I know our Earth is filled with many medicinal treasures and the more we explore the more we find. As we know we are starting to lose many of our reefs and animal life in our oceans due to climate change and trash we put in to it.  Most of the sunscreens we use are not only bad for our skin, but even worse for our oceans. So, what do we use to help save our reefs and that also will work safely on our skin? Leave it to our ancient people, who knew and used many of the medicines found right in our back yards. The ancient Hawaiians knew about the amazing plant, called Naupaka, a hardy indigenous shoreline plant that grows along the shorelines of Windward, Oahu Hawaii. These plants are special in that they can handle the salt and harsh sun at the same time, says Kiki Pu Chung.  It’s a medicine for everything from pain relief to sun protection. A few weeks earlier a little girl was stung by a jelly fish while swimming and to get rid of the pain Chung crushed up the Naupaka plant and rubbed the salve from the plant on her skin to completely neutralize the pain.

When Chung later learned that that a common ingredient in many commercial sunscreens, the chemical, oxybenzone, was harming coral reefs, Pu Chung looked to the Naupaka, the native shrubs of Hawaii’s coastlines as an alternative. Many plants have a natural built in SPF (sun protection factor) and the Naupaka plant has a high enough SPF content, that the ancient Hawaiian Islanders knew about its strong photoprotective properties. This was their sunblock back in the time! Combining Chung’s knowledge in Hawaiian herbal medicine, Pu Chung developed a reef-safe, skin moisturizing sun block-healing skincare collection called Native Medicinal. The amazing concoction contains Naupaka-infused coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, beeswax, red raspberry seed oil, carrot oil, lavender oil and non-nano zinc oxide.  Along with her partner, Tim Clark, the recipe was fine-tuned to include a body block, a face stick and an after-sun balm. All their Naupaka is now grown in their “micro- farm”, as they call it and fills their refrigerator and medicine cabinet, but there is also Laukahi, an endemic fern that draws toxins out, moringa an antiaging and super-protein and weedy Spanish needles that fight gingivitis. For more information visit hawaiimedicinal.com.

We all need to get back to our adventurous roots and start to make everything from scratch again. It’s the “old-school way”, the same way your grandmother prepared every meal or medicinal remedy at home, by using every ingredient straight from the Earth. If we continue to explore and really pay attention, I believe nature has a remarkable way of providing humans with just what we need.