Snow Lotus, Certified Organic Artisan Essential Oils: A Conversation with Peter Holmes, L.Ac., MH, Founder of Snow Lotus

Peter is a medical herbalist, clinical aromatherapist, practitioner of Chinese medicine, and respected author. His experience spans over 30 years. Peter apprenticed with Cantonese herbalist Dr. Lee in London, graduated from the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (U.K.) in 1980, studied with Ted Kaptchuk, O.M.D., completed his postgraduate studies in Chinese medicine at the Ecole Européene d’Acupuncture in Paris, and completed Western herbal medicine training at the College of Consultant Herbalists in England. Peter also apprenticed with medical herbalist Christopher Hedley MNIMH, and with pharmacist-herbalist Henri Verdier in Paris, with an emphasis on the clinical uses of essential oils.

Peter is well known for his extensive research, writings, and lectures in the field of herbal and essential oil medicine. In addition to directing Snow Lotus Seminars, he is an adjunct faculty member at the Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis, MN.

How did the brand Snow Lotus start?  

It all began when I relocated to this country from England 30 years ago, started giving classes on using essential oils, and found that I needed to have high-quality essential oils available for my students. At the time there were almost no pure oils to be had. Today it’s still difficult to obtain pure and high-quality oils, for a number of reasons.

As well as being a master herbalist, you’re also an accomplished acupuncturist, has one become more of a priority or a concentration than the other?  If so, why?  If not, how do you give equal importance to both? 

In my practice there’s never been a question of either acupuncture or essential oil treatment being more important. It really boils down to what the patient needs for best treatment. Also, over the years I have developed a treatment modality that combines the acupuncture system with the oils, now called Aroma Acupoint Therapy. The treatment involves placing a drop of oil with a light touch over a point and holding it until a change is experienced. With my co-teachers, I have trained many practitioners in this country, Europe, Taiwan and China, most of whom keep on using this energetic treatment in their practices with excellent results. 

What sets Snow Lotus products apart from your competitors? 

Snow Lotus is unique in that it is an essential oil supplier directed by a practitioner for practitioners. There is the important educational aspect, and the equally important aspect of quality standards of the products. Both aspects are needed for practitioners to successfully use the oils in clinical practice. Again, practitioner training through seminars is something that’s been my focus for several decades.

What’s the number one reason patients may ask for your essential oils as their course of treatment?  

I think that many patients instinctively feel the benefits of these high-quality oils and blends; they naturally want to stick to this brand!

What are the top 5 things you would like practitioners to pass along to their patients about Snow Lotus products? 

The quality is top-notch and backed by organic status whenever possible. I personally source and check the quality of the oils; they are the same ones I use in my own practice. I have traveled extensively on five continents to meet my producers and document their production methods firsthand. I only select the oils with the most Qi potency, with high standards of organic production, and of course void of any subsequent adulteration – which is extremely common in this industry, unfortunately.

Whenever possible, I source the oils directly from oil producers in the countries of origin, rather than from distributors in the US; this greatly reduces the chances of adulteration by middle-men.

I am a multiple-published author in the herbal medicine and the essential oil users community. My recent book Aromatica has become a standard reference among practitioners using essential oils clinically.

To advise their patients about the best way to use them – all described on the Snow Lotus website and in Snow Lotus literature.

What are some common misconceptions about essential oils?  How do you deal with them? 

There are so many misconceptions and just sheer bad advice, put out mostly by the multi-level companies, unfortunately. The most basic misrepresentation is that oils can be treated like foods – this is completely false and disingenuous. The many unsafe, harmful practices advocated all stem from this erroneous – and dangerous – approach. Infants are especially at risk from misguided, dangerous practices. Practitioners need to feel secure in the knowledge that, when used appropriately, the oils they choose to use will not cause adverse reactions of any kind. 

What is most important when you are sourcing oils? 

The integrity of the plant material, the distillation process, and the distribution process – see above for details. Each stage of essential oil production can be of high quality and integrity, or it can be trimmed with short-cuts that diminish the quality of the final product. 

You have traveled the globe for over 30 years, where is the most interesting place you have ever been?  

Definitely the Comoros – a group of tiny, gorgeous islands lost somewhere in the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar. While there’s virtually no tourist infrastructure, they actually produce more than half of the world’s supply of Ylang Ylang oil! I spent many days there visiting one distiller after another and learning firsthand the production secrets to making good Ylang Ylang oil. 

But my favorite oils actually come from Morocco; there are so many lovely and high-potency oils produced in that country, some of which are rarely exported – like their Rose oil and Rose hydrosol from the desert south.

Where are you going to travel to next, and do you have anything special you are seeking to learn from this trip? 

I would like to return to Java and Sumatra. Last time I visited, just before the pandemic, I didn’t leave enough time to see Patchouli oil being produced; it’s not easy to gain access to that; now it’s high on my list. There are also distillers of spice oils on other islands of the Indian Ocean I’d like to check out, e.g. in Reunion, Mauritius and the Seychelles.


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