THE ART & SCIENCE OF PLANT DISTILLATION
A Plant in Every Drop
Hydrosols, also referred to as distillates, hydrolats, or floral waters, are the subtle and often aromatic waters resulting from a slowly distilled plant material for aromatherapeutic purposes. 'Hydro' means water and 'sol' means solution. Hydrosols were known and used for centuries and the term was coined by Jeanne Rose in 1990.
The distillation for hydrosols should always be slow and under low atmospheric pressure over sustained periods of time, with a practice of excellent hygiene. The use of pure, uncontaminated water to preserve all the therapeutic components of the plant material is critical. The intention is to create products for therapeutic use with minimal processing.
Hydrosols contain all of the plant in every drop, just like a hologram. Here we have the water-soluble components, the essential-oil molecules, the very fluid that was flowing through the plant cells when the plant was collected.
Maitri Verde Distillery
Alchemists from all over the world have performed transformational, healing distillations for over 3,000 years; an artful process I am humbled to participate in. It takes much more than a recipe to make an excellent hydrosol: we are working with nature and the four elements and it becomes art, with a distiller in the middle as a fifth element.
I use only fresh plant organically grown material right from the Maitri Garden or local farms to ensure that the plant material is as fresh as possible. This way we preserve the plant's cellular water and many components that are normally lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried plant material.
My small Maitri Verde distillery features three copper hand crafted split-column alembics shipped directly from Portugal: a 3 Liter "Lilith", 10 Liter "Artemis" and a 20 Liter "Apollo". They are made of best copper sheets with 100% lead free soldering.
A hydrosol starts as a seed,
It absorbs the sun and drinks the rain
It frolics with the wind, sings with the birds, sleeps with the moon. When harvest arrives, it dances with the Alembic to become one with fire and water. It rises as vapor and returns as liquid.
~ Ann Harmann
How to Use
Hydrosols are incredibly gentle and subtle. Contrary to their essential oil counterparts, they have almost no health contradictions. They are perfect as a daily facial toner and energetic mist, protecting and nourishing the skin from everyday pollutants.
In addition to tonifying the skin, hydrosols can be used as a holistic and energetic mist for mood, as a scalp tonic and added to baths. Hydrosols are precious ancient remedies, and some of natures most pure antioxidants for the skin. Mist as often as desired for a boost of hydration and refreshment.
Maitri Verde's own hydrosols include: Palo Santo, Lemongrass, Neem, Lemon, Rose, Rosemary, Sage and Ylang Ylang. They are not yet available for sale outside Costa Rica due to international shipping restrictions. But they are present as part of our "Journey of the Soul" aromatherapy line and in our botanical skincare formulations.