Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rose Geranium Treasure Trove

Talk about luck...
The other day we went over to Cloverleaf Herb Farm to drop off some soaps for her shop and she was working on getting the gardens ready for winter.  She'd pulled 3 beautiful "Attar of Roses" Pelargonium capitatum Rose Geraniums.

She wasn't planning on drying the leaves so I was welcome to them.  They filled a plastic trash bag.
I got them cleaned up and prepared for distillation.
Some people use rose geranium leaves in tea for several medicinal situations.  Stress, inflammation, headaches, kidney problems, and pain are all thought to respond to rose geranium.  It is also thought to help boost the immune system.
This photo is sort of deceptive.  The bottom (boiling) flask is 2 liters and the upper flask can easily hold a couple gallons of compacted plant material.  I don't do it that way - but you could.  I fill it about 3/4s of the way and do not pack it.
The essential oil is uplifting, cooling, calming, and tonic. The main components of the essential oil are citronellol,  nerol and geraniol It is thought to help normalize women's cycles and the moods that accompany them.  The hydrosol seems to have many similar properties, particularly with the uplifting yet grounding aspect.
We have also found that it is great for discouraging ticks.  They run from it.  Ants that get inside during the spring also run the other way but - strictly from observing their behavior in a morbid way when they've been in the house too long - it appears to act as a neurotoxin that kills them.
From what I've experienced with rose geranium oils purchased over the years, the oil is pale yellow.  Looking into it online, apparently it is sometimes tinged with green.  Mine is a beautiful sea green.
From that bushel or so of leaves, we ran the still 4 times.  I can dismantle the still to refill it (once cooled) without disturbing the part that collects the essential oil.
All of that botanical material yielded 3 and a half quarts of gorgeous hydrosol and less than 5 drops of essential oil.
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