How It All Began

As a boy, Gene Hughes would often come home from school and smell a pungent aroma even before he stepped into the house.

He knew what this meant; his mother was making another one of her garlic sandwiches. “Taking herbs ran in my family”, he says with a smile. Gene learned first hand their nutritional value. Later on, Gene found himself with a nagging stomach condition that just wouldn’t go away. It was only natural that he took the advice of a neighbour who suggested he take Cayenne pepper (capsicum) to ease his discomfort. It worked! Gene found himself feeling much better. The only problem was that swallowing a spoonful of cayenne pepper was no easy task.

That’s when his wife Kristine suggested the idea of putting the powder into an easy-to-swallow gelatin capsule. A revolutionary idea was born. Gene chose to share what he learned with others and soon enlisted the support of his family, Dick and Pauline Hughes, and Jay and Arva Hughes, to begin a small family business.

Today much has been written about the benefits of herbs like Cayenne, but way back in 1972 when Gene, Kristine and Pauline started encapsulating herbs and selling them to health food stores, they were pioneers in their field. “Back then herbs weren’t as well known as they are today,” says Kristine. “We know what it’s like to be on the fringe. But look at us now: we’re mainstream!”

Kristine is quick to add though, “Nature’s Sunshine has always been about people. Our creed stresses helping people to help themselves to a healthier, happier life. That hasn’t changed.”

Because a legacy of caring and sharing has exemplified the Hughes family business through the years, their NSP family has grown into a worldwide organisation. You might say that the tradition that Gene’s Mother started so long ago has grown to fruition – naturally!