Written by Dasha Morgan | Photos by Anthony Harden
Driving along U.S. Highway 19, to go to Native Touch’s home office in Andrews, NC, I couldn’t help but be awed by the beauty of the Nantahala River as the water ebbed and flowed along the many turns and curves with the road at its border. Then as I arrived, there was an incredible red sunset which silhouetted the Pisgah Mountain range in view with great splendor.
This set the stage for my introduction to an all natural skin care product, produced from herbal plants under the watchful eyes of two Native Americans. Joseph, a Caribbean Native, and Laralyn, a Cherokee/Creek descendant, RiverWind both showed incredible warmth and enthusiasm upon my arrival.
Joseph is the President, and his wife, Laralyn, is the Company’s CEO. It was a long drive deep into Western North Carolina, and I was glad to have arrived safely.
In 2008 with the recession hitting the United States hard that year, the RiverWinds decided to focus their attention solely on a small line of skincare products made from proprietary formulas. In their Gallery of Native American arts and crafts in downtown Murphy, their customers just couldn’t get enough of the skin care products, although sales of other items plummeted. They decided to close the Gallery and concentrate on developing and producing Native Touch skin care products. From then to now, the company has continued to grow. Last year the revenue was three times that of the year before. Native Touch was featured by CNN Money, which recognized Joseph RiverWind as “A Veteran on the Front Line of Small Business.” The company was nominated for the Martha Stewart Audience Choice Awards. The RiverWinds were named the 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Minority Enterprise Development of Western North Carolina.
Laralyn and Joseph RiverWind’s skin care products base their formulas on their understanding of plant life and the many curative properties found therein. The Native Touch products are totally natural, totally vegan and exclude dyes, perfumes, beeswax, and chemical preservatives. Their product has grown from the wealth of knowledge that they have learned from their forefathers. Through trial and error they are now producing a quality product for others to use and enjoy at an affordable price.
Their all natural herbal body care products have received acclaim for amazing medicinal properties and curative powers. Wounds that are not healing seem to suddenly close up and disappear. Many of their products are antiviral, can kill bacteria like staph, and can relieve pain. However, the RiverWinds are not allowed to advertise this, as these allegations are not proven with clinical trials nor sufficiently tested in scientific laboratories. Customers have told them personally—for instance, one saying, “I’ve never found anything that worked until I found your product,” and Laralyn’s own father healed an unsightly large wound by applying her Warrior Bear Rub. The proof is in the pudding.
In fact it was Laralyn’s Native American father who taught her about plants and their curative properties over the years. He explained the medicinal properties of plants found in nature to his daughter. She studied biology at Valdosta State University in Georgia and is a doctoral candidate of naturapathy through Trinity School of Natural Health. With this knowledge, she started experimenting on her own to see if she could find something to help her with her severe skin problems. In particular she needed to alleviate her dry hands, which had become so torn up by washing so much in medical school. They had become painful, and the prescriptions given to her were hardly effective. By experimenting and searching using essential oils and plant extracts, she managed to find remedies to help and nourish her skin. Clinical studies showed that some of the oils have an antibacterial or antifungal effect (tea tree and lavender essential oil), while others improve blood circulation and alleviate pain (rosemary oil). Hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria could be helped through the use of many essential oils. By using these ingredients in a product, people could be healed.
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