Rachelle brings her background as an herbalist, educator, and life-long naturalist to the GEM Advisory Board. Rachelle combines global herbalism wisdom with today’s new science, plus psychological and intuitive techniques that have created life-changing health for thousands of people.
Rachelle holds certificates in Complementary and Integrative Health, Clinical Herbalism and others, and has spent over five thousand hours teaching and in private client sessions. She has been studying the relationship between plants and people her entire life and around the world. In addition to directing the operations of Supernatural, Rachelle writes, teaches, speaks, and offers professional consulting for companies in the wellness and food industries.
We sat down with Rachelle for a short Q&A to get her perspective on GEM, how to pair adaptogens, and food as medicine.GEM: Tell us about your discipline as an herbalist. What is it and why is it important?
Rachelle: As an herbalist and medium between plant remedies and humanity, I help people relearn how to communicate with their bodies and empower them to reclaim their health, naturally.GEM: In your practice, what are common pitfalls that you often see in adult men + women (i.e. hormonal imbalances, stress) and what can we do to better address it?
Rachelle: I consistently see struggles in the following areas: digestion, sleep, energy, stress levels, weight/metabolism, and mood. Addressing these requires consistent, holistic support including education, products, services, and beyond.GEM: What does “food as medicine” mean to you?
Rachelle: It’s everything! Food IS medicine and most of our medicines are made from plants, which are also food. Herbs and supplements won’t work well on top of a food practice that isn’t right for someone. I always start with food and if it’s all we ever do, it can still be life changing.GEM: In your own words, describe GEM and its important role in the future of your discipline.
Rachelle: Food medicine is central to herbalism, so I love food-first remedies, which GEM is! It’s also a great way for those averse to capsules or related to consume nutrients.GEM: Tell us about some of the key herbs and roots we use across different GEM products:
What is it and its history?
Ashwagandha is a plant with a rich history in ayurveda and other global healing traditions. We commonly use the root but most parts of the plant are actually medicinal! Today, it’s a sort of hero adaptogen leading the way in awareness about adaptogens and stress management.
How does it work?
Adaptogens are non-specific, non-toxic, and normalizing. They work through the HPA-axis in the brain and help to push us toward equilibrium. Ashwagandha is also well known for balancing cortisol levels.
What are the benefits of it and why is it important?
It’s important as a plant we can use everyday (it’s best used every day rather than occasionally!) to help approach stressful situations with grace and calm.
Who should take it?
Anyone! Especially those under daily stress, though always check with doctors if taking medication.
What does it play nicely with?
I love ashwagandha with cacao, a healthy fat which can help with absorption. Cacao is also a great neutralizer - balancing, nutritive, and excellent for everyday, as is ashwagandha.
How does it work? Valerian is a nervine (loves the nervous system), antidepressant, hypnotic, sedative, caminative (great for digestion!) and more. It’s warming, improves circulation and helps with overall relaxation.
Who should take it? Anyone really struggling with sleep can benefit from Valerian. Always good to test first though, as a very small percentage of the population will find it stimulating instead of sedating! I also like it as an alternative to alcohol for (very) calm nights at home.
What is it and its history? Lemon balm is one of my favorite nervines (herbs with an affinity for the nervous system). It grows well in home gardens and/or is often available at farmer’s markets. Lemon balm has traditionally been used as a mood lifter, nerve-soother and antiviral. It’s often in formulas for focus, and sleep, but can be used any time of day depending on the herbs it’s blended with.
How does it work? Rosmarinic acid and the triterpenoids help allow for increased GABA levels in the brain. GABA is a main inhibitory neurotransmitter, which helps keep us calm!
Who should take it? Lemon balm is an herb that we see in formulas for all ages. Children, elderly, and everyone in between. It’s an excellent daily support for nerves, mood, focus, and flavor!
What does it play nicely with? Paired with ingredients like ashwagandha, B-vitamins and/or magnesium, Lemon balm because especially calming, without sedation which makes it great for daytime use.
GEM: Our newly released Calm bite features magnesium & lemon balm as active ingredients. Describe the science behind how these ingredients work together to holistically soothe body + mind.
Rachelle: Magnesium is an essential nutrient that a surprisingly large percentage of the population is deficient in. Aside from basic and important functions like cellular communication, it can also be helpful for relaxation and anxiety relief. I always refer to it in sleep and relaxation formulas. Lemon balm is another important ingredient in mood and peace formulas. I love it for its potency, and also friendliness for all ages. It’s one we herbalists use for seasonal affective disorder, attention and focusing challenges, mood support, and more. Plus, the lemony flavor is just fabulous.