Elderflower hydrosol is genuine condensed water made from fresh or dried Elderflowers that has multiple uses. Considered astringent, it can tone and balance your skin and provide relief and faster healing.
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What is Elderflower hydrosol?
Captured during the distillation process of making essential oils the hydrosol (floral water or hydrolat) is a highly effective transparent substance that contains aromatic as well as healing properties of Elderflowers.
The distillation process requires special equipment that forces the plant material under pressure to draw volatile oils from the plant. The steam is later condensed and results in liquid with oil floating on the top. The resulting oil is precious essential oil while the remaining water is prized hydrosol.
It is difficult to make it at home, however, we can create our own hydrosol by infusing elderflowers in water and condensing the steam.
Creamy (of white) flowers of Elder (Sambucus nigra) create highly effective floral water that possesses many medicinal benefits that have been known from ancient times. Elderflowers are effective in supporting the immune system, helping when flu, cold or fever attack. Elderflowers are also famous for their typical flavor and aroma and are traditionally used in making cordial, liqueur or in desserts. However, elderflowers also have a positive effect on the skin.
Elderflowers for skin
Powerful Elderflowers contain antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals and bioflavonoids that help reduce fine lines around the eyes and the appearance of wrinkles (2)
Before you go to forage for Elderflowers make sure you can identify them and recognize their typical floral scent and creamy colour. Check this guide if in doubt.
Equipment you will need
Make sure you carefully assemble all the equipment you need for the process of making Elderflower hydrosol as all parts need to fit together.
Prepare a cooking pot with a lid that fits upside down
You will need two heat-safe bowls. Place the first bowl upside down on the bottom of the cooking pot with the second on the top upright to collect the condensed water. The selection of bowls is imperative for a smooth process. When you assemble them make sure there is a gap between the top of the bowl and the upside down lid.
Prepare at least 1 kg of ice cubes
I used a pipette to suck the melted water from the lid.
Steps to make Elderflower floral water
Collect 15 elderflower heads and place them in the medium-size cooking pot so the bottom is completely covered.
Make a space in the centre of the bottom and place the first heat-safe bowl upside down on the bottom
Pour ½ litre of water into the lid completely covering the flowers with water to the max but not too high.
Place the other bowl upright on top of the first one.
Lastly place the upside-down lid on top of your pot. This will become the place of condensation where the vapour reaches the bottom of the cold lid and drops in the form of hydrosol in the second bowl.
Now you are ready to switch the heat source, bring it to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer.
Gradually the ice starts to melt so use a pipette or spoon to remove the water. Keep adding another batch of ice cubes and removing the melted ice till your bowl is full. It takes approximately 20 minutes and one kilogram of ice for me. Making hydrosol is a slow process when you make a potent herbal extract drip by drip. Don’t try to speed up the process by increasing the heat.
Once cooled pour it into a sterile jar, close the lid.
A few tips for better results:
- Make sure there is always water at the bottom of the pot
- Don’t remove the lid during the process as the hydrosol quickly evaporates.
- Once you decide to turn off the heat, wait till the lid and bowl cool a bit.
Uses and benefits of Elderflower hydrosol
- You can use the elderflower hydrosol as it is to blend it with other ingredients to make other products such as creams or lotions, etc.
- Elderflower makes a wonderful toner. I love to mix it with hazel, apple cider vinegar and aloe to remove the last remnants of makeup before applying a moisturizing cream. The rose hydrosol is great to balance, heal and restore skin pH levels.
- Or store it in a spray bottle and use it to refresh your body to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Elderflower water is cooling and soothing and a spritz on the face can refresh and tone tired skin.
- The Elderflower hydrosol can also be taken internally for immune support. Take a teaspoon every hour at the first sign of a cold or the flu.
- Mix it with clay to make a facial mask that possesses astringent property and refreshes and rejuvenates your skin
- Add it to the bath to make relaxing and calming bath experience
- This scented elderflower water can serve as a deodorant or perfume spray when sprayed underarms to prevent body odor
- It might also help to control foot odor if sprayed on feet
- For its astringent properties, this elderflower water is suitable to apply after shaving.
- It’s soothing, anti-inflammatory and calming effect may help with inflamed eyes. Just simply steep cotton pads in elderflower hydrosol and apply on your inflamed eyes.
- Elderflower hydrosol has been found effective with puffy eyes and dark circles under eyes due to rutin content.
Elderflower hydrosol is best to store in a dark and cool place such as a refrigerator. If you prefer to use it on your face in-room temperature than split it into two bottles - one keep in the fridge with longer shelf life and in the other one in a cupboard to be used within a few weeks.
Yes, it is possible! You can even combine dried and fresh together, just make sure you double the amount of herbs needed to make hydrosol when you using dried. In our case, we used 15 fresh heads, weigh of each is approximately 7 g, total weight is 105 g. We need to use 210 g of dried elderflower to make 1 cup of elderflower hydrosol.