What Is Pharmacognosy?


There’s something incredibly attractive about people who travel the world looking for cool, science-y stuff. A few weeks ago, Annie told me that she had a really hot university lecturer who was bitten by a Komodo dragon and named a spider species after his ex-wife. In spite of my being wracked with jealousy (the Women's Studies department at my school wasn’t crawling with sexy, bearded types), her story reminded me of Dr. Jackson: pharmacognosist (yes, that's a real thing) and beauty legend who created Dr. Jackson’s Natural Products.

Pharmacognosy is the study of traditional medicines that use naturally-sourced products; Dr. Jackson has traveled from the Amazon to Sub-Saharan Africa to work with plants, shamans, and healers galore, researching non-Western solutions to worldwide medical problems. After 19 years, provoked by his experiences on melanoma wards (skin cancer is the second most common cancer in young people), he developed his own skincare range starting with the 01 Skin Cream: a natural, unisex moisturizer for all ages and skin types, with a SPF 20.

With the best packaging I’ve seen since I realized that Dalí designed perfume bottles, the brand is pretty much my ideal aesthetically (hello, plain black labels and brown medicine bottles) but even I can’t be coerced into promoting something just because it looks really good in my medicine cabinet (or because their website hosts photo albums of expeditions to places I am dying to visit). 01 is made using kigelia to prevent blemishes, baobab to improve skin elasticity and tone, and everyone’s new favorite moisturizer: marula oil (but Dr. Jackson obv used it before beauty blog fame). And it works–even on my obscenely pale, hormonal, and combination skin. So, you get to avoid melanoma, have awesome skin, promote ethical practice in ingredient sourcing, and get a rad bottle when you run out. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about Dr. Jackson. Sorry, Annie and your Komodo man.

—Olivia J. Singer

Photos by Olivia J. Singer.