Wild Harvesting, an Essential part of Essential oils March 30, 2019
Tinctures, teas, oils, essences, and fragrances- there’s a world of wellbeing that is harnessed from the natural goodness of plants. But how often do we think about these herbal allies of ours?
The aromatherapy boom has propelled the demand for global essential oils; the market is predicted to touch $11.67 billion by 2022. So where will all this oil come from? And considering the volume of plants needed to make a small quantity of essential oil, what is its impact on the environment?
Most essential oil-producing nations have found wild harvesting to be the fine art of balance between wild foraging and cultivating. This helps restrict the impact on natural forest to a minimum while improving forest health. Wild harvesting entails some basic tenets:
• Collect from areas that have not seen human intervention and thus are without chemical contamination
• Only about 15% of the species should be collected from a particular area
• Collect only from middle growth and during proper growing phase
• Tend to and harvest selectively so that the species can proliferate naturally
• Endangered species are not to be collected
Of course, as is true for everything, wild harvesting can present some challenges. There are two main issues that are worth a mention here. First, an obvious one, wild harvesting is a labour intensive proposition. This has led to a reduction of wild crafting in countries as labour costs are high or on the rise, like in Spain. Secondly, wild crafters often need some support and education to undertake wild harvesting sustainably. This entails some degree of medium to long-term commitment from buyers in terms of capital while adhering to a “fair price.”
Wild harvesting techniques consciously avoid exploiting wild plant communities, and are carried out with utmost care and respect for nature. The benefits ought to out weigh the challenges, as it is all that we look for- natural, organic, ethical fresh, and more potent. Under specific guidelines it has been found to be fair and inclusive because it requires and involves the traditional knowledge of the indigenous community. From a healing point of view, it is more beneficial since the plants growing in their natural environments develop higher order compounds such as antioxidants and Vitamin C.
When we operate with true integrity, we become aware of and act for the greater good. Needless to say, we at Ultra truly believe that wild harvesting is not just a means to give back to Mother Nature; it is a journey of deep-rooted communion with nature.