No booze

Talking about my distilling machine, most people immediately think of schnapps.
Till now I haven’t gone down this track yet – most probably the end result would taste horrid anyways…

This lovely machine was developed for making essential oils, high quality hydrosols and extracts.
Sitting in my dinky workshop it looks like an impressive piece of equipment, but in actuality it’s only a 3-liter unit.
Made for a lab.
A wonderful gadget. To tinker on.
With it I turn various plants into magnificent hydrosols.

Tonic water – body splash

In winter I can’t distill anything.
I have to wait till spring rolls around and stinging nettle or sweet balm starts to grow again.

Sometimes I run out of hydrosols – even though my cellar is stuffed to the brim with all kinds of stuff.

Hydrosols can be used as facial tonics, moisturizing sprays or body splash.
Specific hydrosols can help against dry, flaky scalp (stinging nettle) or against reddish, inflamed skin (sweet balm).

Of course I also use these wonderful „waters“ in my totally natural skin care products (SYO Lotion).

The minute I hit the switch for the distilling machine a marvelous scent starts drifting up and down the little street I live on. When the machine is running, it steams and smells wonderful out to my little workshop.

Hydrosol vs hydrosol

Hydrosol is a byproduct of the essential oil distilling process (I’m talking about distilling on a large scale – not dollhouse size like mine…).
In this case, the hydrosol is mostly considered a „waste product“- since the goal of the process is the essential oil – not the plant water.

Hydrosols originating from this kind of process have a high water content, as lots of steam is driven through the distilling unit. The goal is to obtain the essential oil as swiftly as possible.

Active plant components

Some distilleries mainly focus on hydrosols and therefore use less steam during the manufacturing process.
Therefore they obtain „gently“ distilled plant water (hydrosol), which, unlike „waste hydrosol“, contains more active plant components.


As a consumer/buyer, how do you know which hydrosol is which!!!?
You simply have to ask the vendor.
There are plant waters which have not been distilled at all.
Here plants are simply immersed in distilled water for a few days, so that the water-soluble substances are transferred from the plant to the water (= water extract).

Water extract

This water contains much less active plant components than a hydrosol produced with steam.
Some of the active plant components literally have to be „cracked“ from the plant cells.
This procedure requires higher degrees than room temperature.
Without steam you can just about forget it.

During „extraction“ all kinds of bacteria, fungal spores and other wonderful „creatures“ that multiply in aqueous solutions may make their way into this plant water.
Therefore these kind of „plant waters“ have to be preserved (with alcohol or other conservatives); but their shelf life still remains rather short.
High quality, freshly distilled hydrosols are produced and bottled under good, hygienic conditions and can hold up for at least 12 months (keeping large temperature fluctuations in mind…) – even without preserving them.

Small is beautiful

My dollhouse size has many disadvantages; but ONE large advantage: I can’t make huge quantities at a time; therefore I handle everything with great care and am well aware of the hygenic requirements.
My hydrosols are made w/o any preservatives and last 12 months and more.

For the skin, this is really good news.

Stinging nettle

Go for a walk. Find a place where the whole dog world is not doing its business and pick the tips of freshly shot nettles.
These are lovingly fed into the steam extraction plant and made into a valuable nettle hydrolate.

Nettle contains silicic acid, various vitamins and flavonoids.

Properties on the hair / headhaut

  • against skin irritations
  • reduces the formation of dandruff
  • strengthens the hair in general

Or you can spray the nettle water pure on your face. This has a toning and astringent effect – due to the bitter substances it contains.

Sweet Balm

If you distill fresh lemon balm immediately, you get a sensational lemon balm hydrolate.

Properties for the skin

  • anti-viral
  • decongestant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • refreshing
  • antipruritic
  • clarifying
  • decongestant

Suitability in the bathroom

  • processed in lip balm acts against herpesZoster
  • pure as a tonic against oily skin and acne
  • pure as a decongestant against puffy eye areas
  • pure as a cleanser for the face


This wonderful hydrolate is made from cut, unsprayed quince, which I receive from a friend of mine.
The quince skin contains a valuable wax, which also passes in traces into the hydrolate and helps the human skin to retain moisture.

This particular fruit has a very subtle aroma that is difficult to describe. It has a very friendly effect on the senses and makes the last days of autumn appear in golden colors.

Properties for the skin

  • decongestant
  • soothing
  • anti-inflammatory
  • balancing
  • moisturizing


Rosemary hydrolate I make with cuts from my fresh cane. If it still has light blue flowers on it, it makes this wonderful shrub unique-filigree.

The rosemary scents during the distillation with pure water not only my workshop, but half the street here in Zufikon. Then all the neighbors know that someone is at work in the old garage 🙂

Properties for the skin

  • astringent
  • stimulates blood circulation
  • antioxidant
  • deodorizing
  • skin cleansing
  • skin tightening


This silvery-bushy shrub loves its location in my garden.
And so he always bears new, fresh leaves, bursting with essential oils and many good qualities.

Properties for the skin

  • astringent
  • antibacterial
  • antioxidant
  • deodorizing
  • decongestant
  • skin cleansing
  • skin tightening