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The Oshadhi Vision: An Interview with Malte Hozzel

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Last time I promised to send you an interview with Malte in which he talks more about how Oshadhi came into existence, and the thinking and feeling that informs it.

I had been planning to wait a few weeks before I sent it to you, but to be honest, there was such a nice response to the last email — together with various requests for more information — that I thought I would send this to you now while the thought is still fresh.

You'll find the interview, which I have reproduced in full, below. On our website you will also find a selection of short videos of Malte.

Distilling Lavender in Provence

This picture shows Malte (right) teaching an aromatherapy course in Provence. The courses always include a demonstration of essential oil distillation performed by M. Guy Rolland, a local French farmer whose family have been producers of essential oils for several generations. Malte cherishes this contact with traditional knowledge and local expertise.

Here is a transcript of a 2015 interview with Dr Malte Hozzel in which he talks about Oshadhi, how it came about, and his attitude and philosophy to the supply of essential oils.

Why did you get into the aroma oil business?
Essential oils crossed my path decades ago when I was living with my wife in France. They were already part of the daily life of many people at that time before they became popular in other Western countries. With the existing literature of authors like René Gattefossé, Jean Valnet, Pierre Franchomme, etc, it was easy for people in France to understand how to use essential oils as an alternative to allopathic medicine or simply as natural room fragrancers.

When did you get into the aroma oil business?
We started our company in Germany in 1990 after nearly 20 years of using essential oils as our personal 'companions' at home, and also particularly during intense times of travelling.

What differentiates you from other aroma oil companies? Are there differences in oil quality from one brand to another? How do you choose oils for your Oshadhi brand? What differentiates the oil quality in your brand from what is found generally in the market?
I do not know all the aroma oil companies, and it would be unfair to say that others pay less attention to quality research than we do. But it is also true that there are definitely a large number of oils in the market which do not represent the high quality you would like to find for therapeutic-grade products, and which even do not correspond to the olfactive standards let alone to the highest quality. It is these products which rather harm the cause of true aromatherapy.

On the other hand, it is clear that you need a lot of experience in order to choose the right oil from the thousands of traders and producers around the world. Many newcomers, when they find all the different price offers in the market, think that there is quick money to be made in buying the cheapest product and then selling it on at a lower than average price. My experience is that as soon as one purchases oils from indirect sources (that means not directly from the producer) there is a very much higher chance of getting a medium quality (if not an adulterated) product.

That is why ongoing experience with essential oils is a must to avoid these pitfalls. The nose has to get its training in order to be able to distinguish good quality from minor or bad. Adulteration is a big theme in the whole area of production and trading. The best producers are not always easy to find. That is clear. We have been travelling extensively for many years in order to make direct contact with producers in numerous countries. Direct contact: yes, that is still the best option. Once you know the distiller, it is rare to make mistakes in your choice. And it is good to cherish such contacts, because these people are doing an incredible job.

Also, it is good to be quite sensitive in order to have the right feeling for the oils. Often you just choose an oil from intuition even without having made the relevant lab tests. Most important for me is a 'good relationship' with Mother Nature; let's say being able to connect with the natural; wanting to receive Nature’s gifts; wanting to share them with others... and all this with a deep feeling of gratitude. I think the spiritual part of life is that level on which plants connect best with the humans and from where plants really 'exhale' their power, their energy, their healing. So, if we try to live and act from there the field energy between man and plant does the rest. And this reflects back on the oils which you want to distribute. In this sense, knowledge is an important basis even simply for an aroma business, and I think we are doing not too bad teaching around the world and especially with our Aromatherapy Seminar Center in High Provence, France where each year we receive international groups of people interested in aromatherapy.

Last but not least: we treat our oils with respect since we consider them to be 'living molecules'. For us, they are powerfully radiating energies from the secret treasure-house of Nature's intelligence. In our company, when our people leave in the evening after work, we shower music onto the oils vibrating from specially installed loudspeakers incorporated in the ceiling of our warehouse. This happens every night and every weekend. On the basis of Dr. Emoto’s research in Japan — Messages from Water — many people will understand why we do this. And also why harmony among our co-workers is of utmost importance. It may sound surprising to many, but we do not think that money is the most important aspect in our business. We consider joyful interaction with humans and happy cooperation with Nature as more significant.

What is the process you go through to create your oils?
We do not create oils since we are not medicinal plant farmers. But we do create numerous products with formulas mainly from three different groups of plant extracts:

  • Essential oils
  • Vegetable or 'Carrier' oils
  • Hydrolats (or floral waters) which are, like essential oils, the product of distilling plants

The process of creating all these formulas is again very much based on knowledge and intuition. But, for me personally, the oils 'do the trick' themselves. If you have the best raw material and an open mind and heart, you are surprised most of the time how easy it is to create a natural perfume, a massage oil, a facial oil, a synergy of essential oils, etc. Actually, we have nothing to add, nothing to invent. Everything beautiful and harmonious in Nature, everything which has to do with real life in the universe, whether gross or subtle, is already there. We just need to remember as it was before and put the pieces together, even in our daily dealings with creating essential oils formulas and doing business with them. I say it again: the plants do it themselves.

