How to Make Herbal Hydrosols on the Stovetop

If you are new to making medicines and personal care products, the wide range of labels and names can be misleading. For example, just about everyone is familiar with essential oils, but what about hydrosols?

So what are hydrosols? And what are they used for? Read on to learn about them all, how to make them at home, and how to use them.

What exactly are hydrosols?

In simple terms, hydrosols are liquids that are distilled in the case of a plant. Typically, they are a by-product of the essential oil (EO) steam distillation process.

Plants have both fat-soluble and water-soluble components. Therefore, when the plants are distilled to take out their juicy oils, the watery parts of them remain. These are hydrosols. Essentially (no pun intended, I’m so sorry), a hydrosol is fragrant, herb-filled water. They have therapeutic properties, although neither strong nor concentrated as EO.

This makes hydrosols great, although it is a more gentle, personal care product. They are generally much safer than essential oils for treating children, and you can use them for many different purposes. Best of all, it’s funny that it’s easy to make your own, right on your stovetop.

what you’ll need:

  • A large cooking utensil with a lid with a handle on it
  • Two heat-safe bowls (when stacked back to back, they should fit well inside the vessel)
  • Plant material, either fresh or dried
  • Water (I use well spring water from my mountain, but you can also use distilled water or filtered rainwater)
  • Lots of snow (or snow, if you’re doing it in winter)
  • Sealable plastic bag
  • Clear Glass Jar (s) and Label

Instructions:

Wash dishes, lids and bowls thoroughly with warm, soapy water to eliminate any bacteria. Then, place the pot on your stovetop burner. Place one bowl down in the middle of the empty pot, and set the other on it, right-side up.

Next, spread your plant material evenly around the bottom bowl. Once there, gently add enough water to completely cover the plant material. If you are using dried plants instead of fresh, add enough water to eliminate it two or three times. This is because the herbs will absorb the liquid and expand during this process.

Increase the heat of the burner to medium-high, and cover the pot with the lid on the wrong side. You want the pot handle to be directly above the inverted bowl. Once it starts boiling slightly, reduce the heat to medium-low. We want a little steam to rise, but we do not want to destroy the plant material with a fierce boil.

Start Condensing!

Next, fill one of those zip bags with ice, and place it on the lid. It should be situated exactly in the middle of that concave surface. As the herb evaporates, it will hit the lid of the pot, which is being cooled by ice. When this happens, it will return as water and move down to the lowest available space.

She will handle.

This condensation (future hydrosol!) Will drip the handle into the inverted bowl. You will have to keep the ice on the lid as it melts, so fill some of those zip bags with ice in the freezer. That way, you can just pop a new one as needed, and you don’t have to worry about interrupting the process.

Continue this for about two hours, or until the plant material no longer leaves an odor.

At this point, transfer the infected water to a clean glass jar. This includes the label that you made it and the date you made it, then label it. Then, once cooled, you can use it immediately or keep it in the fridge for later.

What to use for hydrosol

One of the easiest ways to use hydrosol is as a facial mist. Rosewater and lavender water are amazing for spraying your face with a hot summer day. Just mix the hydrosols in the spray bottles, keep them in the fridge, and spray them on your skin whenever you want.

These same hydrosols also make excellent facial toners to help your skin absorb moisturizing creams or oils. If you make homemade skin creams or body lotions, you can use hydrosols as ingredients for those. Of course, these distilled water will have different effects, depending on the plant matter.

Herbal Hydrosols and Their Uses

  • Rose: Sensitive and mature skin benefits the most from rose in facial muscles, moisturizers and toners. Use a rose hydrosol with a drop of sandalwood EO as a luxurious body spray, or use a plain rose of spirit on the pillow for a deep, restful sleep.
  • Lavender: An ideal toner for all skin types. After cleansing, use it as a facial spray or cotton ball to tighten and balance the skin.
  • Cucumber: Soak cotton swab with this hydrosol to reduce dryness, or add it to a cool forehead compress to reduce fever.
  • Peppermint: Tired, wonderful for calming feet. Spray directly on the feet, or use in one leg before bed.
  • Chamomile: It has healing effects on all skin types and is ideal for calming rashes, burns and breakouts.
  • Eucalyptus: Wonderful for treating flaky skin and as a mild disinfectant for minor cuts and scratches.
  • Sage: Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties are ideal for underarm deodorant and hair rinses for treating dandruff or eczema.
  • Curry Plant: Helicism italicum Ideal for aging and strengthening the skin. Use it as a facial mist or in hydrating moisturizer formulas.
  • Cedar: Soap reduces inflammation and fungal infections in the skin. Also, use it in hot compress to reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Witch Hazel: Reduces inflammation, redness, and scar tissue and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Excellent for wound healing and for treating psoriasis and eczema.
  • Calendula: Perfect as a toner for all skin types, especially mixed with rose and helicrystem.
  • Lemon Balm: Beautiful to use as a room spray, especially to reduce stress, grief or anxiety.

Additional use

Considering their gentle fragrance, you can also use hydrosols as linen spray or add a fresh scent to a room. Spraying a little lilac in your bedroom on a February day can increase energy rapidly there.

Likewise, spraying a little pine, lemon, or cedar hydrosol in a family room can have beneficial, mood-enhancing effects on everyone there. Yay fragrance!

How long do hydrosols last?

Unlike essential oils (EOs), which are highly unfit for bacteria, hydrosols have a limited shelf life. It is best to refrigerate them to avoid offending them, like you would with juice. They will stay fresh and good for 6-12 months, provided they are not contaminated by anything. If you notice any strange floating material in your hydrosol jar, leave it immediately.

Conversely, essential oils last for a decade, provided that you do not find anything gross in the bottles. They will lose some power over time, but they are unlikely to mold.

If you have space for this, try to get yourself a mini-fridge for the basement or garage. You can store your kitchen and other homemade herbal remedy products without valuable kitchen real estate. Best of all, you will keep your products from spoiling and not forget them for different spices.

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