patches of grass in the park, it started to rain mulberries on me and I realized that the wind was blowing all of the mulberries out of the tree above me. They were these beautiful, white, sweet mulberries that we pay (an exponential amount of) money for that just fell right into my blanket – it was so charming!
And I also really love what New York has to offer in terms of bodywork. I tend to prefer really cheap, under the radar massage spots that give a great deep tissue massage.
Any favorite seasonal allies for the transition into Fall?
Number one on my list is always garlic – it’s phenomenal and underrated, and happens to be my favorite cold and flu remedy and prevention. If you simply cannot tolerate garlic, then fresh ginger is also excellent. You can just throw a big hunk of ginger and some water into your blender and have ginger juice or shots on demand. It’s very powerful for the immune system.
I love medicinal mushrooms for immunity, always. They’re immunal modulators, so they help to keep our immune systems active enough, but not overactive. I tend to go for a blend of medicinal mushrooms in order to get a myriad of benefits from them, but you can also focus on just one.
Elderberry of course is very nice, although I tend to avoid it because it’s usually in syrup form. When anyone is sick or feels like they might be getting sick, I prescribe to a zero sugar philosophy – so that includes syrup (and even honey), however elderberry is still lovely.
Astragalus is also a nice ally, and is something that was coming up a lot for me earlier in the year in the treatment of lyme disease. Astraglus can be used long term and is also really potent for the immune system.
Most important of all are the essentials that I make sure my clients are keeping up with, before introducing any herbs – and that is a great diet and ample sleep. Diet, especially in the winter, must be low sugar. We should be watching out for flours, grains, and processed foods that can so quickly turn into sugar and overtax our immune system. Generally, the more herbs and spices that we can consume on a regular basis, the better.
Image credits: Emily Hlaváč Green for OZMA of California