What is Botanical Latex?

Some time ago a customer asked me if we used botanical latex in our organic mattresses…

and our all natural latex mattresses which really threw me for a loop. So I searched Google for the words “Botanical Latex” and sure enough I confirmed my belief. Someone had convinced this unsuspecting customer that 100 percent all natural latex was something different from 100% botanical latex. This question was posed to me in many different ways and most recently yesterday in a price comparison so we have decided to blog the answer. I believe the term botanical latex muddies the waters and creates misleading information. Today we set the record straight:

·    No windy sales pitch about latex rubber
·    No which is best Talalay or Dunlop question
·    No is it 100 percent natural
·    No talking about how it is made

Instead we are going to answer a simple question, what is Botanical Latex?

Truth is savvy researchers, I only wish the answer were simple. I will start by defining the word “botany” the study of all types of plants in general and is the word from which botanical is derived.  Botany is sometimes confused with Dendrology, which is the study of only wooded plants. Dendrology may be considered a subcategory of botany, which specializes in wooded plants. So for today’s blog and for argument sake we will be assuming that a rubber tree is botanical. The milky sap is derived from a “rubber tree” or “botanical tree” and is turned into the latex rubber we buy in the form of mattresses,  toppers, and pillows etc.Botanical Latex Dunlop Process Sample

To make these products the industry uses a couple different manufacturing methods to convert the sap into a solid form like a mattress. One of these methods for producing latex rubber is the Talalay processing technique. The other is processed in the Dunlop method of production a.k.a. the original method of producing latex rubber.   Manufacturers call these finished products by many different names, which isn’t important. These many different types of finished products are often defined the following way; All natural rubber, latex rubber, 100 % all natural, synthetic latex or blended latex. The fact is it doesn’t matter what kind it is, if it contains any amount of the  milky white tree sap even a drop then it can arguably be called “botanical latex”. Botanical Latex Talalay Process

Can consumers protect themselves from an industry with no descriptive standards for latex?

Its easy, consumers will want to know how much of the botanical latex rubber is contained in the product they are about to buy. The more botanical natural rubber the higher the cost will be of the end product, the less rubber the more economical the cost will be to the consumer.
How do consumers know how much rubber is in a mattress

• Weight can be one indicator For rubber is heavy
• Ask for a specification breakdown of the bed telling what each layer is made of thickness etc.
• Cost of a good finished 6” all rubber mattress or thicker cannot be purchased for $500 or even a $1000.00. Shop competing models with equivalent specifications. If what you are looking at is significantly cheaper they had to cut cost somewhere. Get the scoop from their competitors; they are often glad to share the reasoning for price differences.
• Do your homework and don’t just listen to a sales pitch. Mattress Forums, mattress manufacturers, and former customer’s reviews can be good sources for information.
• If the bed containing botanical latex is using organic materials like certified organic wool and cotton you can expect cost to be more.


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

3 Comments Leave your comment »

Is a certification label required to be attached to the mattress ?

Comment by David Pena — January 17, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

Is it required that a certification label be attached to the mattress ?

Comment by David Pena — January 17, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

David, No not to my knowledge reason being at this time there is no industry standards for terms like “natural” “organic” or “certified organic” like there is in the food industry. Currently you really have to do your homework. Our suggestion look for independent reputable 3rd party certifications that verify manufacturer’s claims.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — January 19, 2014 @ 11:06 am

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