Audit: Boswellia serrata Harvesting & Collection for Supplements is Sustainable

Morristown, NJ—PLT Health Solutions has partnered with Botanical Liaisons, LLC to undertake a sustainability audit of Indian Boswellia serrata gum resin harvesting and collection practices related to its use in supplements, according to a press release.

The audit is in line with the company’s PLT360 initiative, according to Seth Flowerman, President and CEO of PLT. “PLT360 is a business-wide commitment by PLT Health Solutions to developing transparent ingredient solutions that our customers can confidently stand behind—knowing that these ingredients are safe, of high quality, efficacious and harvested and manufactured in a sustainable and ethical way,” he said in the press release. “Going beyond traditional quality control programs, PLT360 examines every aspect of an ingredient that we supply to deliver a best-in-class solution in a program that tracks Ingredient Integrity, Quality, Sustainability and Efficacy.”

The audit considered a range of environmental, cultural, and economic parameters, and was conducted via in-country interviews of field workers, resin consolidators, ingredient manufacturers, and government officials.

The conclusion: “It is clear from the information collected from the stakeholders that [sustainability] is supported. Boswellia serrata has several sustainability advantages that prevents over-harvesting of PLT-sourced Boswellia compared to other sources and species of Boswellia.”

Trish Flaster, Executive Director of Botanical Liaisons and leader of the review team, explained that there seems to be confusion regarding the potential for overharvesting due to the multiple species of Boswellia. “Much of the reviewed literature focuses on other Boswellia species, from Africa and the Middle East, which are related to essential oil and fragrance supply, rather than the Indian sourced species with beneficial health benefits typically used for dietary supplement or foods,” she said. She added that there are several factors that promote sustainability of the Boswellia serrata species in India: “These advantages include the economic incentives, inheritance system for trees and sense of ownership, the long lifespan of trees, the tremendous environmental care taken by the collectors, the natural habitat in Madhya Pradesh that is largely undeveloped and native, as well as the minimum pricing restrictions, inventories, and training programs supported by industry and government.”

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The Indian government’s Forestry Service keeps tabs on Boswellia. It regularly conducts field inventories to measure plant populations, trains field associates, sets prices, and, the press release says, the Service has concluded that there is an abundance of Boswellia forests distributed across 16 states in India, and that there is no perceived threat to the Boswellia population.

“My family and PLT have been working with partners collecting Boswellia serrata for nearly 40 years,” shared Flowerman. “Every year, we are finding new and exciting health promoting uses for Boswellia serrata that have the ability to help people live happier, healthier lives, and today, extracts of Boswellia serrata form the basis of some of the leading products at PLT. We have a responsibility to be good stewards of these resources and to support the communities whose livelihoods depend on it.”