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Episode 237: Eucalyptus and the doTERRA Impact

In this episode we sit down with Francesca Perkins, doTERRA Co-impact Sourcing Manager to talk about the new doTERRA Eucalyptus blend. She'll discuss where we source the five species of Eucalyptus we use in our blend as well as how we have been able to help the farmers and communities in those areas through our Co-impact Sourcing model as well as through partnership with the Healing Hands Foundation. Plus we'll take a brief look at the history of eucalyptus. If you'd like to learn more about how doTERRA impacts the people and communities we work with check out The Pursuit, a comprehensive look at doTERRA’s 2022 impact.

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doTERRA: Clean and refreshing, Eucalyptus is an oil that has been loved by doTERRA customers for years. At the 2022 Heal Connection, doTERRA released a new Eucalyptus Blend. It’s a combination of five different kinds of eucalyptus and is completely unique to doTERRA. This new eucalyptus blend offers even more therapeutic benefits than our original.

Welcome back to Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA, the podcast where you'll hear exciting, useful, and simple everyday uses for essential oils from experts in the field.

This episode is brought to you by the MetaPWR System. Are you ready to make some lasting changes this year? Let the MetaPWR System and the 30-day MetaPWR Metabolic Health Challenge help you.

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Today we’ll be looking a little bit at the history of eucalyptus as well as talking to Francesca Perkins Co-impact Sourcing Manager at doTERRA about the different species of Eucalyptus we use and the impact our sourcing has on the areas we get our oils from. If you want to learn more about the sourcing for this oil, check out The Pursuit, a comprehensive look at doTERRA’s 2023 impact by clicking on the link in the episode description.

We’re going to talk about some internal historical uses for some of these plants, but we want to remind you that not all of these oils and blends are for internal use and should only be used aromatically or topically. Any internal benefits discussed for the individual oils in the blend are not applicable to aromatic or topical use.

Also, various plant parts, such as the leaves, bark, flower, stem, fruit, peel, bud, resin, etc., were often used for many different practices and benefits throughout history. These historical uses are mentioned here to offer insight as we explore the history of oils and plants. As such, these ancient uses are solely for informational purposes, and are not being advocated or recommended by doTERRA. Proceed at your own risk with such uses.

Eucalypts, which is the term for trees belonging to or similar to the eucalyptus genus, are ancient. They originated between 35 and 50 million years ago, not long after Australia separated from Gondwana, a prehistoric supercontinent in the southern hemisphere.

Eucalyptus gets its name from the Greek word eu, which means good. Well, true, beautiful or very. And the word kalypto, which means cover, conceal or hide in reference to the caps that cover the plants flowers.

Many of you have probably heard the children's song that says Kookaburra sitting in the Old Gum Tree. But did you know that the tree being referenced is a eucalyptus tree? The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia, where the various species are commonly known as gum trees or stringy bark trees.

Francesca, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Francesca Perkins: Thank you for having me.

Eucalyptus in Australia

doTERRA: I want to start by asking about Australia, because Australia is probably the place that is most associated with Eucalyptus. So, can you tell us about the species that we source there and what is so special about them?

Francesca: Absolutely. So, Australia has more than 700 types of eucalyptus and we're only sourcing four. Radiata, so Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus loxophleba lissophloia, which we shortened to lox liss because that's a lot easier, and then Eucalyptus polybractea. These oils are all distilled from the leaves of the different eucalyptus species. So, we are getting radiata, kochii, lox liss, and polybractea from Western Australia and New South Wales.

They grow really well in this central wheat belt of Western Australia where it's semi-arid. This area has a really ancient landscape with some huge dry salt lakes and billion-year-old granite monoliths. They love the hot summers there and they don't mind the lack of water.

In New South Wales. We're working with a partner that has been distilling polybractea for generations. And they were the first producers in Western Australia to mechanize eucalyptus harvesting and distillation. These eucalyptus trees actually provide a really great benefit to farmers.

