Xenia Magazine

by Xenia Magazine Summer 2018

View the magazine. Download the excerpt.

Xenia Magazine harvesting tulsi

Kauai Farmacy

Doug and GennaKAUAI, HAWAII 


“There is a certain ‘mana’ (spiritual force) that exists here on the farm”


tea on tea lanai

You both used to have high-powered jobs in New York, but you left it all behind. Why did you decide to move to Kauai?

It would seem as though Doug and I made a conscious decision to leave everything behind, but in reality it was a series of events and a passion for freedoms beyond the status quo that had subconsciously led us to the tiny Garden island of Kaua’i in the middle of the Pacific ocean. 

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Gardening With a Purpose

Wai Ola

The Lifestyle of the St. Regis Princeville Resort

2018 issue

Words by
Amelia Fulbright

Morning dew is just beginning to evaporate from the green leaves of the garden. Liberated from condensation, flowers timidly open, petal by petal, and bees line up to pollinate the virgin blossoms. The Shama Thrush bird sings her song. The rooster responds promptly. Then, right on cue, an ancestral chant begins to weave through the garden, along the pathways that will soon carry footsteps and between branches baring precious plant medicine.

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Local Herbal Tea Farm Kaua‘i Farmacy Will Spice Up Your Beauty Routine



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.


An Inside Glimpse Into Kauai Farmacy

Energy Muse Blog


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.

From left to right: Doug with Oregano, Kerr planting Spinach, Genna in the Garden

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).

You can also follow us on our Youtube channel; Instagram; and Facebook.

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:

  1. 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.

A Little For You, A Little For Me

Permaculture Magazine North America

Fall 2017 issue

Growing a Medicinal Tool Box In Your Garden

By Kerr Jackson

On the North Shore of Kauai, there is an incredibly dynamic example of permaculture in action. The Kauai Farmacy is a medicinal herbal tea farm growing more than 70 unique medicinal plants for teas, powders, salves, hydrosols, and tinctures, creating a healthy environment for plants and people alike.

To be well, we must grow what we are passionate about – both in our gardens and in our lives. In the garden, my bliss is growing medicinal plants and trees. I believe all plants and trees are medicine for the soul, but my fascination lies in the ones that are also capable of bringing balance into our physical bodies.

I have the great fortune that my work completely aligns with my passion. I am the lead gardener at Kauai Farmacy – a medicinal herb farm in Hawai’i. Here we grow, craft, and ship our artisanal herbal products direct from the farm, while maintaining an emphasis on permaculture and herbal medicine education.  Consistently listening, observing, and creating are my best tools in holding the balance between the health and well-being of our plants and the productions needs of the business.  While Kauai Farmacy has over 2 acres in production gardens, you can create a diverse medicinal garden in a very small space. Here are some of my insights that can be applied to your backyard or any growing space.

In permaculture we are always trying to mimic nature. Plants and humans hold the common demoninator that our base state is health – the bodies of plant and human are always working towards abundant vibrancy. Sometimes we all need help getting back to that optimum state. The beauty of tending plant medicine is that it benefits both the gardener and the plants.

If you nick your finger with the sickle, where is your medicine cabinet? Mine is right next to where I was using the sickle. First, I would run for a handful of succulent oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) and squeeze the juice into the cut to clean it. Next, I would chew a leaf of tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) and gotu kola (Centella asiatica) into a pulp and pack it into the wound. If I need to cover and protect the wound, I would craft a comfrey leaf (Symphytum officinalis) into a bandage. This way I have disinfected the wound and given my body support for the healing process.

Succulent Oregano

A creeping ground cover and incredibly prolific, it has shallow roots, so if it meanders beyond your likings, simply pull and toss into your compost pile. And oh how delicious the smell while you are doing it! Easily propagated from cuttings, plant it to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. You can cook with it and use it on your skin, rub on clothes as a mosquito repellent, and some people even use it as a deodorant. In my opinion, the best way to learn about the possibilities of medicinal plants is to use and experiment with them.

This oregano prefers some shade and does not need much water, though it will modestly tolerate lots of rain. It grows best in the tropics and subtropics. Because it cannot withstand a frost, it can be grown in a pot and moved indoors during winter and in cooler climates.


