A couple of months ago I wrote an article about the Difference between East Indian and West Indian Sandalwood Trees. Sandalwood, like some other essential oils such as rosewood, attracts media attention because the extraction of the essential oil "threatens" the plant species from which it is extracted. Some aromatherapists will not use sandalwood essential oil for this reason, and prefer to use an "alternative" oil.
Gathering qualitative information about the sustainability of "threatened" essential oils is difficult because people often have opposing opinions on the matter! However, there are both organizations and individuals around the world who believe in helping to spread the word about such matters.
Mane Essentials, a small supplier of essential oils in the UK, about the article I mentioned above. Although Mane Essentials have a small operation, if you take a look at their web site you will see that one of their aims is "to monitor the market for...endangered products and to keep up to date with crop reports which will ultimately affect our industry."
Mane Essentials very kindly linked to my sandalwood article on their web site and this in turn lead me to discover some information about Cropwatch. According to their web site, Cropwatch is:
" an independent Watchdog for Natural Aromatic Products used in the aroma, traditional herbal medicine and phytochemicals industries."
In the US, a similar project, in the form of the Aromatic Plant Project, aims to:
"encourage the growing and distillation of true essential oil plants in the United States for the production of hydrosols and essential oils."
If you take the time to do your own research on these operations, and on others, you will find that there are a lot of "small" voices fighting for the sustainability of "threatened" essential oils and distilling essential oils from plants in the best and "purest" way. After all, essential oils come from a natural source - and if we destroy that source in its entirety, there will be no more of that particular plant, or essential oil!
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we do not seem to appreciate what we have until its no longer there - so take the time to research and learn as much as you can about the essential oil you are buying. Your children, and grandchildren, may thank you in the future :)
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