Where To Buy Bulk Spices And Herbs – A Comparison of Bulk Herb Suppliers

Bulk HerbsI have studied herbal medicine for almost 20 years. In the beginning, I purchased small quantities of herbs at the local health food store. That is great if you just want a teaspoon of something; but not so cost effective if you want a pound. After further learning and wanting to use more herbal preparations for our family, I started buying our herbs in bulk through the mail.

An online search proves there are a lot of herb suppliers out there. How is one to know which are the best? I did a comparison of four companies to help you decide for yourself. For this project I chose:

I chose these four for their popularity and their location. Two are on the west coast and two are on the east coast.

The Order

To compare these companies fairly, I made up an imaginary order before looking at any of their catalogs. This order would be typical for me. In fact, it includes two things I currently need plus what I would order if I were to make a batch of healing salve. I then shopped each one’s online store and proceeded to checkout to get a total cost, including shipping. I did each one three times—one with an east coast delivery zip code, one with a west coast zip, and one in between. When available, I chose organic or wildcrafted herbs. Here is my order:

  • 2 pounds of nettle leaf
  • 1 pound of green tea
  • ½ pound plantain leaf
  • ½ pound calendula flower
  • ½ pound comfrey leaf
  • ½ pound of beeswax

The Results

My findings were not what I expected. But I will discuss each company individually so you can see for yourself.

The Bulk Herb Store–was out of nettles. I’m sure that happens from time to time with any company but they offer to email a customer when a product is available, so that is nice. If nettles were available, the sub-total for my order would be $86.75. To make things easier, the Bulk Herb store has a flat rate for shipping to the 48 contiguous United States of $6.50. That brought my total to $93.25. Many of the herbs in the catalog were labeled as organic. Also, the store offers herbal formulas, tinctures, water purifiers, books, and other educational materials, as well as supplies for making your own home remedies. Their site is easy to use and includes educational articles and tidbits of information on every page. A print catalog is also available.

Mountain Rose Herbs–The only thing I had to alter on my order with Mountain Rose was the amount of beeswax. They only sell it in one-pound increments. The sub-total for my order (including the extra ½ pound of wax) was $63. To have it shipped to my home on the east coast would cost me an extra $18.02 for a total of $81.02. This surprised me. After paying three times the amount for shipping, the prices were so much lower than the Bulk Herb Store that my total was still $12.23 less. The shipping for a west coast zip was $12.35 and for a central location, $14.51. I have ordered herbs from Mountain Rose for many years and have always been happy with the quality of the products. Their catalog, which is also available in print, lists whether the product is organic, wildcrafted, and fair trade certified. They not only offer bulk herbs but herbal extracts, formulas, teas, accessories and supplies. They are also one of the few suppliers that sell containers like dropper bottles and tins. Mountain Rose’s site is easy to navigate and even sports a floating cart that is always in view so that you can keep track of how much you are spending.

Blessed Herbs–I could not submit an order with Blessed Herbs. They did not carry 3 of the 5 herbs I wanted. This disappointed me as I thought they were all pretty common. The green tea came only in a box of 16 teabags for $12.50. Also, the one pound of beeswax cost $29.50. I found Blessed Herbs’ website difficult to use. Rather than listing all of the bulk herbs on one page, they were listed 12 to a page and you had to flip back and forth to find what you wanted. Also, most of the herbs were sold in one-pound increments. Blessed Herbs does not sell any accessories for those of us that like to make our own herbal preparations or any books or educational materials. I could not find a paper catalog available for order on the site.

San Francisco Herb Company–A friend recommended this company for their prices. However, I could not complete my order with them, either. The comfrey was out of stock, and they do not carry plantain or beeswax. In fact, they carry few supplies for the home apothecary. I did find their prices very reasonable but they do not mention anywhere in the listings if the herbs are organic or wildcrafted. A thorough search of the site found this statement in the frequently asked questions, “We are not certified as a warehouse to offer organic products.  However, much of what we offer is grown in the wild (wildcrafted) or cultivated without the use of commercial pesticides and fertilizers.” To obtain a print catalog from San Francisco herbs you must download a PDF file and print it for yourself.

I hope you find this information helpful. I know I did, as I had not yet taken the time to compare herb suppliers for myself. If you have any other companies you’d like me to take a peek at, please let me know in the comments.

Photo by Chrissy Olson


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