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Sourcing Stories: Black Spruce


Picea mariana dominates the landscape of much the Canadian Tundra because of its ability to thrive in the cold, northern boreal forest. The bark is dark grey, thin, and scaly with needles that are blue-green and short. The trees are tall and thin, typically growing around 15 meters tall with a trunk approximately 50 centimeters in diameter, though some are as tall as 30 meters with trunks that measure 60 centimeters in diameter. The frigid conditions and varied topography of the boreal forest allow these majestic trees to thrive from one generation to the next. This abundance of beautiful growth creates a significant problem, however: waste. 

The extraction of Black Spruce essential oil is the epitome of environmental stewardship. While much of black spruce’s timber is used in paper industries, what remains of the tree is an overwhelming environmental issue. With its myriad of benefits, it only made sense to steam-distill Black Spruce essential oil through cooperation with these industries and the Forest Ministry to make use of black spruce material that what would otherwise be wasted. Not only is Black Spruce essential oil good for you, but you can also feel good using it because of the responsible and sustainable way in which it is distilled. 

SOURCING BLACK SPRUCE: ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

Black spruce trunks are generally considered too small and soft for timber, so they are primarily used in paper, lumber, and pulp industries as well as manufactured into various wood-based products, such as chopsticks. The branches and needles are quickly stripped away to access the trunk for these industrial purposes, and are then left to rot. These left-to-spoil remnants create a significant issue that negatively affects both the environment and local economy, and historically no additional value was garnered from them—until now.

Together with its harvesting partner, doTERRA found an environmentally responsible way to use the invaluable branches and needles of the Black Spruce tree before they went to waste. Containing the essential oil, black spruce’s branches and needles produce a woody, slightly aromatic aroma. Our key Back Spruce partner gathers these pieces, which would otherwise be wasted, with a grapple arm excavator. They are then steam-distilled, and a local power plant burns the remnants from the distillation process, which creates energy and additional steam used to facilitate the extraction of more Black Spruce essential oil. This ingenious close-looped system supports maximum sustainability, benefitting the environment, local businesses, and especially you, who now has access to this wonderful essential oil.

USING IT AT HOME: THE VALUE OF BLACK SPRUCE

There is a reason black spruce creates such a prized essential oil. Other spruce varieties, such as Hemlock, Norway, and White spruces produce quality essential oil, but with far lower yield and a less colorful spectrum of benefits than Black Spruce (Picea mariana) essential oil. Furthermore, while most tree-derived essential oils share a handful of similar characteristics (such as being good for the skin and hair and containing calming, grounding aromas), Black Spruce boasts something more unique. Its two primary compounds, bornyl acetate and alpha-pinene, are a complex duo that also include significant concentrations of camphene and delta-3-carene. Due to this distinct chemical makeup, Black Spruce essential oil has surface cleansing properties perfect for use around the home or in your daily personal care regimen.

CONCLUSION

Using Black Spruce essential oil will not only make you feel better about using naturally sourced products to support your regular routines, but also gives you confidence that your purchase is doing something incredible for the environment. By forming creative partnerships and identifying inventive ways to produce a positive environmental impact, the doTERRA Black Spruce essential oil sourcing story proves that good things really can come even from those who waste.

**This article combines content from https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/science-research-news-benefits-uses-of-black-spruce and https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/sourcing-stories-black-spruce to create a more comprehensive guide to Black Spruce sourcing.


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