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India; our herbal kingdom

9th July 2014

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It would take you several lifetimes to explore India fully; with its dizzying variety of languages (of which, officially, there are 122 and unofficially there are over 700), heady collection of cultures, and vastly different landscapes: tropical forests swelter in the south, vast deserts burn in the West, whilst in the North, Himalayan snowy peaks frost the air.

From a herbal perspective, this intoxicating mix of extreme climates and environments is the ideal breeding ground for a variety of plant species to grow.

Indeed, many of Ayurveda’s most valuable herbs are only found in India; Guggul (or Indian Myrrh) grows in the extreme heat and sandy soils of the Thar desert in Rajasthan; herbs such as Kutki and Jatamansi grow at an altitude of over 3,000 metres in the Himalayas – almost three times higher than Ben Nevis.


Our most important organic herbal provider

From a Pukka perspective, the proximity of such different environments in one, remarkable country allows us – with the help of our Indian partners – to buy herbs from the landscapes in which they’ve grown; where suitable soil types, climate, organic cultivation or collection practices have come together to produce the best quality – or most ‘pukka’ – herbs possible.

For this reason, India remains our most important supplier of herbs today; we currently buy over 50 different species from this colourful country.

Our sourcing travels take us from Karnataka and Maharashtra, to Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh; and give us some of the most important and most potent herbs on the planet: ashwagandha, ginger, tulsi, turmeric, three fruits of Triphala, fieldmint, shatavari, and all the wholistic extracts in our new range of Pukka Organic Wellbeing.

So even if you’ve never experienced the majesty of India first-hand, the colour, chaos and spirituality of this remarkable country can be yours – each and every time you enjoy Pukka.

As they say in Hindi, namasté (“I bow to you”).

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Ben Heron, Sustainable Herbs Manager

My main responsibility at Pukka is to make sure the herbs we source are Pukka – in other words, that they are grown, collected and processed in ways that meet our sustainability, quality and Fair for Life standards. This means that I spend a lot of time visiting and working with our suppliers, and am often behind the camera taking photos and videos for the website. With a background in plant conservation, I am passionate about driving Pukka’s vision of ‘conservation through commerce’.