When 3-year-old Ted Robb was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy in 1984, his mother began her quest for a cure. Trained as a biologist and armed with an interest in organic living, she looked far and wide for treatments to help her sons, both of whom struggled with the motor neuron disease that weakens muscles throughout the body. Finally, she came upon tropical oils. After research and experimentation on her children, she became convinced of the healing powers of antioxidants and nutrients contained in these oils. Robb, who had benefited from the oils, joined forces with his mother and other family members in 2004 to create Jungle Products, which markets unrefined, non-GMO, wildcrafted West African red palm oil and certified organic extra-virgin coconut oil. Today Robb, age 26, serves as the company’s CEO.

Q. How did your mother discover the oils you sell?

A. She was on the Internet looking for things that might help to stimulate our myelin sheaths, which protect nerves that are broken down and affected by our disease. Before I went to college, she’d had a dream and thought it was meant for me and my brother. In it, she saw a woman holding a basket of fruit. One day, she was downloading information from a website, and she saw the exact same picture she had seen in her dream. That picture was from a website describing palm oil. The connection automatically struck my mom, and we kept researching both palm and coconut oil.

Q. How did you go from researching the oils to using them as remedies and then selling them?

A. Once I started using the oils on my skin and in my cooking, I felt a difference in my body over the next few weeks. I noticed increased and sustained strength in my muscles, and I noticed that I had a much easier time keeping my weight on and at a natural level. It wasn’t until I noticed this change in myself that I took my mom seriously. We quit our day jobs and jumped right in.

Q. Do you still use the remedy your mother discovered?

A. Absolutely! I use it every day. I now use only coconut and palm oil, along with some butter, in all of my cooking. I also rub the oils on my body, specifically on my back in the cranial-sacral tract, down my spine from my head to my sacrum. Current research shows that antioxidants and nutrients in palm and coconut are actually best absorbed through the skin. My mom has created rubs that my wife helps me put on my head and back each night. In addition to how much stronger and more coordinated my muscles feel, my skin is softer and healthier than ever before.