THE SHORT STORY...
Seeking answers, healing, and an intentional lifestyle led us to the remote island of Kauai, Hawaii. The Polynesian way, healing arts, tropical elements and the power of medicinal herbs set the stage for a renewed sense of life. So, as we left behind our quintessential East Coast "careers" for a pair of equatorial farm boots, we adopted a higher standard of health and discovered a new life purpose. Rooted in the wisdom of Hawaiian La’au lapa’au, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and the tribal indigenous, the potent herbal plant medicine from the rich-volcanic soil of Kauai inspired a newfound energy and child-like enthusiasm. The tea we brewed from these plants was steeped in undeniable truths. We explored all the different ways we could use the herbs and shared them with others. The changes we personally experienced and the healing validation shared by others triggered the foundation of our boutique-size, biodiverse herbal farm and “farm”acy.
Kauai Farmacy is now home to over 80 varieties of organic, healing plants, food orchards, a team of extraordinary herbalists and gardeners, a closed-loop vermiculture feeding system (worm compost farm), honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators, wild fowl, environmentally-compatible farming (water-catchments, permaculture guilds and more) and medicine-making systems (solar-dehydrators, low temperature herb-curing, herbal teas, tinctures, hydrosols, salves, honey, capsules and more). Everything is done by hand including brewing our own home-made fertilizers from the plants we grow. We seed, propagate, plant, hand-harvest, artisanally-craft and package all the herbal products we grow right on the farm. The fresh and pure nature of the herbs ensures high quality, potent, consistent and effective plant medicine straight from the source.
THE FULL STORY...
It has been mentioned that the birth of a child has the ability to shape your future in ways unknown. This understatement became the defining, pivotal moment when our present became past and our future became a new way of life; one rooted in ancient wisdom, new lands, and extraordinary healing discoveries.
Shifting our consciousness from our conventional, suburban Northeast upbringings, after spending our careers in the hustle-bustle of the ever-grinding pursuit towards the American dream, was not something easily attainable. Doug was living the "high-life", jet-setting as a young, bright-eyed pioneer in the world of private equity finance, investing on behalf of supersized endowments and amassed pension-fund capital in real estate development projects.
I was innovating cutting edge products and packaging as an industrial designer in the fast-growing world of consumerism. Fortunately, our adventurous worldly-travels had opened our minds enough to begin questioning all that we thought we knew.
But, the wisdom which beheld the very answers that were needed for us to evolve into a healthier state of being, and the shifting that had to occur to appreciate conscious-contribution to a higher purpose for the future of humanity was a far less familiar journey than globe trotting.
After experiencing a turbulent c-section birth that left us upended, the primal urge within us to seek change had been abruptly awakened. Following our hearts, and without looking back, we journeyed far across the globe to the ancient, volcanic island of Kauai with our new baby boy. Unbeknownst to us at the time, this volcanic, lush environment was soon to become the healing grounds for our small family trio.
We were met with other like-minded transplants navigating their own evolutionary paths, as well as knowledgeable locals that introduced us to cultural practices that touched our souls to the core. It was the introduction to the Polynesian Noni plant that spun us around 360 when Doug’s lower back injury was remedied with simply heating the massive, waxy-green leaf between our hands and applying it topically to the inflamed area, as suggested by one of the locals. The ability to self-heal with a wild plant was a foreign notion to us prior to experiencing the Noni Leaf's power. There and then, began the appreciation for a higher power of healing.
Fascinated, and with the determination to learn more, we explored all the different ways one could use the miraculous Noni leaf. We ate it. We dehydrated it. We juiced it. We crushed it into poultice form. We consumed it in capsules. And we brewed the fresh and dehydrated Noni leaves into delicious tea, as the early Polynesians had done in their time. One revelation after another, our healing trajectory was initiated: skin rashes cleared, mastitis soothed, kidney stones passed, excess weight-trimmed, and mental fog lifted. We were feeling renewed, energized and invigorated. We were cleansing on an emotional and physical level from our recent birth trauma, and more deeply from past, psychological life-programming and a lifetime of ignorant, haphazard-consumption of low-quality foods and drink. We were learning truths about ourselves as we shed layers of our old ways and slowly started to transform physically and mentally with new-founded spirituality and purpose. And so began our subconscious surrender to the authentic ways of natural healing…
It wasn’t long before we were sharing our Noni Leaf Tea with friends and acquaintances. Its healing powers were no longer deniable. Others were feeling the restoration and regeneration too from this 'all-everything' healing plant; sharing with us week after week their own personal healing experiences. With our toddler in tow, weekly, local farmer's markets and health-food store deliveries became our new norm. We were the "Tea people" with free samples of brewed Noni Leaf Tea and small, hand-sealed, sun-dried 5-cup tea pouches for sale, ready for those wanting to experience more.
