As our culture becomes more sophisticated it seems we are coming around full circle to appreciate and use the more simpler and natural forms of products to improve our health. Whether it’s a return to wholesome organic foods or beauty treatment, natural producers like coconut oil, garlic and aloe vera have become increasingly popular as ways to remedy adverse conditions of the body. Over centuries, people have used herbal medicines to prevent illness, cure infection, relieve fever, heal wounds, ease pain, or act as relaxants or stimulants.
As the cosmetic industry – and industry in general – comes round to a cleaner, more natural way of creating and manufacturing products, in many cases it’s the smaller more entrepreneurial companies that are leading the way in a back to the basics approach to healthier products. One such company is Puna Noni, a small family run business operating out of Hawaii that is producing very pure, small batch health products created from the juice of the noni, an indigenous fruit that is common in Hawaii and throughout Polynesia.
And, just like with a lot of good things, the story of Puna Noni begins with the wisdom of an older generation. History of the company goes back to previous generations and a grandmother called Puna. Turns out Pacific Islanders had been using the indigenous noni fruit for centuries to treat burns and bug bites and just to condition their skin.
“Our grandmother was Hawaiian and Chinese and was very much into natural products and medicines,” says Nakula Tibby, General Operations Manager for Puna Noni. “She was the one who introduced noni and it’s health benefits to our family. She would pick the noni fruit and put it outside in the sun, fermenting it naturally, as it had been done for generations in Polynesia, and she would give the juice to my father and other family members whenever they got sick.”
That became especially beneficial for Nakula’s father, Jim Titcomb, who was a firefighter in Kailua on the Big Island and was prone to high blood pressure. The medications he took, however, produced a number of unpleasant side effects and he decided to see of the ancient family remedy would be beneficial with his condition.
“Puna is the one who showed me how to make pure Hawaiian Puna Noni juice, he says. “She used to make the juice by hand, from fruit she picked in the neighborhood. She would wash the fruit, and ferment it in large 1-gallon glass Mayonnaise jars that she left out in the sun. When the noni fruit was fermenting it looked “disgusting.” She used to make us drink it whenever we looked like we were getting sick. Needless to say, we didn’t miss much school growing up, because going to school sick was the better option than drinking that “stuff.” As I grew older and started to use the noni prepared the way Puna did, I began to realize the healthy effects that elixir can have, not only for me but for everybody.”
With consistent use of the traditionally prepared noni juice, Jim’s blood pressure came down to normal healthy levels. And that got him thinking about spreading the word and offering products that contain the pure, natural form of the noni so that people could use it to counteract symptoms of a variety of diseases.
He and his wife Terry started the business in 1999, while he was still a Honolulu firefighter, and as with most entrepreneurial startups, invested all of the family’s time and money, spending long hours developing the noni product line. Hard work paid off. They gradually built up a loyal clientele of customers trough promoting this unique product to health oriented buyers among local stores and markets, as well as on the Internet. As they children grew they became actively involved in the company and today Puna Noni is a family run operation, with oldest son Nimai serving as CEO/CFO and Jim and Terry’s youngest daughter, Nakula, wearing a lot of hats as the company’s General Operations Manager.
The company began marketing the pure prepared noni juice, abiding by the traditional family recipe for fermentation and preparation, but it wasn’t long before the family saw other possibilities for the healthy benefits of the noni fruit.
“Noni is a well-known health elixir in Polynesia,” says Nakula, “as islanders have been cutting the fruit in half and rubbing it on their skin for centuries to help with burns or bug bites or just as a topical conditioner which may be why they developed a reputation for having beautiful skin.”
With those topical attributes, it became clear that noni skin care, but also hair care products could also offer those benefits that had been enjoyed for centuries by Pacific Islanders. The company now produces an entire line of Puna Noni Body Care products. “Caring for the earth, or aina, is a Hawaiian tradition,” explains Jim, “so all our products are certified safe for the environment. Our premium quality Puna Noni brand products are sold throughout the state of Hawaii and we also ship our products to customers all over the world.”
We’re taking those benefits of the noni and putting it into products so that people can actually get the benefits,” Nakula explains. “Dad started with the juice and some capsules and we make those products differently than other companies using noni. We take our time and let Mother Nature do her work, which takes a little time, and we’re very selective in what kind of fruit we process. We only pick the ripe fruit that is soft and sweet smelling. It’s all hand picked and then we let it ferment for 6 to 8 weeks so we can get all the nutrients out of it. That’s for the juice. And for the powder we don’t use any of the leftover pulp from the juicing process. We only use the whole fruit for the powder, and don’t use any fillers or bark or leaves, just the pure noni fruit and the noni seeds.”
