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Tōtara (Podocarpustotara) is a tree unique to the forests of New Zealand. With ancestry going back up to 100 million years, these mighty trees can grow up to thirty metres high and are known to stand for over 1,000 years.
Māori prized the tree because of the remarkable resistance of its timber to rotting. Traditionally, the Māori used the wood from the tōtara tree for canoes, building, and carving. It also had its uses in Māori traditional medicine (rongoa). Māori respected the tōtara tree as a symbol of strength, and the ancient custom was that for every tōtara tree felled, a young seedling should be planted to appease the god of the forest.
Totarol is a naturally occurring extract found at the heartwood of the tōtara tree, containing the antioxidant properties of totarol and the related diterpene compounds from the tree.
Totarol has organic certification and is produced only in New Zealand. Its antimicrobial properties make it perfect for use in skin care as a natural preservative. With a one-two punch, it also delivers a boost of free radical-fighting antioxidants to help protect the skin from surface free radicals in our environment.
Totarol is extracted from the heartwood of naturally dead standing or fallen tōtara trees from native forestry in New Zealand. Meaning there is no need to cut down or harm live trees to access this powerful multi-tasking ingredient. Because of its unique self-healing resistance to the elements, early settlers in New Zealand used tōtara wood for building houses, bridges and even fences. This provided a plentiful and sustainable source of Totarol, as only a small amount is needed in formulation to have the desired function.
Watch here as Snowberry's Dr Trav explains why the extract from the New Zealand Totara tree, totarol, is such a unique and powerful skincare ingredient.