Do you grow the flowers yourself?
No, we don’t. But we did farm Lavender for some time in the 1990s at our 150 acres in High-Provence. However, in our personal case, we had to make a choice about whether we wanted to do all the many other things linked to the development of our constantly expanding lines of essential oils and aroma products. We therefore asked one of our farmer friends nearby to take care of the Lavender fields.

Do you know all the farmers who grow the flowers for you?
We know most of them, yes. It is important for us to have as much personal contact as possible. Not because we do not trust, but because it is more enjoyable to know who is behind that magic of medicinal plant agriculture.

What quality controls do you have to assess your oils?
Olfactive testing (means smelling) is of the first importance. You need a trained nose, as already explained. After that you do the usual lab tests like optical rotation, refraction, density, gas chromatography, and mass spectrography. We have to understand that the lack of reliable information regarding the origin and purity of essential oils has led to uncertainty in the market. A rapidly growing number of people, motivated by a desire for alternative sources of health and well-being, are discovering essential oils for the first time. Some do not yet have the ability to evaluate better quality, higher energy, purer fragrance, etc, in the midst of the ever-increasing variety of products available in the market. For this reason it is good that scientific quality tests exist. But better than this is experience with the oils. Real quality reveals itself from inside the person based on experience, understanding, and love for the oils.

Is there anything special about the building you are in that created better quality oils?
We decided to give a home to our company — and our companions, the oils and hydrolats :-) — which has the best orientation possible with regards to early sun exposure, vastness of space, unpolluted naturalness of the environment, etc. Also our building material is mostly wood from Pine and Larch trees. Add to this high ceilings, large windows which give good light to the humans, a lot of inner building space... For this, we chose to follow the principle of vastu, ancient Indian design principles. You could call it the Feng Shui of India.

I understand you give courses on aroma oils and therapies, could you please comment on that?
Yes, many courses have been given over time, in many countries on four continents. Also, our place in High Provence which we call Orto de Prouvènço (meaning 'large garden of Provence' in the original Provençal language) has been a real hit for international groups since 1995. I love to teach, and I love to attract people’s attention to the secrets of the healing power of essential oils. And best of all is when they learn about this 'on the spot' in Provence in direct contact with the incredible multitude of essential oils plants. It is easy to understand Nature when Nature is at its best, which is the case in High Provence. Here, the essential oils reveal their secrets directly: that they are material substance on one side and subtle energies at the same time. Here, people understand that essential oils are truly the 'magic wand' of Nature. It is also important to show people how to distill. We do this also at our place. To visit our extremely beautiful area around Mont Ventoux with its rich flora on an ancient cultural background is an initiation in itself. I have not seen any other place in the world so far where the breathtaking beauty of landscape, the scenic diversity of the villages, many of them on hill tops, and the presence of the medicinal flora have created such an intrinsic harmony to delight the eyes and the soul at the same time.

Please include any testimonials you have for Oshadhi
Well, you had better go on Internet and find out yourself, right? Our goal has always been simple : to create and distribute a collection of essential oils which stand out for their uncompromising purity. We do our best to ensure that each product contains the intelligence and therapeutic energy of the plant in its most authentic form. Our 'treasure hunt' for the best oils goes on and on, never ending and always more surprising and more demanding. People in the world seem to respond to that - and they keep us 'in the rhythm'. It is marvelous to be connected with so many lovers of essential oils all over the world.

And, of course, there are endless stories to tell of why people love our oils. They respond as soon as they have the feeling, the nose, the sensitivity. Subtle pure energy expresses itself on the olfactive level. If people capture this they fall in love with Oshadhi. That’s how it is, we keep experiencing this in their testimonials. But I always say: it is absolutely natural to find the best oils in the world. And the most simple too. It is much more complicated to do less good or to adulterate oils.

From our side, we are convinced that pure and unadulterated essential oils are our allies on the path to optimal physical well-being and happiness. And we want to share this with as many people as possible. With our products we are committed to fulfil the need for a line of essential oils and aromatics which reflect purity and vitality. We love to inspire knowledge and enthusiasm for an energy medicine in a new era of deeper plant awareness and self-healing. In their expression of the highest intelligence of Nature, the medicinal and aromatic plants will help us to rise in strength, to recreate health (if it is lost), and to make our lives, individually and collectively, more comfortable and more in tune with the heartbeat of the Universe.

Below are the links to specific videos of Malte explaining his approach. You'll find them all on the videos page of our website, which we constantly update.

Experiencing a plant to understand its essential oil
Love the plants: the key to understanding essential oils
Aromatherapy: Global networking with essential oils
The multiplicity of benefits offered by essential oils
Essential oil compounds and their evolution
The importance of the trace elements in essential oils
Essential oil chemistry 1: Ketones
Neem oil: A sacred oil from India with special benefit for skin care
Sacha Inchi: A rich source of balanced omega oils