Welcome To Pure-lē Natural – Canada’s “First Family” of Herbs … since 1888
The history of the Thuna family and their passion for herbal medicine dates back to the year 1888! That was the year that Dr. Max Thuna opened his first herbal retail outlet in New York. A Master Herbalist, Dr. Thuna emigrated from his native Austria and with the help of his children opened over 25 herbal stores across Canada. The stores sold a full line of Thuna brand herbal products bearing Max’s picture including tablets, creams, extracts, ointments, drinks, raw herbs, teas, vitamins, and rubs. Dr. Thuna’s formulas were advanced for that era and have stood the test of time. Many of Max’s products are still available today.
Max’s son, Dr. Jack Thuna followed his father’s lead and earned degrees in Naturopathy, Herbalism, and Chiropractic Medicine. He opened the first door-to-door herbal products company in Canada based in Montreal, Quebec. He opened a herbal clinic in Montreal, treating a wide variety of patients with chiropractic, naturopathic and herbal medicine.
In an effort to raise the profession of herbalism, Dr. Jack Thuna founded one of North America’s first schools of Herbal Medicine, The Emerson College of Herbology. Here he helped to educate the new crop of herbalists by giving them the benefit of his experiences.
Jack’s son, Al was one of the first graduates (with honours no less) of the Emerson College of Herbology. Al began his herbal career as a salesman for Dr. Jack Thuna’s door to door business. Later he branched out forming Pharmetics, a vitamin and herbal manufacturer with his brother. In 1967 Al moved his family from Montreal to Toronto in order to expand his company. In 1971 Al sold his interest in Pharmetics and along with his wife Sandy opened “For Your Health”, one of Toronto’s first dedicated herbal health stores.
For Your Health flourished throughout the 1970’s causing Al to require some rare and higher quality herbs to meet his clientele’s requests. His suppliers were unable to meet these needs so Al & Sandy decided to open their own herbal wholesale import business to supply what their customers desired.
As other stores heard about the selection Al & Sandy were able to offer, the wholesale business blossomed. Eventually it became too difficult for 2 people to run both a retail and wholesale operation. In 1978 For Your Health was sold and The Thunas dedicated their time and energy to wholesale manufacturing and distribution. The Thunas enjoyed great success including some industry milestones such being the first people to bring Tiger Balm and Tea Tree Oil to Canada, as well as being the first to bring Korean Ginseng to Canada.
In the 1980’s it became clear that there was a void in the Canadian market. There were no high quality Canadian made herbal products designed for Canadian practitioners and consumers. This is where Pure-lē Natural was born. The Thunas worked feverishly and launched Pure-lē Natural to fill the void. The Thunas believed that GMP (the governments mandated quality standards) were not high enough, so they sought out higher standards and Pure-lē Natural became the first certified Kosher and Parve herbal company in Canada, a distinction which still remains today.
Being a family with a family business meant that Al and Sandy’s children became intimately familiar with the company and the day-to-day operations of the industry. They were immersed in it from the dinner table discussions to doing homework and working in the storeroom of the retail store and wholesale warehouse.
It came as no surprise to anyone that the Thuna children began to become involved in the herbal business. Initially it was limited to helping out at trade shows and during inventory, but their involvement gradually increased. Since the early 1980’s at least one of Al & Sandy’s children were working at the company. They worked in various departments including; reception, order entry, customer service, purchasing, product design, research and development, warehousing, production, sales, label design, advertising, and information technology.
Today, two of the Thuna children are actively working for Pure-lē Natural. Garry who has a degree in Computer Applied Electrical Engineering is the Information Technology Manager. He wrote our custom inventory management, product knowledge-base and accounting package, tailored to meet the unique needs of a modern Natural Health Products Manufacturer.
The other Thuna actively involved in Pure-lē Natural is Joel, who has a degree in Marketing and Production Management and like his father, graduated from Emerson College of Herbology. Joel manages the day-to-day operations of Pure-lē Natural and can often be heard lecturing on health topics around the country. He is a frequent author for numerous publications and is currently working on his first full book on Herbal Medicine.
Helping Joel and Garry is a staff of dedicated professionals that care deeply about our clients and our products. This is because they not only make our products but they use them on themselves and their families. They share with the Thuna’s the pride in Pure-lē Natural, our products and the results the Pure-lē Natural products bring to their own lives and the lives of our customers.
Pretty soon, the 5th generation of Thuna’s should be old enough to see if they catch the family bug for herbs. With eight potentials there is a good chance at least one will follow family tradition.
Over one hundred years after Dr. Thuna made his first herbal remedy, the Thunas continue to produce the finest quality natural health products available. This is the mission behind Pure-lē Natural and the value we hold dear. Max & Jack would be proud!