Plants have been used for healing and rituals for at least 70,000 years, from the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians to the Babylonians and Chaldeans. And for good reason!
Plant essences not only transform any space into an evocative experience, they also increase our energetic frequency and promote higher states of consciousness.
When you’re living too much in your head, plant essences are nature’s remedy to activate the Crown Chakra, the seat of your divine connector to the universe.
Of course, you can always buy your essential oils at the store, but where is the fun in that! Half of the experience is seeing, touching, and really working with the energy of the plants with your bare hands.
Whether you would like to make a healing balm, sacred perfume, or elevating spritzer, here are three ways you can extract plant essences:
1 – Soak in Water
The easiest of the methods. Simply collect your fresh or dried greenery, and place it in a bowl with just enough filtered water to soak them. Place the bowl in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the greenery and voila! Keep it somewhere cool, and make sure to use it within a few days.
When to Use: this method is great for powerful spritzers to cleanse or recharge. Pour your water into a spray bottle. Add a few drops of an essential oil and a gemstone and you’ve got yourself a handy spritzer.
2 – Tincture
All you need to make a tincture is 190-proof alcohol, glass jars, cheesecloth, and the fresh or dried plant material. Simply immerse the botanicals in the alcohol, and store the jar in a cool, dry place while waiting for the scent to dissolve into it. While dense, woody materials need up to 2 weeks of soaking time, fragile flowers only need up to 24 hours. Once the plant material is spent, strain it from the alcohol using a piece of cheesecloth. Recharge the alcohol with more plant material, if needed, until you’re happy with the scent.
To evaporate the alcohol from the tincture, drape a cheesecloth over the jar. Next, place the jar outdoors on a low-humidity day, and wait a day or more until the tincture is reduced to a syrupy texture. Of course, if you have a fancy distillation system, use that!
When to Use: You can use tinctures as subtle substitutes for essential oils in perfumes and other beauty products.
3 – Infusion
Infusing is similar to tincturing, but instead of alcohol, you use an oil with little scent, such as argan, moringa, almond, grapeseed, jojoba, coconut or avocado.
For delicate flowers, simply immerse the plant in the cold oil of choice, and remove after 1-3 weeks. For dense woods and roots, place them in either cold oil for up to 8 weeks or hot oil for only a few hours. Make sure that the botanical is completely immersed in the oil without any air bubbles.
To speed up the process or when working with hard woods and roots, use a double boiler for a few hours. Make sure that you maintain a low oil temperature.
To remove the plant, use a strainer. Repeat the process until the scent is strong enough. When you’re finished, transfer the oil into a sterile jar.
When to use: You can use infusions for body oils, body butters, bath milk, and even hair conditioners.
If you’re ready to take your skills up a notch, distillation and enfleurage are rewarding ways to extract the scent from plants. It requires a bit of equipment and skill, but worth the effort.
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