Hydrosols as "Waters of the Sun"
Intuitively, when we delve into the meaning of the word "hydrosol," we see "water" as "hydro" and "sun" as sol. A direct translation could mean, "water of the sun." We love this line of thought here at Aster Earth and if you read on you'll see why hydrosols, to us, are truly waters of the sun.
This is, however, the completely INCORRECT definition! Hydrosols, are a "sol" dispersed in water. This is not "sol," as in sun or "sol" as in soul. This is "sol," as in the chemistry nerd (yes, that's us) term colloid. A colloid is homogenous (fancy word for same throughout) noncrystalline substance consisting of molecules of one substance dispersed throughout another.
So now that we have all the technical jargon out of the way, a hydrosol is a substance dispersed in water. We focus exclusively on the distillation of plant matter, so the substance dispersed in the water are plant molecules in our hydrosols.
How is a Hydrosol Made?
See that beautiful copper piece of equipment up there? That is an Alembic still. The still was developed in 800AD by the Arab alchemist Jabir bin Hayyan. So, yeah there's some history here. We place the herbs into the rounded part at the bottom, also referred to as the belly. Then we add water, our key ingredient. When heat is applied to the bottom of the belly the water molecules get excited and jump around. Eventually they become so excited, due to energetic transfer, they evaporate. The condenser coil catches all of the evaporate and we cool it down.
When a gas cools...what does it become?
The resulting liquid is harvested and our hydrosol is born. The entire process takes hours to complete. We believe it is so worth every moment. The hydrosol is a beautiful representation of the plant in a liquid form. It is gentle, yet potent allowing one to use it directly without dilution, as some essential oils may require.
When we have our harvested hydrosol, there is a thin layer of oil that lies on top of the water.
Guess what that is, lovelies? That's our essential oil!
Hydrosols and essential oils are the "spirit" of the plant, achieved via distillation. Guess what else we refer to as "spirits," also harvested via the process of distillation...yep...you may be drinking it right now. Just as alcohols are a purified liquid version of a vegetable "mash," so hydrosols are a purified version of herbs and flowers. If the alchemist developing this technique nearly 2000 years ago doesn't resonate with you, perhaps you have some moonshining ancestors that you could tap into to marvel in this process right along with us.
How to Hydrosol
Hydrosols are an amazing addition to any D.I.Y. recipe my makers could get into. Pretty much any application that has water in it can be adjusted to include these "waters of the sun," hydrosols.
- room sprays
- bath bombs
- after shave
If you are not crafty...and prefer to not make...well... anything! You could still benefit from a hydrosol in your life.
- apply after removing makeup and before moisturizer for plant-powered skin health
- spray as an air freshener
- use as a linen spray
- use in the car to freshen the funk
- apply to minor bumps, bruises, scrapes to support skin cell regeneration
- pour into a bath for a boost in relaxation
- mix with powdered masks like this one
Here at Aster Earth, we focus on distilling wild-crafted desert plants such as juniper, creosote, and rosemary. We also offer a few fun hydrosols like rose and coffee. You can see our entire selection here.
While the direct translations does not mean "waters of the sun," we hope you see why we love that definition so much more. Growing healthy plants requires sun. Distillation requires water. Distilling plants is literally creating a water infused with the energy of the plant, the energy of the sun.