THE PLANTS CAN’T SPEAK, SO WE HAVE TO BE THEIR VOICE & STEWARDS.
I’ve seen recent post exposing Pinrose Scents for selling their “witch starter kit” which included a White Sage wand saying that White Sage is “threatened” it is not listed as a threatened species on the USDA list but it is on the “to watch list” on United Plant Savers list. Even if it’s “to watch” we should not endorse companies or people wildcrafting this plant.
I was recently interviewed on Idyllic Land Podcast and White Sage was one of the topics we discussed. I will post link on the bottom.
I also know I’m gonna ruffle feathers and create waves of friends and supporters of Hall Newbigan owner of Juniper Ridge but that’s Okay. They can read on to see why I’m speaking out against his company.
Hall and I had been writing each other regarding White Sage products he is selling. I questioned where he sourced from after after skirting around location he finally disclosed that he is indeed wildcrafting White Sage Salvia apiana. His website portrays his company Juniper Ridge as being “stewards” whilst wild harvesting a plant that is overly harvested for commerce and is on the “to watch” list on the United Plant Savers website. To me, there is NO SUSTAINABLE or ETHICAL way of gathering a plant that is impacted by humans that are continuing to take to make smudge wands and other products so they can make a buck. It’s actually really good medicine and a plant that is considered sacred to the First People. It’s horrible to see this plant lust is impacting this plant along with climate change. Juniper Ridge truly does not understand or comply with the LEAVE NO TRACE principals and ethics.
Hall is hella aware of the sensitivity of this topic, he has knowledge of the plants yet continues to take teams out to gather so that they can make white sage based products. I’ve seen his post on Instagram looking for folks to join their wildcrafting expeditions. An image of pristine outdoor environment portraying themselves to be connecting with the elements, yet I question how well are these folks on his payroll trained? I know any TRUE plant lover who’s aware of the circumstances would not participate because of ethics and the jeopardy of wild harvesting White Sage.
I will add that Hall threatened his lawyers on me. While I took screenshots of our messaging, he blocked me which I lost a trail of other ramble he sent me.
Hall told me that he’s using his “birth right“ to forage these plants. I am using by right of FREE SPEECH and whilst his threats may be effective to those he controls and influences, I send him a BIG MIDDLE finger. I won’t bend to HIS THREATS. Juniper Ridge is all SMOKE & MIRRORS but I see through the pile of crud. His friends have sent me messages actually public comments on my post on Instagram , upset because I was calling Hall Newbigan and his company out. This just shows how UNAWARE they are. One person said “if it’s not illegal then what’s the big deal”? Are you flipping serious? Yet these are people who call themselves activist? These are people who will rain hell down on people taking photos of themselves on Joshua Trees and sharing on social media, which isn’t illegal either however Joshua Trees are protected and due to climate change, the elements and shallow root system of the plants they can not sustain the weight of folks who are standing on, climbing, hanging hammocks on, hanging on for photo ops on their Instagram & Facebook pages. So comments from folks who are selectively protecting certain flora, fauna etc have no impact on my exposing a company of companies who are exploiting this plant. Situations like these lends the opportunity for me to share some knowledge on the ecosystem and a chance to learn the impact humans have on this plant.
I will also add that he stressed to me that fact that his company donates towards preserving wild areas. He wrote and is proud to brag about writing checks of $25,000 to outdoor organizations? Well, as much as he feels he deserves a pat on the back, a high five and being told he’s done a good thing, this still does not make it OK that Juniper Ridge is mass wild harvesting White Sage. It’s the same as giving a gift to someone then taking it back.
Many folks who gather White Sage may be clueless as to the impact they are creating when gathering for commerce. For companies like Urban Outfitters Whole Foods Market Huckberry and CB2 they may be unaware of the impact they are adding to the plants by continuing purchasing White Sage based products from Juniper Ridge. I’ve written letters and called the companies. Huckberry was the only one to respond with a lame “we will consider it”
BE AN ECO-WARRIOR and HELP by not purchasing wild harvested White Sage. When you see White Sage sold in stores inquire where is the White Sage sourced. Is it grown/cultivated or is it wildcrafted?
BE NICE, nice gets your voice heard (I’m learning) don’t come out accusing them for selling it, EDUCATE them. Many folks are unaware.
Use references like United Plant Savers, direct folks to look at the list of plants that are on the “to watch & threatened species” list.
Contact companies and urge them to be more sustainable and grow their own White Sage STOP THE WILDCRAFTING FOR COMMERCE AND EXPLOITING THE PLANT
White Sage is such a medicinal plant, seeing it SOLD for its aromatic properties is a sad waste of medicine. Hall makes a essential oil, solid perfume, shampoo and body wash with White Sage. Did you the amount of plant material for distillation is an insane amount?
Essential Oils alone are not very sustainable to the plant community. It requires about 242,000 rose petals to distill approximately 5 mL of rose oil. It requires 6,000 pounds of melissa plant (Lemon Balm) to distill just a single pound of melissa essential oil. That equals around 63 pounds of melissa per 5mL bottle.
Did you know that it doesn’t take an entire bundle to burn to get that effect of White Sage. Burning ONE leaf will give you the same effects without burning an entire bundle. If working with this plant is your thing, grow your own. Folks like Cactus Mart stock it but they sell out fast. Mojave Desert Land Trust have plant sales a few ones a year along with a sale dedicated to White Sage Plant Sales so keep posted
If you’re like me and keeping a garden is a bit tough, support companies who either grow their own or are in contract with folks who do. Oshala Farm grows their own.
If you want to learn about White Sage, join Howie Brounstein, botanist, clinical herbalist, teacher and founder of Columbines School of Botanical Studies for a lecture on White Sage Salvia apiana and the Environmental Concerns on December 1st at Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley in the Mojave Desert. Check out flier for ticket information.
If you absolutely love the smell of burning plants, there are other plants. I want to add that smudging has medicinal uses too, but many who are buying White Sage may not understand the medicinal uses and benefits. Smudging has been done long before it became cool for medicinal purposes. For clearing a room when there has been an illness, disease or death. The anti-microbial properties are an effective natural form of Lysol to kill germs. Inhalation of some smoke can open the lung environment. Rosemary a plant that is used as a culinary spice and is abundant can be made into wands, the powder could be used on charcoal and burned as incense. Make sure all your plants are organic, free of pesticides and plants that will not be impacted.
Interview with Idyllic Land Studio Podcast