Hydrosol, also known as herbal distillate, is a byproduct or co-product of oil distillation. In our case, it is the water that is left over after distilling lavender to extract lavender essential oils. Wikipedia defines it as “colloidal suspensions of essential oils as well as water soluble components obtained by steam distillation or hydro distillation from plants/herbs” (Wikipedia contributors). So basically, when you use steam distillation for making lavender oil, the steam that carries the oils out of the lavender converts back to water as it cools and separates from the oil.
Courtsey of http://www.essentialoilco.com/hydrosols.htm
Once the oil has separated and is collected, what is left is lavender hydrosol or ‘essential water’ (not to be confused with ‘lavender water’), which contains small quantities of oil and other water-soluble plant flavonoids and pigments. It smells quite different than the oil, but is very aromatic. And this, of course, varies depending on the type of lavender that is being distilled. Hydrosols tend to be acidic and should be stored and handled with care. It is best to keep them in amber or dark colored glass containers, sealed tightly. Hydrosol should be stored in a cool, dry place. With proper storage, it can last up to several years.
Our distillation process is explained at How to Distill Essential Oil where we explain our distillation process. However, once we have have our oil the question quickly arises, what do I do with Hydrosol? Below are some common uses for hydrosol, in particular lavender hydrosol. Please test hydrosols before use to avoid any irritation or staining of materials.
Courtsey of Seth Doyle
Courtsey of Dingzeyu Li
Courtesy of Jennifer Burk
Courtesy of Lubormirkin