We're absolutely stoked that we started stocking Misty Day Plant Potions at the beginning of this year, not least of all because we've been (necessarily, of course!) sampling the whole set of brews and single ingredients! We've been loving the flavours and health benefits along with the endless creative possibilities and utterly inspiring beauty (just check out their Instagram!)
Rachel, what’s your story as to how you became interested in studying & practising herbalism?
I have always had an interest in natural health as from an early age my mum always took me down to our local health shop every time I was sick. The owner did iridology and I was always intrigued about how he was always spot on with what was going on with me. I bumbled around after leaving school for a few years and then moved to Australia where I started to study naturopathy and started working in a super busy health shop smack bang in the middle of downtown Melbourne. From then I was hooked and it really suits my curious mind.
Tell us about “hippy school” – studying naturopathy & herbalism
Well, I studied the majority of it in Australia and then just finished off herbal medicine here in New Zealand at Wellpark. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of it and the way we all helped each other out with our cases - I also used myself as a herbal guinea pig lots of the time! It was definitely valuable and I love seeing the success of my fellow classmates these days.
How did you conceive of Misty Day Plant Potions and what were your drivers to create the business?
I was working for a large multi-national supplement company that was slowly sucking the lifeblood from me! I was having to develop and help market products I did not believe in and would never take. I was also starting to notice that suddenly people were saying that herbs were not effective unless they were expensive patented branded extracts with very flimsy clinical data. It was time to do my own thing. I had seen the rise and fall of superfoods and wanted to do a similar type of versatile product that was based on my favourite herbs. It had to be pretty too - I'm a creative at heart!
What do you love most about the natural health ‘scene’ in NZ/ globally?
I love that so many NZ consumers want to support local, small, low waste businesses and that we are able to easily bring products to market. I love that there is becoming considerable cross over between food and health and people are getting the idea that you don't have to pop pills to enjoy the benefits of nutrients and herbs.
And what annoys you the most?
Oh, don't get me started. After being in the industry in NZ for many years I have seen so many changes. I think the biggest one is the move away from the hippy holistic health paradigm to the pharmaceutical paradigm- pop a pill and you will fix that xyz (probably won't). All of this is driven by the huge marketing budgets that the big companies have- natural health is a pretty cut throat business these days. Something else that annoys me is that many stores are provided incentives for selling products - so you may not be being sold the product best suited for you. Basically they are paying for their product to be recommended. I think that is pretty disingenuous.
Your favourite NZ natural brands & why?
I think probably Kiwiherb as they have stayed true to their herbal roots, Nuzest as I love the way they have climbed the ladder to be such a big deal in NZ without selling out, Tailor as Sara is just a machine and has the most beautiful products and many other small brands - I always support small local brands as you are supporting someones family - not lining the pockets of a corporation.
Tell us about you: what gets you up in the morning & what keeps you sane?
Coffee definitely gets me up in the morning! And knowing a have a lot of work to get done! In all honesty though, I love the mornings - its my time for sure. To keep my sanity - I love getting to the gym and also going on long walks around my hood while listening to my latest audio book or crime podcast ( just a little bit addicted) I also make sure I meet up with at least one friend a week for a coffee and catch up as working alone can be pretty brutal for me - I love a good yarn!
As a naturopath/ herbalist, what do you think are the 3 most effective things that most of us can do to restore health & balance?
Minimise stress - Easier said than done! But I suggest people have a real think about what is contributing the most stress in their lives and assess whether it is something that they should be putting their care and attention to. I love CBT techniques for helping people rationally address their stress and the thought patterns that may be driving it. Of course, from a herbal perspective - I think most people would benefit from adaptogenic herbs as they help to immunise the body against the systemic effects of stress.
Ditch the sugar- Diabetes has gone from being a relatively rare disorder to epidemic proportions. Keep a food diary for a few days and see just how much is just sugar or refined carbohydrates (or wine). Diet driven sugar irregularities contribute not only to the risk of diabetes but to nutrient deficiencies, weight gain and hormonal and mood issues. Ditch the sugar and refined carbs and up the veges and protein- that's the best diet and lifestyle advise anyone can give!
Exercise - Do what floats your boat - some people like yoga, some people like running/walking, lifting heavy weights or bootcamps- as long as you are moving your body!. Doing exercise helps to reduce the ill effects of stress- it reduces high levels of stress hormones, enhances blood flow and oxygenation and boosts metabolism. It also can sometimes be quite meditative especially if it is YOUR time away to focus on something other than the kids/dishes/workload.
We know the MIstyDay fans out there are dying to know: what is your all-time favourite herb and MistyDay brew & why?
My favourite herb is Ashwagandha for sure. I have been taking it for about 2 years on a daily basis and it has definitely made a huge difference to how I feel when I am hit with a huge workload. Its my savior for sure! As far as blends go - I love Bliss Brew as my morning drink (with extra ashwagandha) and Beauty Brew in the afternoon as my little beauty laden pick me up! I am also partial to Shroom Brew too- its hard to choose when you have them all at your disposal!!
Check out Rachel's super Misty Video on her (and my new) favourite herb Ashwagandha!