Let's talk about hydrosols for a moment <3
The thing about herbalism is the range of botanical information and use is so vast, there's constantly room for growth and new passions. From growing to cooking to making medicine. From foraging to teaching. There's something for everyone. I'm constantly learning and constantly in awe. Sometimes something I stumble on will spark an intense fire in my heart and I pursue it with all I have. Then, as you continue on your journey, those passions come together as never ending collective knowledge that just keeps growing. It can never be rushed and has to come from deep passion.
As you know, we don't use any essential oils (I've posted in depth previously on this topic before in case you're curious 🥰). I do however believe in the power of aromatherapy. Most recently I've been completely absorbed with hydrosols. It's truly an ancient alchemical art form and dates back past 5000 BC. They're not a byproduct (at least its not supposed to be), it's not essential oils added to water. Its cellular water. It's safe, its gentle, it's sustainable. When its distilled properly, traditionally in a copper alembic still, it needs no preservative. They're incredibly versatile and are the true art of aromatherapy. Definition (courtesy of Jeanne Rose): HYDROSOL: the aromatic non-alcoholic distillate left from the distillation process of organically grown plants that contains water-soluble cellular parts of the plant material, its cellular water.
Next Spring, at the start of the growing season I plan to purchase an Alembic Still for the store, so we can make some in house hydrosols with local fresh plant material. I plan on taking this winter to learn and absorb everything I can to get ready for it. Until then, I've been able to get ahold of Harvest to Hydrosol and am slowly absorbing as much information as possible.
We currently stock certified organic hydrosols from Mountain Myst Organics. They were the first hydrosol distiller that made my heart excited. They're artisan distillers by a family, and all plants are grown and harvested on their family farm or they contract with other small local (to them) organic farms. They don't distill them as by-products and they're incredibly fresh. They carry hydrosols that I havent been able to find or have seen anywhere else, even online and even can work with me on custom distillation. Some of their recipes date back to the 1400s
Here's a little bit of information about both and their traditional uses (again, no claims being made just sharing information)
Lemon balm hydrosol is a powerful nervine ( "A descriptor for an herb believed to effect the nervous and limbic systems of the human body by helping to support a healthy response to stress and relief from occasional anxiousness") Its harvested and distilled before flowering as that's when it has the most citral (antiviral). Lemon Balm hydrosol also has a wide range of benefits to body care. For example; it's been shown to be a wonderful antifungal, aiding with infections and breakouts. It's been used as a tonic to help with attention deficit. It's been found to provide emotional calmness, reducing anger as well as relieving insomnia. Its scent is lemony and joyful.