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Herbal Hydrosols: An Ancient Herbal Tradition with Roots Deeper than Essential Oils

Posted by Courtney Parker, PhD on

Hydrosols and humanity go back generations prior to the production or use of essential oils.

They likely predate infusions with alcohol such as herbal tinctures, as well.

History is teeming with recipes for herbal waters -- hydrosols.

Just like concoctions for herbal baths, most of these have been lost to the cornucopia of commercialized, artificial, and, even downright harmful alternatives.

Teas have long been back: as singular drink options; blends; cocktail ingredients; and, even in flavored desserts and ice cream.

Hydrosols suspend only the most medicinal and food-grade qualities of each herb.

One study on hydrosol use in Turkey's culinary and medicinal traditions, found:

"Oregano  and Summer Savory were effective against all bacteria during incubation. Anise, cumin and black thyme hydrosols were active against some bacteria, but not all. Consequently, it is likely that some edible plant hydrosols may be used as antimicrobial agents to prevent the deterioration of food products".

The idea of hydrosols as not only a flavoring, but as a natural preservative which can be added with a spritz to food products is an huge bonus to keep in mind.

In 1950, the 'Journal of The American Chemical Society' noted about hydrosols:

"The preparation of a colloidal dispersion by condensation from initially supersaturated solution is a heterogeneous system is a well known procedure".

A 'colloid' is merely a fancy term for a 'dispersed substance' -- which many who follow alternative medicine might associate with claims about colloidal silver.

We're not here to debate the merit of the latter. Colloidal dispersion in hydrosols is achieved by abstracting the water soluble nanoparticles from our all-natural herb collections, and concentrating them into a workable solution for your uniquely-driven applications.

According to this excerpt from 'The Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending with Flair: An Incredible Collection of Extraordinary Drinks':

"Hydrosols are a favorite among mixologists. Offering an excellent finish to a drink is the stuff hydrosols are made of. What remains apart from the essential oil of the herb, plant, or spice and which contains active medicinal, food-grade constituents is bottled and prepared to be sprayed. We could not possibly offer our guests half of our originally created libations without this nifty and practical invention". 

Culinary applications: Salads; Soups; Flavored Waters; Vegetable plates or sides; Meat dishes (and, plenty of room for creativity); Baked Goods

BarCocktails; Mocktails; Flavored Waters; Brews, Teas

Other Kitchen Uses: Specific hydrosols such as Oregano and Summer Savory demonstrate strongly in anti-microbial properties (qhich can help keep food fresh longer) and for anti-bacterial propensities (for wiping down cooking surfaces without chemicals or heavier natural blends)

Personal use: Teas; Flavored water; Various topical uses depending on the herb (i.e. skincare, etc); Aromatherapy

Hydrosols are also used to store core herb essences over seasons or occasions when fresh options are not as plentiful or available.

Storage Info: Hydrosols are shelf-stable for around two years.

 

 

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