To find out what a hydrosol is and learn more about how they are useful in skin care read my post "About Hydrosols".
There are 5 relatively simple steps to making a hydrosol (aromatic water) at home.
Step 1: Fill large enamel or glass pot with fresh aromatic plant material and cover with distilled water.
Step 2: Put a strainer or rack on top of the plant material and water. Put a small bowl on top of the rack to catch the droplets of hydrosol as they condense from the steam back to liquid. Put a small ice-cube made with distilled water to get the condensation process going.
Step 3: Cover the pot with the lid but turn it upside down so that you can fill it with ice and icy water in order to initiate the condensation process. Now turn on the burner to medium-high. Inside your pot the water begins to boil creating tiny droplets of steam that collect on the lid of the pot to form larger droplets of fluid that become heavy and drop into your smaller bowl. After about 20 minutes when all the ice has melted in the lid of your pot you can turn off the burner and let the pot cool down a bit.
Step 4: remove the lid carefully. Your small bowl should be filled with the hydrosol that was created during the condensation process.
Step 5: Pour the water into a container and store in the refrigerator. It should keep for a couple of months if the process was done correctly and all of your implements were properly sanitized.
I used my basil water as a facial mist. Most hydrosols have applications in skin care. The pH of basil hydrosol is generally around 4.5 making it balancing to drier skin conditions which are more alkaline in nature and have a higher pH.
In addition, basil hydrosol can be diluted in water and sipped to help resolve all types of mild digestive complaints.
Don’t throw away the rest of the water. Strain it out, compost the herbs and use it like you would any herbal tea. Since it is tea you’ll want to use it the same day. It won’t keep like the hydrosol. I drank a cup as tea and put the rest in my evening bath.
For an interesting experiment go ahead and taste the tea and then taste the hydrosol. The difference is shocking. The hydrosol tastes crisp and clean like fresh basil. The tea tastes slightly bitter and much more like tea. Enjoy!