Sunday, March 18, 2012
White Sage Distillation
Yesterday in our class, we distilled Salvia apiana, better known as white sage. Our first introduction to this fragrant ceremonial herb was during our renaissance faire days, when prior to opening each day, someone would light a smudge stick and wander through the shire, with the smoke winding through the streets, shops, and around each of the inhabitants. It was an enchanting way to put us all into a peaceful, communal place, ready to welcome our guests.
We burn it often, usually a single leaf at a time, to clear or cleanse the air to make room for new ideas and energy. The leaves infused in oil make a highly fragrant oil that can be used as is or made into a balm. The leaves can also be used as a tea for inflammation. And so, it is no wonder that we've been growing our own here, and also eager to try it in the still.
To begin, the first thing to do is fill the biomass container. As you will see later, this globe will be where the magic takes place.
Once filled, we're ready to assemble the still.
After all the parts are fitted together and the pump is submerged into ice water to cool the condenser, we turn on the heat and wait in anticipation.
I explained to the class how the equipment functions, and also described other methods of distilling plants at home with household items.
We were absolutely astounded by the amount of oil that we were able to obtain from this batch of leaves. Distillations are typically done with fresh plant material. For the purpose of demonstrations, it is often necessary to use dried plants due to availability. We have found that because much more dried material fits into the biomass container, we've been able to get oil from things like rose petals and chamomile flowers, when none was obtained from fresh material.
The room filled with scent of sage while we watched, transfixed by the droplets falling through the condenser and into the separator. There is a toggle at the bottom of the separator that allows us to release the hydrosol below the oil, capture the oil, and bottle that separately. We got nearly 1/3 ounce of the oil and over a pint of the hydrosol. We shared some of each with our class participants.
And then I packaged some to share with you. click HERE