BY NICOLE OKA
We love supporting small businesses that emphasize organic, locally grown products. So when Kaua‘i Farmacy sent us some of its all-natural, Kaua‘i-made skincare items to try, we couldn’t resist.
Located in Kīlauea, the tea farm is the love child of East Coast transplants Doug and Genna Wolkon, who bought 4 lush acres back in 2010, intent on creating healing herbal products. Now, along with teas, spices and tinctures, the Wolkons are brewing up botanical beauty products made using organic plants and herbs.
So far, their foray into skincare has yielded two products—the Comfrey Salve and the Botanical Body Butter. Made with organic coconut oil, local beeswax and comfrey grown on their farm, the Comfrey Salve soothes even the tensest of sore muscles. After using it for a week on my aching shoulders, I can attest that it nicely relieved tension.
Supercharged with organic coconut oil, local beeswax, cacao, turmeric, noni, tea tree and gotu kola, the Body Butter is packed with all-natural goodness. After washing my face, patting dry and applying, this cocoa-scented butter restored moisture to my skin and left it feeling smooth and fresh.
Kaua‘i Farmacy’s lineup of beauty products is seasonal and changes depending on the availability of ingredients. We’re looking forward to the springtime Healing Beauty Balm, a calendula-based formula beloved for its honey scent and soothing properties.
Botanical Body Butter, $24, Comfrey Salve, $24. kauaifarmacy.com.
PHOTO BY KAUAI FARMACY
For most people who live in the city and get their food from grocery stores, a trip to the farm can be a therapeutic experience. Eating your food fresh off the vine does more than nourish the body, it nourishes the spirit as well. That’s the philosophy behind the Kauai Farmacy. This 4-acre farm on the garden island of Kauai grows medicinal herbs and spices, so that visitors can enjoy teas brewed with the curative properties of the earth.
On the crystallized retreat we hosted in Kauai last August, we took our guests to the Kauai Farmacy. How better to connect with the restorative energy of the environment, than to immerse yourself within it as you consume its natural tonics. Just the beauty of the landscape alone, with over 70 varieties of medicinal plants, was enough to take our breath away, but it was the story of how this farm came to be that left us truly in awe. To find out more about the inspiring mission behind the Kauai Farmacy, we reached out the creators for a Q&A!
Tell us a little about yourself!
We are a husband and wife team, Doug and Genna. We grew up in the suburbs of Boston and NYC, and spent our twenties as a financier and designer, respectively. Our highly-driven NYC career paths were clear for a moment; but after some invaluable insights from traveling abroad, we decided in our early 30’s to veer off, questioning everything that we thought we knew. We now have 3 young children and live on a 4-acre herbal medicinal tea farm in Hawaii, on the Garden Island of Kauai. We spend every day growing and learning from the land, the plants and the passionate people that have been attracted to this pursuit. It has been a completely life-transforming experience – healing, inspiring, humbling, grounding, loving, and so much more.
What brought you to Kauai?
In November of 2007, we gave birth to our first child. It was a boy. The experience of childbirth is certainly life-changing, however during the period leading up to the birth, during the birth and the aftermath, we abruptly learned how different our thought patterns and intentions were from the culture around us. Yes, we were idealists. And the institutional business of birth was impossible for us to accept. So, after experiencing a drama-filled first childbirth, we took our 4-month old boy and split for Hawaii and landed on the Garden Island of Kauai. We were looking for a new way, freer thinkers, and more wild nature. We didn’t really know it at the time, but the three of us had a lot of healing to do; and the healing jungles of the Hawaiian Islands proved to be the ultimate setting.
What is Kauai Farmacy? What inspired you to start it?
Kauai Farmacy is an herbal medicinal tea farm with over 70 varieties of herbs and spices, located on the tropical island of Kauai; where we lovingly grow, craft and package, from seed to cup, nature’s plant medicine, including teas, superfoods, salves, tinctures and more. We started Kauai Farmacy 6+ years ago.
Kauai Farmacy was inspired by our personal healing journeys. Noni Leaf, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Sage, Mint & Lemon Balm were some of the first herbs we used to craft our initial tea blends. We began making gallon batches and drinking it throughout the day. It was delicious! Our entire system began to change from the inside out. My (Doug) waist and center literally came alive after years of dormancy; and my neck began to trim out and loosen up as I lost an initial 20 pounds in 6 months. Genna began to lose her excess baby weight as well and truly heal both physically and emotionally. And most importantly, we began playing like children with our then 3-year old boy. And we couldn’t help but dream of ways in which we could bring this new-found health and wellness to our community.
