A few months back I was on instagram and stumbled across Femna, a local company to Berlin who make herbal teas and oils that support all of the main stages of the female reproductive system. I was totally in awe of the range of things they offered including what I could use now for menstrual cramps and what I could also offer to the the people I work with in pregnancy and the postpartum period. I’ve personally been using herbs for different ailments for the last four years and really love when female run companies return to traditional forms of healing. So I got in touch with Maxie, an incredibly intelligent and sweet woman who founded both the Ruby Cup and recently Femna to learn more about what they offer.
How did you get started with Femna and what brought you to create such yummy and helpful teas and oils for pregnant people?
The inspiration to FEMNA Health came mostly from my previous company Ruby Cup, a menstrual cup, which is an innovative and eco-friendly solution to women’s periods. Often, we were receiving emails from customers who were asking for solutions to their menstrual cramps, their heavy periods or their PMS. I suffered from cramps myself and when I was recommended a herbal tea from one of my friends and needed to go to a specific pharmacy to get the blend, the idea to FEMNA was born. I wanted to make natural solutions for women’s issues affordable and available online. We started out developing products for menstruation and PMS but with more research to come, we also found that products for women’s menopause and fertility were in high demand. Together with our team of experts, we spent a year developing the FEMNA health product line that consists of herbal blends and essential oils for women’s well-being.
In summer 2017 I became pregnant with twins. My pregnancy went without any major problems and I was still able to bike around Berlin and to continue my work at FEMNA. But, like most people, in the beginning of my pregnancy I suffered from morning sickness. Towards the end, I experienced heavy water retention and sleeping became a problem at night. When I was looking for products for my morning sickness, I found nothing that would help. The same was true for water retention. For example, I googled “cooling oil for water retention”, because I wanted my partner to massage my sore legs with something that would help. Yet nothing came up. So I spoke to my business partner, Emily Casey, and our herbalist and suggested to develop a pregnancy line consisting of natural products. We thought that such a product line could help many women throughout the different stages of pregnancy. So we started developing products for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester as well as for breast feeding and puerperium. For morning sickness, FEMNA, for example, now offers the “Fresh Morning Roll-On”, a soothing blend of natural essential oils of mint, lemon, ginger and cardamom, and the “Easy Queezy Belly Tea”, a tea with Lady’s mantle and yarrow to harmonize pregnancy hormones, as well as peppermint and fennel to calm the stomach. The 1st trimester bundle is available here.
What kinds of ailments do your different teas and oils support and which is your favorite to recommend to pregnant friends right now ?
We looked at the most common “pregnancy problems”. So the first trimester bundle consists of products that aim to assist when experiencing morning sickness. The second trimester products include a stretch mark oil and a tea that is very tasty and safe to drink. The third trimester products all aim at making women’s lives easier when experiencing water retention and sleeping difficulties. The Mommy Milk Tea and the Yummy Mommy Nipple Balm for post-natal use help women with breast feeding and the Mommy Revival Tea and Belly Oil are supposed to be used during Puerperium. So depending on which stage a someone is in during their pregnancy, they can select the products that are right for them.
For a bit of self care, what would you recommend for a new parent who just needs a second to breathe and take a moment for themselves in-between the chaos that can sometimes be new parenting?
What helped me, shortly after I gave birth to my two boys was a good book that I could read during breast feeding and then of course the Mommy Milk tea. Our Mommy Milk Tea combines herbs recommended by lactation consultants and midwives to support milk production – fenugreek seeds, fennel, anise, cumin and nettle. But also lavender and lemon balm provide the necessary emotional support when everything feels like it’s gone a little haywire in life with a newborn.
So I’ve heard that using nipple cream also works as a lip moisturizer, but do you have any other unexpected uses for the Nipple Balm you make?
Haha, good question. Yes, you can use it as a general moisturizer for dry skin, for example our hands during winter. It contains cocoa butter, rosehip, calendula and jojoba oil.
Is there anything you would love for people to know about Femna that they might not get from your site?
Some people might be skeptical towards the power of herbal blends. I am sometimes amazed myself, how effective they prove to be. We get emails and phone calls everyday from people who tell us how much they love our products. One mother called us and said that the FEMNA tea for menstrual cramps is the only thing that helps her daughter and she was asking when the parcel would arrive. Calls like that make my day.