How to Purchase Ethical Herbal Products this Holiday Season

Interested in eco-friendly Holiday gift gifting?

Here are a few tips to consider when purchasing from companies and independent makers who sell herbal products:

1. Do they use at-risk or endangered botanical ingredients? This is the top of our list because there is, unfortunately, a sea of natural bodycare producers who include at-risk oils and plants in their formulas. This has obvious environmental repercussions, but also means that what they are selling as a product with “pure oils” is actually anything but that. Many precious or higher priced essential oils are cut with cheaper alternatives to reduce costs for the supplier. Some product makers (especially those without an aromatherapy education) will not know this is happening unless they are aware to look for adulteration. A few ingredients to look out for and avoid are Sandalwood, Rosewood, Frankincense (Boswellia carterri) and Eyebright which are all commonly found in natural body care but have been terribly over-harvested. Refer to @unitedplantsavers ‘s list for at risk herbs.

2. Ask the product producer about their process. Do they create items from scratch? Do they have a relationship of some sort to the plant material they use?

3. Does the producer have a herbal or aromatherapy education? If they don’t, ideally there would be someone on their team whom they consult for product development to ensure safety (especially with aromatherapy products).

4. Do you get the sense that they have a relationship with nature? We are always weary of natural product producers who suffer a disconnect from the natural world and are instead looking out for a quick way to make cash. Purchase from herbal product makers who have a relationship with nature and express a commitment to environmentally friendly production practices.

5. Look for minimal packaging, avoid unnecessary plastic-wrapped products.

6. Shop local, support herbalists in your area.

A few of our favorite local herbalists to support in the Kootenay region are Emery Herbals  and Blue Lotus Ethnobotanicals .

Ayla FaheyC