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Hydrosols and Herbs
With this in mind, the tinctures that my colleagues and I have prepared in the last three seasons were made using 95 percent ethyl alcohol diluted to 60 percent with hydrosol of the tinctured herb. This was then poured over the herb and left to macerate for about two weeks.
The tincture was then strained and filtered through fine cheese cloth and diluted down to the appropriate level of alcohol by volume with more hydrosol. I call these products Aromatic Tinctures, a trademarked name. They smell and taste quite remarkable-unlike traditional tinctures, which smell only of alcohol.
They also contain both the alcohol-soluble (complex sugars, alkaloids) and water-soluble (acids, aromatic and carbon molecules) components of the plants. I have now made Aromatic Tinctures of melissa, Ledum, Echinacea, Saint John's wort, German chamomile, and yarrow. Some of the tinctures were succussed after the hydrosol was added, some were not; personally I find the succussing or banging the Aromatic Tincture before every use is the best method. The efficacy of the tinctures seems to be enhanced by the hydrosol , and they certainly smell and taste much better than most tinctures.
It is too early to know exactly how different they are in physical effect, but they "feel" more active and have yielded some exceptional results with adults, children, and pets. I believe the addition of hydrosols will be a recognized way to prepare tinctures in the future. I have replaced all my flower remedies with Aromatic Tinctures.
We are also working with tinctures by adding complementary hydrosols, German chamomile water added to melissa tincture creates a more sedative nerve relaxant. Melissa tincture with neroli hydrosol is for states of high anxiety, panic, and exam jitters; and then there's Saint John's wort tincture with linden hydrosol, which is a real knockout. The possibilities are endless, and in the case of shelf life is not an issue because of the high alcohol component of the tincture.
Reference: Hydrosols- The Next Aromatherapy: Suzanne Catty