If you've been able to visit us this summer, you may have noticed a little something new in our gift shop! We have expanded our "Liquid Gold" Essential Oil line to include not only Secret Garden grown Lavender, but Peppermint and Sage as well! Last summer, we added almost 1,000 peppermint and sage plants to our garden to give visitors the chance to cut their own herbs and to give us fresh and wholesome ingredients for our essential oils, teas and more. So much hard work and planning went into each of these little bottles and we are so grateful that it finally came together for us to share with you! Here we will cover all your burning questions about essential oils; what they are, how they're made, what their benefits are and more!
What is Essential Oil?
Essential oil is a concentrated extract that is derived from a plant using a combination of steam, heat and/or compression. Essential oils are often used as a form of alternative medicine, to provide aromatherapy or to naturally scent bath, hygiene or cleaning products. There are a wide variety of plants that are commonly used for their essential oils including herbs, spices and various flowers. Essential oils are extremely versatile and potent - a great combination when it comes to your beauty routine, cleaning your house and providing aromatherapy. At the Secret Garden, we use essential oil in all of our bath products - lotions, hand soaps and shower gel, as well as items like reed diffusers, room & linen sprays and much more!
How is Essential Oil Made?
At the Secret Garden, we make our lavender, sage and peppermint essential oil through a steam distillation process. Back in 2018, we purchased a copper still from Portugal. We use this to distill all of our essential oils right on the property! Here's how it works:
At the base of the still is a kettle that is filled with water (150 gallon capacity) and is heated underneath by a propane gas burner. The burner boils the water inside the kettle creating steam that travels up through the steam tray and into the middle column of the still. This middle column is hollow and holds (7) 14-gallon totes worth of fresh plant material! Thats a LOT of plant material.
Once the pot is filled, we put the "hat" of the kettle on and connect the pipe ( “swan neck”), to the smaller pot next to it, the condenser. The heat is turned on under the kettle and we’re ready to distill! The purpose of this process is to boil the water to temperature where it turns from a liquid to a gas and rises to pass through the plant material in the column. The heat and pressure inside the column cause the plants to release its essential oil which is now carried with the steam that travels up the column and into the pipe where it begins to cool down. The condenser is filled with cooler water to cool off the pipe containing the steam allowing the gas to turn back into a liquid along with the essential oil.
From there, the contents are poured into an object called a glass essencier - basically the essential oil and hydrosol separator. This is the final step in our distillation process. The essential oil and hydrosols separate passively due to the differential in specific gravity between the "water" and the essential oil. Water and oil, of course, do not mix. The final product includes the essential oil and a distilled essence water that we call hydrosol!
Can you believe it takes 45 minutes after turning on the kettle to begin seeing liquid come out of the condenser? And overall, it takes about 4-5 hours per run just to make 16 oz. of oil and 2 to 2 ½ gallons of hydrosol! WOW!
What is Hydrosol?
Hydrosol, as mentioned above, is the byproduct of making essential oil using steam distillation. After the distillation process is complete, you are left with a distilled water with lavender essence. This product is extremely versatile and can be found in many of our products, including "Glow" Hydration Mist and Bath Fizz! By itself, Lavender Hydrosol works wonders as a facial toner, a linen freshener, a hair rinse, a bug repellent and so much more! Lavender Hydrosol also has disinfecting properties and makes a great base for chemical-free cleaning supplies. How do you use your Lavender Hydrosol?
So What's the Big Deal?
Essential oil has exponentially grown in popularity over the last decade. So what's all the fuss about? Well the essential oil craze has taken the world by storm because of all the unique benefits and properties that each kind of essential oil holds. These oils can be utilized in a wide variety of ways making it easier than ever to incorporate their benefits into your daily lives. At the Secret Garden, we have experienced first-hand the help and healing that natural essential oils can provide. We have seen lavender's aromatherapy benefits help people with chronic sleep problems, anxiety and stress. We have received a multitude of messages from thankful customer who have seen huge improvements in their dry skin or other skin conditions after using our lotions, hand soaps and shower gels. We have and will continue to improve and expand our line of body products because of the many positive experiences people have shared with us over the past few years. Nothing is more encouraging than knowing your products are helping a fellow lavender lover improve their quality of life!
*The information found on this website and/or recommended by the Secret Garden is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Looking to the future
By the end of the summer, we hope to release our all new Peppermint Hydrosol, Lemon Balm Hydrosol and Sage Hydrosol! These products will hold similar uses to our Lavender Hydrosol but with a new fresh scent! At the present, we plan to continue incorporating our lavender, sage and/or peppermint essential oils into just about every product we offer at the Secret Garden. We pride ourselves on making wholesome products that not only help people but exist in harmony with the land and showcase the best that Old Mission Peninsula has to offer.
Brys Secret Garden's In-House Blogger