Ogallala, Neb. — Natural Fibers Corporation (NFC), a leader in milkweed product development, just launched Asclepias–Milkweed Oil products. Milkweed seed oil has unique fatty acids and is high in antioxidant capacity. “We knew milkweed seed oil could produce some sort of health benefit, we just didn’t know where,” states Herb Knudsen, President of NFC.
Knudsen not only owns the milkweed business, he is the company’s head guinea pig. “I was scheduled for hip replacement surgery in March.” He adds, “At that point, I’d try anything to control my pain.” Desperate for relief from pain and vehemently opposed to being laid up for any length of time, Knudsen started applying the milkweed seed oil to his hip. An eternal optimist, Herb was thrilled with the results.
With the agreement of his doctors, Herb postponed the surgery based on his results. To this date, Knudsen is back to a full schedule of activities and moving better than he has for years. “Telling me I have to slow down is nothing short of torture,” said Knudsen, “I coach soccer, chase after grandkids, volunteer at a Rotary Youth Leadership Camp and live an active life.”
The rest of the NFC organization was skeptical and attributed his improvement to some sort of “placebo effect.” Because of this doubt, Herb started research on arthritis and the ingredients found in milkweed seed oil. When he researched the stigmasterol component in the oil, he was thrilled to find an article by scientists at Pierre and Marie Curie University of Paris. In test-tube scale experiments, they highlighted stigmasterol and its potential ability to combat osteoarthritis.
Not enough. To help confirm or deny Herb’s results, samples of Milkweed Balm were sent to other people with pain ranging from arthritis, headaches, backaches, migraines, TMJ and more. Roughly 200 samples were sent out to friends and friends of friends. The reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
“The results were amazing,” said Debbie Dekleva, new product development manager. “People were so excited about the ability to ‘put it where the pain is’ and get relief very quickly.”
Milkweed seed oil has more antioxidant capacity than blueberries. Leading scientists have suggested a correlation between antioxidant capacity and anti-inflammatory agents. The higher the capacity, the more beneficial for decreasing inflammation and hence, pain. Milkweed oil has helped people reduce or eliminate the need for other drugs and treatments associated with pain.
“We want growth,” said Knudsen, “I am thrilled that our next business venture benefits me and my life more than I ever thought possible.”
NFC identifies and evaluates valuable parts of the milkweed plant and develops products to meet needs in the marketplace.
NFC’s first value-added business was Ogallala Comfort Company. More than 20 years later, OCC is the premier supplier of top-of-the-line down comforters, pillows and down beds containing their exclusive Hypodown®, a combination of goose down and milkweed clusters.
“When we first started this business, we were laughed at by everyone. Farmers, down suppliers, customers, you name it,” says Knudsen, who is the founder of NFC and OCC. “But now, it’s a different story. We have an amazing product, unsurpassed customer service, and market share.”