Exactly what is a Hydrosol?

In many metaphysical, magical or occult stores these days, you can find things labeled ‘room sprays’ or ‘flower waters’ or ‘hydrosols’ or ‘magical air fresheners’. I’m sure there are as many names for them as there are magical paths. This point and question has relevance, as I will be following the process of making a hydrosol in my next post.  So what exactly are these ‘magical sprays’?

Well, the most common thing I have seen is when a few drops of an essential oil are added to some distilled water and packaged up as a spray. That’s all well and good, but let’s remember our lessons from the kitchen: Water and Oil do not mix! If you shake the mixture vigorously, and then spray it, you will likely get a nice scent of some of the essential oil distributed with some of the water. However, once it sits on the counter for a few minutes, the oils will separate from the water, and you’ll be left again with an unmixed substance. Also, if you attempt to use these sprays as a hair, body or facial spray, you are basically spraying an essential oil mixed with water onto your skin. Some potent and strong essential oils can have an irritative effect, especially on sensitive skin, and this can have negative effects on the skin or eyes. So, once again, the question…what is a true hydrosol and how can I use it?

Hydrosols, sometimes also called Hydrolats, are the ‘leftovers’ from the steam distillation of an essential oil from an herb, plant or flower. Basically, they are a material given off by the results of the Alchemical Process of Distillation. Here are the basics of that process:

  • Water is placed in the bottom of a double boiler
  • The herb is added to the top section, separated from the water
  • As the water boils and turns to steam, the steam flows through the herb, picking up the essential oils
  • This steam/oil mixture is passed through a condenser, which cools the steam down, condensing it back into water
  • This mixture of the essential oil and water is passed into a separatory vessel, and the two are separated
  • You now have two substances, the Essential Oil of the herb, and the re-condensed water which has now been infused with the scent and properties of the herb, called a Hydrosol or Hydrolat

Here is a picture of an Alchemical Distillation Apparatus (Alchemy Glassware and Kits can be purchased from Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, or you can email sales@yeoldemagicshoppe.com for additional details and pricing):

DistillationApparatus

A properly made hydrosol is truly amazing. Just as essential oils are potent and have numerous healing and other properties, the hydrosols having been converted to steam, then picking up the essential oil, and converted back to liquid form, retains the properties, scent and energies of the herb, but in WATER form. There is no oil to separate, there is no need to shake, and it is not only the oils in the water that has healing properties, but ALL of the water that has been infused with the herb. True Hydrosols can be used as a fragrance in the hair, face or skin, or as an amazing room deodorizer. For example, Rose Hydrosols have numerous properties that are good for the skin and hair, and thus make an amazing smelling body spray.

True Alchemical Hydrosols are created through the Alchemical process of Distillation. This is a physical, mental and a spiritual/magical operation, and thus the herb not only contains the essence of the plant material, but also the magical energies of the plant as well as the alchemist who made it. So, next time you come across a body, room or ‘magic’ spray in your local metaphysical/occult shop, find out…is it a true Alchemical Hydrosol, or is someone just trying to mix water and oil? Interested in true Alchemical Hydrosols? We currently have 5 Hydrosols in stock to choose from (we are always adding more), and you can view the available hydrosols here, and yes, they are all available online!

Mutatio per Solve et Coagula!

Sean-Frater MTO

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