What Makes Small Batch, Fresh Plant Herbal Medicine Different?

What Makes Small Batch, Fresh Plant Herbal Medicine Different?

What makes small batch, fresh plant herbal medicine different from mass-produced alternatives?

So much!



The first thing that pops to mind is that with fresh plants extracts, we're able to bottle the vibrancy and vibration of those plant allies. I don't know if you've dug into frequency medicine at all, but it's pretty incredible. Everything has a vibration and those vibrations have specific effects on everything else. Take for instance the vibration of bees buzzing around their hive.. the frequency is incredibly calming to the nervous system. Many people which chronic stress or who are in fight or flight response find that laying beneath a bee hive flips them to a calm, rest and digest state quickly and deeply. The Rife machine, radionics, homeopathy and flower essences all utilize various forms of frequency medicine. As we infuse live, vibrant plants into our formulas, we're able to capture those vibrations as well which we can then pass on to you! We also craft separate flower essences they we add the majority of our tinctures, body oils, serums and salves. 

Fresh plants are vibrant in colour and medicine. When plants are dried, they often loose some of the specific compounds that make them so medicinal! And while dry plants can still be wonderful and potent when dried properly, they are missing out on some of their goodness, so to say. 

Fresh plant tinctures (although often disregarded due to the lack of moisture measurability and consistency in plant weight), taste so much better than dry plant tinctures! There's something alive about these extracts that are so much better in my opinion. This type of tincture making is considered a folk-herbalist approach, and while I build my clinical career, I feel I'll always hold onto this style of medicine making. 

At Bloem, we use dry plants in most of our oil infusions as water increases the chance of spoilage. But we take care not to over-dry them. Rather, we allow them to dry just enough so they are not crispy, but rather pliable and still vibrant with colour and fragrance. Each herb prefers its own way of drying as well; some can handle being bunched and hung to dry while others need a tender hand and laid  out on screens while others require the addition of a dehydrator or they're turn brown quickly.




Working in small batches allows us to look at each and every leaf, flower and root going into our formulas. With an armful of lemon balm, it's easy to spot a brown leaf, a wilted flower or a withered root. Each part of this process is done by hand and meticulously so. In large scale operations, there is no way someone can go through that volume of plant material and pick out each and every spotted leaf. Not to mention, by the time the large scale operations are making their product, their plant material is dry and finely chopped so any brown leaf or past-due flower is well dispersed in the sea of herb.  



Large tincture and cosmetic manufacturers rarely grow their own herbs. They've got enough on their plates with formulation, straining, bottling, labelling and marketing!! Believe me, I know! 

The vast majority purchase their dried herb material direct from a farmer or through a distributor. Depending on what standards they have and what their values are, they'll go with some producers over others. If they're particular, they may even go to the farms and inspect their processes, quality controls and how well they treat their employees. 

There are also many distributers overseas that source their herbs from local pickers or growers in their region; paying them by herb weight and quality. These operations then sort, bag and export these dry herbs in bulk around the world. 

I recently read The Business of Botanicals by Ann Armbrecht, which was a fascinating look into large scale growing and exporting medicinal herb operations and how vastly different they can be. Some companies purchase large amounts of loose leaf herbs for re-sale or as tea and have wonderfully high standards, visiting their farmers regularly, both across the world and locally. Some have given back in huge ways to the more remote or third world communities growing their herbs; providing medical care, clean water and education. While other companies keep exporters' pockets deeply lined without so much as a care to the herb quality (which are sometimes mis-labelled) or the welfare of the pickers/employees. 

There are also several large companies who neither grow their own herbs OR craft their own formulations. Rather, they create the formula recipe and outsource the production to a large facility, relying on that company to source the herbs and make the products to their standards. 

Growing the majority of our own herbs has meant that we can pick the most vibrant plants and know they're harvested at their prime. Often, we pick according the bio-dynamic calendar as well, following the moon and planetary cycles for extra potency. We also forage locally and focus on harvesting those plants that grow in abundance in the Beaver Valley and avoid harvesting any at-risk native species. We have a small herb garden, which means we don't go a huge amount of any one plant and often don't grow in rows, but rather build out wild gardens of native species that can spread as they like into surrounding fields and forests. It makes harvesting more difficult for sure, but with small batches made, this isn't a large problem. 



While small batch means our supply may run out, you can be sure that each batch is freshly made. We craft each of our products once per year when those herbs are at their best and most vibrant. When that batch sells out, it's gone until the next batch is crafted the following year. While this may be frustrating for you, the consumer, it's also a guarantee that what you're getting was made recently, not left sitting in a warehouse or on a dusty shelf for years before getting into your hands. 

We compost all unused herbs each spring. When our herbs loose their vibrancy and aroma, they go to our chickens or directly in the compost pile to fertilize the next years's growth.  

When making large batches, companies need to be sure they don't spoil. This means many creams, lotions and serums contain synthetic preservatives. If they don't have a best before date, they absolutely contain preservatives!

Leaves and flowers should be used within one year of harvest while roots can last two years. Although this isn't a strict rule and sometimes when well sealed their potency can last longer, these standards are generally understood in the industry, whether they're adhered to or not.

I've purchased teas that were so 'dusty' and lacked all vibrancy that I composted them instead. I've also purchased salves that had the funk of expired oils although often this marker of spoilage is masked with the addition of essential oils. Alternatively, I've been pleasantly surprised when after some time a lip-balm in my purse  suddenly smelled of spoilage! It lets me know the company isn't using huge amounts of EO's or using synthetic preservatives. 


In the end, we feel that using fresh plants has provided our small batch products with the vibrancy and energy that we hoped for. And while it may not be industry standard practice, it holds to the standard of potency, efficacy and frequency we hold dear.  


To check out our latest products, go to our collection of recent additions and updates, and be sure to sign up to our newsletter for 15% off your next order. 



Previous Article Next Article