United Plant Savers: A Nonprofit Making a Difference for Medicinal Plants

The plant-loving United Plant Savers team establishes standards for protecting and preserving North America’s wild herbs.

| Summer 2018

Though they’ve been on the planet far longer than any human, medicinal herbs are still a tantalizing mystery to millions of people. Carefully comb modern drugstore shelves, and you’ll notice more products than ever that rely on wild plant derivatives for their natural health benefits. What you won’t see, however, are the thousands of pounds of plants required to make them.

Across the country, more than 100 varieties of wild plants are harvested for medicinal purposes — but increasing demand is putting intense pressure on natural spaces, often to the point of critically endangering the plants within them. Struggling with habitat destruction, pollution, and invasive species, native medicinal plants have never worked harder to survive, but they have friends in United Plant Savers.

For wild herbs to retain their place in the American healing tradition, better standards are needed to preserve and protect them.

About United Plant Savers

United Plant Savers (UpS) was founded to combat this crisis. As a grassroots nonprofit with origins in Vermont, the members of UpS make it their mission to work for the preservation of native North American medicinal plants throughout the United States and Canada.

UpS is comprised of plant enthusiasts who are committed to working together to protect native plants by preserving the plants’ habitats, sustainably growing and harvesting medicinal plants, and raising awareness across the country about the crises these plants face. By working to guard the biological diversity of wild plants in North America today, UpS strives to preserve them for future generations.

The Beginning of United Plant Savers

The story of United Plant Savers begins with pioneering American herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. A deep love of observing plants defined her childhood, and as an adult, Gladstar found her calling in herbalism. Renowned in the herbal community as a healer, teacher, and visionary, Gladstar founded the California School of Herbal Studies in Forestville, California, and later, Sage Mountain in eastern Vermont.

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