Frequently asked questions We hope the information below is helpful – we’ve tried to include as many of the questions our customers regularly ask us as possible. • What is the difference between the flavour and aroma of Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandin? Lavandula angustifolia is the 'official' and 'true' Lavender for use as a herbal medicine or essential oil, which comes in a wide range of forms and varieties. Lavandin (pronounced lavan-deen) is a hybrid flower that was developed specifically to produce larger volumes of flowers with a high percentage of essential oil, though its quality is considered to be inferior. • What is the difference between Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia? They are simply two different species of the same genus. Echinacea angustifolia is generally considered to have higher medicinal benefits. In both cases, the highest quantities of active botanical elements are found in the root of the plant rather than the aerial parts. • Can you help me distinguish between the different types of cinnamon that you offer? There are two main types of Cinnamon. The 'true' Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum/zeylanicum, is native to southern India and Sri Lanka. This is woody in flavour and has traditionally been used in the UK and most of Europe. Meanwhile the Cassias (Cinnamomum cassia/burmanii) are mainly found in China, Indonesia and Vietnam. They are much hotter and sweeter and are more popular in the USA. • Do you supply raw Cacao powder? Yes! We also stock Cocoa powder, which is not classed as "raw" because it has been warm air dried. Cocoa and Cacao can be used interchangeably to describe products from the dried fatty seed of the Theobroma cacao plant. Historically different European countries have tended to choose a different version of the product name. Specifications are available for both our raw Cacao and Cocoa powders, please ask for more information when placing your order. • Do you supply any products that are suitable for pets? Yes we do! The vast majority of our products are food grade/suitable for internal use, although some are sold for non-food use only, such as Green Clay, which is often used to speed healing of wounds. Many of our food/internal grade products are particularly suitable for pets - and although we are a wholesaler, anyone can order from us. Our current most popular products with customers purchasing for horses, dogs and other pets are Turmeric powder, Black Peppercorns, Slippery Elm powder, and Rosehip shells. We also supply a range of blended products for use in pet food manufacture - if you have a blend or blend idea in mind, please get in touch. • Do you stock internal grade as well as external grade clays? At this time, we only stock external grade Clay. Our previous sources of internal grade Clay became unable to supply sufficient safety documentation and testing results for us to feel that we could satisfactorily continue to sell the product with confidence. We’ve investigated other possible sources and continue to do so but at this time we haven’t identified a new source that will meet our quality standards. We do still supply Green Clay for external use. • Why do you no longer manufacture tinctures at Organic Herb Trading? Following the changes to the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive in 2010, we decided that compliance with the extensive certification requirements (approvals are required per tincture, and are expensive to gain) would not be cost effective for us. So we reluctantly decided to cease manufacturing our own tinctures. The legislation has, overall, had the effect of reducing the range of manufacturers of herbal tinctures and we think this is a shame! However, we can and do still source tinctures from certified manufacturers to meet our customer’s requirements. If you are looking for a supplier of tinctures in the UK, we would recommend Rutland Biodynamics and Avicenna. • What are your product specifications based on? As a company we believe in delivering the highest possible quality herbs to our customers, and working closely with suppliers on continuous improvement. Our specifications are based on the EU Pharmacopeia (where applicable) and balance maintaining the essential properties of the herbs with product safety. We hold BRC grade A certification for food safety, covering all our dry herb products. Please contact us for copies of our specifications, and if you have a particular specification that your herb products must meet, please discuss it with us as we can in many cases source to meet your exact requirements. • Are your herbs steam sterilised? Only when completely necessary. We believe this is a key difference between us and other herb traders, who can tend to steam sterilise many of their products as a precautionary measure. Where sample testing indicates our microbiology specification for a product cannot be met, or a customer’s own specification cannot be achieved without steam sterilisation of the herbs, we arrange for herbs to be gently steam sterilised. However, we always prefer to avoid it if possible as even gentle steam sterilisation can have an effect on the essential oil content and other properties of the herbs. We work with suppliers to minimise any requirement for steam sterilisation of future harvests. • Do you sell palm oil? No, we sell a range of organic carrier and vegetable oils, from Avocado to Coconut to Wheatgerm, as well as