Nepali Times
Making A Difference
The herbal way of life



When Carroll Dunham visited Humla 25 years ago as an anthropologist, she was fascinated by the healing techniques that local women practiced.

She was inspired to establish Wild Earth Nepal in 1999 with the aim of helping communities in the Himalayan region generate sustainable income.

Today Wild Earth Nepal produces a wide range of handcrafted herbal goods such as soaps, massage oils, pillows, smudge sticks, and aromatic amulets. The products are sold to customers in over 30 countries including Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Trump Hotels and The Body Shop.

Nepal is knwon for traditional Ayurvedic medicines, after all, this was where Hanuman came to look for a potion that would cure the wounded in Ram's army when he invaded Lanka. But Nepal also has good brand value in the west for its Himalayan products.

Wild Earth organisation also makes use of traditional therapies and offers unique spa treatments to its customers.
"We don't need to borrow foreign massage techniques as Nepal is very rich in ancient touch therapies," says Dunham.

Until recently most of Wild Earth's clients were foreigners, however urban Nepalis are slowly warming up to the products.

Wild Earth stays true to its mission by working with remote and economically fragile mountain communities while purchasing herbs directly from the source, by passing middlemen, so farmers receive maximum income for their raw materials. In addition to helping villagers earn sustainable incomes, Wild Earth teaches them better and safer processing techniques. The company also has a strict policy against using rare, endangered or improperly harvested plant products.

Wild Earth considers preserving local knowledge as its secondary mission, as many healing practices and medicines have been passed down for generations through folksongs and folklores. "We have interactions with amchis (traditional healers) where we discuss methods to standardise traditional practices and share skills based knowledge. We also want to create recipe books for herbal medicines so that the knowledge is not lost," says Dunham.

In its effort to be socially responsible, Wild Earth regularly provides massages at the Bal Mandir and the old age home in Pashupati and has been donating to charitable causes.

Dunham is content with the work her organisation has accomplished so far and attributes its success to the commitment of the people involved.

She is hopeful that the future will bring new opportunities and says, "Wild Earth Nepal has only been a mediator in introducing Nepal's rich indigenous healing techniques and herbs to rest of the world. But the country's abundant natural resources are yet to be fully explored."

1. Gauri Nath Rimal
Congratulations Caroll  Dunham for taking up remote and neglected region like Humla for your pioneering work. There are more agricultural products that can be introduced to those region which are marginalized ,food deficient  and have scarcity of seeds .

2. Sigmund Stengel
I wish folks would stop wasting valuable time and resources on worthless and unproven products.  Herbs are full of unknown and untested chemicals that can be potentially dangerous.  

3. Sallie
Sweeping generalizations such as Stengel's aren't very helpful. Why don't you try some of their soaps - which are a pleasure to use, by the way - or other of their products before you make such comments. Wild Earth is not selling medicines or vitamins, just soaps, essential oils and other similar products to cleanse the skin, add some nice fragrance to the personal environment, etc. More importantly, the business empowers women and supports marginalized Nepalis in remote areas. Stengal, what are YOU doing to help?

4. Maya Lama
Good luck in the New Year to Wild Earth Nepal and all your kind projects.
I hope the article and your work attracts more people to use and promote the wonderful local products, and, if they own land, to include medicinal herbs and trees.

5. Dr Kaushal Tiwari
Great job. Congratulation to you and your team for promoting Nepal and its product to the world. Natural treatment has always been and remains a way out to several chronic diseases. Our ancistors have used it and proved it to be benificial without having major side effects even before modern medicine has developed. One who can recognize and promote this treasure is the wise one. And I am sure you and your team is one of them... Wish you and your team every success in this difficult but nobel endeavor. 

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)