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!