In honour of Canada Day, Plant’s Power is zooming in on our top 10 products grown and distilled in “the great white north.” As you will discover, all of our Canadian products come from manufacturers who uphold the highest standards of sustainability, environmental stewardship, and quality control. You will learn about carrier oils, hydrosols, and essential oils that are made using strict protocols in maintaining GMO and pesticide-free crops and soil, paying fair wages to workers, partnering with government ministries, First Nations assets, and animal and vegetal species welfare, and employing circular economy tactics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. From the forest to the field and everything in-between, here are Plant Power’s top 10 Canadian plant products:
Also referred to as Crambe, the silky smooth oil is quickly gaining traction in the beauty industry. Originally from the Mediterranean, Crambe can be found growing in the U.K. as well as Canada’s East Coast. The oil contains erucic, oleic, and linoleic acids, making it absorb quickly and keep the skin supple and well-nourished. The quick absorption rates and a non-greasy feel mean that it can easily be used on the face, hands, hair (including beards, eyebrows, and eyelashes), and incorporated into at-home mani-pedi treatments or as a non-greasy make-up primer. Abyssinian oil is great for summer skincare formulas as it helps balance sebum production, reducing acne and irritation caused by excess sweat and exposure to air pollution. Abyssinian farmers make sure nothing goes to waste. The leftover seed husks feed livestock while the remaining crop is used to fertilize the soil, which is then used for a different rotational crop. We love how the natural beauty industry is helping keep farms healthy for generations to come!
Native to the Pacific North-West, sweet-smelling Meadowfoam oil is North America’s hidden gem. On the verge of gaining traction, this oil which is pressed from tiny seeds of Limanthes alba, is one of the most stable, anti-oxidative oils in natural skincare. This means that it will extend the shelf life of your products and keep the entire formula from oxidising. Truly in tune with the zero-waste movement, meadowfoam is eco-friendly on both the consumer and producer sides. Meadowfoam oil’s benefits include moisturizing, anti-aging, nourishing, and UV protective capabilities. Similar in texture to Jojoba, Meadowfoam’s richness makes it the perfect choice for salves, balms, and ointments that lock in the skin's natural moisture to help prevent dryness while adding a soft feel to the skin. Those who use it attest to gaining a “light, youthful glow.”
A delicious and nutritious oil grown in the populous Province of Ontario, Hemp seed carrier oil is quickly becoming a staple in both the health food and natural body care industries. Hemp seed oil has been produced in Canada since the mid-90’s, is GMO-free, naturally organically grown without any sprays or pesticides, and improves the quality of surrounding soil and crops.
Moreover, hemp is jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids, and has a particularly well-balanced Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid content. It’s mellow green hue and subtle aroma make soaps and hair products stand out from the crowd. Some of the benefits of topical use of hemp seed oil include: improved hair growth and shine, increased skin moisture content, reduced pain and soreness, improved circulation, reduced inflammation, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, and improved vitamin and mineral absorption into the cells. The same oil can be used in your salads, dips, marinades, and pasta dishes for even more benefits from the inside and out.
As colourful leaves and cool winds settle upon the Northern Hemisphere, cranberry harvesters get busy collecting the ripe red berries by the ton. Organically grown and sustainably harvested cranberry seeds are not only a staple in Thanksgiving dinners, they are now becoming a vital part of a balanced anti-aging beauty routine. This fruity smelling amber oil contains a high concentration of polyphenols, anthocyanins, tocopherols, tocotrienols and proanthocyanidins. What this means is that it has protective agents against UV-mediated skin damage, skin repair mechanisms, inflammation soothing properties, and naturally derived components that are perfect replacements for synthetic vitamin E used in many common skincare regimes. With it’s anti-oxidizing benefits, Cranberry seed oil is easily incorporated into eye-care and skin-firming formulations and used as a stabilizing agent for other oils. Cranberry seed oil is the answer to maintaining year-round healthy, supple skin. We sure are grateful to have discovered it!
Sweet grass is a culturally significant plant for the First Nations people. Sourced from Alberta, the watery by-product of the distillation process, Sweet grass hydrosol can be used in many finished products. It’s astringent properties make it a great facial toner. Spray it on directly on the skin or add as an uplifting ingredient in a face cream or balm. Just like the fresh braids of the herb, the sweet smelling hydrosol may also be used for space and spiritual cleansing.
