With Medicinal Plant Index, Travis Gumbs Wants to Make Holistic Healing More Approachable

Husband and wife duo Travis Gumbs and Cynthia Cervantes have officially entered the wellness space with a new brand targeting holistic healing. Medicinal Plant Index, founded this year by Gumbs with the consistent help of Cervantes, is an online space that provides a user-friendly, beginner’s guide to understanding medicinal herbs and plants—all of which have well-researched health benefits. After creating MPI’s digital catalogue, Gumbs developed the brand’s first official formula, a supplement he is calling Uplift. This supplement is the first of six still to come, each one intended to target a specific need ranging from lethargy or depression to libido and beauty concerns.

After a move to Mexico City from New York, Gumbs started to notice changes in not only his skin but in his overall energy, neither of which had been a bother before. With the help of local Botánicas, or botanical shops, and a natural curiosity for remedies outside of traditional Western medicine, Gumbs began to explore herbs in the form of teas, tinctures, and supplements to rebalance himself physically and mentally. “In a botánica it’s like every herb there is,” explains Cervantes, “so we started going to shops with a whole list. Sometimes I’m like, ‘what is this?’ Travis started making formulations at home and he said to me, ‘I wish there was a medicinal database.’ So I said, ‘why don’t you build one?” The couple have long worked together: Gumbs, a photographer, and Cervantes, an director, together ran the creative studio Maroon World, which produced fashion editorials and designed merchandise.

MPI presents visitors with its index, a shop, and a journal in which the process behind the plants’ medicinal sourcing can be better understood. Gumbs intends to put transparency at the forefront, filling the void of information he didn’t have on his own journey to better health. “My research led me to a ridiculous amount of sites that specialized in very specific or esoteric information. It’s what made me realize that a platform for medicinal plant knowledge that was easy to navigate, encompassed various entry points for knowledge seekers (searching a site for herbs that help with anxiety, for instance), or that was pleasant to engage with from an aesthetic standpoint, was missing,” says Gumbs.

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