Skip to main content

Experimenting with Myrtle-Myrtus communis.

Myrtle hydro distillation and absolute production attempt
January 2016.
Happy new year!
 

A couple of days ago I noticed a very fragrant bush in my parents garden covered in small white flowers. turns out it is a Myrtle, Myrtus communis Varigata. I decided to see what I could create from it. Their tree was a bit odd though as it started out as a variagated bush and in recent years new leaves were not fully green. lower branches still had variagted leaves. it hasn’t been grafted. the scent was most prominent in the early evening.
Coconut infused Myrtle blossom

 
I decided to use the flowers for my first attempt at an absolute production. I harvested by hand approximately 100 gm of flower heads and pressed them into organic coconut oil. Straight away I realised of course that my lovely high quality coconut oil had it’s own delicious fragrance. However I persevered and impregnated the coconut oil with 2 batches of petals/flower heads. Due to the heat here in summer in NZ the coconut oil is liquid at room temperature so I put in the fridge for the first batch of flowers which I left in for 24 hours. I then replaced with the second batch which I left in for 12 hours. 

I strained the coconut oil and it had a slight cloudy colour and, whilst it still smelt of coconut, there was a sweetness and almost rose blossom like delicate aroma to it. I decided it was not worth progressing and trying to soak in alcohol as I only obtained around 40 ml out of the 200 ml coconut oil. The rest was soaked up by the flowers. I will leave this to harden and use as a perfume as it is.

 






Myrtle leaves co distilled with lemon verbena hydrosol.
I stripped the branchlets off and mainly distilled the leaves- plus a few remaining flowers and tiny twigs. My small 2 litre still held 375 gm fresh plant material and I added 2.5 litres boiling lemon verbena hydrosol.

This hydrosol was from a commercial distillation and had a pH of 6.5. Once the still was sealed with duct tape and gas turned on, distillate appeared after 2m 45 seconds. For the first 300 ml there was a slight green tinge to the distillate which then turned brown after 20 minutes. 
I continued distilling for 30 minutess and obtained 450 ml. I turned off the heat after 30 mins , just as the aroma coming out started to smell ‘cooked’. The hydrosol had a lovely sweet, slight citrus, slight ‘green’, slight floral aroma. it was noticeably different to the plain lemon verbena which smells crisp and fresh. In Jeanne Roses' book, "375 essential oils and hydrosols", she notes that myrtle hydrosol is toning, astringent, refreshing, removes fatigue. It can be used externally as an eye compress and for sore throats. It appears to have ant inflammatory properties. Myrtle is not mentioned in either of the books on hydrosols by Ann Harman or Suzanne Catty.


 Wendy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lemon Verbena Harvest & Distillation December 2013

Aloysia triphlla (Lemon verbena) in flower Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora) or Aloysia triphylla is a precious essential oil which has a low yield and is quite hard to come by the genuine oil. Details as to its origins and habitat can be found here on Wikipedia.  It is believed many so called lemon verbena oils on the market are heavily adulterated with lemon thyme, Litsea cubeba (May chang) or synthetic citral. Previously I have used lemon verbena hydrosol my friend produced on his lavender farm ( www.lavender-impressions.co.nz ), with only a tiny amount of oil obtained. Most of his lemon verbena leaves are destined to be dried and sold as a herbal tea. On the 29 December 2013 I was able to take part in the harvest and distillation of his organic lemon verbena. The key difference this year is that it is the flowers and leaves which are being distilled, not just the leaves. Leaf only essential oil can produce a high (up to 35% citral) content which, being an aldehyde may irri

Geranium Distillation for Hydrosol

This is a the first run of my small scale back yard set up on various geraniums distilled for hydrosol, using a pump to reticulate water through the condenser to save water. It means I do not have to stay close by every second for two or more hours. (I am still in the vicinity though in case of mishaps!) Day 1: Harvest of lemon geranium ( Pelargonium crispum ) this morning, stripped leaves from branches (approx 500gm plant material) and added to 3 litres of commercially distilled lemon geranium hydrosol so I get double the benefit. I don't extract any essential oil out of it. https://youtu.be/LFVPV6WHCIg . I achieved about 600 ml good quality hydrosol after 3 hours on the hot plate. (leaf 1 in picture below) Day 2: First up is rose geranium ( Pelargonium graveloans var. roseum ) with pure water (leaf 2 in picture below). Hydrosol appeared very quickly and prolifically, obtaining 200 ml within first 20 minutes of the distillation. This was distilled for about two hours  and

The Sultress Candles

                                                              My gorgeous range of 100% natural candles now on line. Check them out at here ! Save 19% during lockdown. 100% premium soya wax and wooden wicks for an authentic long burning candle.