- Born out of her own frustrations with debilitating period symptoms, trying to understand her hormone health, and wanting a more natural solution to heal, our CEO and founder Lulu Ge created Elix.
- Thanks to her family's roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Lulu rediscovered a holistic, hormone balancing remedy that worked by harnessing the healing power of herbs and adaptogens.
- Passionate about helping all people with periods reach their highest potential, Lulu recruited a a team of medical experts to offer greater access to personalized herbal medicine for menstrual wellness.
How CEO Lulu Ge Founded Elix
3 years ago Lulu went off birth control. She had always hated how it made her feel—nauseous, unsettled, and like her body was literally rejecting it. She had also noticed more and more headlines about the scary potential side effects (that we aren’t warned about as young girls) and decided it was finally time. It had been 16 years.
When Lulu’s body stopped receiving the synthetic hormones it was used to, it responded with a roulette wheel of debilitating pain every month. She experienced stab-me-in-the-uterus cramps, sharp headaches, painful bloating, unrelenting fatigue, insomnia, and just did not feel like ‘herself.’ It got so bad that she actually had to call in sick to work—something she had never done before, let alone for her period (primary dysmenorrhea—period pain without an underlying condition—causes up to 25% of women to miss work or school, and 46% of women are afraid to tell our employers about the pain).
Lulu tried everything. From a cocktail of over-the-counter painkillers (which she hated taking because of the long-term health risks, and how they often kicked in too late or wore off too early), to fish oil and period supplements (which didn't work at all), to a vibrating device that she strapped onto my stomach. Try presenting in a meeting while your uterus is being vibrated…
She brought all this up during her annual physical, but the doctor dismissed it. She said she could give Lulu a "prescription" for the pain, but “...honestly, I get cramps too—it happens to every woman, so you should probably just take it easy on your period." Another OBGYN simply suggested going back on birth control...
Back to Lulu Ge’s Healing Roots
During a trip home to California, Lulu’s mom brought up her menstrual issues to her 公公 (grandfather), who used to run the hospital in Southern China where she was born. Her 公公 connected her with Dr. Xia Hongsheng, one of China's leading experts who has authored nearly 100 papers and 45 books on how herbs help heal the body. After telling him her symptoms, sharing a detailed medical history, and sticking out her tongue, Lulu was sent home with a prescription of a dozen herbs to purchase, boil daily, and drink before her next cycle.
The next month, Lulu was shocked at how effectively the herbal blend reduced her stabbing pains. She didn’t experience the wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night cramps that signaled her period was starting (which led her to bleed through a white dress at work and require an emergency outfit change).
After a few months, Lulu was amazed by the steady waning of virtually all of her symptoms. Her perfect attendance at work was reinstated, and she felt like her normal self again.
Lulu started talking to her girlfriends about it and very quickly learned she wasn't alone in her pain (90% of women suffer from primary dysmenorrhea), nor in her search for a natural solution that actually worked.
Everyone asked Lulu for her “period herbs,” but Dr. Xia said Lulu’s personalized blend only worked because it was tailored to her body’s particular pattern of symptoms—which, according to Chinese medicine, were all connected and could be holistically healed at once.
This differs from the approach of identifying and treating one symptom at a time, which can sometimes feel like a game of whack-a-mole. It would be fine if this method was effective or free of the side effects that come with painkillers and birth control, but when only 4% of research and development in U.S. healthcare goes towards women’s health issues, it’s no surprise that we’re stuck with the same “solutions” (or lack thereof) that our grandmothers experienced.
Thanks to Chinese medicine, Lulu Ge finally found a holistic, hormone balancing remedy that worked—and knew it needed to be more accessible for others.
Building A Better Solution
Lulu Ge wanted to ground Elix’s offering in modern science and research. After all, we live in the western world and most people are pretty skeptical of Chinese medicine—with good reason. Too many brands in the category make false claims and consumers don’t know who or what to trust.
Her goal was to democratize access to the personalized experience of receiving treatment from a practitioner of Chinese medicine, so she led a review of 246 clinical trials and studies to see how Elix could replicate that experience online with proven herbs and formulas. After nearly a year of R&D, Lulu created an in-depth health assessment that links a person’s symptoms to their underlying pattern of hormonal imbalances and recommends an herbal formula tailored to those needs.
Lulu Ge reviewed this questionnaire with Dr. Xia (the one who originally treated her dysmenorrhea), a Professor and Chief Physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shenzhen and Honorary President of the Hong Kong International Association of Chinese and Western Medicine. Her work with him led to the final step in Elix’s health assessment: submitting a photo of your tongue, as it’s the body’s only visible organ that provides an indication of our internal health. (If you’ve ever been to a Chinese medicine doctor, they always inspect your tongue—regardless of what you came in for!)
With the health assessment finalized, Lulu got to work on finalizing the treatments themselves. She knew that she couldn’t expect people to boil pungent herbs for 45 minutes every day, so the initial idea was to develop a powder treatment. However, the highest quality powders are 1) difficult to dissolve without very hot water, 2) difficult to choke down without honey to mask the flavor, and 3) not guaranteed to be created without harmful solvents or fillers.
So, Lulu decided to boil and blend the organic, whole herbs ourselves, and created easy-to-mix tinctures that can be taken anywhere.
Democratizing Access to Holistic Healing
After piloting this solution with 300+ women for nearly a year and incorporating feedback from our inspiring community, we launched Elix in January 2020.
Elix is the first menstrual wellness brand that combines Chinese medicine and clinical research to create personalized, clinically proven herbal formulas. Since taking Elix, 93% of women reported an improvement in menstrual symptoms in just the first month alone, with results improving with the length of use.
About Lulu Ge
Lulu Ge is the CEO and Founder of Elix. Prior to founding Elix, Lulu led the Change and Transformation function at Hudson’s Bay Company and Saks Fifth Avenue. The team was responsible for a portfolio of strategic initiatives valued at $350m+ across an employee population of 45,000+. There she identified an opportunity to leverage data and analytics in creating personalized customer experiences that fostered loyalty and community, a foundational pillar of Elix.
Earlier in her career, Lulu Ge spent several years in Management Consulting at both a “Big-Four” and a boutique firm where she led diverse projects consulting to Fortune 100 organizations in strategy, business transformation, customer experience, technology enablement, organization design, change management and leadership effectiveness.
Lulu Ge has also worked abroad in China, creating leadership development programs for Chinese government and business leaders. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Political Science and Art History from the University of California, San Diego. Lulu is certified in varied assessments and methodologies including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) and Prosci ADKAR® Model for individual change to drive organizational transformation.
Lulu currently lives in New York City with her husband and numerous houseplants. She enjoys cooking plant-based recipes, practicing ashtanga-style yoga, traveling to different wine regions of the world and discovering new healing herbs.
While at Wharton, Elix was selected to be part of the VIP-X accelerator and placed top 10 in the annual Wharton Startup Competition.
Looking for a natural way to support your cycle? Try out Cycle Balance! Take our free online Health Assessment and receive a personalized blend of herbs to ease your worst menstrual symptoms.
This article was reviewed by Dr. Liem Le.
Dr. Liem Le is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Nutritionist Integrative Medicine Department at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. He is a part of the teaching staff for the Masters program for the Functional Medicine and Human Nutrition program at University of Western States. Dr. Le is currently working on his fellowship in Integrative Medicine with the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine via a scholarship from the White House to complete the initiative.