My aromatherapy course has packed up and gone to Provence for 4 days in order to study how aromatic plants are grown, harvested, and distilled. On our first day we had the pleasure of being driven around Provence by an expert on essential oils Dr. Malte Hozzel of Oshadhi. We stopped every time we saw some interesting plants growing along the side of the road: St. John’s Wart, Absinthe, Blue Cypress, Clary Sage, Helicryse, Immortelle, and more types of lavender than you can count. We visited the village of Roussillon where I bought lavender balm, fig soap, and argan soap. We also visited Gordes, the Abbey of Sénanque, and the Lavender Museum.
My favourite part of the day was visiting the Liardet Farm in Sault. Here we got to see them distilling sage and more importantly we got to purchase the oils that they make. In France it is rare to be able to visit a farm and purchase products directly. Normally farmers sell to intermediaries. However it is on these small farms where you can get the best quality essential oils because they are farming and distilling specifically for the aromatherapy market. Only about 5% of essential oils produced globally are for aromatherapy. The other 95% is for the food, perfume, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Therefore it is on these small farms like the Liardet farm where they are producing the best organic oils. I dropped a bomb in the gift shop but my best surprise purchase was helicryse flower water. It’s great used as a toner for oily skin.