Looking back over his company’s 30-year history, Gary Steuart recalls pondering “more than once” whether his business would survive, “or if I’d starve to death for lack of income.”
Each time things looked darkest, Steuart says he bailed himself out the only way he knew that worked: farm-to-farm cold calls on Midwestern dairy farms.
Steuart founded Steuart Laboratories of Mabel, Minnesota, in 1982. He had become convinced that his original product, an udder ointment for dairy cows, had the ability to heal nasty sores on cows’ teats and udders.
Today, Steuart Laboratories manufactures and markets several dozen herb-based healing and pain products for both the human and livestock markets.
Many of Steuart’s human products were developed as a result of stories he kept hearing from his dairy customers who applied the dairy ointments and creams to their own wounds and rashes.
“The dairy barn is the perfect place to evaluate a skin product, because the dairy farmer carefully examines his cows’ teats and udders twice a day and can clearly see healing taking place,” Steuart says. “I’ve learned over the years that, if a product works in the barn, it often ends up getting used in the house, too.”
Steuart’s top-selling human product is Steuart’s Pain Formula, a penetrating cream that relieves joint and muscle pain associated with arthritis and injuries. Steuart says he receives confirmation that Pain Formula is effective when re-orders come in because the re-orders are often two or three times the size of the original order.
“Pain Formula will normally reduce pain within 5 to 15 minutes after application, and can be effective for up to eight hours,” he says. “We have many customers who say that sore knees or shoulders robbed them of sleep every night, and that Pain Formula is the first product they’ve used that eliminates the pain.”
As a result, Steuart says many customers have been able to cut down or completely eliminate their use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, many of which have serious side effects. He adds, however, that in some cases people don't realize maximum pain relief until after several days of continuous use.
Another of the company’s human products, Steuart’s Natural Wound Cream, promotes healing of minor wounds and skin infections. Steuart claims it heals wounds and scrapes faster than antibiotic creams and ointments because most antibiotics kill white blood cells at the wound site. White blood cells, he says, are an integral part of the healing process. “Natural Wound Cream allows the wound to remain moist and doesn’t allow a hard, dry scab to form, so the wound heals 30-40% faster,” he says.
Steuart says many diabetic customers have reported that Natural Wound Cream can heal open wounds where other treatments have failed.
A key ingredient in Natural Wound Cream, according to Steuart, is propolis (also called “bee glue”), a resinous mixture that honey bees collect as sap from trees and use as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis has a long history of medicinal use, dating back more than 2,000 years when Greeks used propolis for abscesses, Assyrians used it for healing wounds and tumors, and Egyptians used it for mummification. Propolis is a natural antiseptic plus it stimulates healing at the wound site.
Many of Steuart’s animal health products are formulated to help dairy farmers deal with the serious milk-production conditions of chapped and injured teats and udder sores. “I’ve read that 85% of dairy farms have cows with udder sores, and this condition is difficult to treat successfully,” Steuart says. “Our customers have proven over and over that our products heal udder sores.”
Steuart products are also popular among horse owners, Steuart says. Miracle Heel is an herb-based topical ointment that delivers antiseptic action that soothes and promotes healing of wounds, abrasions and minor skin irritations. Miracle Heel is also used by horse owners as a hoof conditioner.
A key ingredient in many of Steuart’s products is comfrey, a perennial, bushy herb with a black, turnip-like root and broad, hairy leaves. Comfrey extract has been used as a skin treatment for centuries. One of the folk names for comfrey is “knitbone,” a reminder of its traditional use in healing bone fractures.
Steuart says he’s had invitations to work for “normal companies” over the past 30 years but has stuck with his own business because the rewards have outweighed the hardships. “It gives me goose bumps when customers tell me Steuart products have eliminated their pain when nothing else they had tried could, and when animal owners report that their animals’ wounds and sores were healed when nothing else worked,” he says.
“I remember sitting in a Perkins Restaurant many years ago, talking with a diabetic woman who had leg ulcers that doctors and medicines had been unable to heal,” he says. “I went out the car and got some healing ointment and squeezed it into an empty salad-dressing container that was on our table. The lady used the ointment in the days ahead and it eventually healed her ulcer. It’s that kind of experience that keeps me going with this business.”
Steuart Laboratories products are manufactured in two buildings on the main street of Mabel, Minnesota (population: 710). The manufacturing plant is a licensed FDA over-the-counter drug facility and a certified-organic food plant.
Products are sold primarily through the company’s website: www.steuartlaboratories.com
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