Harvesting the Power of Natural Creosote

Here at Alo Goods, we are passionate about using natural ingredients that will nourish your body, your mind, and your spirit. Here’s the low down on our latest adventure with natural ingredients… Creosote: the smell of Tucson’s desert rain!

Creosote Chaparral Plant

The Creosote Bush has a very strong odor which is especially noticeable when it is wet; this creates the signature smell of the desert rain which Tucson residents know all too well.  The bush has antimicrobial properties, which is one reason we have created the Creosote Salve which can be used topically on the skin for cuts and burns.  Creosote was used by indigenous people for medicinal reasons in many ways; Google it to find out more about its historic uses, or read on for some brief history (and tips about wildcrafting).

The Creosote Bush, sometimes called greasewood or chaparral, is found in many of Arizona’s counties. It grows at elevations below 5,000 feet and occupies thousands of square miles in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. It is also present in the Mohave and Chihuahuan deserts, as well as the Verde Valley.

This bush blooms in the Spring but can have flowers at many times of the year. The flowers have 5 petals and are yellow and once the flowers are pollinated, they twist 90 degrees! The leaves are small and coated with natural oils and wax to conserve water. If there is a dry period, the leaves will fold in half to cut their exposure to the sun.  This bush can also change its shape depending on what it needs. It can form into a cone shape allowing the rain to run down the stems into the soil, or it can form an upside-down bowl shape that allows other organic material to gather under its branches, which allows other plants and animals to live underneath.

How did we acquire Creosote for our products? Wild Crafting of course!

Wildcrafting Creosote Bush

After our move to Arizona, we were itching to use what is available in our new surroundings. Wild Crafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural or native habitat for use. We always practice ethical wildcrafting for our products, of course.

Wild plants are hardy and resilient; their energy is increased by their natural surroundings, which makes them more sought after in some cases, and the smell or flavor of wild plants can be stronger in the finished product. Organic plants are different from wild plants; they are usually grown in ideal conditions, with plenty of water, and minimal stress with protection from disease or infestation.

Ethical harvesting of local plants is essential:

  • Make sure the plant is not endangered
  • Look for vibrant, healthy plants
  • Learn how it reproduces
  • See if there is a way to propagate the roots to keep the plant alive
  • Learn how to spread the seeds so they germinate well in the wild
  • Make sure the ecosystem is healthy at the time of harvest
  • Assure you can positively impact this plant and the ecosystem

When wildcrafting, stay away from roadsides, railroad tracks, golf courses, and any other areas that may contain or have been sprayed with chemicals.

Be sure to harvest with consideration for other people or animals that use the area. Harvesting isn’t just about seeing the plant and taking what you want, it is about taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, and then acting with respect. Sometimes it means moving on to a different area.  For example, take one plant for every 10 you see, and sometimes you can simply prune a plant that is overgrown. Be sure to know the individual plant you are harvesting and the ecosystem it lives in very well.

One resource you can use is the United Plant Savers website, where you can see ratings on plant populations.

You are going to love our new Creosote Products!

We are so excited to introduce our limited-edition Desert Rain Creosote Soap and Salve. We have tested the bars and they do indeed make us dance with aroma joy as we wash our hands while the salve not only smells amazing, it will help nourish those “I live in Tucson” hands.

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