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The story of Oshadhi and why I decided to ignore everyone's advice

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You've probably noticed this yourself, but as you start to develop a higher profile on the internet and more attention comes your way, all manner of people seem to want to offer you advice.

I was approached the other day by someone who wanted to tell me how to communicate with customers. One of the golden rules, I was told, is 'Don't talk about yourself. Instead talk about them and their needs.'

Now I genuinely get the point. Totally. But today I'm going to completely ignore that advice and tell you about Oshadhi. Here's why...

When you start to use an essential oil it often seems as if it has a personality. Some people even feel as if they are inviting something living into their home or practice. Does that sound too fanciful? Maybe for some, but I think there's the seed of an idea there that will find echoes in the hearts of many.

Now if you decided to share your home with, say, a new dog, you'd want to find out as much as you could about it before you commit... It's personality, background and history, how it has been treated, etc.

Am I going a bit far here? Maybe, but the point I am making is that essential oils are much more than 'pleasant aromas', and offering them to the wider community somehow seems to be much more than shifting a box of widgets. Essential oils have their own insistent energy; they have vitality and a personality which is determined by many factors in the way that they are produced. Therefore I think you will want to know more about how the oils that you use are sourced.

So today I am — unashamedly — going to tell you about the philosophy which informs the sourcing of these oils, and a little about the personality behind the Oshadhi brand.

I hope I am right in thinking that you'll want to know about this...

What does 'Oshadhi' mean?
Oshadhi is the Sanskrit name for 'medicinal plant'. In Sanskrit, the language of the ancient Vedic civilization, all words have a meaning which is derived directly from their roots, and the roots, in turn, are said to have a direct correspondence between sound and meaning.
Oshadhi literally means 'burning transformation'; or we could say 'bearer of sunlight'. In Vedic civilization medicinal plants were seen as the 'transformers of sunlight' into a form that could be used by mankind.

The Story of Oshadhi
The Oshadhi brand of essential oils is the creation of Dr Malte Hozzel. Malte started to use essential oils in the 1970s and developed a strong interest in their practical application. Over the last 35 years he has travelled the world in a quest to find the best and purest oils, sourcing them direct from the growers. The oils are now sold in over 20 countries around the world. Below he explains more...

Sharing a light moment
That's the two of us sharing a joke at the Gorges du Tarn on an excursion during an aromatherapy seminar in Provence. Malte is on the right. I seem to remember we were arguing about which of us was more like a Viking. We've been friends for over 30 years and Malte has been a constant source of knowledge and inspiration to me. It is a daily privilege to be involved with Oshadhi oils.

Malte writes:
Our Goal:
Our goal has always been simple: to create and distribute a collection of essential oils which stand out through their uncompromising purity. The magic of Oshadhi essential oils - their outstanding therapeutic efficiency and depth of fragrance - stems of course from the plants themselves. What we have added (and this is our great strength) is our understanding. We do our best to ensure that each product contains the intelligence and healing power of the plant in its purest form. It is wonderful that this healing power can be available in a little cobalt blue bottle: so simple, neat, and beautiful.

Our Quest: Our 'treasure hunt' for the best essential oils goes on and on, never ending, always more surprising, always more demanding. This is a challenge we relish. During our quest, we have established strong ties with over 100 farmers of medicinal plants throughout the world.

Working with Farmers: These farmers are committed to the wise and prudent treatment of the soil and have demonstrated a deep respect for nature. Many do the same work as their father and grandfather did, often using traditional stainless steel or copper stills which provide the optimum conditions for the full aroma of the essential oils and maintenance of the active ingredients.

Responsible Ecological Farming: During our search we have witnessed ever-increasing degradation of the soil due to the misuse of natural resources. This is specifically due to the clear-cutting of plants, over-harvesting, the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and mono-cultural farming. Unfortunately few farmers are aware of the dramatic consequences of these widespread practices. Our commitment is therefore to promote organic farming and to work with producers who know how to handle nature in a loving and caring way. Whenever we make contact with new farmers we immediately draw their attention to the far-reaching positive consequences of responsible ecological farming.

Cooperation and Mutual Respect: We are convinced that cooperation, exchange of knowledge and mutual respect are the best means to echo back the message of nature reflected in the wonderful gift of these plants. We enjoy being able to be a piece in this puzzle of awakening to new values of life, of beauty, of wisdom and of health - and we thank everybody who participates in this goal.

- Dr Malte Hozzel, Founder Oshadhi Essential Oils

In keeping with our tradition of providing profiles of essential oils, here's a profile of Malte...

Origin: German but with some Danish ancestry

Habitat: Travels a lot with his wife Fabienne, and can be very elusive. Divides his time between the Oshadhi distribution facility in Germany, and Provence, where he can frequently be found running courses and seminars. A strong affinity with India where he flourishes, and can also occasionally be located in South America where he is a major sponsor of projects for homeless children in Colombia.

Chemical profile: An interesting blend of the spiritual and practical, with a light touch and a degree of sensitivity punctuated by frequent bursts of humour. Can be confusing when to take seriously.

Cautions: Slight tendency to oxidise when blended with a high concentration of French cyclists, but a generally sweet dryout. Can produce unpredictable results during excursions.

Uses: An invaluable source of knowledge. Powerful in large doses, but generally considered safe. Suitable for use with young children and especially the elderly. Not known to cause sensitization (so far).

I also have the transcript of an interview with Malte which I'll share with you soon. But there is one bit of advice that I am going to take note of, which is not to make my communications too long.

So that will have to wait for another time.