Our products are comprised of several different herbal preparations. These are made by using time-honored methods of extracting the compounds found in plants into a form that is suitable for humans. We want to explain a little bit about four of these preparations and show what goes into our beloved products. The pictures below are clockwise starting from the top left.
1) Herbal Infused Oils
Herbal infused oils are made by mixing dried herbs with a carrier oil like olive oil. There are a number of ways to get the plant’s constituents to transfer from the plant into the oil, but perhaps the most effective is through using the right amount of heat. Heat breaks down the plant material and its cell walls, as well as moves around and rearranges the carrier oil’s molecules. When done correctly, this process enables the oil to become saturated with the plant’s properties.
2) Essential Oil
Essential oils have become increasingly popular over the past several years. They are a strong herbal tool and a great addition to the toolkit when used right. A true essential oil is a plant extract made from either a steam or water distillation (except for citrus oils which are made using a cold-press method). They are concentrated and therefore contain a very high amount of the compounds in the plant. Because of this high concentration, it is important that the correct essential oils are used and that the formulas contain the proper ratio of essential oil to other ingredients.
Hydrosols are created using the same distillation process that produces essential oils. They have lovely, not overpowering, aromas and can be thought of as distilled floral waters (but not to be confused with commercial products marketed as ‘floral waters.’ These are not true hydrosols and sometimes are only tap water mixed with essential oils). Hydrosols are water-based. They contain the same plant properties found in essential oils but in a much less concentrated form. This makes them safe and versatile; they are great additions to nearly all of our creams. One well known herbalist refers to hydrosols as “the quiet revolution in plant medicine.”
Tinctures are a method of preparing herbs by using a solvent that is not solely water. An alcohol and water mixture (the ratio of the mixture varies from plant to plant) is the best solvent. This is because it extracts a wide range of the plant’s properties and more of the spectrum than many other methods. Tinctures are typically taken orally and are quite concentrated. Alcohol based tinctures are very shelf stable and will last for several years. Tinctures are made from the plant’s leaves, roots, or aerial parts, depending on the herb.