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distillation of herbs

Posted by bellowbelle z5 MA USA (My Page) on
Fri, May 6, 11 at 15:45

It took me a while of searching around on the web before I realized that this might be a good place to ask my question! I haven't posted on GW in quite a while.

I'm wondering about semantics -- the 'what to call it' -- of something, but also the basic properties.

I have a Megahome home distiller, which I've so far used for water, though the particular model I have may be used for essential oils or alcohol. I don't have any interest in making any moonshine, though I may get to the essential oils.

It's my understanding that if I steam fresh herbs in the distiller, the resulting distillation mix (that comes out into a glass pitcher) will be a hydrosol. I guess the actual, separated essential oil would be left in the container with the herbs.


If I don't use fresh herbs, but instead use DRIED herbs, would the results be called a hydrosol? Or would that still more correctly be a tea? And, are there any significant differences in the chemical properties/effects? ('Chemistry for Dummies,' please...)

I did try this today, with some dried chamomile (dried for tea, bought commercially). I added a teapot l of filtered, boiled water to the distiller (so, it wasn't completely full), then put a handful of the dried chamomile in the glass container from a small French (coffee) press, from which I'd removed the handle but not the metal supportive frame. I placed that container in the distiller. (Used a jar-lifter to pull it out, later when it was hot.) I added some water to the herbs, too.

I got what I expected, and it did taste like chamomile water, though not exactly like a cup of tea.

For the record.... there are mixed reviews when it comes to drinking distilled water. Many are for it, many are against it. I don't drink it exclusively, and sometimes I lay off it.

Anway, thanks to anyone who can enlighten me further! This does look like a great forum and I'm sure I'll be poking around here some more. Unless I make the wrong potion, that is.... (I won't!).

Here is a link that might be useful: Megahome Still

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: distillation of herbs

hi Bellowbelle,in James Green's "the Herbal Medicine-maker's Handbook" he says "a true hydrosol is a particulaly pleasant offspring of the steam distillation of aromatic plants." He has whole chapter( only 5 pages) on distillation of hydrosols. He mentions that the oil is on top of the liquid and that it is certain herbs and does n ot mention fresh or dry.My guess is yes, it is a hydrosol. Your distiller sounds interesting. Gloria```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` ``````````````````````````````

RE: distillation of herbs

Thanks, Gloria. I actually have that book but I can't find it at the moment. It's got a lot of good info in it but I have only skimmed through it, so far. It'll show up!

Yes, I'd often thought about a distiller. When the ice maker started getting green stuff in it, even after repeated cleaning and with using filtered water, I switched to (bottled) distilled water. No more green gunk. So, that prompted me to finally get a distiller as well.

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