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About Snow Lotus Essential Oils

Fully Bioactive, Artisan-Quality Essential Oils Sourced Directly From Artisan Growers and Distillers

Snow Lotus is proud to offer an outstanding collection of over 70 pure, bioactive and certified organic essential oils of artisan quality, and over 80 essential oil blends formulated with these. What exactly does artisan oil quality imply? It simply means an oil produced by traditional steam distillation that aims to produce an oil of maximum beauty and healing potential combined. 

We believe that traditional artisan methods of extracting essential oils are crucial at this time for two reasons. Firstly, they allow the plant to express itself fully with an authentic, beautiful, rich fragrance that is not found in most commercially-produced oils. Secondly, artisan distillation will produce an essential oil that is fully bioactive, i.e. one that performs therapeutically in the way that it is intended to, as well as in ways for us to explore and yet to discover!

All Snow Lotus essential oils are personally sourced and hand selected by Peter Holmes LAc, MH, directly from the producers and independent distillers worldwide who sustainably grow or ethically wild-harvest the plants they distill. The oils are selected specifically for optimal therapeutic potency and richness of fragrance, not for purity alone. Purity by itself is not a guarantee of either high therapeutic bioactivity or excellence of aroma. In his essential oil selection, Peter follows the following three criteria, which together ensure maximum oil bioactivity and treatment potency, as well as an exquisite fragrance. To learn more about these criteria, see Peter's newly-released book Aromatica, available here.

1. Premium quality of the source plant material

This is dependent on accurate and ethical harvesting if the plant material is from wild growing sources, as in the case of Blue tansy, Grand fir, Saro, Ravintsara, Black spruce, Helichrysum and many others. This criterium of botanical specificity is usually overlooked when factoring in oil purity and quality; the fact is that there is little accountability when it comes to accurate botanical plant identification and harvesting. For instance, it is easy for poorly-trained, part-time collectors to confuse different species of fir trees when collecting. Likewise, wild harvests of valuable plants such as Helichrysum and Blue tansy often contain a certain percentage of weeds that are sometimes not removed just before the plant material is thrown into the steam distillation unit. In both cases the result is not a 100% pure and fully bioactive oil, but one that contains a certain percentage of other unwanted plants that will dilute the oil, reduce the quality of its true fragrance and finally weaken its therapeutic effect.

In the case of plantation-grown plants, initial correct botanical identification is crucial, as well as cultivation practices without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, i.e. organic cultivation. The majority of Snow Lotus essential oils are extracted from plantation-grown plant materials that are certified organic; the majority of these extracted essential oils are in addition third-party tested and certified NOP by the USDA. These include the essential oils of Bergamot, Lavender, Geranium, Tea tree and many others.

 2. Optimal distillation techniques

This is the second criterium that goes to ensure both authentic fragrance and full bioactivity of an essential oil. Again, this is an aspect of oil quality that is difficult to substantiate or determine scientifically. Here we need to rely on our accurate sensory experience of an oil's liquor – its scent, color and viscosity - which in turn is dependent on the quality of our odor perception and our previous knowledge of its ideal sensory appearance.

Steam distillation in the traditional artisan manner goes a long way to  maximize bioactivity in an essential oil and therefore 100% therapeutic potency. Artisan distillation is a specialized skill that is typically handed down in families with small businesses or taught to others by master distillers. It is not the technique used by the majority of large extraction companies whose aim is generally to produce the largest volume of acceptable-quality oil in the shortest amount of time. While artisan distillations are ideally appropriate because of their therapeutic effectiveness, large-scale commercial oil distillations by large companies mainly serve the food flavoring and perfumery industries and are not optimal or ideal for practitioners seeking bioactive oils for use in a therapeutic setting.

Artisan distillation relies, among other factors, on the correct distillation time and vapor pressure and temperature specific to each oil. This often means distilling the plant material for a longer time and at a lower vapor pressure and temperature than is standard for a commercial distillation. Typical large-scale commercial distillations use high-pressure, superheated steam for rapid oil extraction, boosted by the introduction of chemical solvents in the steam. In this way, artisan distillation is able to produce essential oils of superior fragrance and bioactivity. Optimization of distillation technique ensures that the resultant oil retains as large a range of the plant's chemical components as possible, which then translates into a richer, fuller, more authentic essential oil that is able to expresses the whole spectrum of fragrance found in the living plant itself. It also brings out the maximum potential bioactivity of the oil from a therapeutic perspective.

 3. Lack of any kind of adulteration of the extracted oil

The third criterium that ensures authentic fragrance and full bioactivity of an oil is clearly lack of adulteration or spoilage once it is produced. Adulteration is extremely common and affects an estimated 95% of all oils available on the open market. Adulteration results mainly from the need of corporations that create fragrance materials for perfumes and food-flavoring to create chemically standardized fragrances. Because natural essential oils are an agricultural product, they naturally show small variations in scent and profile of chemical constituents. To turn these into standardized fragrances, the oils are highlighted or reinforced with synthetic analogs or natural constituents extracted from other essential oils. In either case, the original wholeness of the oil becomes lost and its potency along with it. Synthetics drain the body of energy and rob the natural oil of its therapeutic potency. In addition, commercial oils are sometimes cut or stretched with a clear, inodorous liquid, such as the industrial solvent dipropylene glycol, to increase its volume – which also undermines therapeutic potency.

The oils most affected by adulteration are naturally the most precious, expensive ones, including Rose, Sandalwood and Melissa, absolutes such as Jasmine, Champaca and Tuberose, as well as traditional Indian attars. However, in today's climate of economic uncertainty, even relatively inexpensive oils, such as Palmarosa, Patchouli and Lemongrass, are often prone to adulteration of one kind or another.

Snow Lotus essential oils are the result of constant and unsparing dedication to meeting these three criteria that together result in an authentic fragrance and full bioavaliability. They result from high quality of plant material used at the source, artisan distillation techniques and lack of any subsequent adulteration. Our oils thereby retain their full therapeutic potential, along with a true, beautifully authentic fragrance that expresses the plant's energetic and spiritual signature.

 Snow Lotus essential oils are clearly the embodiment of not only purity, but also optimal quality and potency! 

All of our essential oils, absolutes and blends are packaged in amber glass bottles with single-drop dispensing reducers. Each bottle is filled by ml calibrated volume.

Essential oils

Absolutes and precious oils

Snow Lotus blends

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