     Oh, how I love Tulsi! One of the top five plant medicines I couldn’t live without. On the human side, tulsi is excellent for making tea, cooking, and using topically. The range of health benefits can span pages. It is my go-to for just about everything…from trying to digest my husband’s loving attempt at cooking dinner to moments of “what just bit me?!?” In permaculture, we work to feed the system, rather than treating it for disease. I use this same approach in my personal health, including eating a handful of tulsi leaves a daily. Tulsi is a perennial with enormous life force. In optimal conditions, the variety of vana tulsi can grow up to 7-feet tall. Tulsi provides our garden with a great amount of extra abundance for compost, while still giving to sustain our own health. I see tulsi as the garden sentinel – spread throughout, making sure all is well.

Native to the Indian subcontinent, tulsi is considered a perennial in tropical climates and an annual in temperate climates. Tulsi loves the sun and humidity. Many people in cooler climates have had great success starting it indoors then planting as a summer crop – doing a final harvest before the cold and drying it for use over the winter. Tulsi can also be grown in a pot next to a sunny window. There are many varieties, so if one doesn’t thrive, try a different type. Mata Amritanandaamayi worked on a project distributing tulsi seeds around the world. In the book, Tulasi Devi, the Goddess of Devotion, she mentions that the variety Rama might be more suited to colder climates than variety Krishna.

Gotu Kola

One of my favorite snacking herbs. I have often been caught down on my hands and knees munching through a patch of it. Plants remind us of our carefree, child-like joy, and that in itself is probably the best medicine there is. Gotu kola loves to grow in mulch and makes nice fluffy patches when rain is abundant. It creates a perennial ground cover, always available for grazing and wound healing. This common herb, often labeled as a “weed,” is referenced in classical Ayurvedic and Taoist medical texts, as Yogis in the Himalayas have long used gotu kola to balance the hemispheres of the brain and enhance meditation.

Gotu kola is also a tropical native and is sensitive to frost. It grows by root runners, so gardeners in colder climates can overwinter a few runners in pots (indoors) and put them back into the garden  when it is warm again. In the Kauai Farmacy garden, we find that wood chop mulch and lots of water are key ingredients for its abundance.



This is another one in my top medicinals and is both a powerhouse in the garden and on the body. It grows in shade or sun and creates an excellent living mulch beneath plants and trees. Make sure that you plan to keep the comfrey in the area where you plant it for the foreseeable future, as even just the tiniest slice of root left in the ground will sprout. To feed the rest of the garden, I ferment the leaves to make a compost tea teeming with microbes. The leaves are very valuable as compost – whether you are putting it into a pile or just chop and drop. It is quite effective at creating a barrier that many ground running plants find challengin to cross. In our garden , we use lines of comfrey to divide the garden space from the grass space. Comfrey also carries the nickname :knit bone”, as it contains a compound called Allantoin which is a cell proliferant and aids fractured bones in healing. Many times over the year have I used it for aches and pains from hauling too many wheelbarrows of mulch.

Comfrey will grow in just about any climate and soil, as long as it has lots of water available. While we do not have a problem with excessive seeding propagation in our Hawai’ian climate, in wet temperate climates, self-seeding varieties tend to be invasive, and varieties that spread by division, such as Bocking 14, may be more appropriate for containing in one location.

It is always good to research your plants and their growing habits. Here in Hawai’i, we have to be very careful about what we introduce into the environment. Many exotic plants find bliss in this climate and quickly create mass populations that strangle out the natives. As gardeners, it is our responsibility to plant and tend our gardens responsibly.

Here at the Kauai Farmacy garden, we are growing in a tropical climate. Find the plant medicine that loves to grow in your climate. Look around for what grows prolifically and start talking to people who use local plant medicine. A vast number of medicinal plants are perennials and “weeds”…a perfect match for us and a permaculture garden!

The plants I tend are my best friends. In any good friendship there is the balance between giving and receiving. They are taking care of me and I am taking care of them. If I’m not healthy, it affects them and vice versa. What a gift it is to grow such medicine. Being so intertwined with these plants and having them course through my veins offers a heightened state of communication between us. Because at this point, where is the separation? We share air, we share food, we share medicine, we share love. A little for me, a little for you…

Wishing you health, happiness, and abundance in and out of your garden!

Kirsten (Kerr) Jackson is the lead gardener at Kauai Farmacy. She describes herself as “the listener”, as she is responsible for the plants’ overall well being and orchestrating the team effort of gauging harvest, planting, feeding, weeding, mulching, loving, and all the other wonderful things that it takes to keep the garden happy!

Reservations for tours, product purchases, and more information on plant medicine can be found at KauaiFarmacy.com.

Mahalo to www.permacultemag.org


Herbs for Healing

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.

“Health Talk” with Genna on KKCR Radio

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