crops

 

Essential oil crops under cultivation and indigenous plants growing wild in the area.

Cultivation methods include organic and the biological farming systems approach. Farming practices are strictly monitored to ensure cultivation is successful and high quality oils are able to be extracted from the plants.

Crops include:

 

Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

The Rose geranium grows prolifically in the slightly heavier soils of the Eastern Cape, and responds well to the climate. The oil is an important raw material for the fragrance industry, and is used in perfumes, soaps and other domestic products. The species that is being cultivated is a hybrid between P. capitatum and P. radens, sometimes also referred to as P. cv. Rose, which produces the so-called Bourbon oil.

 

rose geranium

Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Chamomile prefers cooler areas and has done well on the higher altitude trial sites. Both Roman chamomile has been planted at the farm in the Thyume valley. Very little camomile is produced in South Africa and organically-grown chamomile is a highly profitable crop. 

 

 

Roman & German chamomile

Lemon balm (Melissa)

Lemon balm has done well on the sites lower down in the valley where there is a warm climate and considerable amounts of water. It does not tolerate frost, although it grows back vigorously in spring. There is a limited market for lemon balm, but the crop fetches high prices, especially if it is organically certified.

 

 

lemon balm

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has grown well in the slightly heavier soils and colder climates of the area. Peppermint is used primarily in beverages, confectionaries and personal-hygiene products. The market for peppermint oil is steady and mature.

 

 

peppermint

Rose oil (Rosa damascena)

Rosa damascena (the rambling rose or the damask rose) grows abundantly in the high rainfall and cold climate of the Hogsback area. The rose needs low temperatures in winter in order to ensure hardening or ripening of the shoots, which, in turn, stimulates flowering in October. The short flowering season means that there is only a single harvest each year.

 

 

rose oil

Pelargonium sidoides (and P. reniforme)

Pelargonium sidoides is endemic to the Amathole area. The plant has been used by traditional healers for centuries and the secondary metabolites of the plant have antibacterial properties with beneficial effects on upper respiratory-tract infections. Pelargonium sidoides has been heavily harvested without regard for its conservation, and the current rate of harvesting is far exceeding the rate of reproduction.

The Company has been awarded a Bio-prospecting and export permit by the Department of Environmental Affairs which permits is to harvest, cultivate, export and beneficiate the root of this plant along with Aloe ferox, Artemisia afra (African wormwood) and Helichrysum odoratissimum (Mpepho).

 

 

Pelargonium sidoides

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

The leaves of Yarrow are finely branched to form many leaflets. The flower bears flowerheads in high summer that are flat corymbs of white to pale pink. These plants do best on well drained soils where they spread their roots and can be invasive. The volatile oils which give Yarrow its distinctive aroma, even when growing, are used as scent such as herbal bath products. Yarrow has a wide range of medicinal uses.

 

 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a hardy shrub with a long life. It can tolerate extreme climatic variations, including frost. The volatile oil is suitable for use in oil burners and adding to the bath. It is a strong oil that is used medicinally under close supervision. The oil is added to numerous cosmetic products and perfumes.

 

 

Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana)

Marjoram is a perennial plant that prefers lime rich soil in a sunny sheltered area. Its oil is incorporated in perfumes and cosmetics. If added to bath water relaxes bathers superbly and a few drops on your pillow help the restless to sleep.

 

 

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

It is said that planting Sage in a garden will grant the gardener a long life. In ancient times, Sage was associated with old age. The herb was taken as a tonic to ward off loss of memory associated with ageing. It is used by homeopaths to counter various afflictions but it should not be used excessively as it contains thujone which is toxic in large doses. The plant is hardy although some damage can occur in severe winters.

 

 

Deodar / Himalayan cedar tree (Cedrus deodara)

This tree grows in the mountains in Hogsback and essential oil is extracted from the needles and from the wood chips. The oil is used in burners, sauna's, soaps and creams in combination with other aormatic oils.

 

 

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree originates from Australia and is a medium-sized tree with papery bark, linear leaves and white flowers resembling bottle-brushes. The essential oil obtained from its leaves by steam distillation is widely used in ointments and creams to treat insect bites, wounds, abrasions, acne, skin infections, fungal infections (including athlete's foot and thrush). Aromatherapists like using this oil because it can be applied directly on the skin and does not irritate mucous membranes. A dilution is used as a mouthwash to treat mucosal inflamations like tonsillitis, pharyngitis and sinusitis. The oil is also used as an antiseptic and preservative in cosmetic ranges.

 

 

Wild Harvested Crops

 

In addition there are a small number of crops which we wild harvest on a sustainable basis in partnership with local communities.

     

Impepho (Helichrysum odoratissimum)

A perennial herb or shrub that grows on grassy and rocky slopes. Its aromatic leaves and stems are widely used in shamanic rituals for cleansing. It is also used medicinally by the people of the Eastern Cape to treat coughs, colds, fever and headaches.

 

 

Khakibos (Tagetes Minuata)

An upright annual herb reaching heights of 1 – 2 metres. Originally from Southern and Central America, it has since been introduced to Africa, Asia and Europe. It is grown mainly for its essential oils, for use in a number of products including beverages, food products and perfumes. It is also used medicinally for the treatment in the common cold and respiratory tract inflammations. I addition it can be used to repel fleas from ????? and animals.

 

   

Old wood (Leucosidea sericea)

This indigenous evergreen tree grows extremely quickly and to the heights of 4 – 7m. It can be found in the Afromontane parts of Southern Africa.

 

 

African wormwood ( Artemisia afra)

This common species found in South Africa has a wide distribution. It grows in thick bushy clumps between 0.5 – 2 metres high. It’s well known medicinal properties are used by people of all cultures for a wide range of ailments ranging from loss of appetite, headaches, earaches and treatment of malaria.

 

 

Wild dagga ( Leonotis ocymifolia)

This plant is also commonly known as lion’s ear due to its flower and the feel of its velvety lobes. It has a very large distribution area and can be found from South Africa all the way northward towards Kenya. It grows up to 2metres tall and likes rocky slopes in full sun. Its specific uses include treatment for eczema and other skin irritations.

 

 

Fever tea (Lippia javanica)

Fever tea occurs natuarally in the valleys across the district growing in abundance and flowering brilliantly at the end of summer in March each year. It is a tough shrub that has an incredibly pungently scented oil that is effective in repelling rodents and insects when sprayed, spread and/or diffused into the air. The leaves are steeped as tea to treat coughs, colds, fever and bronchitis. Weak infusions are taken as a general health tonic.