#5 Labrador Tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum) Essential Oil
Also known as Greenland moss, this pale yellow, herbaceous smelling essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of a shrub that is ubiquitous from coast to coast. Growing in peaty soil, Labrador tea leaves were commonly infused in a calming beverage by Inuit, First Nations, and early European explorers. Research shows that the essential oil is antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. It harmonizes balance, lowers stress, and brings on feelings of calm and serenity to anyone using it. Labrador tea oil would make a perfect addition to your next evening diffuser blend, soothing cream, or as a refreshing “Canadian forest” flavouring in aromatic dishes and beverages.
Clean and fresh smelling, Fir balsam essential oil comes from the Province of Quebec, where the Paix des Braves was formed in the early millenium in order to change policies and practices towards sustainable forest management in agreement with the First Nations. Made using steam distillation of the needles, fir balsam oil is an excellent sedative for tension and anxiety while also fighting odours and relieving muscular aches and pains. The uplifting coniferous oil is antiseptic, anti-parasitic, deodorant, expectorant, and tonic. It’s multitude of uses include: natural deodorants, home and office cleaning products, mouth washes, muscle ache balms, and cold and flu relieving blends.
Catnip is a perennial, herbaceous plant blooming late spring to autumn. Resembling typical members of the mint family, the name catnip originates from the plant’s well-known ability to stimulate felines. The essential oil is steam distilled to make a yellow to light brown liquid. With a rich, herbaceous scent, catnip oil makes a great addition to blends that soothe the nervous system, alleviate migraine headaches and ease cramps. The most common use however, is in insect repelling products. In a study done by the American Chemical Society, the active ingredient in catnip essential oil, nepetalactone was found to be more effective than DEET. Dilute catnip with carrier oils such as neem (which also has insect-repelling properties), and sunflower, and apply onto the skin. Lavender, peppermint, and cedar combine well with it, adding in additional notes and their own insect-repelling properties.
Reminiscent of the familiar scent of a lumber-yard, white cedar essential oi is a very pleasant, balsamic, woody, yellow to green oil with a myriad of health benefits. It can be used as part of insect repellants, wart removal solutions, skin toning formulas, cough drops, anti-rheumatic ointments, and creams for improving blood and lymph circulation. It should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Our number one product comes from none other than the majestic Black Spruce. Of the forty varieties of spruce, Black spruce trees are the most resistant to very cold climates, growing as far North as the low Arctic tundra. Various parts of these coniferous evergreens have been used for centuries by First Nations people. Woodland Cree made balms for treating burns and infusions to treat diarrhea. They chewed on cones to relieve toothache while the resin was used as a natural tooth whitener. The Montagnais First Nations prepared infusions from the needles, cones, and molasses to treat sore throats, cure coughs, and protect against scurvy. It is through the scurvy epidemic that settlers learned about the plant. In 1772, Dr. Henry Taylor founded the first distillery in Quebec City, extracting essential oil from spruce to be used in respiratory disease treatment for his patients.
Today, black spruce essential oil can be found in treatments for respiratory ailments such as cough and cold medicines and natural asthma and bronchitis inhalation blends. It’s toning properties aid the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems while also relaxing the nerves and regulating serotonin (the happiness chemical). Black spruce essential oil is antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and anti-inflammatory, meaning that it is a strong aid in preventing and treating all sorts of ailments. Topically it can be used in blends that reduce chronic pain including rheumatism, and fibromyalgia. It can be added to moisturizing creams for dry, sensitive skin, reducing acne and eczema, and inducing feelings of restfulness and stress release. Whether you use it in a diffuser during cold season, as a cleansing and healing scent, or as part of a natural skincare regimen ingredient, this truly Canadian oil is a must-have for anyone looking to boost their well-being.
Now it is your turn to help us spread the word. We invite you to share what you’ve learned about Canadian oils and hydrosols and to try out some of these products in your next formulations. Click on the link of each oil to order online or contact us here to find out more about how these and other natural plant products can benefit you and your business. And of course, have a happy Canada Day!