During our third project meeting, we visited «Histria Aromatica», the educational agro-tourism centre of «Aromatica», a company that is famous for the production of cosmetics and essential oils.
We met the owner, Mr Boris Filipaj, who told us that his company is environmentally friendly and does its best to use in a sensible way the natural resources available. «Histria Aromatica» has been making great efforts to promote ethnobotany as a scientific discipline and to preserve tradition. Mr Boris Filipaj said that he had always dreamed of creating such a company, and then his dream came true.
He first explained to us how some plants can be used in medicine. He mentioned the white willow, a plant that was used in the past to lower the body temperature. A German scientist did some research on this plant and found out that it can be a remedy for pain. Now it is used to produce the aspirin.
Then Mr Filipaj showed us the pyrethrum, also called the Dalmatian chrysanthemum, a plant that is widespread on the Dalmatian coastline. The Croatian scientist and Nobel prize winner Ladislav Ružička found out that this plant is a good repellent and keeps insects away from other plants. Croatia exported the pyrethrum at the beginning of the 19th century. Mr Filipaj said that the American cowboys used this plant to protect themselves from insects.
The main factory is in Zagreb and produces around 350 different products. The company uses its own essential oils to make most products but also has to buy some since some plants do not grow on the Croatian territory.
We also visited the «Histria Aromatica» laboratory where they showed us how the essential oil from the lavender is made.
First they put the lavender flowers in a pot, then they added water and heated it with a flame. While the water was heating it extracted the oil that was in the flower. Then they got a mixture of steam and water. This mixture entered another container and they cooled it down with cold water. This is how they extract the essential oil from the lavender flower. To produce orange and lemon essential oils, they do not use distillation but they compress the fruit. Their essential oils are used in cooking, medicine and especially in cosmetics.
We enjoyed our visit and seeing the plantation of peppermint, chamomile, calendula, lavander and sage.
Sara Jozić, TSŠ-SMSI, Rovinj-Rovigno