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Distilling hydrosols - a magical experience

Recently I embarked on a journey to distill my own plant material. We bought a 20-liter copper still.

We chose a copper still after speaking with Liz Fulcher of Aromatic Wisdom Institute and fellow NAHA director. She and her husband James were so helpful in providing us with information and guiding us through the set-up process. Plus who can’t resist the looks of this gorgeous copper still!!

For the last several years I have been expanding my organic garden. I’m so honored to have organically grown these plants, honorably harvested them, tenderly distilled them, and now sharing them with you. It is my passion and a true blessing.

Each distillation has brought me closer to the spirit of the plant and to the plant medicine. When the distillation begins, the plant unfolds and shares its wisdom. Sitting by the still, tending to it and smelling the fragrance begin to waft through the air is such a treat.

Our first distillation was Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), this member of the peppermint family has a lemony green aroma and unfolds in such a delicate way during the distillation process. “Low Slow” is what they say about distilling lemon balm. A lower heat and slower distillation time will really bring out the best in this plant.

My experience with the plant as we distilled was truly magical. Its aroma unfolded slowly and gently and sent me into a totally blissfully relaxed state. I was the most clam I have ever been, seriously! I also had the best night sleep in ages that night. I now have a lemon balm hydrosol spritzer at my bedside to use each night.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) hydrosol is hypertensive, hypotonic and a calming sedative with anti-inflammatory properties. It can support a person dealing with insomnia, hysteria, nervous tension, anxiety, irritability, and anger. It is believed to ease stomach cramps, indigestion, and nausea.

Consider adding 1 to 2 teaspoons to a cup of hot or iced tea for the calming effects or to help with indigestion. This is a fantastic way to add some lemon flavor to your favorite tea.

At night you could spritz your bed linens or interior of your car to create a tranquil calm space.

For years we have been nurturing a large hedgerow of rosemary along our property line. Our next distillation we used the trimmings from this beautiful plant.

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) hydrosol can be used internally to support arthritis and general weakness. Added to a tea it may stimulate liver and gall bladder function. The flavor is somewhat savory and has an uplifting aroma.

This plant grows very well here on the Oregon Coast and when I’m working with it, I definitely get a feeling of protection and resiliency. Its aroma lingers long after you brush up against it as if offering a shield around you. The aroma reminds me of my grandmothers’ kitchen and the wonderful soups and sauces she made.

Another common use for rosemary is as a hair rinse which is believed to stimulate hair growth. Wash your hair as usual and then apply 1/2 cup of rosemary hydrosol to clean hair and massage into scalp to encourage hair growth. Your hair will smell so good!

Hydrosols are a great supportive compliment to your holistic care chest. There are a variety of ways in which you can use them.

  • Add to a bath

  • Make body care products (lotions, creams)

  • Spritz as a skin toner

  • Use as a compress

  • Freshen linens, car interior, pet beds, etc.

  • Add to salad dressings, desserts, sauces, and beverages

  • Hair rinse

  • Ease hot flashes

A big thanks to my husband, Kirby who has been behind the scenes helping all along the way. He sets up the still, makes sure it’s running properly, tweaks it to perfection and refines the process each time. It has allowed us to spend quality time together and share the process with neighbors and friends.

Follow this link to find the list of the plants we have distilled for the 2021 season.

Please feel free to order yours today

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