Walk us through your farm. What makes your garden different than others?
We listen to our plants. We sing to our plants. We touch our plants. We love our plants. We grow our herbs in mineral-rich volcanic Kauai soil. We feed our plants 100% organic matter in almost an entirely Kauai-grown, close-loop, permaculture system. We create super diverse garden settings comprised of diverse vitamins and minerals that boost our garden’s immune system. This is in steep contrast to how most commercially-grown herbs and spices are seeded; typically, mono-cropped in rows and rows of a single plant (i.e. global trade of turmeric or cinnamon) for thousands of acres; stripping the same vitamins and minerals out of the soil; essentially robbing the environment of its natural immune system; and in most cases, inevitably requiring the toxic spraying of chemical pesticides and fertilizers to protect the weak monocultured soil. Crafting true herbal medicine requires a clear intention of healing from seed to cup. Our intention is to bring back the lost art of plant medicine.
Can you tell us about a few of the herbs and plants that are on your farm?
Ashwagandha (aka, Indian Ginseng) is in the ground for up to a year before it is mature enough to harvest its potent medicinal root. Ashwagandha is renown for rejuvenating the body, boosting libido, increasing stamina, lowering stress levels, and promoting calm-energy. This super herb is found in our Endurance Superfood, Love Potion Tea, and Ashwagandha Tincture.
Chaste or Vitex Agnus-Castus creates beautiful, lavender, conical flower clusters that later become potent medicinal berries. The plant is renown in Ayurveda for women’s vitality, more specifically balancing woman’s hormones; as it balances progesterone levels, while decreasing estrogen levels in the body. The Chaste berry is an active ingredient in our Women’s Wellness Tea.
Lilikoi, also known as Passion Flower is an exotic, ethereal, mandala-shaped flower. These flowers are harvested on the full moon, capturing the full essence of this herbal sedative, renown for its ability to calm the nervous system, perform as a muscle-relaxer, aid in restorative sleep, relieve anxiety and pain. Passion Flower is in our Tranquility Tea and our potent Lilikoi Tincture.
What are your favorite herbs? Ones you think everyone needs to get into!
We honestly love them all and believe the ultimate power of plant medicine is found in the diversity of the plants. I would say Tulsi (Holy Basil), Turmeric, Noni and Comfrey. Exquisite in taste with a unique ability to promote self-awareness, Tulsi is an esteemed herb in India known as the Elixir of Life. Turmeric is a potent digestive cleanser and helps reduce inflammation as it boosts the immune system. Noni leaf is the Polynesian super herb that promotes circulation, detoxification and weight loss. Comfrey, aka knit-bone, is the miracle plant known to heal bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Tell us about your teas, salves, and tinctures. What does the process look like?
We intuitively believe healing should be easy and fun to use, taste great and feel even better. As a result, we have created nourishing teas, exquisite spices, rejuvenating salves, and potent tinctures that conveniently integrate into one’s daily lifestyle. The key to realizing sustainable results from our herbal products is consistency of use over time. It’s certainly a lifestyle!
Our process is all about transparency and intention at every step. Our tea kitchen, where all our products are made, is steps from our biodynamic gardens. Our teas, superfoods, and salves are extraordinarily fresh; brought to market within days of being hand-harvested from the gardens. We procure the original raw intention of each plant through solar-dehydrating our herbs and spices at extremely low heat. Our team of gardeners and herbalists are simply meticulous, methodical, passionate and artisanal at every step in their craft.
How can people experience Kauai Farmacy both on the island of Kauai and from their homes?
All our products, information on the herbs we grow, and up-to-date blogs can be found on our website at www.kauaifarmacy.com. This is also where one can subscribe to our newsletter for more intimate information on herbs, healing practices, new products and special offer codes when the gardens are in full abundance. We provide next day shipping all over the world.
Our Tea Lanai Farm Store, situated in the in the heart of the lush, tropical gardens, is open 10am to 3pm weekdays for tasting, sampling and purchasing products.
Kauai Farmacy Garden Tours offer an opportunity to experience the seed-to-cup operation, walk the permaculture gardens, taste the plants, meet the herbalists and gardeners, and learn all about plant medicine. Wednesdays and Fridays 10am-12pm (Reservations online).
