Hydro-what? I'd never heard of a hydrosol before I began studying herbalism, and I'm guessing some of you haven't either. The word often draws a few blank stares from people, which is too bad, because they're amazing. I consider our hydrosols some of the most special remedies we make because they capture the essence of the fresh, beautiful plants we work with.
So what are they?
A hydrosol is basically a natural plant water, obtained through steam distillation (they're sometimes referred to as 'floral waters'). It contains some of the plant's essential oils, along with other water soluble components, giving it a fragrance and many other nice, therapeutic qualities.
How are they made?
We begin making our hydrosols by gathering fresh herbs and flowers from Elie's dad's biodynamic garden in California. These plants are grown in accordance with the lunar and solar cycles and are full of vital energy. We also wildcraft our herbs or grow them in our own Portland garden. The fresh plant matter then goes straight into our copper Alembic still, which is handmade in Portugal. Steam in the still softens the plants, releasing volatile oils. When the steam cools, it condenses back into water, now containing those oils and water-soluble compounds. That water is the hydrosol.
What are they used for?
So many different things! The versatility of hydrosols are one of the reasons they're so lovely and useful. Here's a few ideas:
Healing + toning skin - The healing powers of hydrosols are very gentle, meaning they're great for any skin, especially delicate facial skin. They contain many anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of the plant they are made from. They're also slightly astringent, meaning they help balance skin tone and reduce redness. Different hydrosols have more specific + varied therapeutics- we blend some of our favorite flower hydrosols into a Balancing Facial Toner.
Aromatherapy - Hydrosols smell wonderful, often having a lighter and more complex scent than the pure essential oil of that plant. Mist them around you or in your personal space to change your mood and energy.
Freshening - Try misting your linens right before you climb in bed to help you relax into sleep. Or use a hydrosol to clear the air of a not-so-good smell.
Soothing + cooling - Whether you're sun burnt or simply feeling overheated, hydrosols are great for cooling your skin down. We especially like keeping one in the fridge during the summer for this purpose. Simply mist your skin for some instant relief.
Baths - If you have a larger amount of hydrosol, try adding a cup into your bathwater. It smells wonderful and is a great way to lift your mood and treat your skin.
We offer hydrosols of Rose Geranium, Yarrow, White Sage, Red Cedar, Tulsi, Rosemary and Lemon Verbena.