Making & Using Hydrosols in Herbal Healing

with Cathy Skipper


Friday 18th September 2015

10am - 5pm


A one day workshop on understanding, making and using hydrosols.

The word hydrosol, from ‘hydro’ water and ‘sol’ solution, means 'water solution' - a water containing plant molecules. It is produced alongside essential oil in the process of steam distillation and is sometimes referred to as flower water, though they can also be made from leaves, whole plants, seeds, roots etc.

Hydrosols are easy to make, much safer than essential oils and have great potential for use both in physical ailments and when working on a more subtle, emotional level.

Hydrosols are very safe and can be taken for long periods without interfering with other medications and are ideal for babies, children, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. They are perfect for gentle or long-term treatments compared to essential oils that are generally best used on a short term basis, considering their concentration in volatile molecules and the pressure these put on the emunctory organs. 

Although essential oils are in common use, hydrosols tend to be less so. However, today some herbalists and distillers are just beginning to become aware of hydrosols in their own right. Professional distillers are starting to market hydrosols; using them to make natural cosmetics and a few small professional distillers are even distilling uniquely for the hydrosol. Herbalists are buying stills or grouping together to buy one in order to be autonomous in the production of hydrosols.

Making one’s own hydrosols and being a part of the process from the harvesting to the final product is not only easy with a small home still, but also extremely revealing. The plant seems to open up on another level allowing us to come into closer contact with it, thus deepening our knowledge and intuitive information about it. Learning how to make and use hydrosols is another precious element in the herbalist's tool box.

This workshop will cover 
  • the theory of hydrosols and their benefits 
  • a hands on distillation with a small, accessible copper still 
  • more subtle work with some individual hydrosols, testing, and tasting  


By the end of the day, the participants have a good idea about what hydrosols are, how they are made and how to use them safely.

    Cathy Skipper is English but has been living in France for twenty years, a herbalist, gardener and teacher at the Ecole Lyonnaise de Plantes MédicinalesCathy is coordinator and one of the founders of the international herbal network, Herbalistes sans Frontières. Cathy teaches herbal, field botany, healing plants with plants and herbal gardening at ELPM and aromatic medicine, medicinal plants and practical herbalism in the Beaujolais region of France. She also spends a lot of her time writing articles and has just published a book on Aromatic medicine. 

    Read Cathy's blog here.