Early in 2019 I developed a respiratory infection and persistent cough. Wanting an alternative to pharmaceutical medicine, I asked my friends and coworkers what they use. The recommendation was devilclub -which grows in abundance in Juneau. with no advice on how to use it, I cut some and put it on the dashboard of the car -to get aromatic medicine during morning and afternoon commutes. After 4 days of this, the congestion and cough were gone. I decided to try devilsclub for other conditions. Some peeled bark successfully treated a skin condition on my hand and later a tea made from the bark helped high blood sugar levels for my wife.
On a different occasion, I jokingly suggested using devilsclub essential oil to help an ailment. To satisfy curiosity, an extensive search for steam-distilled essential oil was done and yielded only one by Dr. Strobl - who makes it from root bark.
About the same time period I began seeing that there were so many different treatments from Devil's club and began researching its tribal uses and medicinal properties. I was convinced that the Devil's Club products were "good for you", but what about it made it "good"? I inquired of dozens of laboratories about testing the devilsclub oils and salve sold in stores and was told that they couldn't be tested- they could only test an essential oil. So I set out to make an essential oil.
After finding a published list of the components of an essential oil made from Devil's club (by PH.D botanist Herbert Strobl, et. al.) I decided to duplicate his research methods and determine if the bark from Southeast Alaska contains the same components as the bark from British Columbia that he had tested. Building and configuring the lab took several months and more research, but I finally produced some oil in the same way that Dr. Strobl had done. I sent it out for lab testing and the GC/MS results came back showing very similar compounds and concentrations as Dr. Strobl. A conversation with Dr. Strobl confirmed there are not multiple varieties of oplopanax horridus- the plants in Alaska are the same as the plants in BC. Several months of research later, I had uncovered the significance and medicinal properties of each of the top 30 components of the EO (essential oil) that were in my EO- as described in the published work of medical and chemistry journals and the national institutes of health database.
By this time, I had expanded my chemistry lab and purified water system, and was refining the processing techniques. The EO, hydrosol, and tea had helped many of my friends in a variety of ways and I decided to begin selling it to try to recoup some of my research costs and make it available to the general public- Southeast Devil'sclub was formed. The "made in Alaska" permit was obtained and logo added to the product labels.
Quality controls and harvesting standards were defined and built into the operation; and repeated 3rd party lab testing (GC/MS) ensures that the EO remains at the highest purity and consistency across batches and changing processing procedures. Because of the unique way I process the bark and distill it, I'm able to produce pure, high quality (free from contaminants) throughout each season of the year.
The production equipment has been upgraded to increase capacity and a custom peeling machine was designed and constructed to allow for larger batches. I continue to make small batches in my garage in Juneau regularly.
We can't promise any specific results or medical benefit because every person is different and reacts differently to medicine; we can present the findings of the medical and scientific communities and show the results they have seen. And we've posted customer comments to help others see some ways that the products have been used.
The EO is very powerful and can change the way the body uses other medications and also increase their potency, so it's recommended to check with your health care provider before adding any medicine (including essential oils) to a regimen.
Our mission is to make the amazing medicine in Devil's club available to everyone for the improvement of quality of life. Much of my research is published on this website for your review.
If you have a treatment that works for you, great! Keep using it. If there's something causing quality of life problems that nothing seems to help, perhaps consider trying devil's club essential oil as an alternative. Many happy customers are glad they did.
Wishing you the best of health... Mark Dundore