All Things Herbal

WHERE NATURE MEETS HEALTH


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Hydrosols

In my last post I talked about infusing fresh plant material into hydrosols. That has inspired me to do a write up on what a hydrosol is and talk about some of the things one can do with a hydrosol.

First off, what is a hydrosol? Well, basically it is the water that is coproduced during the steam-or hydro-distillartion of plant material when making an essential oil. Most plants that are used to make essential oil also have a hydrosol that is produced as well. From Rose to Lavender to Yarrow, many essential oils have a hydrosol partner.  A hydrosol is not distilled, spring or tap water with essential oils added to them, so when you are purchasing hydrosol, look close at the ingredients to make sure you are getting the real deal.

Process of Distillation

So that leads us to what you can do with hydrosols.  First off you can add hydrosols to water and drinks for extra flavor. I like to add a little bit of Rose hydrosol to a glass of red wine for an exotic treat. Or you can add hydrosols to water for medicinal benefits, such as Neroli for calming and anti-stress or Peppermint for digestive disturbances like bloat and heartburn. They are also great added to iced sun tea!

Neroli Flowers, Blossoms of an Orange Tree

Hydrosols are also used in skin care treatments. Recently I have been using cucumber hydrosol with a drop of Jasmine essential oil as a face toner and have noticed how much more moisturized my face is. What is really nice to do is to spray your face with the hydrosol and while your face is still wet apply your moisturizer. Not only will you be able to use less of your moisturizer, but that will lock in that water to your face for even more hydration.  Sandalwood hydrosol is another good toner for skin care especially for delicate and mature skin and is mildy anti-inflammatory helping with acne, rosacea and eczema. Rose hydrosol adds and retains moisture and is suitable for normal to dry, mature, sensitive and devitalized skin.

I also use hydrosols in aromatherapy spritzers. They add a little something extra to a formula as well as help to disperse the essential oils. They can be added to baths as well and won’t harm pumps used in whirlpool baths like essential oils will. They are great for baby baths adding 1 tsp to an infant sized tub or 2 tsp to an adult tub filled to baby depth. For children up to twelve years, add to the tub 1 tsp per years of age up to 8 tsp. Roman Chamomile or Lemon Balm hydrosols are great ones to use for kids baths as they are both calming to the nervous system. And for adults, you can add up to 8 oz to the tub, or less, especially since some hydrosols aren’t cheap.

Lemon Balm

So I hope this inspires you to enter into the world of hydrosols, they are amazing things that have so many uses.

One of my favorite books on the subject and where I got a lot of this information is-  Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, by Suzanne Catty.

By: Kate Maxey


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Summer Fun

Summer is a great time for all types of plant exploration. I love to be in my garden at the height of the summer, smelling and feeling all that the plants have to offer. It is also a great time for wild crafting in the woods, as long as it’s done ethically, ie. for every ten plants you see only take one. During the summer is when I start to get inspired to start creating things with the abundance of fresh plant material I have at my disposal. Tinctures and cordials, honeys and hydrosol infusions, are all possible in the summer. So for my first blog post ever, I wanted to throw out some recipes of some stuff that I have been creating this year.

Valerian Flowers

First I want to share my experience with valerian flowers. With their sweet earthy scent and bright beauty I feel drawn to them every spring when they bloom. So I wanted to capture that scent by infusing the fresh flowers into some witch hazel hydrosol and I have to say I succeeded. It’s amazing!! I then bottled it in a one ounce spritzer bottle and added a drop of Jasmine essential oil which complements the Valerian scent beautifully.

So here is how you do it: Take a small amount (I would start with small batches to see how the sent comes out) of fresh plant material, chop it up (though with the flowers I just put them into the jar), and put into a clean glass jar. Cover with hydrosol of choice.

You can do this with almost any fresh plant that has a good scent and with any hydrosol. My blog partner Jessica did it with fresh Jasmine flowers in a Rose hydrosol that was to die for. I have some fresh Lemon Verbena that I want to play with as well, I am thinking Rose or Lavender hydrosol.

Speaking of scent for summer, I wanted to share a couple essential oil blends that are my personal favorites when you need a cooling spritz. You can use some of your infused hydrosols as a base for these blends.  I have to say that Jasmine is my go to scent for the hot weather!!

Jasmine buds

Jasmine Citrus Spritz-2 oz bottle

Jasmine essential oil-3 drops                     Tangerine essential oil-2 drops               Orange essential oil-2 drops

Fill with distilled water or Rose hydrosol for a special treat!

Lime Vanilla spritz-2 oz bottle

Lime essential oil-3 drops              Ylang Ylang-1 drop              Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp

Fill with distilled water or Lemon Verbena hydrosol.

Next I want to share a Bug repellent recipe. The bug sprays out there can be so toxic that I like to use a more natural choice. You can put this blend of essential oils into a oil base or spritzer.  I also use this blend in a diffuser in my bedroom when I start getting spider bites when I sleep as well. Putting it on cotton balls around the room also helps keep the biting bugs away.

Bug Blend-4 oz bottle

Lemongrass-3 drops       Thyme-2 drops       Lavender-3 drops        Orange- 2 drops

Peppermint-3 drops         Eucalptus-4 drops              Cedar-5 drops

If you don’t have all of these essential oils on hand you can use just a few of them, but try to at least have 20-25 drops for the 4 ounce bottle.

So here is a start to the summer time projects. More to come as the season moves forward!!

By: Kate Maxey


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Green Greetings!

Welcome to All Things Herbal!

Green Greetings!  We are two herbalists from the Northern California Redwood Coast who want to create, share, inspire, and connect through All Things Herbal!  Creating new herbal recipes, from bug balm’s –to fancy facial creams are a passion for us, and are an expression of our artistic natures.  We also wish to share the herbal knowledge that we have gained in each of our 15 years of practicing herbal medicine. With this we hope to inspire others to consider plant medicine as a valid tool, not only for vibrant health, but for radiant beauty as well.  And finally, we aspire to connect with all of you other herbalists and nature loving folks out there so that a community is created to keep the herbal tradition alive and growing evermore.

We hope you all enjoy!!