Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils
Rodney Mulholland, Sales&Marketing Director
Photography - HIRO
“Have you heard of the Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils?”
If you haven’t heard of Great Bear Essential Oils, it brings the forest into your home from a very sacred place right here in BC called the Great Bear Rainforest. The so called region covers 6.4 million hectares (that is about the size of Ireland! ) on BC’s North and Central Coast, representing a quarter of the world’s surviving coastal temperate rainforest. It is also home to vibrant First Nations communities as well as the black, grizzly and rare white ‘spirit’ bears that inhabit this globally-important ancient ecosystem.
Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils is a social enterprise and 100% Indigenous owned by Nuxalk Nation. After many years of research and development, the business was launched in 2019, with the focus on offering culturally appropriate value-added products from the Great Bear Rainforest that would provide long-term sustainable employment for individuals with limited opportunities in remote communities, while at the same time protecting the forests.
They manufacture steam-distilled, therapeutic grade essential oils from fresh, hand harvested conifer needles gathered in the forests. Notably the Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Shore Pine, Douglas Fir and Red Cedar, they sustainably harvest without cutting more precious trees. Instead they utilize wind blown trees and clean up tree bough that are left behind from logging operation areas. All oils have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties as well as respiratory support and immune booster. Those properties seem to be highly sought-after in today’s Covid-time but they have been used as such by the Indigenous people in the region for thousands of years.
This tradition inspired, wild crafted essential oil beautifully infuses home, work, any spaces and time of the day with the fresh, invigorating fragrances of the carefully protected area of BC. Sounds amazing? You may simply purchase it for healing aromatherapy but it will have a positive impact beyond your well being. Knowing it has a positive impact on the love of the land, conservation, community, and people who call the Great Bear Rainforest home, it will lift your spirits up even more.
VOICE (V): “What makes the Great Bear Essential Oils special from other brands beside its geographical location?”
Rod(R): “We focus on conifer oils that are very unique to the Great Bear Rainforest. Conifer trees are abundant in the forests but not many people in Canada produce oils out of them. All of our conifer oils are local and they have excellent therapeutic properties. Traditionally the First Nations just utilized the tree bough and the properties of the oils. We concentrate the properties in steam distillation process and gently extract the oils. They are very clean oils, if we ever do blends of oils, we use organic, high quality jojoba oil which is very gentle on the skin and is rich in antioxidants.
Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils is also deeply rooted in ethical responsibility and environmental sustainability. We only work with what is available in the forests and harvest within a short range of area for those specific variety of trees because they grow in abundance within this area. Money from our essential oil business goes in to support our First Nations, ensuring our diverse people, culture, and languages continue to thrive.”
V: “Can you share some of the therapeutic properties in the oils?”
R: “We have 3 new blends of oils in handy roll-on applicator that just came out. Pacific Breeze is a blend of Sitka Spruce, Shore Pine and it is very high in eucalyptus and peppermint. It is good for deep breathing and clearing nasal blockages. Rainforest Relief contains cobaiba, eucalyptus, Douglas Fir, Shore Pine and Sitka Spruce. It is a relief blend for topical use for muscle tensions and pain, very good for massaging into muscles and joints. Stormy Days is our most popular one and it is for uplifting mood. A blend of Douglas Fir, orange, rosemary, vetiver, lavender and Roman chamomile will ‘move the clouds and bring the sun in’ if you are having a stormy day! We apply stainless steel roller ball instead of plastic roller for the roll-on. Stainless steel is naturally anti-bacterial and it lasts longer.”
V: “Any other `Great Bear` original products?”
R: “We have a beautiful reclaimed cedar wood gift box. It can contain 3 of our essential oils or roll-ons. We have also launched a new pine-cone shaped diffuser to freshen up your spaces. We ship across Canada and mainly to the United States or wherever the world is calling.”
V: “What is the operation like at Great Bear Essential Oils?”
R: “We keep the operation very small. An Indigenous steam distiller makes all the oils in Bella Coola and we work with a local master blender. There are about 6 harvesters during the peak season. All productions are done in Bella Coola, then they bottle and ship from Vancouver Island. We are small but we hope to grow with the forests.”