If you’re looking to take your homegrown pharmacy to the next level, essential oil making opens a whole new, exciting gardening doorway. Like all new adventures, trial and error is what learning is all about, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Life is a Garden, with help from industry experts at Amorentia Estate & Nursery have provided an epic beginners guide to essential oil gardening for the whole family to benefit from.
Get started: Choose a carrier oil
“When using essential oils, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil such as jojoba, rosehip, baobab, marula, almond, or coconut oil before applying to the skin. It is also recommended to do a patch test on a small area of skin before using a new essential oil to check for any allergic reactions. Essential oils are used in low doses because they are extremely potent, and safety should also be researched for medical conditions as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are many other applications for essential oils like candle burners, room sprays, steaming, and bathing.” Lauren Strever
Get growing: Top plant picks
1. Rosemary is one of those mighty medicinal powerhouses! This plant helps to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, promote hair growth, act as an antifungal, antibacterial, and antispasmodic. When inhaled, rosemary is effective against respiratory infections because of its antiseptic properties.
2. Lavender is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. These plants have been used for centuries to help to reduce stress and anxiety, promote restful sleep, soothe headaches, and even keep bad vibes away. It is also a great anti-inflammatory, insect-repellent, antifungal, and remedy for a huge variety of skin ailments.
3. Cape jasmin (Gardenia augusta) is known in perfumery to be one of the most well-balanced oils and can be used as a top, middle, or base note.
Your homegrown pharmacy would not be complete without these must-have mutis. Enjoy an outing to one of Life is a Garden’s award-winning nurseries to garb these seeds and seedlings, as well as all your gardening essentials.
1. Peppermint steam
Harvest a handful of peppermint leaves and then place them in a large pot of boiled water. Cover your face and chest with a towel and then inhale the steam from the pot. You could also add other mint varieties (spearmint, apple mint, pineapple mint) to the steam pot. This home remedy is great for clearing sinuses and phlegm. After steaming, chew nasturtium leaves to soothe a sore throat.
2. Honey and onion syrup
Finely chop an onion and then place the pieces in a glass saucer. Add plenty of quality honey to the saucer, fully covering the onion. Take 1 tablespoon 3 times a day to treat the common cold. For body pains, add 1 spoon of organic turmeric to the mix to decrease inflammation.
3. Tonic tea
Steep some harvested ginger, mint, and lemon with a few bags of rooibos tea leaves in warm (not boiling) water (you want to extract the goodness not burn the plants). Allow the tonic to strengthen for at least an hour then pour half a cup full into a mug. Add some honey and drink for respiratory congestion. Keep refreshing the herbs and strengthening your tonic for as long as needed.
Did you know?
Many weeds are also medicinal! Try these top picks and remember to do your research on how to best use them and in what quantities.
- Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
- Stinging nettle (Urtica urens)
- Chickweed (Stellaria media)
- Wild garlic (Tulbachia violacea)
- Wild sorrel (Oxalis pescaprae)
Special thanks to our industry experts at Sought After Seedlings for these mighty medicinal plants and recipes.
Want to learn how to make your own essential oil for a mighty muti and perfume? Here’s what our experts from Amorentia Estate & Nursery had to say about the DIY process. Make sure to read this month’s Botanical Boss article on which plants to grow for essential oil making, as well as information about all the ways you can apply and enjoy them! Essential Oils For Begginers
Q: Most gardeners are familiar with the essential oils available at stores, however, I am sure they would be delightfully surprised to learn that they could make their own! Please walk us through the process of making essential oils at home using plants from the garden?
Making essential oils at home can be a fun and rewarding process, but it does require some equipment and expertise. Be sure to do your research and follow proper safety precautions when working with essential oils.
You can use a variety of plants to make essential oils, including herbs, flowers, and citrus fruits. Some popular choices include lavender, thyme, mint, rosemary, lemon verbena, lemon, and orange. Choose plants that are healthy and free from pesticides or other chemicals and follow these easy steps:
Top tip: Harvest your plant material in the morning when the oils are most concentrated and be sure to use plant material that is fresh or newly flushed. Rinse and dry the plant material thoroughly.
When choosing your extraction method, there are several to choose from, including;
- Steam distillation is the most common method for home use. To steam distill your plant material, you'll need a still or distiller. Place the plant material in the still with water and heat it to release the steam. The steam will carry the essential oils out of the plant material and into a condenser, where it will cool and turn into a liquid.