They regulate the soil salinity; they help with water drainage, and they protect the crops and livestock from wind and sun. And I'll get into this a little bit in more detail later. What happens is that when they started planting wheat in Western Australia years and years ago, the water table started to rise and they discovered that eucalyptus kochii, lox liss, and polybractea trees have these really deep roots that help to absorb the groundwater. And so that's been a huge benefit for the farmers there.

So, how does it work? The trees can be harvested from about three to five years. They regrow or coppice very easily. So, after they're harvested, the trees can regrow, and they stagger the planting of them so that they constantly have trees.

They're providing a windbreak for the farms and providing these same benefits in the soil. Our partner there brings the harvesting equipment to the farm, and they do the harvesting for the farmer and then they chip up the wood or the branches, the tree. They chip it up and they do the distillation really close by.

So, they have this distillation unit that is semi-transportable. It doesn't go all the way to the farm, but it gets pretty close, and this reduces their cost, and this reduces their carbon footprint because they don't have to bring all of the the heavy wood all the way back to the to their factory. They can do it pretty close and then just transport the oil instead. The distillation takes about three hours and they're distilling the leaves. That's actually where the oil is coming from, from the leaves.

The post-distilled biomass is then made into what's called biochar. And they use this biochar as a soil conditioner that's very stable, which helps to retain moisture. And then they can also use it as animal feed. So, this distilled biomass has so many uses, and our partners really make an effort to reduce their waste as much as possible and to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. Even the wastewater is reused, so they use it to clean out the cooking bins. They don't throw it away or anything. And in New South Wales they use the distilled biomass back in the field to maintain moisture in the soil and to return nutrients to the trees.

It's really cool how our partners can make, can be so creative in finding uses for the post distilled biomass and making sure that every single part of the system has a benefit.

doTERRA: That is so incredible and like you said, how creative they can be, making sure all of those pieces are used, all of those pieces go back to benefiting the land or the farmers or the animals even. Yeah. How does our work with these partners, these farmers in Australia, fit into our Co-impact Sourcing model?

Francesca: Our partner in Western Australia especially is really amazing and they work directly with farmers to make sure that that the farmers are paid directly, that they're paid on time, and that these trees are providing a benefit for the farmers, not just for the land but also for the farmers. So yes, like I said, the trees help to break the wind on this super flat arid land which protects their crops. But then the leaves provide a second income for the farmers. They can get this income every year.

The same trees can provide them income every three years, but if they've staggered their planting, they could be benefiting from this every single year.

doTERRA: That is amazing. And like you said, it's just that one small change, the staggering of the planting to make sure this income is coming in and that it's coming on time and that it's fair.

Francesca: Exactly. It's so important.

Eucalyptus in South Africa

doTERRA: Eucalyptus was introduced from Australia to the rest of the world following the Cook Expedition in 1770, collected by Sir Joseph Banks, a botanist on the expedition. The eucalyptus trees were subsequently introduced to many parts of the world, notably California, Southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South America.

Francesca, two of the other places we source our eucalyptus from are in Africa. First is South Africa. What species of eucalyptus do we source from South Africa?

Francesca: So, we're getting Eucalyptus radiata from South Africa.

doTERRA: And how has our sourcing impacted the communities in South Africa?

Francesca: Our sourcing partner there in South Africa is another really amazing partner who's been working so hard and has such a. They have such a big heart for the communities that they've been working with.

So, Co-impact Sourcing, as you know, has eight sourcing guiding principles. We really want to make sure that we're working with partners who are hitting all eight. So, even if I'm not mentioning all of them, our partners do a lot for their farmers and for the communities that they're working with.

In South Africa, our partner is really involved with the local community, so they provide trainings for the farmers, they provide pre-payments, they provide pre-financing, and then they go even above and beyond what they have been doing is. They do a bunch of different social impact projects. But I'm going to just tell you about two and two of them that Healing Hands has also contributed to. So first, they support a local creche or kindergarten that gives young children food and education during COVID.

