Monday, September 12, 2011

Global View: "Takulandirani" (Welcome) to Malawi, Africa

Malawi is famous for its slogan “the warm heart of Africa” because of its warm, friendly people and abundant natural resources. Located in southern Africa, bordering Tanzania in the north, Mozambique in the east and south, and Zambia in the west, it ranks among the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 85% of the population (over 13 million) living in rural areas.

We currently purchase a beautiful rose geranium oil from a community grower in Malawi. Our Rose Geranium Essential Oil [No. 157] is certified under the USDA’s National Organic Program as well as EU certified through BCS OKO-Garantie GMBH Germany. This oil is a gorgeous emerald green with heavy notes of rosy floral and herbal-infused honey.
Planting rose geranium crops in the fields of Malawi.
An abundant crop and the native workers who harvest it.

There are more than 700 varieties of cultivated geranium; however, most are grown for ornamental purposes only. The oil producing species are P. graveolens, P. radens and P. capitatum. Pelargoniums are native to South Africa, and the Sotho used a paste made from the leaves to treat wounds and abscesses. The well-known geranium oil "Bourbon" is produced from the cultivars Rose, which is a hybrid of P. radens and P. capitatum.

Distillation process ... and the final beautiful essential oil.

Between 300 and 500kg of plant material is required to obtain about 1kg of essential oil. Most of the essential oil glands are found in the leaves. After cutting, the plants are partially dried leaving less water to be vaporized and extracted from the plant material during the distillation, thereby increasing the yield of oil. Geranium oil has been described as a natural perfume complete unto itself. It is often used to scent soaps and detergents because, unlike many other essential oils, rose geranium's aroma profile is not readily affected by the alkaline nature of soap products. Rose geranium varies much across strains and distillations, in part because the plant is greatly influenced by the climate and soil in which it grows.

A borehole for running water ... food distribution.

We have recently received reports from the Rotary Club of Limbe and Gift of the Givers, two African-based organizations that have been developing community projects to improve the living standards of this profoundly poor area. Projects include improving agricultural production, water quality and sanitation, healthcare, education, access roads, as well as food and vitamin distribution, donations of solar lighting (many villages in the air have no electricity at all), and developing income-generating activities. We are proud to be part of the solution in this area as we contribute to this effort by supporting the growers who produce such a remarkable essential oil.
For information on our Premier Products and pricing, please visit our website. For questions and to explore custom development with exquisite botanicals from our extensive library of raw materials, please contact ~ or call (415) 455-0957.

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