Breaking new ground in homeopathics
By SUZIE RODRIGUEZ / Sonoma Valley Correspondent
Sonoma-based Forces of Nature is the world’s first and only company to offer natural medicines that are both FDA registered and USDA certified organic. The product line was launched in July 2011, and in just a year the company’s products have established a strong foothold nationwide.
That doesn’t surprise the company’s founder, CEO Peter Klapper, 49, who has a Ph.D. in Biology.
“Homeopathics have a huge following on a global scale,” he said. “People want to feel good, and they want to take health into their own hands.”
Klapper, who is on a self-described “mission to make the world a healthier place,” is also deeply involved in philanthropic work, particularly in Asia. In the late 1990s he was part of a medical scientific team that worked on the then-restricted border of Laos and Vietnam known as the Ho-Chi Minh Trail.
“People were really suffering there,” he said, “with malaria, starvation, you name it. We went from village to village, introducing the concept of crop rotation, offering ideas, mapping the area.”
Forces of Nature helps support orphanages in Asia, educates homeless children about nutrition and hygiene, provides food and medicine to communities, and much more.
Klapper, who is single, lives in Napa but travels widely. “I’m consumed by my work,” he said, “but I love to scuba dive, I’m an avid hiker, and I enjoy riding a motorcycle in the mountains of Northern Thailand.”
We asked Klapper about his work:
What exactly is homeopathy?
Homeopathy, which has been a recognized concept of medicine for about 200 years—and is now the #1 alternative medicine in North and South America—stimulates the body’s own defenses to fight ailments and disease. It utilizes the principle of “like treats like.”
For example, if a patient has a skin rash—a dermatological reaction—it would be treated with stinging nettle to create a rash on the skin. By introducing nano amounts of nettle, the system recognizes that there is an issue and goes into action.
Isn’t that what a vaccine does?
In a way the invention of vaccines, which introduce pathogens into the system to stimulate immune factors, is indeed borrowed from homeopathic principles. Only, with homeopathy it’s employed for everyday ailments and often produces a very profound result to provide a curative without adverse reactions.
But with Pharma—big pharmaceutical companies—the medicine or pill they give you fights the symptoms, not the illness. With homeopathy your system is fighting a specific ailment, eradicating the problem at its root cause, which is really effective for long term results.
Your products seem to go beyond traditional homeopathic medicines, since you’ve applied for a patent on the way homeopathic materials and medicinal botanicals are combined.
Yes, that’s a first in the industry, combining homeopathic medicines and medicinal plant extracts—certified organic in both cases. The homeopathics work to heal the system and boost immunity; the botanicals absorb almost immediately into cell membranes and heal the skin. That one-two combination is powerful, effective, and safe in treating ailments.
Where do you source materials for your products?
Around the world, and also right here in Northern California. For instance, we get lavender from the California coast and lemon balm from Davis. We seek to promote local farmers as much as possible.
Why is it important to use organic materials as medicine?
I can’t stress enough just how important that is. When you’re sick, your body is imbalanced and trying to fight infections. The last thing you want to do is take in anything that’s been sprayed with chemicals, as that causes more stress on the system.
We are an organic species, an organic organism. Those words all come from the root, organ, and they work together to form our systemic organization.
How are your products actually made?
We make it in-house, under the direction of Mair MacKinnon, a Naturopathic Doctor who has worked in the field for nearly 25 years. Our approach is unique because it’s very hands-on. Mair and I work together to formulate the remedies.
You founded Forces of Nature in 1999, but didn’t distribute your first product until 2011. Why?
Today we’re the only company in the world providing a line of medicine that’s both USDA Certified Organic and created in an FDA Registered Manufacturing Facility. The qualifying hurdles to get there were immense. California is the most highly-regulated state, which makes our achievement even more of a landmark. We’ve invested significant time and effort resolving challenges and successfully completed our FDA registrations and organic certifications for all our products which also include organic certifications for the approximate 200 medicinal plant extracts we work with.
How large is your Sonoma workforce, and how is business going?
We moved our manufacturing facility to Sonoma, over on 8th Street, in February 2010. We’re a small operation, just 10 people. We officially launched our product line in July 2011, when we were awarded the license by the Food & Drug Administration to manufacture medicine, so we’re celebrating our first anniversary right now.
How has your first year of business gone?
Growth has been enlightening and dynamic. Whole Foods has picked us up on a national level in about 250 stores. Several chains throughout the Midwest carry us, including Vitamin Cottage with its 52 stores. Rainbow Market in San Francisco is a big market carrying our line. And our online website is quite popular, getting more than one million hits per year—and growing. We’re now sold in 100 countries around the world.
Who owns the company?
I do. It’s 100% privately owned.