Although FDA regulations prevent the family from posting any health claims, the University of Hawaii is now doing extensive research on noni and the health benefits it can provide. Elsewhere on the internet there are many studies about the health effects of noni, and the consensus is that the potent little fruit can help with a myriad of ailments, including general pain, inflammation, digestive issues, gout, cellular repair, arthritis, high blood pressure and cholesterol and allergies. It’s high in amino acids, vitamin C and other significant nutrients.
“We aren’t doctors and there are things we can’t say, so we just advise people of the claims made by our customers and the positive feedback we get from them,“ Nakula says. “We hear so many different things about how the noni has helped them, and that’s true even in our family, where family members have used noni to help with back pain, Migraine headaches, allergies, and my dad’s high blood pressure. It’s the first option for many of these health concerns, in addition to it being just a great anti-oxidant and anti-aging product. And even though we still get sick, the noni seems to reduce to length and intensity of most symptoms of illness. People tells us about its positive effects on their health, even when it comes to fighting cancer. Although we can’t specify the healthy benefits of using noni, we can report the feedback that we get.” Today there’s a lot research being done, most prominently at the University of Hawaii and there are many studies and reports on the Internet about the effects that noni has on various ailments, and the consensus is that it can help with many different health issues.
In terms of its anti-aging and cosmetic benefits, noni is now revealing its advantages in a full line of skin care and beauty products. “We now have a product line that includes shampoos conditioners and soaps, all using the pure noni juice and oils from the seeds,” Nakula says. “The noni seed oil is very potent as it takes a huge amount of seeds to produce an ounce or two of the oil. That oil and the palm oil we use too are full of anti-aging ingredients, and it’s just the most pure from of the fruit – certified organic and kosher, non-GMO, vegan, cruelty free – just the most pure oils and juice.”
Noni products are made the old fashioned way, where the juice is shipped in from the plantation to the family farm where they do all the processing, pasteurizing the juice and extracting whatever oils and essences are needed for the body care product line.
“This really is a family run operation, “ Nakula says. “All of the kids help with the production, and the husbands and wives are involved in the process too. My Dad still loves to get on the phone and talk to our customers.”
The Puna Noni line currently has widespread distribution in Hawaii in stores like Whole foods, Safeway and the Down to Earth stores, and also offers direct online ordering on the company’s website.
“We have big plans for 2018, especially in terms of reaching the mainland U.S.,” Nakula explains. “Shipping from Hawaii can be a little pricey, so we’re looking for good distribution in the US. We’ve had a lot of requests for that, people asking where they can pick it up locally. We’re also constantly working on refining the product line and introducing some new things to make the noni available to more people, including a natural energy drink. We’ve served a noni lemonade and guava noni tea at trade shows and that’s been very popular so we’re moving forward with an energy beverage with the noni that’s very pure, without any preservatives. We also just brought out a new line of seven soaps for Whole Foods in Hawaii and we’re working on a new line of products for the face that will work on a number of levels.”
The Puna Noni product line and the company have also become significantly popular as a destination, and the family has begun to offer tours of the farm. “We just started giving tours where people can visit with us, see how we make the noni products and create their own soaps and beauty products,” Nakula says. “If you’re visiting Hawaii we’d love to have you visit so we can share all the goodness of the noni fruit with you and create some products that are very specific to your needs.”
When I met Nakula on the phone at first, I felt a very strong and real connection not only to her and her family, but the message the world needs to have a bit of an education about. I had the flu for the first time in my life and it just would not want to go away. I started drinking the Noni Juice and truly it was miraculous. I felt a lot better just in two days. When I tried the rest of the products I was in awe about how beautiful my hair looked and how great I felt by using the lotion and the soap. I feel I would be depriving people from a very important message: Live life fully; turn to mother nature; and buy extraordinary products from companies you trust! A family business is always the best source: the company is built with a mission and unwavering passion! That is Puna Noni!
Enjoy these outstanding products!
About the Author of This Article: Adrienne Papp is a recognized journalist, economist and feature writer, who has written for many publications including Savoir; The Westside Today Publications ; such as Beverly Hills 90210; Malibu Beach; Santa Monica Sun; The Beverly Hills Times; Brentwood News; Bel-Air View ; Celebrity Society ; Celeb Staff ; It Magazine; Chic Today; LA2DAY; West Side Today among many others.
She is the President and CEO of Los Angeles / New York-based publicity company, Atlantic Publicity and publishing house, Atlantic Publisher. Adrienne writes about world trends, Quantum Physics, entertainment and interviews celebrities, world leaders, inventors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs. She also owns Atlantic United Films that produces and finances true stories made for theatrical release or the silver screen. Spotlight News Magazine is owned by Atlantic Publicity that just opened a new extension to it : PublicityLosAngeles. Adrienne Papp is a member of the International Press Academy.
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