Blog

The Menopause Question

Cassidy: To My Networking Nut,

I write this from the plane as I jet away from our first honeymoon. Also known as our first business trip. Also known as the chapter in which Colorado College sponsors my flight back from South America for the weekend so we can convince alumni that the College is an excellent investment.

As honeymoons go, it was pretty damn good. Nothing gets me more excited than sharing our passion for Chica with others, and nothing is more validating than seeing that excitement reflected in the people we share it with. One of the best parts of starting a business that addresses an underserved and stigmatized need is the look on people’s faces when they realize it’s ok for them to talk about their cycle–there is so much emotion in every “let me tell you about my period” story. These interactions remind me why we started Chica in the first place.

But this letter is dedicated to our critics. Our critics, and our champions–who are simply disappointed that we haven’t created a line of chocolates for them as well. I want to address this because I was approached by several people at the event who were looking for a chocolate for men, or a chocolate for menopause; anything but a chocolate for periods. I want them to know we are listening, and that we value their feedback. But we’re not gonna change course–at least, not yet.

Chica, as an entryway to botanical medicine, is incredibly powerful in the sense that we’re introducing an incredibly old sphere of knowledge in a new form of packaging: chocolate. We’re the only ones using traditional Chinese medicine in this way, and I think that excites people. They see a lot of potential.

But Chica has a focused goal. We are targeting menstrual health for a reason–there are next to no hormone-supportive alternatives that address period symptoms on the market. Plus, we’re doing it because we can. Marco Lam, our consulting acupuncturist, likens our formula to an oil change: it’s a form of maintenance that is important for the overall system, and if this maintenance doesn’t take place regularly, greater problems can manifest that are harder to fix. Everyone who menstruates has a hormonal cycle, and nearly everyone who has a hormonal cycle is pretty lax about said maintenance. So, by focusing on hormonal imbalance and foundational health, we can address the varied symptoms that manifest on the surface.

Creating functional chocolate to address more specific purposes is difficult not only because there aren’t one-size-fits-all formulas for menopausal or prostate health, but also because we can’t print the information on our label that would get these products to the right people. Chica could grow to the point where we are offering every customer a chance to consult with an acupuncturist and design their own personal formula, but then it wouldn’t be Chica anymore.

If Chica doesn’t serve you as you are, we promise we haven’t forgotten you. But if you don’t get a period and want to buy our chocolates, why not get it as a gift? We’ll pay it forward.

Cheers,

Cass

Elise: To my Traveling Toosh,

I attended an angel investor conference on Tuesday, which is unfortunately a space heavily dominated by men. And, let me tell you, I was asked the same dumb questions we usually get asked by men such as, “Will I get a period?”, “Is this safe for me to eat?”, “Aren’t you planning for people to get tired of chocolate?”

The many dumb, pointless questions we have received from men are not worth addressing. However, I want to address the request we have received many times for menopause chocolates. I totally understand why people are asking for this – both periods and menopause are influenced by the hormones in our body, why can’t Chica balance the craziness that menopause causes for hormones?

It is important to understand that Chinese medicine treats an entire person, not just their symptoms. Chica, as you said, is a blend of herbs that perform basic maintenance for our menstrual cycles. Our menstrual cycles are so ignored and undernourished that this maintenance does the trick for many people struggling with their periods. Even here, though, Chica is not treating any single symptom. Instead, Chica focuses on the entire cycle, and we can attest that we’ve seen different experiences from each person eating Chica.

What this means for menopause is the most common symptom for American women, hot flashes, does not have a universal solution. The body is going through a period of strong transition, and thus there is no basic maintenance because, as far as we understand, there is no common transition. An acupuncturist must understand multiple factors in a person’s life, such as diet, exercise, pulse, you name it, before understanding the causes behind why someone may have excess heat in their body.

We’ve both been with our moms as they’ve gone through menopause, so we really do sympathize with the process of menopause even though we’re not close to going through it ourselves. After we establish Chica for periods, we’ll return to the menopause question. For now, visit your local acupuncturist! Menopause is completely treatable with your acupuncturist, there is just no one-size-fits all herbal formula that we feel comfortable selling as a solution. Menopause or no, acupuncture is a powerful, safe well to nourish your wellbeing, which is something we all need.