It was a hard time for everyone, but especially in this area, there was no work. Work was paused and children couldn't go to school. And a lot of families were struggling to provide for their families with just the basics. So, our partner still continued to provide food to the children and to their families. They would put together bags of food and distribute them. Healing Hands made a financial contribution to this effort, and our partner would include maize and another basics that could help these families during that time.

After COVID, they saw that this was such a huge benefit that they've continued this these food parcels, but they've shifted a little bit. So, children who can come to the to the kindergarten, it encourages the kids actually to come to the kindergarten, which is a huge benefit for families and for those children. They provide the children with a food parcel that comes from fresh vegetables, from local farmers. Healing Hands is again provided a bit of funding for this initiative.

And even though they're providing different food items in these food parcels are funding or the funding from Healing Hands goes directly to the produce coming from local farms. It's really inspiring to work with partners who are trying to benefit and working so hard actively to benefit the communities, not just environmentally, but also socially when they see a gap or when they see a need. They do what they can to make a difference.

doTERRA: Absolutely. And I always love to see how far that stretches. You know, we start with one or 2 or 3 farmers and it just expands throughout these communities.

Francesca: Yeah, we make such a huge effort to make sure that our partners are doing just that, that they're really extending their reach to make sure that they can impact as many lives as possible, not just through the sourcing, right? Not just through the farming, but through even more.

Eucalyptus in Rwanda

doTERRA: Absolutely. Now, the second African country that we source from is Rwanda. Can you tell us which species of eucalyptus we source there and how long we've been working with the people in Rwanda.

Francesca: So yeah, we're sourcing Eucalyptus globulins from Rwanda. This is a really new area for us. We've only been working there for about three years. Eucalyptus Globulins there is coming from a natural forest that has thousands and thousands of hectares. They're harvesting it in a rotation to prevent overharvesting of just one area. And normally the harvest is in the summer from May to September or October. The distillation happens pretty close by.

doTERRA: And can you tell us about any projects that doTERRA in partnership with Healing Hands has been able to complete in Rwanda?

Francesca: Yeah. So recently we were able to work with Healing Hands. So, Healing Hands was able to fund the construction of an early childhood development classroom at a local school that benefits 45 children between the ages of three and five. Many children in this community, so it's in the Kayonza district of Rwanda, which is a Eucalyptus globulins sourcing area. Many children in this area face a lot of developmental challenges, including chronic malnutrition, neonatal mortality, child violence, poor education and poor education service at the bottom of all of it.

This early childhood classroom provides children with a holistic access to early learning, good nutrition, hygiene and just generally safe environment to be in for a little while. We work with the local farmers, our partnered their this project works with the local farmers and with parents to provide a feeding program to provide food for the children and our partner, our Eucalyptus globulin partner covers 20% of the cost.

This is another great example of our partners coming together to benefit the community and all of us working together to make sure that we're supporting everyone, not just economically, not just through jobs, but even as much as we can. It's not always perfect. It might not always be addressing every single need, but we do what we can.

doTERRA: Absolutely. And what an incredible way to help build a community and fight for a better future than providing education and making sure that these kids get off on the right foot.

Francesca: Absolutely. Absolutely.

doTERRA: The eucalyptus tree has been treasured throughout history and remains important to many people around the world. The Indigenous Australians used and still use eucalyptus for many purposes. The wood was used to make tools and for firewood, the bark for boats and the leaves to harvest fish in a waterhole. The leaves and roots were also heavily used in traditional wellness practices.

Francesca, it has been wonderful to talk to you today, to learn a little bit more about our eucalyptus blend and where we are sourcing all those different oils from. Thank you so much for being here.

Francesca: Thank you so much for having me.

doTERRA: We know that you and your family will love the new doTERRA Eucalyptus blend. And if you want to learn more about the sourcing for this oil, check out The Pursuit, a comprehensive look at doTERRA's 2022 impact by clicking on the link in the episode description.

Thanks for joining us and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you want to try any of the products you learned about, click on the link in the episode description or find a Wellness Advocate near you to place an order today. And remember, if you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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