What does it take to make quality essential oils? A combination of science, nature, and heart.
Let me try to portray to you what it was like to be whisked away from the realities of the “real world” and surreally placed into a magical moment in time. It was not a dream, but it could have been mistaken for one. This 4-day getaway was filled with aroma-enticing scents, healthy and yummy gluten-free food, luxurious hotels, fun, education, inspiration, and purpose. Beyond the event itself, like-minded companions were instantly transformed into friends that felt uncannily like ones that I had journeyed with through my whole life.
In just one day, I was amazed to find that it was possible to experience first-hand how to align with integrity the love of science with a profound respect for nature. My fellow travelers and I became witnesses to the powerful yet delicate process of taking a seedling and distilling it into something that could balance the body on all levels: physiologically, biochemically, and psychologically. This was way more than making mere “plant juice.” This was where the magic of essential oil distillation happened, an essential oil-obsessed-naturopathic doctor’s delight!
Here’s a little “sniff” of just some of the wonderment I was blessed to receive at a training/retreat in Utah during “Lavender Days” at the Mona Lisa farm.
My Farm Journey
It was a beautiful September morning in Salt Lake City and I had just awoken. After a day of travel and meeting new friends, everything seemed to be serendipitously falling into place for a very enjoyable time. I had slept well in a bed that literally hugged me to sleep and I was now eager to start the day. I am not a morning person, so I can’t say I was bouncing out of bed like Tiger on Farm Day, but I did have a smile on my face before reaching for my lemon water. That’s saying something.
During the one hour trip in the shuttle to the Mona Utah farm, I was contemplating if the farm I visited when I first started out with essential oils would still be as pristine and fascinating as it had been over 10 years ago. As we pulled into the entrance, I don’t know why, but I got teary. Maybe it was from all the years of witnessing how essential oils supported amazing turnarounds in my clients as a naturopathic doctor and functional medicine practitioner. Or, perhaps it was from my family’s and my own personal experiences in how they continued to support our health and empower our wellness choices. However, I think it may have been mostly from my relief that what was true for me at the start of my naturopathic training was validated again. I was meant to be an “essential oils doctor” and that I had listened to my heart and brain in finding the right company for quality, integrity, and vision.
I took a moment getting off the bus to take in “where it all happened.” Today, they were distilling juniper, which I had some familiarity with, but made a mental note to research it more in the future. The smell was invigorating and I was inspired witnessing the process of its distillation. I was able to chat a bit with quality control operator as he watched and controlled for all the specs such as pressure, temperature (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit), and timing.
My new found love of juniper was heightened after we were all gifted with a bottle of it immediately following the founder’s speech about the seed to seal promise and the importance of quality in essential oils.
We then all chatted excitingly as we took part in some of the events and spoke with the workers who sorted the seeds, gathered the raw materials, and planted the seedlings.
I then brazenly made my way to the head of the GC/MS presentation and learned some fun things, which I recorded in this video below.
(There was a presentation going on in the background, but you can still here if you listen closely.)
I also saw a demonstration of the filtering process. You can see here that they filter out all the contaminants before bottling and distribution.
Here’s an infographic you may like of the full process that goes into more detail on delivering pure essential oils.
Later on the evening continued with a rodeo and other festival events.
I left the farm feeling content that I was part of something bigger. As a doctor, sometimes it’s so easy to get lost in biochemical pathways and focusing on “fixing the problem,” I forget to step back and “smell the lavender.” After literally touching and being around the plants that my clients and I have trusted for our health, I was comforted in remembering that there was an innate healing potential in these secondary metabolites that even the smartest researchers haven’t yet fully uncovered.
In a future blog and/or Facebook posts, I will dive deeper into some more of what I learned at the retreat, so stay tuned.
Confused about essential oils myths versus facts? Read more here.
This blog is dedicated to all my new friends whose dreams and purpose are as big as your hearts. Thank you for being the change in supporting and empowering the planet with better health with powerful tools.