History Of Lavender Steam Distillation

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An early Greek, Dioscorides said: Oil of lavender, when made by passing flowers through a glass alembic [i.e. when distilled], surpasses all other perfumes.

Although distilled essential oils did not appear much before the 16th century, one reference was recorded by celebrated Welsh physicians of Myddfai in the Carmarthen in the 13th century: and so do stylle hyt al to-gedre: then take thy water that is distillyd, and distyllet azen syf you wolte and use that of euerech day a lytel sponeful fastyng.

The 1526 publication, Grete Herball, included illustrations of retorts and stills used for extraction of essential oils. By the late 16th century is was fashionable to have one’s own ‘stillroom’. One recipe dated 1615, gives directions for heating flowers in water and passing the aromatic steam through a condenser after which the distillate separates into two layers with the volatile oil on the top.

The principal of steam distillation has remained unchanged and today our specially designed equipment allows us to follow these traditional steam distillation practices.