Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favor compared with the products of nature, the living cell of the plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life. -- T. A. Edison

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What's the Difference between Wildcrafted and Organic Herbs?

What's the Difference between Wildcrafted and Organic Herbs?
Understanding the difference between wildcrafted, organic, and conventional herbs will make your search for herbs that are natural and chemical-free much easier. All three refer to how a plant or an herb is grown.

What Herbs are Considered Conventional?

Wholesale herbs and botanicals' distributors grow ingredients conventionally in a controlled environment that uses fertilizers and pesticides to promote their growth. It is also often referred to as factory farming. This method allows growing a large variety or quantity of herbs and botanicals, increasing production rates. Both non-organic and organic factory farms produce conventionally grown herbs in large quantities.
You may think that factory organic farming means that the herbs and botanicals coming from these farms are not toxic or harmful and naturally healthy and safe. However, you might be surprised to learn that certified organic farms use pretty toxic, although 'natural,' chemicals. Even some synthetic substances are listed as exceptions to the basic rule and are allowed for use in organic agriculture. Yup, that's right. You may see the "approved chemicals" list on the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) website.
When shopping most big chain stores (physical or online) that sell non-organic and organic herbs and botanicals, factory farming is what you get. Why? That's simple: a small organic farm that practices responsible natural elements or a herbalist practicing sustainable wildcrafting simply can not produce the quantities required to fulfill the big brand/box store demand.

What Herbs are Considered Organic?

Organic standards allow natural substances in organic farming while prohibiting synthetic substances (except for exceptions, as discussed earlier). Herbs and botanicals that are considered organic are typically grown in farm environments. Also, they should be grown on unpolluted land without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified seeds.
There is a trend towards a slightly higher nutritional content in organic produce. Because farmed herbs are grown in a controlled environment, organic plants are not subjected to environmental stressors like wildcrafted botanicals are. Due to this protection, cultivated herbs do not fully develop their nutrients and phytonutrients, dismissing to some degree their nutritional value. Several studies have shown that conventionally farmed organic food is not noticeably more nutritious or better tasting than non-organic alternatives. Even though the organically grown produce is shown to have 30% less pesticide residue than non-organic, both still fall within legally allowable limits.

What Herbs are Considered Wildcrafted?

Wildcrafted herbs are grown in the wild, as the word implies. Wildcrafted herbs are uncultivated. There are no GMOs, herbicides, or pesticides used. Wildcrafted botanicals entirely depend on the whims of nature when it comes to watering, getting enough sunlight, or shade. That all means that to thrive, the plant has to work a little bit harder compared to its famed relative; hence it produces more nutritious components and can be a kind of "super-plant."

Are wildcrafted herbs and botanicals organic by default? Well, yes and no. If the herbs are coming from a ditch located along a conventional sprayed farm or a busy highway, they by no means are organic. That's why it is important to use only the responsible and transparent vendors when you buy your wildcrafted herbs. When wildcrafting is done sustainably and with proper respect, it does not harm nature, and the herbs you get are highly nutritious and potent. Unfortunately, once again, sustainable foraging can never be done at the scale of the commercial volume; that's why you can't buy authentic wildcrafted herbs in the big box stores or from the big brands, regardless of what the label says.

Mixed Dry Medicinal Herbs

How to Get the Best Quality Herbs?

The truth is that as a consumer, you won't really know what you got unless you have a way to test your herbs for the vitamins, minerals, and pesticide residues. After that, all you can rely on is the label and the seller's claims. Taste is a pretty good indicator of quality but not infallible. Growing your own is the best way to know the truth about the quality of your herbs. If you can't do that, find the vendors you can count on. That is why it's so important to know from whom you are getting your products.

What to Consider when Shopping for the Herbs and Botanicals?

☛ Unless you know for the fact that a conventional farm rotates its crops regularly and does not overproduce to meet the demand, the herbs you buy will be of inferior quality.
☛ Sustainable non-organic and small organic or natural farms offer more nutrient-dense botanicals. In some cases, it's also true that "natural" can be better than "organic" because it's locally grown in a garden. Think grandmas tomatoes vs. big store organic tomatoes. There's simply no competition.
☛ Wildcrafted herbs can be much more superior to Certified Organics. However, make sure you know the origin. Wildcrafted herbs should be harvested in areas free of contaminants and other sources of pollution.
When dried out and blended with the tea into Eral Grey, the cornflower foraged from the highway roadside in NJ will look pretty much like the cornflower from the pristine meadows.

    Whats in your Earl Gray.

    Every tea we offer is a fusion of four generations of herbalists' knowledge and experience and a whole lot of love and positive intent.

    ✦ Single-origin Siberian native herbs ONLY. If it doesn't naturally grow in Taiga, it's not in our tea!

    ✦ NO added flavors (neither natural nor artificial).



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