The Beauty of Hydrosol Distillation
Located on 280 acres of certified organic forest, grasslands and gardens, we had ample material to distill. We had 10 other students join us from all over the country including Hawaii! We loved everyone, and it was so great to make new friends!
Annie and Karen
We divided up into 3 groups and once the morning lectures were finished, we headed out to wildcraft our plant material, break for a fabulous lunch and start our distillations.
Filling the copper still with Spearmint
Distillations were accomplished in Copper Alembic stills. Copper makes the Distillate sweet immediately and doesn't have to "cure" to achieve an amazing hydrosol. Copper also naturally reduces bacterial contamination. Annie showed us the value of record keeping and using sterile techniques at all times during and after the distillation. Watching the hydrosol start to drip from the spout was an epic moment for all of us!
St. John's Wort and Yarrow
Smelling and tasting the hydrosol periodically is key to a beautiful, strong hydrosol.
- Hydrosols and essential oils often have different properties from each other.
- Hydrosols are mild but potent.
- Add 1 tsp of hydrosol in a bottle of water and sip all day. It's therapeutic and a joy!
- Annie states, "The term hydrosol was coined by Jeanne Rose about 1990 for the waters of distillation - from hydro for water and sol for solution, this is the first part of the distillate waters from the steam distillation of the plants".
- Other terms for hydrosol can include hydrolats & floral water, depending on what part of the world you are from.
- A hydrosol is not water and essential oils mixed together, but a process of steam distillation or hydro-distillation.
- Some plants that produce hydrosols do not produce essential oils, such as Cornflower.
- The water used to distill needs to be from a pure source (water is a whole topic on its own). Pure mountain water or "living" water is the best.
- Herbal books are great resources that often reference the benefits of each hydrosol. We have many hydrosols available!
What I learned from the class, "From Harvest to Hydrosol Workshop", is that the hydrosols are amazing! I saw the work involved in producing a high-quality artisan crafted distillate (hydrosol) and the sweet rewards of this hard work. There's nothing like handling the plant material, getting to know the plants and watching the process happen. Yes, hydrosols are amazing, therapeutic and fun to use. Distilling hydrosols is an art and a love of the plants "blossomed".