Beyond morning sickness: Mental support key to maternal wellness for pregnancy health - start-up Daisy

By Audrey Yow

- Last updated on GMT

Daisy launches gingerol drink for morning sickness, adding that it has more science-backed products in the pipeline that support mental health for maternal wellness. © Daisy
Daisy launches gingerol drink for morning sickness, adding that it has more science-backed products in the pipeline that support mental health for maternal wellness. © Daisy

Related tags maternal health Pregnancy Nutrition morning sickness gingerol Ginger

New Zealand start-up Daisy has launched gingerol drink for morning sickness and says it has more science-backed products in the pipeline that support mental health for maternal wellness.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or extreme morning sickness, turned Emma Michelsen’s world upside down. Driven by her firsthand experience of how the physical discomforts from pregnancy can take a mental toll on women, she founded Daisy to raise awareness about this condition and to offer support for those experiencing it.

“It wasn't just the physical toll; it was the feeling of being lost in a medical maze, desperately seeking relief,”​ said Michelsen, who pointed out that up to 90% of mothers experience some degree of nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, and 10% of those will suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which can be life-changing and traumatic.

Physical relief boosts mental wellness

Daisy’s new drink Morning Relief aims to sooth both mild and extreme morning sickness. It combines gingerol, vitamin B6, and electrolytes, which are supported by scientific research to relieve symptoms of morning sickness, nausea, and dehydration during pregnancy. Vitamin B6 helps reduce nausea in pregnant women, and electrolytes are essential for hydration management during episodes of vomiting, addressing maternal depletion.

Michelsen hopes the product will also boost mental health by alleviating the physical discomforts that could come with pregnancy.

Ginger is often recommended to help with nausea and vomiting, as the presence of the active compound gingerol is known to alleviate this condition. But Michelsen observed that nothing on the market offered real relief.

To fill this gap, she began an extensive review of clinical trials that revealed gingerol's efficacy. She discovered that a particular part of the ginger root in certain doses could be more effective for reducing these symptoms.

Designed for positive experience

Partnering with leading PhD nutritionists specialising in female health at Massey University, Morning Relief was formulated based on publicly available clinical trials.

Preliminary user trials were also conducted to refine the taste and efficacy of the product, ensuring optimal consumer acceptance and therapeutic benefits.

“In comparing the therapeutic dose of gingerol to what was currently on the market, I found that nothing had the correct amount that had been proven to offer real relief. Seeing as I had firsthand experience of the dangers from maternal depletion, I understood the importance of including pregnancy-specific electrolytes alongside Vitamin B6,”​ said Michelsen.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is also one of the most common causes of hospitalisation in pregnancy, often due to dehydration, which is why Michelsen made the Morning Relief powder water-soluble.

When mixed with water, Morning Relief imparts a potent dose of gingerol to support in settling a queasy stomach, along with Vitamin B6 which has been proven to help with morning sickness, and electrolytes to address dehydration.

Each 12g (rounded teaspoon) of Morning Relief contains 200mg of zingiber officinale (ginger), which is equivalent to 2000mg of dry root ginger.

In a 180g sachet, there are 15 servings with three gentle flavour combinations to make it more palatable for those sensitive to the taste of ginger: raspberry, lemon & ginger; blackcurrant & ginger; and lemon & ginger.

Morning Relief is also formulated so the ginger taste is subtle rather than overpowering.

“Anyone experiencing ongoing nausea might be tired of the overt taste of ginger, and so we wanted to ensure the gingerol had a soft taste,”​ said Michelsen. “We made sure our extraction process allowed the gingerol to remain water-soluble, while also giving a subtle, sweet flavour even when used at a higher dose.”

Recognising that nausea can make oral ingestion undesirable, there are plans to explore alternative formats for Morning Relief. Potential new formats include an effervescent version that can be added to beverages, providing flexibility and ease for consumption. There are also new flavours in the works.

Upcoming innovation focusses on mental well-being

Daisy is also working on a new probiotic product focusing on maternal mental health. This is being formulated based on current scientific research into natural ingredients that can positively affect mood and mental well-being during and after pregnancy.

“I think the current consumer trends are going to put us in a good position to continue developing within this space. The rising interest in health and wellness, particularly in natural and ingestible healthcare products, significantly impacts our product development and marketing strategies. Trends in gut health and ingestible beauty products indicate a broader acceptance and demand for health-supportive supplements, which aligns with our mission to enhance maternal health through scientifically backed products,” ​said Michelsen, who said all ingredients in Morning Relief are natural.

Apart from ginger root extract and vitamin B6, there are also sodium citrate, raw caster sugar, freeze-dried fruit powder, and natural flavouring. The gingerol and vitamin B6 is sourced from a cGMP, ISO-certified, Kosher, and Halal-certified provider in China, known for their advanced R&D capabilities and innovative herbal extract technologies. This ensures the gingerol is not only effective but also palatable. Freeze-dried fruit powders and raw caster sugar are sourced locally within New Zealand, and sodium citrate from Austria.

Daisy’s products are available for purchase on their website and in online baby, motherhood and health stores across New Zealand and Australia. Plans to expand internationally are in the works as it goes through country-specific regulatory requirements for dietary supplements. Daisy plans to distribute to Asia by late 2024.

Infant and Maternal Nutrition will be taking centre stage at our Growth Asia Summit 2024 this coming July, which will feature insights from a wide range of industry leaders and experts. Don't miss out – register here today!

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