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A Blue Oil For The Blue Mountains

July 26, 2017

It has been super breezy up here this week so I decided that I’d take advantage of that and collect up a mixture of gum leaves that had fallen into my path on one of my many bush walks (yes, when I’m not in the lab I am hugging trees, exploring new tracks and trying to spot birds up here in the Blue Mountains National Park).

I’ve just bought myself an essential oil distillation kit and have been super-keen to distill anything I can get my hands on, it’s bordering on an obsession to be honest and the only thing stopping me getting a ladder and stripping my own trees is the fact that I don’t want to hurt them (I read ‘The Hidden life Of Trees“. Trees do have feelings 🙂 )  So, the chance to get my hands on their leaves without having to do the stripping myself was too good an opportunity to let up so I got out my backpack and went on a little walk to the end of my garden and this is what happened next.

This is one of the trees that I collected from. It’s in my garden and I think it’s either a Eucalyptus Oreades (Blue Mountains Ash)   but I could be wrong, there are so many different Eucalypts.

Essential Oils

Anyway, according to my vintage copy of ‘The Eucalypts and their essential oils’ by Baker and Smith this tree produces an oil with a 1.2% yield. I got nowhere near that this time but that could have been because many of the leaves I collected were pretty dry and old and some of them weren’t even from that tree 🙂  It ended up being a bit of a mish mash but I didn’t mind because it was fun doing it and put a different and interesting spin on my bush walk.

Anyway, after the usual wait to boil water and build up pressure I got some hydrosol come off and then the magical blue oil!  They say that the Blue Mountains is blue because of the haze from the Eucalypts in the summer and after seeing this oil I would have to say that it may well be true!  It is strange but I fully expected that to just be one of those sayings that was not really based on anything measurable but here we have it!

Sadly the oil didn’t smell particularly yummy. It wasn’t bad but wasn’t as crisp and distinct as the other oil I distilled, the Eucalypt from our Cowra property.  In any case that didn’t matter because there wasn’t enough of it to bottle and get analysed this time.  Maybe next time I’ll be more careful about choosing my sample and will pick it fresh so as to (hopefully) get a better oil yield and quality but I didn’t feel too disappointed because the colour of that little bit of oil was just beautiful to behold.

Oh I love my job x


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