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The distillation process begins with the harvest of the plants in the morning, once the dew has evaporated and before the heat of the day. We harvest the lavender using gas-powered hedge-trimmers, cutting the flowers close to the woody growth, but not all the way down. This encourages the plant to send out its new, green “soft” wood growth before the cold winter.

Then we pack lavender flowers (stems, buds, leaves) into a distillation tub and distill using steam distillation.

Generally plants are harvested in the summer months (July) when about half of the flowers on the spike have bloomed and withered. This is the optimal time for harvesting lavender for oil production. At Lavender Valley, however, we wait to harvest until August so that patrons can view the lavender in full bloom. This reduces the oil production, but not significantly.

Essential oil and Hydrosol Production

Lavender Valley’s essential oils are pure oils of the individual lavender species from which they are distilled. They are extracted from the lavender plants via steam distillation and are not combined with any carrier oils or diluted with any other ingredient.

In general, English Lavenders (Lavandula anguvstifolia) produce an essential oil with a sweeter overtone. Lavandins and Lavandula x Intermedias yield a similar essential oil, however, these plants have higher levels of terpenes and therefore their oils have a slightly more camphorous aroma. The oil content of Lavandins and Intermedias is generally higher than that of the English Lavenders, making the English Lavender essential oil higher priced (more rare) on the market.

Lavender essential oil can be added to a bath to promote relaxation, soothe sore muscles, or treat skin issues (acne, minor cuts or burns, sunburn, etc.), or it can be dropped into a vaporizer to help coughs or respiratory issues. Lavender essential oil is one of the safest essential oils and can be used directly on skin as an antiseptic and pain reliever, or be applied to minor burns or insect bites and stings.

There are many varieties of lavender plants, each with its own unique aroma. Lavender Valley invites you to visit and learn about the various plants, their essential oils, and the benefits of this wonderful plant.

The term hydrosol is derived from the Latin words “hydro” and “sol,” meaning "water solution."

A hydrosol, or hydrolate, is the pure, distillate water that remains after essential oils are steam distilled from the original plant material. Hydrosols are usually clear and have the appearance and consistency of water. Their aroma is generally, but not always, similar to that of the essential oil. Further, their aroma is usually much more subtle.

Hydrosols contain small amounts of essential oil. They also contain water-soluble components of the plant material that may not be present in the essential oil.

Hydrosols are also sometimes incorrectly referred to as floral waters. Floral waters are typically aromatic waters made with the use of fragrance oils, but do not contain the natural therapeutic properties that hydrosols contain. Hydrosols cannot be made by solubilizing essential oils in water.

Hydrosols are gaining importance in aromatherapy because they are generally safer and naturally contain low dilutions of essential oils combined with the botanical’s water-soluble compounds not present within the essential oil itself.