Ethical Wildcrafting

Harvesting and Caring for Wild Plants

In the process of producing superior quality herbal extracts, Draco Natural Products is careful to use raw plant material from the very best sources. For certain species, especially those with high demand and limited natural supply, the material is cultivated. But we pride ourselves in offering products from a wide variety plants that are abundant in nature, making cultivation unnecessary; or that resist effective cultivation. For these plants, we practice ethical wildcrafting.

Wildcrafting is the gathering of plant material from its native “wild environment”. Whenever possible, Draco Natural Products prefers to use wildcrafted plant material over cultivated. More than 70% of our products are manufactured from wildcrafted plant material. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbs that have been wildcrafted are revered for their superior healing properties. It is believed that wildcrafted plants are more strongly imbued with the power of nature and can be more effective agents for promoting health. Science confirms this belief for many plant species. Put simply, when a plant has to contend with the vagaries of living in the wild, the effort expended for survival is greater than for those plants pampered in cultivation. When a plant has to strive to survive, it adapts, producing a greater abundance of chemical constituents that enable such survival. These chemicals are often the same ones that also enable humans to thrive better as well.

Draco Natural Products follows strict but simple guidelines for ethical wildcrafting to ensure that products made from wildcrafted plant material are clean, pure, and environmentally sound. We feel strongly that, in providing our customers with the highest quality extract, it is our duty to honor the natural processes that produce great raw plant materials, and respect the environment from which they spring.

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Wild St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

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Draco’s Wildcrafting Guidelines

  • Before gathering any plant material, we look for areas that are isolated and pristine, staying away from areas that may be affected by pollution.
  • We look for healthy plants that are free from disease or infestation.
  • We strive for zero waste, taking only as many plants as needed for production.
  • We are careful to leave behind enough mature seed-producing plants to reproduce. If possible, the spot from which the plant is removed is reseeded.
  • We always respect natural ecosystems, giving consideration to insects and other animals that depend on the plants, and also help with pollination and seed distribution.
  • We are always sensitive to surrounding plants, ensuring that endangered plants are not taken, and that all of the harvest is the proper species.
  • We are careful to minimize impact on the land, treading lightly off-road, cleaning up the area, and filling in holes as needed.
  • We always consider the optimal timing of harvest for each herb, gathering it when its active constituents are at their peak.
  • Special care is taken with cleaning and packaging the plant material for transit from the field, to ensure the highest level of quality for extraction.
  • We consider our long term relationship with the land to be stewardship We actively monitor our wildcrafting stands over multiple years to ensure sustainability.
  • Most importantly, we regard wildcrafting as a spiritual activity: We conduct ourselves consciously for the health of this living planet that we are all a part of.