Have you ever thought about the journey that your pure essential oils have made to get to you? Because we put such a lot of effort into finding small-hold growing and production with local artisan methods, there is pretty much always an important socio-economic story behind the finished Absolute Essential product.
Let me tell you about Wintergreen as an example.
A typical Wintergreen harvester lives within walking distance of the forest and essentially lives the life of a poor, marginalized local farmer. At this level, it is mostly women's work and though a casual and seasonal labor, it can provide up to 25% of the average household income. She may work a 4- 6 hour day moving through the forest from one clump to another, cutting leaf-sheaths and filling her basket that she carries on her back. This is probably only part of her daily labors. And she might deliver up to 60 kilos to the local transporters or distillery in one day.
Here is an in-depth analysis of Wintergreen production in Nepal
And so our Wintergreen story begins on the slopes of the Himalayas in Nepal.
This is a land that makes up a mere 0.01% of the world's land area but that presents such fertile conditions as to allow a rich 2% of the world's biodiversity to flourish. The medicinal quality of the Wintergreen that grows wild here is quite unique. And when harvested and distilled well, produces a world class therapeutic oil.
The logistics of tapping such a rich resource for the western market involve of course the necessity of protecting the unique environmental conditions and maintaining a long-term view on the collective health of the local providers.
Much of the world supply of Wintergreen is a lesser quality oil and the true value of this very local, manual collection is not to be underestimated. We come in not to exploit but fully appreciative of the need to fortify the sustainable, fair trade and organic history of this exceptional commodity.
Once at the local distillery, the fresh Wintergreen is loaded into the main chamber of a steam distillator, which is powered by fuel wood and other local biomass (such as the dried & recycled already distilled plant material).
Steam passes through the chamber, and is then transformed into liquid in the condenser, and finally flows to a container where the oil is separated out.
The distillery is essentially the hub of each co-operative where some 300 community members, including the harvesters, might receive their income.
By trading direct we can stay very close to the quality of our oil and we can pay a higher value for that quality more directly to the poorer communities that supply it. And of course we can influence the economic politics of environmental protection.
Connecting with the Community Forest User Group program to create a mutual alliance towards sustainable harvesting and direct community benefit is vital
Some CFUG enterprises have received Forest Stewardship Council, Organic and Wildlife Friendly certifications for the wild-crafted essential oils. The wild plants are harvested from responsibly village-managed forests, distilled by local communities (Wintergreen should be processed quickly after harvesting) and quality controlled throughout.
When it has been distilled Wintergreen essential oil is transported to various markets: to India for extensive Ayurveda practices; and throughout the world for use in liniments, ointments, lotions and medicated oils.
It is applied for a wide range of issues in holistic healthcare including acute breathing disorders, colds, earache, fevers, headaches, kidney ailments, lumbago, muscle, joint, and nerve pain, rheumatism, sciatica, sore throat, stomach aches, to name a few.
Wintergreen as pure as our Nepal sourced oil is a pale yellow or pinkish color and is strongly aromatic with a cooling, herbaceous, lemony scent, and woody undertones. Its main medicinal property comes from an 85-99% component of Methyl Salicylate (that which is synthesized in Aspirin production), known to be analgesic, carminative, anti‐inflammatory and anti‐septic.
What this whole story means to you is:
- a bottle of medicinal concentrate of the highest efficacy and purity
- a direct connection to supporting sustainable livelihood for our vulnerable world community
- a direct contribution to protecting the world's essential biodiversity
Here at Absolute Essential this single oil represents a significant triumph for our holistic healthcare practice
For many years Wintergreen has played an important role in our Osteopathy care.
It is easily blended into a carrier (oil, cream or gel) for use on inflamed muscles and tendons, and being so pure has a very complementary role to play in the process of natural healing.
I can't recommend it enough for effective natural pain management.
Recently I fractured my back and regular application has made a huge difference to the sciatic pain involved in getting back on my feet.
I also recommend Revitalise Body Oil to clients who are looking for a sports' massage oil to condition and maintain body fitness for regular exercise.