Plant Hydrosols

Hydrosols, also called Flower waters, can be made from any plant material that retains its aromatics when simmered, which includes roses and mint-family members. Lavender and holy basil hydrosols smell amazing. A hydrosol contains distilled water and a small amount of essential oil from your plant material. You can make them with fresh herbs (preferred) or good quality dried herbs) Hydrosols are technically shelf stable, but they have no preservative properties and often go bad after a few weeks or months. To improve the shelf life, store them in the fridge or freezer or add an aromatic tincture to bring it to 10 to 10 percent alcohol. Use hydrosols internally, externally, in cooking, as a toner, in creams, as aromatherapy sprays, and more!

What You’ll Need:

  • 4+ cups of fresh or dried plant material
  • Distilled or filtered water
  • Ice
  • 1 Gallon or larger pot with lid (no holes), heat safe owl or large glass measuring cup, metal mixing bowl, canning jar lid or clean brick, turkey baster or small ladle, 4 to 8 ounce bottle for finished hydrosol.


  • Place your empty bowl or measuring jar in the middle of the pot surrounded by 2 to 3 inches of water. If your bowl is heavy enough not to float, place it on top of the outer circle of a mason jar lid. If it floats, place it on a clean brick so it stays out in the middle. Outside your bowl, in the water, place your plant material.
  • Put the lid on the pot upside down. Place ice on the top – you can put it right on the lid or fill a large metal mixing bowl with ice. The greater the surface area of ice on the lid, the better.
  • Gently bring the water to a simmer. Keep the heat high enough so that steam rises to the top but not to the point where the water reaches a rolling boil (which could degrade the aromatics.) The steam contains distilled water plus plant aromatics. As it hits the cold lid, it condenses back into a liquid, drips down, and collects in the bowl/measuring cup. Let simmer for about hours. Replace ice/remove water from the top of the lid as needed (use the turkey baster or ladle if needed)
  • Remove the ice and lid. Gently remove the hydrosol from the bowl/measuring cup. You can scoop the liquid out of the bowl with a small ladle or turkey baster or carefully remove the bowl to pour its contents into a bottle (caution: bowl will be very hot)

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