Allegra Fasnacht for Maui Weekly
Even if you can’t pronounce it, you should know what it is. What does it take to become one of the largest companies on Maui? For Steven Schorr, it took six greenhouses, 15 employees, and a 6,000-year-old idea. Schorr is chairman and CEO of Bioponic Phytoceuticals, a $43 million company that was the first from Maui to go public in 37 years (since Maui Land & Pine in 1969). The company has created a revolutionary technique using distillation, the evaporation and subsequent collection of a liquid by condensation as a means of purification. Simply put, liquid is heated, becomes vapor, cold water is added, and purified water is the result. This produces unique, exotic alternative medicines for ailments large and small.
He and the vice-president, his son Hamiel, are still trying to get the word out about who they are and what they do. “Our marketing plan is global,” said Schorr, referring to their recent partnership with Amazon.com, “but I really hope that Maui takes an interest. Our products are steeped in Hawaiiana, from our raw materials to our medicinal point of view.”
Schorr said his greatest influence on Maui was the late Auntie Mahi Poe Poe, a kupuna raised in the old Hawaiian tradition and, as Schorr tells it, a visionary. “She came to my door, and said that a kupuna came to her in her dreams to say that she had to work with me,” he said. In 2003, they created a line of Auntie Mahi Poe Poe la‘au lapa‘au tonics together, and Schorr provided thousands of bottles to her clinics for free.
The technology the Schorrs have created is new, but distillation has been around for a long time. Earliest references include the alchemists and the manufacture of beverages, perfumes and essences. The Schorrs distill products such as organic lime, ginger and lemongrass, as well as cinnamon, cloves, gardenias and ulaloa.
Currently there are 83 products within 11 lines, and they are introducing five more in the near future. “Our expertise,” said Schorr, “is branding.” For example, Flight Spray is a natural nasal spray much like their previous O Spray, only it is marketed to the airline industry and travelers. Flight Spray was one of the few liquids allowed on airplanes in the last month as it was categorized as a small dose of medicine. “It is a great portion of what we do,” said Schorr. “A one-hit product can turn into a huge stream.”
The company is geared for very high growth. Where they now only use five stills for distillation, they anticipate increasing up to 400. With their new status as a public company, Schorr said “we now have the potential to become a $100 million dollar company.”
Schorr started out in California in the flagrance and flavor business, but said it was critical to have a shareholder population. “It requires knowledge and bringing in legal and accounting expertise, and we’re now trading at 1.5. It’s a very good thing. But more importantly, we are healing and helping people.”
Recently, the Bioponics team was approached by Dr. Jogi Pattisapu, a practicing pediatric neurosurgeon and principal of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Childhood Hydrocephalus Center of Orlando, Florida. Together, they are researching the Bioponic Phytoceuticals’ product Curecumin as a potential candidate for treating Childhood Hydrocephalus, a disease that affects 500,000 children worldwide in which fluid on the brain can’t be reabsorbed by the body.
“This was a death sentence until 25 years ago,” said Schorr. The only treatment available has been consistent brain surgery when a tube is inserted to divert water from the brain to the rest of the body. The tube can get clogged and need to be reinserted, involving up to 12 surgeries in a person’s lifetime. “It’s not a cure, but a treatment,” said Schorr. “Dr. Pattisapu had found new pathways to the brain through nasal cavities, and he suggested we cooperate to find a better treatment, and possibly a cure, so we are giving him our products for free.” Curecumin is the first Bioresonant Phytotherapeutic formula of curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric root.
Bioponics Phytoceuticals is committed to developing and producing Bioresonant Phytotherapeutics and other natural products that address the growing concern for safe and effective remedies to restore health, prevent disease and sustain well-being. For more information on Bioponic Phytoceuticals, visit their Web site at www.bioponic.com.