Flowers
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

rainbowgardener have you done a forum yet explaining how to distill herbs for essential oils? I think that would be so cool! Also, I really hate the taste of licorice and anise especially, but the love charm tea sounds good anyways. Is the anise flavor very strong? I feel like the spearmint and other herbs with a lot of honey would kind of overpower it so that I wouldn't hate it so much and it might actually be nice as a subtle undertone. What do you think?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

It's anise hyssop not licorice or anise, the anise flavor is subtle.

Distilling essential oils depends on having a still. Even the smallest home distillation equipment is pretty expensive (by my limited budget standards anyway). I have two, neither of which is perfectly satisfactory.

This one:

https://oilextech.com/

advertises makes essential oils in 6 min. It does work in 6 min (after the equipment is frozen over night) in the microwave. However, I could never get it to produce any actual essential oil. What it produces is a pretty low quality dilute hydrosol, which is the essential oil still mixed with water. It is quick and uses very little power, but the product is really not high enough quality for me.

Then I have a little stove top still I got a few years ago from Edmunds Scientific for about $80 (cheap !). But it looks like they are not carrying it any more. What it produces is also hydrosol, but much higher quality, less dilute. It is good enough for my purposes, though I could not sell it as essential oil. But it takes hours of boiling on the stove to produce it and makes me feel very guilty about the power I am using.

So I am still in the market for a good small home distiller....

The stove top one I have from a couple cups of plant products makes maybe a half ounce of hydrosol. I know if I could get the actual essential oil from that it would be MAYBE a quarter teaspoon full.
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Flowers
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA Zone 5b, sometimes 6

Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

Hmmm I'll give the anise hyssop a try then.

Eeep! No thank you that's far out of reach for my time and budget. Maybe some day in the future but I'll stick to my tea for now. :)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

You can easily with no equipment make a kind of flavored oil. Fill a jar with your plant product, packing lightly. Then fill the jar with some kind of neutral oil that doesn't have flavor of its own. Let it sit on a window sill for a week or so. Then strain the leaves out, fill the jar with new plant material and put the same oil back in it, refilling so the jar is full again. You can do that as many times as you want and the oil will keep getting stronger flavored.

It is not essential oil, but it is good enough for some uses, like heating in a fragrant oil warmer:

Image

It can also be a good way to put the herb flavor in things - use your flavored oil to cook with. For cooking, I infuse extra virgin olive oil with various herbs - sage, thyme, etc.
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Flowers
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:30 pm
Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA Zone 5b, sometimes 6

Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

Wow thanks for the advice! I'll definitely give that a try for now for things like the oil diffuser thing you mentioned. I always worry what horrible chemicals I might be inhaling with candles and sprays, so a homemade oil in a little diffuser would make me feel much better. I'm also going to look into just making candles with the herbs. Very excited! My plants can't grow fast enough!
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