Our story dates back to the late 1800’s when the original RelieveIt remedy was created on the island of Trinidad. During that time, only aristocrats on the island had access to modern medicine so every community had a person skilled in the art of traditional medicine practices. Mother Skinner, the grandmother of Caleb, our founder, served her community in this capacity.
The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is unique. It is not only the wealthiest island in the Caribbean, but it is also the most diverse. It’s inhabitance are primarily Africans and East Indians. The Africans were brought to the island as slaves over 400 years ago, and the East Indians arrived later as indentured servants. The convergence of the two cultures, each having thousands of years of traditional medicine practices, opened the door to the creation of incredibly effective healing remedies.
One of Caleb’s brothers shared during an interview that Mother Skinner had given him a book of healing remedies shortly before she passed. He was a teenager and did not understand the value of the possession, so he gave the book away. Fortunately, Mother Skinner shared sources and methods of the remedy we know today as RelieveIt with Verna, their mother.
In 2013 Caleb’s son suffered an acute ankle injury while competing at a pro soccer tryout. His brother Amos, who was also in attendance, suggested to use the family pain remedy, so they returned to his house to find the ingredients.
Fifteen years earlier, in 1998, Verna, their mother, and Amos traveled back to Trinidad from Florida. According to Amos, one of their primary objectives was to find the pine resin, but he could not remember why. After an extensive search, they found it in a country pharmacy near the village where Mother Skinner lived. There were four marble-size pieces remaining in a glass jar, so they bought them all. The remnants from that purchase would become the catalyst of change in Caleb’s life. When the brothers arrived at the house they found a fingernail-sized piece of the resin remaining. Caleb remembers thinking to himself, that’s not enough to treat an acute sprain, but it was all they had. That evening they returned to the hotel where Caleb’s son and the players were staying. The poultice (remedy pasted on a piece of cloth) was applied to his ankle and wrapped with an ace bandage. By 7am the following morning his son reported that most of the pain and swelling was gone, so he returned to the field.
The next 12 months would lend itself to extreme frustration, but that would quickly turn into a storybook ending. After witnessing what would best be described as a modern day miracle, Caleb set out to do further testing, but he needed more pine resin. The brothers called every pharmacy in Trinidad (200+) and not one had the product. Finally, they spoke with an employee at the country pharmacy where the resin was purchased in 1998. The employee remembered the former owner stocked the item, but he died, and the new owner had no interest in stocking herbal ingredients. The search was extended to England. They traveled and searched every pharmacy in London with no success. Trinidad is a former British colony, so it was thought that maybe the resin was imported. The search extended across Europe and Asia where gypsum (the mineral used years ago to make cast that secured broken bones) and other minerals that looked like the resin were ordered. Looking back the brothers realized that they were asking for RASOM (the colloquial pronunciation), when in fact the ingredient they were seeking was RESIN.
As the search continued a miracle of sorts happened. Caleb received a call from his brother Ken, who said a school friend visited his house and they were reminiscing about jobs they held as boys. The friend mentioned having a forest job where they harvested RASOM from pine trees. Ken said he almost jumped out of his seat! This random visit from a family friend contributed to the rediscovery of the source.
In 2015, Caleb discovered that other family members were unaware of this remedy while attending a family reunion in Trinidad. He soon realized that his grandmother had only shared the remedy with one child, his mother. Mother Skinner had 9 children, so we can only speculate as to why the remedy was only shared with one. While interviewing siblings for his upcoming book, Caleb learned that his mother followed the same practices of Mother Skinner and only disclosed sources and methods to one of her 12 children: Amos, her eldest son. It is not known why Mother Skinner and Verna chose to conceal sources and methods, but we can say with confidence that this opportunity to bring RelieveIt to the world would not be possible without the wisdom exercised by these two great women.
In June 2019, the active component in the Caribbean Pine resin was confirmed as a new plant-derived, anti-inflammatory discovery by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, becoming the first plant-derived discovery credited to a black owned company in the history of the United States.