People often ask me how the idea for Alchemica Botanica TCM Essential Oils got started. They are curious about how the oils are produced and where they come from. With this article I hope to answer some of those questions and to share the process of my quest with you.

Originally, it was through Dr. Jeffrey Yuen's teachings on the use of essential oils in the context of Chinese medicine along with his ideas and encouragement that this project took shape. Ultimately it is a deep reverence for Chinese medicinal herbs developed over my thirty plus years as a practitioner that has motivated my search for their essential oils.

I began by reaching out to growers of Chinese medicinal plants here in the US with the idea. Unfortunately, so far there is not enough consistent supply of raw material to make this work as a domestic product. On average it takes 100lbs of an herb to produce one kilo (about 2 quarts) of an essential oil. Perhaps in the near future we will be able to produce some “limited edition” domestic oils.

I then contacted some of the companies that make concentrated granulates because the essential oils of the herbs are often extracted in the production process. Again, I found that supplies would likely be limited and inconsistent depending on their manufacturing needs.

That left me with the prospect of searching for ready-made essential oils directly from the source, where most of the herbs grow - China. People were constantly warning me about the pitfalls of doing businesses in China. However, diving in with an open, positive attitude and basic trust in human nature, through trial and error, I have learned how to “weed” out the bad actors and to “sniff” out the good. Over the past two years, I have visited large and small extractors, distillers, and perfumers in China who are enthusiastic and dedicated to producing high quality essential oils from authentic, high quality herbs. I feel lucky to have been able to establish trusting friendships with these wonderful people.

My first successful contact and subsequent visit with such a supplier was a factory and plantation in Guangdong Provence  where I found several great TCM essential oils and organic Ling Zhi Spore Oil extracted by "super critical fluid extraction" (CO2) using high tech equipment in a process which the company had developed. This CO2 process produces a very true aroma and it maintains the water metabolites of the herbs, keeping the medicinal properties of the oils very close to that of the herbs in decoction. The Ling Zhi is grown indoors using a proprietary organic food source. This is a beautiful, very impressive facility whose mission is about contributing to the health of the people and the planet.

The next good contact I made was equally impressive, although very different. This was a small family run steam distillery in Jiangxi Province where I found two beautiful oils (Jingjie and Long Nao) distilled from plants growing wild in the local area, giving these oils their especially bright, fresh aroma. In fact the owner, Mr Li, enthusiastically showed me the dryobalanops aromatica trees growing on his property from whose sap natural borneol is distilled to produce the Long Nao oil.

More recently I visited a larger modern distillery in southern China whose owner bears the title of perfumer. She is very passionate and serious about natural pure and authentic aromatic essential oils and floral absolutes. Chrysanthemum is the signature scent of the distillery and indeed, the Bai Ju Hua and Ye Ju Hua absolutes that I found there are absolutely heavenly.  Our powerful Qing Hao, Ai Ye, and Bi Cheng Qie essential oils are steam distilled at this factory as are our steam distilled Jasmine Sambac and Damascus Rose.

My search for earnest suppliers is ongoing. I am gratified and encouraged by the enthusiastic feedback that I have gotten from practitioners who are using the oils. My commitment to you is that I will personally verify each one and do my utmost to provide you with safe and effective tools to augment and inspire your practice.

—Evelyn Robert, L.Ac.


It is not the intention of Alchemica Botanica or the Alchemica Botanica website to provide specific information on disease processes or the healing of any disease or symptom. The information and statements regarding efficacy of products contained within this website are for informational and educational purposes only, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products mentioned within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease; and are not to be used as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical practitioner regarding any medical advice or treatment.