The secrets of hydrosol production
Hydrosols are produced through distillation, just like essential oils. In fact, hydrosols and essential oils are the two co-products of the same process! The hydrosol is the aqueous vapour recovered through distillation. Both hydrosols and essential oils are made using a distillation apparatus consisting of four interconnected vessels. The first three make up the alembic or still, and the last one is called the receiver or decanter. Here’s how it works:
- The first vessel is filled with water and heated, producing steam. With the pressure generated by the heat, the steam rises and moves through the tube connecting the first chamber to the second.
- The second vessel is filled with fresh plants. The steam enters the chamber from underneath the plants and passes through them (as steam rises), picking up the molecules that will yield both the essential oil and hydrosol. The steam then rises through the tube connecting the second chamber to the third.
- The third vessel is a cooling system full of cold water. The steam remains in the tube, which is immersed in this cold water. The cold water lowers the temperature of the steam, condensing it into a liquid that contains both water and essential oils. This liquid is then fed into the last chamber.
- The fourth and last vessel is called the receiver or decanter. The liquid is left to settle in the receiver, allowing it to separate. Because the essential oil is lighter, it rises to the surface where it will be filtered and collected. The water, laden with water-soluble plant molecules, will also be collected—that’s the hydrosol!
As you can see, the process is complex and extensive, and it yields very useful, high-quality products. At Coop Coco, we’re proud to offer only pure hydrosols that we rigorously select.
Do you want to know more about hydrosols, how to select the right one, or how to store and use them? Check out our special feature on the topic!