The Art of Distillation for Health and Beauty
Distillation is a fascinating field of study for the hobbyist, aromatherapist and herbalist alike.
I have had an interest in the distillation of essential oils and hydrosols since purchasing my first distillation equipment back in the 1990’s. I used to walk around my neighbourhood gathering whatever was available, whether it be herbs from the local woods, or flowers from gardens (I did ask permission in this case). Everything that was plant like would be put into the still and then we would see what would come out on the other side.
The picture on the left shows my first still. It had an inbuilt cooling system and operated by just plugging in to wall. The main picture shows me distilling lavender in a glass still and the 3rdpicture, shows the resulting essential oil of lavender, floating on top of the lavender hydrosol.
Since my first still was small, I was able to collect some wonderful hydrosols (floral water) and kept these for a good number of years in great condition!
Since that time, I have owned a variety of stills producing various essential oils and hydrosols on a regular basis.
2019 Distillation Workshops
The Aroma Shoppe is excited to offer distillation workshops in 2019!
From the “farm” to the bottle, you will gain a new appreciation for the power of essential oils and hydrosols. Tuition includes 50ml hydrosol of each distillation completed.
What we’ll do:
This distillation is to be held in late spring or early autumn to allow for the gathering of the plants and the full preparation process.
- Gather the raw ingredient - herb, flower or plant depending upon the time of year and prepare them for distillation
- Distill the prepared plant material
- Learn about indications and applications of hydrosols
- How to purchase small distillers for under $400
- Share and dialog!
- Take home hydrosol of the afternoons distillation!
What are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols, also called floral waters, hydrolats or distillates, are a by-product of essential oil distillation. Ignored and discarded for a long time, hydrosols have recently been rediscovered for their therapeutic properties, which are similar to their corresponding essential oils, but much milder.
Hydrosols are used mainly in skin care, in cleansers, toners and anti-ageing serums and moisturisers. They are good for all skin types, both mature and young skins, balancing for both oily and dry skin types. They are antiseptic and are naturally pH balanced for the skin. In addition, many hydrosols are used in cooking as natural flavouring in various types of dishes, soups and deserts; particularly in fruit salads.
Following is a partial list of floral waters with a brief description of their general therapeutic uses:
Rose water - Rosa damascena
An exquisite toner used for all skin types, but especially for mature skins and those prone to rosacea prone skin with broken capillaries. Internally, it is recommended for hangovers!
Cucumber water – Cucumis sativus
Cucumber hydrosol is refreshing, cooling, astringent, hydrating, tones and firms the skin. It can be used directly on the skin as a toner or as a hydrating spritzer, used also in skin care masks as well as in room and body sprays.
Lavender water – Lavandula officinalis
This is a delightful hydrosol that helps balance moods. It helps relieve itchy or sunburned skin. Blend it with cucumber hydrosol for a good internal, general cleanser.
Peppermint water – Mentha piperita
Peppermint hydrosol is antiseptic, antispasmodic – helpful for the digestive system. Peppermint repels mosquitoes and is excellent for migraines and as a mouthwash.
Here is an animation of the distilling process