Our Practices

 

A.S Apothecary began life in Cyprus as an extension of my therapeutic practice. i spent countless hours in the mountains where herbs grew wild, Olives were plentiful and blossom of every description spanned the seasons. It was there that I learnt to distil, first orange blossom that we picked in the orange groves accompanied by thousands of docile bees tipsy on nectar and then other plentiful herbs such as Sage and Thyme and Rose Geranium which we grew in our garden.

When we returned to Sussex, I rented a field on an organic farm to continue growing. It was in Sussex that my love of Roses really flourished with a south facing, gently sloping field and beautiful soil, Roses thrived along with hundreds of other plants. We planted around 200 roses of 6 varieties which I distilled over the growing season, along with Clary Sage and Lavender. Those were heady times in our workshop, I remember them fondly.

Very early on, we decided that if we were going to produce skincare to sell, that it should comprise plants we grew ourselves or sourced responsibly. We wanted our products to have the most transparent supply chain we could manage, and we’re still working towards that every day.

In Harris we finally found a permanent home with 6 acres of land of our own and the space to work. I love Harris, for its history of crofting and wild foraging, and because it’s free from pollution, making it safe to pick anywhere.

The challenge of living here is that we've had to work out how to minimise our footprint as a business operating on a remote island where everything has to be brought over by ferry or aeroplane. We set about breaking ground on our greenhouse so we could grow botanicals that otherwise wouldn’t survive, this means we can avoid having to import from warmer climes, and cut our environmental footprint even further.

 We also try to keep our extraction methods as energy efficient as possible, both minimising our footprint and ensuring the integrity of the therapeutic properties of the plants:

Distilling

Distillation is a powerful technique that allows us to extract essential oils and aromatic compounds from plants. By subjecting the plant material to gentle heat, the volatile components are vaporised, and then carefully condensed back into liquid form. Where most distillers separate out the essential oils from the aromatic water, we don't. We leave the oil in suspension in the distillate making it a whole plant extraction, preserving the integrity of the plants we cherish and creating an intensely vital ingredient.

Tincturing

Tincturing involves extracting the medicinal properties of plants by steeping them in alcohol. This technique effectively preserves and concentrates the plant's healing compounds, ensuring their potency and efficacy. Tinctures are convenient to use, and their long shelf life maintains the integrity of the herbal extracts. By harnessing the natural preservative properties of alcohol, we create powerful herbal remedies without compromising the plants' intrinsic qualities

Maceration

Maceration is a patient and gentle method of extracting the essence of plants through immersion in a liquid, such as oil, water or alcohol. By allowing the herbs to steep over time, the menstruum absorbs the plant's beneficial properties, creating potent extracts. This process is particularly effective for delicate plant parts, such as petals, ensuring that their integrity is maintained while enhancing their taste and therapeutic qualities

Enfleurage

Enfleurage is the most gentle approach to capturing the intoxicating scent of flowers too fragile to distil. Delicate petals are placed on a fragrant, semi-solid oil, allowing their essence to infuse over time. As the flowers release their scent into the oil, they are recharged, or changed for new flowers, often 20 times resulting in a sumptuous floral absolute. Enfleurage is a precious and time-consuming process, but it ensures that the fragrance and integrity of the flowers remain unaltered, we used to enfleurage Jasmine in Cyprus, the Jasmine absolute we made was breahhtaking.

 

Fertile Ground for Wellness

Wellness runs all the way through A.S Apothecary

Cultivating it takes time, but we’re not in a rush.

Nurturing the Plants

At our croft, we believe that true wellness begins with the care and nurturing of the plants we grow. Understanding their unique qualities, we cultivate our botanicals with love and respect. Our hands-on approach ensures that each plant receives the attention it deserves, resulting in the highest quality ingredients that form the foundation of our organic skincare and wellness spirit. Nurturing the plants means our products have extraordinary vitality.

Connecting to Nature

The Isle of Harris offers a breathtaking canvas of natural beauty, and we draw inspiration from its tranquility. Our skincare and Wild Eve, our wellness spirit, are imbued with Harris distilled, a reflection of every part of the island. We believe that each little pot is subtly transformative, quietly connecting you to this landscape.

Regrowth for Degrowth

Sustainability is at the core of our philosophy. We prioritise regrowth by carefully managing our resources and cultivating our plants organically. By embracing degrowth, we focus on quality over quantity, ensuring that each small batch of skincare and wellness spirit is crafted with intention and mindfulness. This mindful approach not only preserves the integrity of place but also encourages a balanced and mindful approach to wellness.

Fostering Community

Our croft is not just a place of cultivation; it is a community hub. We believe in the power of connections and collaborations. From involving local artisans in the production process to engaging with integrated health and wellness professionals, we foster a vibrant community that shares our passion for holistic well-being. Together, we nurture a sense of belonging and support, creating a positive impact on the mind and body.

In Harmony with Seasonality

As the seasons change on Harris, so do the offerings of our croft. We celebrate the change, utilising seasonal herbs and botanicals to create skincare and wellness products that resonate with the rhythm of the land. Embracing seasonality means enjoying the freshest and most vibrant ingredients, providing you with truly authentic and potent products.