In a world saturated with synthetic fragrances and chemical-laden products, the allure of crafting your own botanical elixirs has gained significant momentum. One such enchanting creation is the hydrosol. Often referred to as “flower water” or “plant distillate,” hydrosols are aromatic waters produced through the steam distillation of botanicals, offering a gentle and versatile alternative to essential oils.
Hydrosols can be used both internally and externally provided they come from a non-toxic plant. Their lighter flavor and aroma make them pair fabulously with other ingredients in baked goods like cookies, as well as in skin care recipes such as lotions, creams, and body mists.
Whether you’re a seasoned herbalist or a curious beginner, I’ve put together this guide to help you create hydrosols at home, empowering you to infuse your daily routines with the pure essence of flowers, herbs, and botanical wonders.
Choosing the right plant material
Selecting the right plant material is crucial when making a hydrosol, as it directly influences the aroma, properties, and overall quality of the final product. Here are some popular and versatile choices for crafting hydrosols:
- Known for its calming and soothing properties.
- Produces a floral and herbaceous aroma.
- Ideal for promoting relaxation and alleviating stress
- Offers a sweet and floral fragrance.
- Known for its hydrating and skin-nourishing properties.
- Creates a luxurious and emotionally uplifting hydrosol.
- Calming and gentle, suitable for sensitive skin.
- Known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing effects.
- Releases a mild, apple-like fragrance.
- Invigorating and refreshing, great for a pick-me-up.
- Has antimicrobial properties.
- Provides a crisp, mentholated scent.
- Known for its respiratory benefits.
- Offers a fresh, camphoraceous aroma.
- Ideal for creating a revitalizing and clearing hydrosol.
- Balancing and uplifting for the skin.
- Has a rosy and slightly minty scent.
- Suitable for all skin types.
- Refreshing and energizing.
- Offers a bright, fruity aroma.
- Known for its mood-enhancing properties.
- Balancing and soothing.
- Has a sweet and earthy aroma.
- Suitable for promoting relaxation and emotional well-being.
- Grounding and spiritually uplifting.
- Has a resinous, woody scent.
- Ideal for meditation and promoting a sense of tranquility.
- Exotic and floral.
- Known for its aphrodisiac properties.
- Creates a rich and sensual hydrosol.
When choosing plant material, ensure it is free from pesticides and contaminants to produce a pure and high-quality hydrosol. Additionally, consider your personal preferences and the intended use of the hydrosol to tailor your selection to your specific needs.
Make your own hydrosol
What you need:
- Large pot with a lid, such as a pot for canning
- A small container or bowl that will be placed inside of the pot to collect the hydrosol
- A jar rack, heat-proof ramekin, or another heat-proof item to stand your container on inside the pot
- Distilled or filtered water
- Ice cubes
- Plant material (at least 3 quarts, fresh-picked)
- A spray bottle with a mister
- Place the jar rack, ramekin, or another heat-proof item in the bottom of your large pot, then add the smaller container or bowl on top of that.
- Fill the bottom of your large pot with the plant material – the plants should reach up to the smaller container or bowl.
- Fill the pot with water, just until the plant material is submerged.
- Place the lid for the larger pot upside down, on top of the large pot. Fill it with ice cubes.
- Allow everything to heat up on the stove over medium-low heat. You want the water surrounding the plant material to steam, but not boil. The process generally takes 20 minutes or so. If you use a clear lid, you’ll be able to see the hydrosol condense. The water steams the plant material, which carries all of those wonderful benefits into the air. The steam collects on the lid and condenses, thanks to the ice cubes. As the lid is on the pot upside down, the steam is then transformed back into a liquid which is directed to drip down inside the smaller bowl – that liquid is the hydrosol.
- Store your hydrosol in a dark glass container in the refrigerator.
If you decide to purchase pre-made hydrosol, choose a brand that makes high-quality, 100% pure hydrosol with no added chemicals.
How to use hydrosol
Basic Hydrosol Hair Rinse
To make a basic Hydrosol hair rinse, combine your favorite hydrosol with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar. Rinse your hair with this mixture once each week to dissolve residue from shampoos and all of those other hair products. It will help improve softness and shine while helping to balance the PH of your hair and scalp.
Natural Bathroom Spray
This is a great natural chemical-free alternative for cleaning your bathroom, ideal for surfaces like counters and sinks.
- 16 oz spray bottle
- 14 oz rosemary hydrosol
- 3 tbsp Castille soap
- 15 drops tea tree essential oil
- 15 drops oregano essential oil
Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake to mix.
This spray is an alternative to chemical sprays like Febreze. You can use it as a room deodorizer, to refresh your sofa, fabric-covered chairs, pillows, bed linens, mattresses, and more.
- 16 oz spray bottle
- 3 oz vodka (unflavored)
- 15 drops of your favorite essential oil (sweet orange, lemon, and lavender are ideal)
- 12 oz hydrosol of your choice
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle; shake well before every use.
Cooling Pain Reliever For Muscle Aches
If you suffer from muscle aches and pains, you’ll want to keep this rub handy.
- 1 cup Aloe vera gel
- 1 tbsp Laurel (bay) hydrosol
- 1 tbsp St. John’s Wort herbal oil
- 1 tbsp arnica oil
- 12 drops birch or wintergreen essential oil
- 14 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- Add all ingredients to a glass bowl. Stir well using a stainless steel whisk. If you need to, you can add a bit more aloe vera gel to thicken it up, or add more hydrosol if you’d like it to be thinner, or eliminate the sticky/tacky feeling a gel typically has.
- Apply it to any sore muscles, like your shoulders or on the back of your neck if you’re especially tense in that area. You can also rub it into any areas of your body where there are aches and pains.
- Store the remainder in a glass jar and keep it out of direct sunlight.
Unlocking the key to botanical wellness
By venturing into the realm of homemade hydrosols, you’ve embraced a fragrant path that not only nourishes the skin but also improves overall well-being. Each drop of your carefully crafted hydrosol carries with it the essence of the botanical world—a testament to the artistry of plant distillation.
These recipes are a springboard for your creativity, encouraging you to experiment with combinations, ratios, and applications. Whether you seek the calming embrace of lavender, the uplifting energy of citrus, or the grounding power of frankincense, the possibilities are as vast and diverse as nature itself.