Can you share a recipe with us?
Today, we’re sharing a simple yet exquisite salad dressing with over a dozen alkalizing herbs and spices, in less than 2 minutes:
- Combine the following ingredients and toss evenly into salad ingredients! Enjoy! (single serving)
- 2 pinches of our Curry Superfood Spice Blend (Curry Leaf, Ginger, Turmeric, Kaffir Lime, Hawaiian Chili Pepper)
- 1 pinch of our Savory Spice Blend (Moringa, Spinach, Tulsi, Oregano, Rosemary, Gotu Kola, Sage, Thyme)
- 1 lime fresh-squeezed
- 1-tsp Cold-pressed oil of choice
- a dash of Hawaiian sea salt (or to taste)
Is there anything else you want to share with our audience?
The holistic vitamins and minerals are unique to the mana (spirit) of our gardens, gardeners, herbalists and The Garden Island of Kauai. These herbs and spices contain information that provides us with the ultimate in self-healing – the true power of self-awareness. It is self-awareness that allows us to tap into and trust our all-powerful intuitive selves.
Medicinal Plants can promote wellness
Jessica Else – The Garden Island, Wednesday, July 19, 2017
KILAUEA — Doug Wolkon was tunnel-visioned in his pursuit of vitality when he moved to Kauai eight years ago with his wife, Genna.
Now, the two own and operate Kauai Farmacy, where they grow, blend and sell medicinal teas, tinctures, salves and powders.
But they haven’t always been herbalists.
Back on the Mainland, Wolkon said the two were living a “fast-lane life”; he was in real estate finance, she was an industrial designer. They needed a change of pace.
“When we moved here, I still had 30 extra pounds on me and I’d lost my intuition and willpower,” Wolkon said. “We were on this healing path.”
Medicinal plants were introduced to them shortly after moving to the Garden Isle, and the pair used them to create wellness in their bodies and balance in their lives.
It all started with noni tea.
“We read about it and someone recommended using the noni leaf, wild crafting it and putting it in our water,” Wolkon said. “That was the first connection we made.”
The tree’s fruit and leaves have been shown to have hypoglycemic properties, according to a 2016 study published in Pharmacognosy Journal.
It is used in various parts of the world to treat problems with eyes, skin, gums, and the throat, as well as respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, according to the study.
Wolkon can attest to the healing powers of noni, and many other healing plants — 70 different species of which have been planted at Kauai Farmacy.
“We’ve been drinking teas for thousands and thousands of years,” Wolkon said. “It’s more balanced and more gentle than eating the fruit in a lot of ways.”
Lemongrass, ginger, ashwaganda, hibiscus, and tulsi are just a few of the plants in their herb gardens that are harvested, dried and processed on location.
Each of them has a different specialty, from anti-inflammatory properties to targeting gastrointestinal, skin and hormonal issues.
And while each has their known uses, Wolkon said the healing properties of the plants differ depending on the culture of the people and location.
“It’s all based on your diet, lifestyle and sleep patterns; everything that’s in our culture because the plants interact with what’s going on in your body,” he said.
Using the properties of ancient Chinese medicine, Wolkon explained medicinal plants, especially in tea form, break up energy blockages in the body – meaning they target toxins and acidity.
“We have thousands of words to describe blocked energy, but these teas go in and alkaline the blockages, chemically speaking. Once the body goes alkaline, it spits the acid out,” Wolkon said.
And an alkaline body is Wolkon’s key to wellness.
Trial and error is how Wolkon and his wife learned how to blend their own wellness teas. He said beginners might experience headaches and lethargy if they overdo it on tea strength or quantity. It’s also possible to experience vomiting, diarrhea, fever rashes as detoxification symptoms.
“The key to (relieving) these side-effects are typically rest and water,” Wolkon said. “Drink plenty of water and detox.”
Depending on individual bodies, medicinal plants will react a bit differently for everyone. Wolkon suggests starting slowly with loose-leaf teas and gradually stepping up strength and quantity.
Wolkon’s other secret to wellness success is integrating medicinal plants into a lifestyle, not just sporadically indulging.
“It’s about integration with your lifestyle. This is easy to understand and integrate, it’s as simple as simple gets, and for health, that’s critical,” he said.
See Kauai Farmacy Like Never Before!
Lyndsey from Kauai Visitor Channel tours our farm in their segment Down to Earth. View it now and tell us what you think!