We were subconsciously seeking a sense of place, an intentional community to share in, and a virtuous purpose to live by. We were unsettled and a long way from our roots. In hindsight, we were simply planting the seeds of "potential" in the hopes for a new life to emerge. We still had a lot of healing to do, yet as we continued to drink the Noni Leaf Tea daily, we began to unlock a secret existence - one void of pain, fear and vulnerability. The notion of an existence where one can think clearly, take action and self-heal even the most stubborn of illness and disease was becoming a reality with every cup of tea. We believed we had rediscovered the potential of ancient medicine in our unusual modern age.
We were eager, yet we still had many more lessons to learn and many more plants to learn from along the way. Slowly, we were making the REAL change in the world that is MOST needed: The change within.
2011 presented us new healing lessons with the natural, home birth of our second child. Our landlord's garden, voluptuous with overgrown tulsi plants in full bloom, bushy lemon balm ground cover, knee-high rosemary, mounds of sage and blades of cascading lemongrass was a stage of untapped beauty only fifty feet from the rental house we were nesting in.
With permission from our landlord, these fresh herbs, became our new-found herbal healing tea that opened our hearts and minds and redefined our current state of health. With the introduction to these powerful plants at yet another pivotal healing time in our lives, we were beginning to truly appreciate the diverse array of herbal plants and their unique character traits. We began to consciously expand our repertoire of herbal experience and knowledge beyond that of the Noni Leaf. The medley of newly-introduced herbs were elevating and deeply-cleansing to say the least. Doug’s physique was visually transforming with daily tea consumption from the diverse garden herbs. As his body slimmed and his core strengthened, his energy was visibly renewed. His playful energy catapulted to another level with our toddler, who previously ran circles around us until we involuntarily surrendered to our pillows at days end. Herbal sitz baths soothed my post-birth complications, and the tea was bringing my blood count back into balance, providing our nursing baby with nourishing vitamins and minerals and expediting the healing time to bring me to my feet once again. My body was strengthening, Doug was shedding excess weight and we were both shedding a lifetime of periodic stagnancy – reawakening our inner-child with renewed energy and an overall heightened sense of wellbeing. And boy were we going to need it!
The day of our baby girl's birth also marked the momentous day that we were afforded the four-acre parcel of jungle, horse pasture in the rolling hills of Kilauea, soon to become Kauai Farmacy. As visionaries, we were enraptured with the land's endless potential. As 'mainlanders' with backgrounds essentially unequipped with what our next decade of growth would entail, we were about to embark upon a relentlessly steep learning curve that would humble our egos, strip us to our core, reconnect us to nature's laws, and redefine our purpose in life.
It was a humble land by large-scale farming standards, yet expansive for one inexperienced small family of four. Our intention was to re-purpose the fertile horse acreage with medicinal plants like Noni, Tulsi, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Sage and Lemongrass, now known to us as true healing replacements for dangerous, synthesized drugs and invasive surgery that repeatedly failed us in our most vulnerable moments. We were gifted a tulsi “start” from our landlord’s garden. Little did she know, this gift would become the very first planting of many medicinal herbal plants in our up-and-coming garden oasis.
It was official. As we began laying foundation, establishing sustainable systems, and planting new roots, Kauai Farmacy was born!
We chose the name Kauai Farmacy to communicate our ambitious intent for the land. A seed-to-table farm-to-apothecary that would set new standards in freshness, potency, transparency of production and efficacy of the plants. The Kauai Farmacy was designed organically to intentionally grow potent herbal plants that facilitate healing and personal growth.
As the oldest island in the Hawaiian island chain, Kauai is blessed with ample rain, rich volcanic soil and a year-round growing season, it is with good reason Kauai has been nicknamed The Garden Isle. Visitors are awed by her rugged beauty and charmed by her white sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, emerald green mountains and crystal-blue water.
Farmacy is a farm-based dispensary of pure, plant medicine. We felt obligated to differentiate ourselves from the “ph”armacy where chemical, synthetic drugs are sold without clear understanding of where, when and how they are made. Creating transparency became a solid mission of our operation as we ourselves wanted a medicine cabinet filled with only that which we could understand, trace to its pure organic origin, and most of all trust.