Love,

Elise

Poria

Fungus & Root

Scierotium Poriae Cocos / Fu Ling / 茯苓 Scierotium Pararadicis Poriae Cocos / Fu Shen / 茯神

Poria calms the heart and soothes nerves, helping with anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, Poria drains dampness, an excess of moisture that the body collects in the wrong places and makes us feel heavy and fatigued (hello moodiness).

Chinese Salvia

Root

Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae / Dan Shen / 丹參

Salvia root nourishes the blood and heart, and calms the spirit. Salvia works with Schisandra and Zizyphus in Chica Chill to help relieve insomnia.

Rehmannia

Root

Radix Rehmanniae Preparata / Sheng Di Huang / 熟地黄

Rehmannia root is your Yin nourisher, supporting calm and cold in your system. With its additional ability to help cool blood, increase fluids, and clear heart fire; Rehmannia is a star herb for soothing and preventing heat flashes.

Polygala / Thin-Leaf Milkwort

Root

Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae / Yuan Zhi / 元志

Polygala root nourishes the Heart, and helps soothe nerves and restlessness.

Schisandra / Chinese Magnolia

Berry

Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis / Wu Wei Zi / 五味子

Schisandra berry is famous for featuring all five flavors of Traditional Chinese Medicine: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, hot. This means that Schisandra is completely energetically balanced, promoting overall health and vitality. Schisandra helps relieve night sweats, insomnia, and hormonal imbalances. Schisandra is also rich in antioxidants that are thought to protect from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage. 

Platycodon / Balloon Flower

Root

Radix Platycodi / Jie Geng / 桔梗

Platycodon root is a neutral balancing herb, meaning it is not especially Yin or Yang. Platycodon is nourishing for the lungs, which in TCM, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Scrophularia / Figwort

Root

Radix Scrophulariae / Xuan Shen / 玄參

Scrophularia root nourishes Yin, drains fire, and cools the blood. Scrophularia is particularly soothing for irritability.

Ophiopogon / Dwarf Lilyturf

Tuber

Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici / Mai Men Dong / 麦门冬

Ophiopogon tuber works with Asparagus to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.

Stemona

Root

Radix Stemonae / Bai Bu / 百部

Stemona root is a balancing herb in the Chica Chill formula. Stemona is nourishing for the lungs, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Licorice

Root

Radix Glycyrrhizae / Gan Cao / 甘草

Licorice acts as a unifier, balancing the formula and amplifying the properties of the other herbs.

Zizyphus / Sour Jujube

Seed

Semen Zizyphi Spinosae / Suan Zao Ren / 酸枣仁

Zizyphus seed nourishes the heart and calms the spirit. Zizyphus helps relieve insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

Ginseng

Root

Radix Ginseng / Ren Shen / 人参

Ginseng root, one of the most famous herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is known for its ability to strengthen Qi and support life vitality. Ginseng nourishes the Heart and calms the spirit, helping reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Acorus / Grassleaf Sweetflag

Rhizome

Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii / Shi Chang Pu / 石菖蒲

Acorus helps relieve internal heat and is a favorite herb for reducing frequent insomnia.

Eucommia / Chinese Rubber Tree

Bark

Cortex Eucommiae Ulmoidis / Du Zhong / 杜仲

Eucommia bark balances the Chica Chill formula by offering Yang properties. Eucommia is also nourishing for the heart, and has been featured in research in Western medicine for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Angelica / Dong Quai

Root

Radix Angelicae Sinensis / Dong Quai / 当归

Angelica root is sometimes described as the “female ginseng,” due to its fame for supporting a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. Angelica root strengthens blood and energizes circulation. In Chica Chill, Angelica root balances the herbal formula with its Yang properties.

Biota / Arborvitae

Seed

Semen Platycladi / Bai Zi Ren / 柏子仁

Biota seed benefits memory and promotes restful sleep by nourishing the heart and calming the spirit.

Chinese Asparagus

Tuber

Tuber Asparagi Cochinensis / Tian Men Dong / 天门冬

Asparagus root works with Ophiopogon to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.