Long before beauty counters, makeovers, and fluorescent lights, magis concocted magical, potent recipes from a variety of local sources. Plains Indians used tipi ash, Dutch New Yorkers used goat milk, aboriginal Australians used kangaroo placenta. There were no double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies enrolling thousands of university patients but rather spoken tradition, passed down, grandmother to grandmother over hundreds of years. With the advent of penicillin and "modern science," we've largely abandoned indigenous tradition, opting instead for stainless-steel countertops, Erlenmeyer flasks, and the endorsement of the FDA.
My own story begins as a dermatologist on this traditional route — Northwestern Medical School then University of California for a residency in cutaneous medicine (that's skin). I opened my own practice in 2007 in my hometown, New York City. Back then, patients sought answers in a pharmaceutical form. I gave clindamycin for pimples and topical steroids for rashes of all kinds. Over the last few years, there's been a surge of interest in more organic medicine. As a Western society, we've turned to more holistic sources for answers to common skin problems like acne and eczema. Staying true to my patient base meant going on this journey as well, so the research into plant-based medicine began.
Around the same time I happened upon a piece of property where I could grow my own medicinals. Each month, I'd find organics that would grow in our greenhouse that season. I'd cross-reference these plants with research found in both Western and Eastern traditions. Then came the experimentation part: first myself, then friends, and finally patients looking for a new perspective. Here are our top five Prana Farms medicinals for this year's growing season: