In 1995 I received a pamphlet from the Aromatic Plant Project titled 101 ways to Use Hydrosols.
Most of the brochure concerned itself with spraying the waters on your face and body or drinking them because they taste good, but my curiosity was piqued by a world I felt was waiting to be discovered .
Up to that point I had experienced only a few of the so-called floral waters: lavender, rose, orange blossom, rosemary, cornflower, and Roman chamomile. But I had learned enough about distillation to know that, theoretically, every plant that produces an essential oil will, when distilled, produce a hydrosol, and I began to wonder where all this water went and why it wasn't available.
I also instinctively felt that just spraying hydrosols on your face was ignoring the real possibility that these waters were as therapeutic as the oils, or at least as healing as herbs, tisanes, and other plant-based remedies. I began a search for hydrosols from every source I could find.
One organic Italian Neroli was particularly surprising, with an intensity of flavour and scent much closer to that of the oil than anything I had encountered previously. In retrospect I realized that the "hydrosols" I had been buying up to that point probably contained preservatives and/or alcohol, were far from fresh, and could easily have been synthetic. After trying the real Neroli water, I was gone... totally, utterly in love.
Then came the discovery of a company that offered no fewer than twenty different true aromatic waters. This was a revelation! An Aladdin's cave of hydrosols! I now had waters for oils that I barely knew: winter savory, Satureja montana. chemotype-specific hydrosols of rosemary and four different thymes; the expensive and elusive rock rose, Cistus ladaniferus.
But what to do with them all? I had already begun my studies of French aromatherapy, in which essential oils are seen as plant medicines and are used internally, topically, and aerially, not just for massage, as I had learned in England and Canada. So it was to the French that I turned to learn more about the hydrosols in my fridge.
Reference; Hydrosols: Suzanne catty
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