Tune in to KKCR “Health Talk” radio show with Dr. Donna Caplan and Genna, owner of Kauai Farmacy, discussing “How to use Plant Medicine to Heal Yourself”: today, May 1st, from 12-1pm Hawaii time- the show can also be heard on live-stream on Kkcr.org.
Please listen and call in during the show
to make a donation to support Kauai Community Radio for their Spring fund drive- Everyone who calls in to donate to KKCR’s cause will receive a Kauai Farmacy product!
The two largest donations during the show will receive herbal packages valued at $100 each (products shown here).
Mahalos for tuning in!
#KKCR #community #radio #healyoself #herbs #tunein
Meet your new go–to condiment for absolutely everything
By TT Content Studio
Hawaii is known for many things: beaches, waterfalls, shave ice and, yes, SPAM. But one integral part of daily life on the Islands has been flying under the radar: Hawaii chili pepper water, the state’s beloved hot sauce. It’s time to put the Sriracha down and get to know your new favorite condiment—one that’s worth a plane ticket around the world and one that’s worth breaking your no–checked–baggage rule for, just to bring home a big bottle.
Hawaii chili pepper water is made with red chili peppers, white vinegar, garlic and boiling water. You could add ginger or any other seasoning, but these four ingredients make up the classic base. Mix everything together in a jar, cover and let cool anywhere from overnight to a couple days. Then store in the refrigerator to enjoy at will. And that really means at will: Fans of the hot sauce use it on morning eggs, noodle soups, sandwiches and BBQ. If you think your lunch could withstand a little kick, douse it on.
The hot, red chili peppers grow easily in Hawaii, especially on Kauai, whose extremely wet climate has earned it the moniker the Garden Island. At Kauai Farmacy, an idyllic farm on the north side of the island that grows herbs for teas, spice blends and an array of health products, the chili peppers, also called nioi in Hawaiian, are abundant. They’re used for an epic curry blend or simply ground to a powder that can be sprinkled into soups or over vegetables for flavor and varied health benefits, like increased circulation, better digestion and reduced heart risks.
Hawaii chili pepper water is a staple in mom–and–pop restaurants and in local Hawaii households alike. Even upscale restaurants, like Roy Yamaguchi’s Eating House 1849 on Kauai, use the stuff to spice up sashimi. Though it’s not difficult to make, certain places take pride in the secret touch their customers have learned to crave. Sean Garcia, owner of Kauai’s popular breakfast spot, Java Kai, loves the chili pepper water at Waipouli Deli & Restaurant, a favorite diner down the street. Still, others are loyal to their family’s brand—likely a closely guarded recipe.
Whether you’re buying the condiment at the store, using a restaurant’s version or making your very own, once you get used to the lingering heat, you won’t be able to stop. Don’t be surprised if you leave Hawaii with a few bottles in your bag or if you plan a return trip as soon as you notice your supply looking a little low.
Jeanne Cooper and Chloe Roth. Photo by Erin Kunkel
March 2017 issue
Located on the north shore in the town of Kilauea, the Kauai Farmacy is made up of 4 acres, 70 medicinal herbs, seven loose-leaf teas—and one family behind it all. Doug and Genna Wolkon moved to Kauai in 2007 after the birth of their first child and began using herbal remedies to aid their health. “Kauai empowered us with the ability to self-heal,” Doug says. The couple have taught themselves how to hand-harvest their crops, cure plants with solar dehydrators, and chop and blend everything into tea, culinary spices, superfood elixir powders, salves, and hydrosol sprays. The Wolkons run the farm with a team of 10 gardeners and herbalists, all the while raising their three children. Although the family sells most of the herbal elixers and teas at the local farmers’ market and at restaurants and health food stores, they also offer immersive farm tours. As visitors stroll the grounds and learn about the Wolkons’ permaculture techniques, they’re encouraged to taste samples straight from the garden, from the explosively sweet fresh stevia leaf to the mouth-tingling spilanthes herb. Just as fascinating as (and much more delicious than) a helicopter tour, it’s a chance to experience the island’s legendary flora from the ground up. The farmers grow 70 medicinal herbs and make seven loose-leaf teas, five herbal culinary tea powders, two healing salves, and seasonal hydrosol sprays. Make reservations to visit the garden at kauaifarmacy.com. They also have a stand at the Anaina Hou Farmers Market in Kilauea every Saturday.