We are planning a massive road trip in 2022, and one of the things that we'll be putting to the test is to try to develop some of our own essential oils. Several years ago there was a huge rage in the aromatherapy world because mini/portable steam distillation machines were made available and affordable via retailers such as amazon. But, we found very few aromatherapists that were successful in extracting true essential oils from plant material with their new equipment. So, we'll be on the hunt for indigenous plant materials to harvest in extremely small quantities for scientific and educational purposes, and then create further training materials for our aromatherapy and master therapist tools and microtreatments classes on how to incorporate root to seed to plant to bark to flower - natural essential oil plant harvesting and production methods. While we'll be looking around the country for indigenous materials, we recommend aromatherapist to grow and produce their own plant materials if they are going to manufacture their own essential oils.
In planning to pick natural aromatherapy plant materials from the wild, we've done some research and found that multiple sources cited Dominic Price of Wild Plant Protection Charity Plantlife, because it's usually either illegall or strongly discouraged to pick naturally growing organic materials from public or private lands. Dominic states: "it is not normally an offence to pick the 'Four Fs' – fruit, foliage, fungi or flowers – if the plants are growing wild and it is for your personal use and not for sale."
Furthermore, the USDA Forest Services states: "On National Forests, Parks or Monuments, it is illegal to pick or collect plants without a permit. National Forests issue permits for scientific and educational purposes." What's important to remember according to the USDA Forest Service is that:
- All living organisms need to reproduce. Digging up wildflowers, picking wildflowers, or collecting their seed will reduce a plant's ability to reproduce and will adversely affect its long-term survival in that location;
- Removing wildflowers from the wild can adversely affect pollinators and other animals that depend on that species for food and cover;
- Removing wildflowers from our national forests and grasslands prevents other visitors from enjoying our natural heritage; and,
- Most wildflowers when dug from their natural habitat do not survive being transplanted.
Here is Collection Permit information available on the USDA Forest Service website https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethics/permit.shtml:
Permits to collect plants or plant material can typically be obtained at a USDA Forest Service District Office. Permit types vary depending on collection needs and Forest Service personnel will identify whether a permit is required and if so what type. Permitting, if needed, is implemented for the protection of both resource and collector.
Permit types, costs, stipulations, etc. may vary by Forest and Region. The minimum charge for small (commercial and personal-use sales); including other forest products is $20 per permit (FS-2400-1). Higher minimum charges may occur, if necessary, to offset processing costs.
This permit is used to collect fees and to authorize forest product removal that is expected to have limited resource impacts. The permit is a license to a person to allow removal of forest products when such removal would be illegal without a permit.
This permit is not appropriate for:
- Product value over $300
- Time period of over 1 year.
- Special protection needs for aquatic, heritage resources, or threatened and endangered species habitat.
When supply is not limited and value is low, free use of special forest products may be granted to individuals for personal use. Individuals are prohibited from selling or exchanging material harvested or gathered under free use. For botanical collection and bioprospecting, when such use qualifies for free-use, a Forest Products Free-Use Permit is appropriate (FS-2400-8).
Forest Service units may also provide specifications such as:
- Specific locations where collection is not permitted, such as Research Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, etc.
- Permit area map.
- List of rare plant species, look-alikes, or plant parts that may not be collected.
- Seasonal restrictions.
- Important safety practices related to collection.
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