Slowly and organically, we unearthed buffalo-grass, cleared runaway vines and logged fallen trees for new garden guilds. We were grateful for the plants as they healed our cuts, wounds and scrapes along the sometimes-merciless way. Our mistakes were plentiful, but humbly learned, and with each lesson, new strategies were born, decisions redirected and innovative paths blazed.
With a fresh canvas, we enlivened the land with sheep, free-roaming chickens, bunnies to join in the grazing and fertilization of the soil. This methodology was later replaced by home-made, plant-based fertilizers when our farm transitioned to a closed-loop, vegan-friendly growing/feeding system.
Custom-made solar panels from repurposed glass, wood and air-vent piping were erected for drying the garden plants into tea.
Water catchments overflowing with notably abundant rainfall were strategically positioned throughout the land.
The lush horse pasture with over thirty years of compounded fertile soil had formally begun to transform, one plant at a time, into a biodiverse herbal oasis. Today, Kauai Farmacy is home to over 80 medicinal plant varieties, over 70 different herbal products for addressing a multitude of health-related conditions, and a team of 17 passionate gardeners and herbalists.
Through the “coconut wireless”, friends began to tell friends who then told others of the powerful healing plants they were experiencing from the gardens here. We developed an herb database online as a resource and a website to share with the world beyond Kauai. As word spread, we continued to seed new medicine to facilitate the growing demand for our medicinal healing herbs.
Our farm is an open door for those wishing to visit and purchase straight from the source: weekdays 10-3pm. We ship our herbs all over the world, while providing kamaʻāina incentives for our local community to heal themselves and keep the Garden Isle's immune system strong. For our plant-geek friends, we have set up a “We Grow” web page highlighting each individual herbal plant, its history, herbal attributes and indicative health benefits. For the conscious-minded, we prepare free, educational video content on herbal healing, lifestyle usage, seasonal plants, permaculture gardening and more on our Kauai Farmacy YouTube channel. Our FAQ website page, our internal website search engine and our experienced team are here to help guide and answer your questions.
With great humility, we have profound respect to the Hawaiian cultural practices of la'au lapa'au, (the practice of treating, healing and curing a condition, illness or dis-ease using native Hawaiian plants along with spirituality as medicine), Ayurveda (literally translated in Sanskrit as the “science of life and knowledge”, is the oldest, holistic healing natural medical system still used today in India that uses plants as food and medicine to bring balance to our individual and unique body constitutions), Traditional Chinese medicine (the practice of herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture, herbal cupping and more as an approach to healing) as well as countless indigenous plant medicine cultures around the globe using nature’s tools to live and heal by. We say Mahalo nui loa (thank you deeply) for your teachings and paving the way.
When healing with herbs, we have found that the herbs will perform their best when you are at your best! Herein lies our Three Pillars of Health: Nutrition, Hydration and Rest. Only when these three pillars are in full alignment including eating a clean, alkalizing diet rich in plant-based vitamins and minerals, hydrating with a reputable (preferably spring) water and getting adequate restorative sleep, will the herbs be able to perform at their highest potential.
Use the herbs as your guide – they are rooted in wisdom. Tune in to their lessons. Most likely, if you are feeling discomfort within the process of herbal healing, this is a lesson the herbs are bringing to light. Whether a presenting headache to remind us of hydration or a stomach ache to indicate a poor food choice or perhaps agitation from a restless night’s sleep, the signs are there. The herbs help to translate these messages and bring the three pillars of health back into equilibrium.
We feel it is our kuleana (our responsibility) to mālama (care for) the 'āina (the land which feed and provides us) and care for each other. We recognize each and every one of us are individuals and our personal healing journeys will be unique and relative to our lifestyle choices. Herbs have been useful as tools for centuries to help bring that which is out of alignment back into balance. We appreciate and continue to recognize the healing journey as a process and the self-healer as a unique individual. There is always room for growth, experience and evolution on an individual level and as a collective. We have experienced every herb on our farm in many aspects of our lives and will continue to share our experiences and practices as we continue to be of service to the land, ourselves and our respective community…near and far.
We hope our exquisite Herbal Teas, Superfoods and Spices, Salves and Balms, Capsules, Tinctures, Herb-infused Honeys, Hydrosols and Powdered Bone Cast will serve as empowering tools on your personal journey to heal yo’self and live your life to your highest potential.
OUR STORY CONTINUES...