herbal macerates, all quality assessed by our herbal consultant, the Exmoor Herbalist Jane Wallwork-Gush. However, we choose not to stock Palm oil on environmental grounds. • Essential Oils - What are the differences? Pure organic essential oil Our standard Organic Herb Trading essential oil will be produced using either expression (e.g. in the case of a citrus oil) or distillation (e.g. in the case of Lavender). Our oils are always organic and we source the best of each type from suppliers and producers all over the world. Concrete This product is prepared from materials of raw/vegetable origin like leaf, root, herb or bark. It uses hydro-carbon solvents (rather than distillation or expression) where the raw materials will be adversely affected by heat. Because of the solvent used it never produces an organic product. A concrete is more concentrated and stable than a pure essential oil, and also more viscous. On completion of extraction, a semi-solid residue of essential oils, waxes, resins and other oil-soluble) plant chemicals remains. Absolute An absolute is obtained from a concrete (above) as a 2nd phase process of solvent extraction, using pure alcohol. It can retain traces of the alcohol used and is therefore never an organic product. Resinoids Resinoids are also rarely organic. They are prepared from natural resinous materials (Frankincense, Myrrh) by extraction using either petroleum ether or hexane. • Can you tell me more about your stock tea blends? We offer a significant range of teas (Camellia sinensis) and herbal tea ingredients as well as a range of blends, which are available off-the-shelf and are perfect for kick-starting your new tea venture. The Super Eight are our best loved teas, and are available as loose leaf or in biodegradable tea bags, packed into food service friendly kraft pouches. Pouches of tea can be purchased individually or by the case. Contact us to discuss bulk teabag orders, wholesale distribution, white label projects and bespoke product development. If you have an exciting new product brief, or you would like to revamp an existing range, we provide expert advice and support to help create fantastic tea blends, through bespoke product development projects, get in touch: +44 (0)1823 401205 or firstname.lastname@example.org • What approach do you take to herbs that may be naturally high in PAs (Pyrrolizidine alkaloids)? All our products are subject to programmes of testing to ensure that our specifications are met, including testing for compounds that have been identified as potentially hazardous to health in high quantities, such as PAs. For those items within our range that may be naturally high in PAs (such as Comfrey, Coltsfoot and Borage), we advise customers that these should be for external use only. In addition, we risk assess our other products for growing or harvesting methods that may increase the likelihood of accidental inclusion of plants naturally high in PAs, and carry out appropriate due diligence testing. • What does Spp. mean when it appears next to a botanical name? Spp. is the abbreviation for Species. It means that the author is referring to all species in that given genus. Often it is also used when the author doesn't know the specific species but knows that it is in a certain genus; i.e., there are many plants in the genus Salvia, and they can all be lumped together in Salvia spp. • Why do you place restrictions on sale of marshmallow leaf? Unfortunately, we became aware that this medicinal herb was being purchased in order to manufacture illegal “high” products. We therefore now only sell quantities of 5kg or above per order to customers who are able to send us evidence that they are a practitioner. Your sales team contact will ask you for the information that we need, before being able to place your order for this item. • What packaging do you use? Our packaging is in line with Soil Association organic and BRC standards for packaging foodstuffs. Our dried goods are supplied in paper bags with either a standard LDPE liner or a blue liner which comply with applicable EU food regulations. 1kg: Polylite liner 1ply Kraft Bag 14lb/21lb: Standard blue liner 1 ply Kraft Bag 5kg: Standard blue liner 2 ply Kraft Bag 25kg: Polyair liner 3 ply Kraft Bag Our kraft paper bags are supplied by Kingfisher and have the following attributes: • Certified EN 13432 compostable • Blue Angel certified • PEFC Soil Association Woodmark Kingfisher also has BRC storage and distribution certification and ISO 9001:2008 certification. We use Polylite liners for kilo stock and Polyair liners for 25kg and over, and both have the following attributes: • 100% LDPE - recycling group 4 • Commercially recyclable depending on commercial contracts (NB. check with your local council for domestic reliability) • Our supplier has BRC certification for packaging and packaging materials Polyair is PAS2050 carbon neutral certified and is bio-based, made from GM-free sugar cane. It is not biodegradable, compostable or oxy-biodegradable (leading to dangerous microplastics), but it is fully recyclable and reusable by the customer. To meet our BRC standards we do not reuse any of our packaging. For all stock above 1kg and below 25kg we use standard blue liner. Our liquids are supplied in food grade HDPE bottles (recycling group 2, check with local authority/waste contract). We can supply some products in amber glass at additional cost and risk to the customer and we send our essential oils in aluminium.