All Articles

Why Wild Matters

Landscape with mountains
Updated on June 14, 2021
Originally Posted in Community on

Did you know that wild plants are important ingredients in your food, cosmetics, medicine, and especially close to our hearts – herbal tea? As the demand for natural products continues to grow, the demand for these wild plant ingredients also grows, putting pressure on potentially fragile plant populations, ecosystems, and communities.

Join the movement to get to know the wild plants in your cupboard and learn what you can do to help protect them.

 

Why care about FairWild?

At Traditional Medicinals, we are committed to supporting plants, people, and the planet. FairWild certified herbs are a fantastic way for us to ensure the wild plants in our products protect not only the natural world but also the communities who rely on them.

1. FairWild is about protecting plants from overharvesting, like the soothing licorice that is found in our Throat Coat® tea.* We source wild-collected licorice rather than farmed because we’ve found it to reliably meet our high quality standards. By purchasing FairWild licorice, we are also able to ensure it is ethically harvested without harming the wild, at-risk plant populations our ecosystems depend on.

2. FairWild is about protecting people and livelihoods, like the traditional practices of wild harvesting that are often passed down from generation to generation. Most wild collectors are women, and are often Indigenous peoples or ethnic minorities with limited access to economic opportunities. The seasonal income provided by these wild harvests can be a vital part of their family’s income. The Fair premium and Fair price make a significant impact on their quality of life and the communities’ ability to prioritize sustainable practices and continue these important herbal harvesting traditions.

Collectors, like this FairWild nettle collector in Bosnia and Herzegovina above, are at the heart of our work. We choose to invest in certifications like FairWild to prioritize the livelihoods of the growers and gatherers that cultivate our herbs and allow us to continue to innovate quality medicinal herbal remedies.

 

3. FairWild is about conservation, like protecting important habitat for wildlife that depend on healthy ecosystems for their survival. Sustainable wild collection of herbs, like the raspberry leaf used in our Pregnancy Tea®, Raspberry Leaf, and Healthy Cycle® formulas, can help support diverse ecosystems. Using sustainable harvesting practices protects the biodiversity of the region, allowing plant, people and animal communities to thrive.

Sustainable wild collection of herbs, like the raspberry leaf used in our Pregnancy® Tea, Raspberry Leaf, and Healthy Cycle® formulas, helps maintain diverse ecosystems. And we source wild-collected licorice in our Licorice Root tea and Throat Coat® formulas, rather than farmed because we’ve found it to reliably meet our high-quality standards.

 

FairWild Standard and Certification

Plants and the people that collect them are at the heart of what FairWild does. Collectors of these wild plants often belong to marginalized rural communities that depend on them for their livelihoods. At the bottom of a long supply chain, these harvesters have historically received the smallest benefit from a rapidly growing industry and its high demand for wild plants.

On average 75% of all herbs in trade are collected from the wild.

 

The FairWild Foundation’s Standards and Certifications were designed to improve the sustainable use and management of wild plants and protect harvesters from unfair business practices. Specifically, they provide standards for work on the ground with local wild collectors and support training in sustainable harvesting techniques, teaching collectors when and how to harvest wild plants, to help protect species from over-exploitation and ensure regular and steady harvests.

This Standard then provides the basis for the FairWild certification. The FairWild logo on certified products allows you to know that your favorite products are being made with ingredients that were harvested ethically and fairly.

 

Ways You Can Protect Wild Plants

The journey towards sustainability involves us all. Use your purchasing power to help protect wild plants! Whether as a consumer or as a business, you can ensure the world we live in is one that protects wild plants and those who depend on them.

∴ Look for the logo: Look out for the FairWild Certification on your favorite herbal teas, foods and wellness products.

∴ Know the at-risk plants: Get to know the plants that are the most likely to be at risk of over-harvesting and look for the FairWild label when purchasing products with these ingredients. Check the Wild Dozen list for key species to look for!

∴ Spread the word: Follow FairWild on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Share why you care about wild plants and tag photos of wild plant products you’re using with #ifoundWild and #FairWildWeek

∴ And most importantly, ask questions! Demand more from the companies you buy from and question the sourcing of the ingredients in your favorite products.