We love essential oils! We’ve used them to repel pests in the garden and in our home. We use them to make mosquito repellants, soap and lotions. We use them on cuts and scrapes and even as perfume. We are ready to take our understanding and use of essential oils to a different level.
Inspired by Farmer-to-Farmer trainer Clare Licher, an Arizona wild-crafter and distiller, we are collecting information on local aromatic and medicinal plants. Our dream is complement the knowledge of local herbalists with information from scientific testing of the essential oils. Each chemical component of the oil affects the human body in a particular way. Knowing what chemical components make up each oil can only help us all to use the plants in a more effective way for our health.
So far, we have distilled over 70 oils (some from the same plant – for example, we do nutmeg wood, leaf, fruit and seed). We do a complete distillation of each plant, meaning that we distill until the last drop of oil comes out, capturing all of the different components come out at different stages of the distillation. We want the full medicine of the plant!
This is a journey, definitely. We have so much to learn. Small-scale artisan distillers are our new heroes! Any information having to do medical aromatherapy, the spiritual aspect of essential oils and essential oil research or history is promptly devoured by our household.
Other Jamaicans feel the same way. When Clare came for her two week Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer trip, over 100 people from around the island came to learn everything they could about essential oils. Farmers see the possibility of a new income stream from plant material that is currently going unused on their farms. Many people want to know what essential oils can do for their health. Beekeepers know that essential oils can enrich the value added products that they make with their beeswax and other products from the hive.
Stay in touch with us as we (happily and steadily) go down the road of learning about and using essential oils made from the plants around us. The biggest help as we learn has been the Partners of the Americas-administered, USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program. Thank you so much for recruiting and sending the very best volunteer teacher we could have hoped to get: Clare Licher from PhiBee Aromatics in Arizona. Please visit her website to learn more about their essential oils distilled from wildcrafted and cultivated plants in Arizona.