About Our Hydrosols

What is a Hydrosol?

Hydrosols (also known as herbal distillates, floral waters, herbal waters, hydrolates, and essential waters) are aqueous products of the steam distillation of plants and herbs.  Hydrosols are produced at the same time as essential oils. Plant material and water is heated in a still, and the extracted oil and resulting steam is collected in an attached funnel. Most of the essential oil floats to the top where it is removed, and the remaining watery solution is the hydrosol. However, some of the essential oil is unremovable, causing hydrosols to have microscopic insoluble particles of essential oils dispersed throughout them. A hydrosol is essentially a very diluted essential oil that is able to be safely used on skin while retaining the benefits of essential oils.

How to Use Hydrosols

Hydrosols make wonderful chemical free facial toners and can be used morning and night on all skin types.  Hydrosols can be misted on the face, neck and body throughout the day for personal aromatherapy.  Hydrosols can be added to bath water or used in the home to freshen the air and linens.  They make a wonderful hair fragrance spray, garment freshening spray, the uses are endless!

How to Care for Hydrosols

All of our hydrosols that are offered for sale were distilled in 2018.  Hydrosols are perishable!  The shelf life of our hydrosols is prolonged by refrigeration, avoid changes in temperature and treat them with care!  Although our hydrosols will last longer we suggest using them within 12 months of purchase.

 What is Distillation?

At it's most basic definition, distillation is the act of steaming a material by applying heat and water. To create hydrosols, we use a still, heat, water, and steam to extract the essence of herbs. At Spring Thyme Herb Farm, we use copper stills to ensure that our hydrosols are sweet-smelling and immediately usable. We distill fresh herbs in small batches to create high quality hydrosols.

 

The History of Hydrosols

Humans have been distilling plants for essential oils and hydrosols for thousands of years. The oldest distillation apparatus is a 4,000 year old still excavated from an ancient perfume factory on the island of Cyprus in Greece. Avicenna, an 11th century Persian polymath, contributed greatly to the development and popularity of steam distillation. During the Renaissance, the Swiss physician Paracelsus used distillation to extract the essence of medicinal plants and was one of the first people to use a coil encased in water during distillation. 

Ancient distillers actually focused more on hydrosols as the primary product rather than essential oils. It wasn't until the late 1700s that essential oils increased in popularity, eventually causing hydrosols to be considered just a by-product of essential oil. However, with the recent surplus of facial toners and floral waters on the beauty market, hydrosols are once again recognized as a valuable co-product of essential oils.

 

Hydrosols in the Modern Cosmetic Industry

Unfortunately, there is little regulation in the modern beauty industry for products claiming to be "natural" and "organic" without actual organic certification. Our hydrosols are certified organic by Pennsylvania Certified Organic and the National Organic Program (NOP) and proudly bear the USDA-Certified symbol on their labels.