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Monday, June 29, 2015

Distilling Essential Oils with Wild Rose


When I first started learning aromatherapy, I dreamed of having my own still so that I could grow and harvest my own plants for essential oils. The most pure essential oils are steam distilled - a process which gently steams that plant material releasing the essential oil, then quickly condenses this steam giving you a generous amount of hydrosol and a very small amount of essential oil. Because of the reactive nature of essential oils, the only safe materials for constructing a still are copper, stainless steel or glass. For many years I have eyed the beautiful, 100% glass Heart Magic Distiller and I am ecstatic to say that I finally acquired one for use at Wild Rose!

Our various mint patches have been a little overwhelming this year. I needed to cut them back to prevent them from taking over, but I was reluctant to waste so much of this awesome plant (you can only dry so much for tea). This made it the perfect year to invest in a still. At Wild Rose we use a lot of Oregon-Grown Peppermint Essential Oil, and while it will be many years before we can supply our own, I thought this would be a good start.

Chocolate Mint slowly taking over the poppies.

My first distilling attempt was Apple Mint, a plant as delicious as it sounds. The sweet apple flavor of this mint cancels out any bitterness commonly found in the plant. It is incredibly refreshing as a tea and I could not wait to use it in the still.

Catnip is next!
Our Apple Mint was in full bloom and in the end I collected about 1/2oz of essential oil from about eight full distillations. Considering I have the smallest still with just a 2 Liter flask for plant material, I was pretty thrilled with the results! The Apple Mint Essential Oil is incredibly potent and much more long-lasting than other mints. It has an amazingly fresh scent that lingers on the skin for hours. I'm excited to incorporate Apple Mint and other artisan essential oils into future perfume blends for Wild Rose!

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