We hear a lot about essential oils but what are hydrosols?
It's hard to talk about essential oils without talking about hydrosols because essential oils cannot be made without also making hydrosol. Hydrosols are the pure, natural waters that are produced during the steam or hydro distillation of plant materials such as flowers, leaves, needles and twigs, resins, roots, seeds, and woods. They are produced during the same distillation process that also extracts the essential oils. Essential oils are the highly concentrated aromatic extracts that contain the oil soluble components of the plant. Hydrosol contains all of the water soluble components of the plant's essence, including natural alcohols, acids and tannins as well as a very small amount of essential oil suspended within it. Hydrosols are not as concentrated as essential oils so they can be used undiluted on the skin. They are safe and gentle for all ages and for those with sensitive skin offering subtle aromatherapy and therapeutic benefits.
Essential oils and hydrosols are special impressions of the plants during a moment in time when they were harvested. Each batch is characteristically unique like a fingerprint that captures a snap shot like no other. The growing environment - amount of rain or sunlight and the soil condition, the harvest - plant parts and time during its growing cycle it was harvested, make each distillation a work of art that is part science and part love. I am honored to be able to accept what the plants are offering - their sweet, sticky nectar and aroma - and breathe it in and share it with you.
For that reason, each batch is marked with its extraction date - this is when the distillation took place.
How does the process work?
I start with the highest quality local plants handpicked at their peak of freshness. Using a traditional copper alembic and/or a hybrid copper and stainless steel still, I pack the column with the plant material. As the water in the pot underneath comes to a boil, steam rises up through the plants bursting the essential oil containing glands. The essential oil vapor mixes with the steam and rises into the coils of the condenser. The tank cools the vapor and steam producing both essential oil and hydrosol. My copper still is a thing of beauty, hand-hammered and imported from Portugal, and produces the sweetest hydrosols. Would you like to see it in action? See my video below.
How to use Hydrosols
I use hydrosols in place of water in my soap making, and other formulations. They have many uses, here are just some:
I have several hydrosols available at this time. Many of the botanicals were planted, grown, harvested and extracted right here on our property in Oak Run, California, others were wild harvested in nearby Siskiyou County and areas of Shasta County. By my own hands. From me to you.