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Sourcing Stories: Black Spruce

The black spruce, Picea mariana, dominates much of the landscape in the Canadian Tundra because of its ability to thrive in the cold, northern forest. The spruce has short, blue-green needles and dark grey bark that has a thin, scaly texture. These trees stand tall and thin, typically growing around 15 meters tall with trunks approximately 50 centimeters in diameter, though some can grow larger. The frigid conditions and varied topography of the boreal forest allow these majestic trees to thrive from one generation to the next. However, this abundance of beautiful growth creates a significant problem— waste.  

The extraction of Black Spruce essential oil is a prime example 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. To prevent waste, a key solution was to produce Black Spruce essential oil in a responsible and sustainable way, made possible through cooperation with these industries and the Forest Ministry.  


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, like 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 our 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. Using a grapple arm excavator, the remaining branches and needles are gathered and sent through a steam distillation process to produce Black Spruce essential oil. This ingenious close-looped system supports maximum sustainability, benefiting the environment, local businesses, and you, the happy holder of this woody, slightly aromatic essential oil.


There is a reason black spruce creates such a prized essential oil. Although similar to other spruce varieties, such as Hemlock, Norway, and White spruces produce quality essential oil, Black Spruce has a distinct chemical makeup, featuring chemical compounds that carry surface cleansing properties, perfect for use around the home or in your daily personal care regimen.


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.

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