Hydrosols - Evening Primrose


Evening primrose - large flower

Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis -

Onagraceae family 

 evening primrose

Extraction: - steam distilled.  Parts distilled: flowers and arial parts

Constituents: fatty acids, ascorbic acid, phenolic acids, tannins and flavonoids (campferol and quercetin) and sitosterol.

Uses: Cleanser, toner and for scalp problems including dandruff. to sooth sun-burn, moisturise skin, re-balance dry patches and fade excessive pigmentation.

Best For: This suits pretty much all skin types and is used on bruises, inflammation and redness. It balances both oily and dry skin and is astringent enough to counter oiliness, but is still moisturising. It has good antioxidant properties.

Specifications: pH:Between 5.2-5.6; Odour: Slight vanilla/almond; Appearance:Clear

Shouldn't be taken by anyone with epilepsy

Keeping Hydrosols Fresh.

It would be hard to bottle fresher than we do - we pick our plants at the optimum time, when the plant contains the maximum levels of useful constituents. Drying depends on individual plants: we don’t use a dehydrator, we put the flowers on slated shelves, open to gentle, warm air. As soon as they are dried, they are weighted, prepared, dunked, steamed and bottled on the same day. Something delicate like borage or evening primrose can be bottled forty-eight hours after being picked, whilst others, like lavender, can take over a week. There is a careful balance between between ensuring they are thoroughly dried (to eliminate moulds) and retaining precious constituents. 

After bottling, they should be kept at between 5-10ºC, out of sunlight, well sealed. Once opened, they are effective for six to nine months if kept well. We keep some from every batch and continue to test them. After two years or more we have found they often still have the same scent and pH, with no signs of blooming or detectable deterioration. Nevertheless, we recommend using a hydrosol within 3 months of opening. If there is a change in the smell or a cloudiness (bloom) in the appearance, it should be discarded. It is important to check the compatibility and safety of each, especially regarding plant allergies and during pregnancy. (Warnings tend to be for people drinking hydrosols or infusions, but, to stay safe, it is wise to also adhered to this in topical use.)

Cleanse, Tone and Repair Skin - Naturally. 

Hydrosols for Skin

Our hydrosols are all from indigenous plant species that contain particular constituents beneficial to skin. As established species, the plants are healthy and thrive and we don’t use pesticides. The ecology is enhanced too with many more flowers for fat, drunken bees.

There has been a growing trend for using hydrosols to cleanse and tone skin. This is partly due to people becoming more aware of the potential harm harsh chemical cleansers can cause. It also seems to be part of the ‘all natural’ skincare trend. Hydrosols have been taken as drinks and used in first aid relief (especially on battlefields!) for centuries as most contain anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The individual constituents vary across species and there can even be disparity between the chemical structure of one sub-species and another. For this reason,we have taken our time whittling down our plant list and now grow just those with the best evidence of being beneficial to skin.

History of Distilling Plants for Hydrosols

Plants have been distilled for thousands of years for their apparent health benefits. The oils produced during the distilling process were siphoned off and used for perfume and for use in religious ceremonies. The ancient Chinese and Egyptian civilisations were the first to document the distillation of both herbal waters and alcohol. As the process became more complex, these were often mixed together. The practice spread across the world during the 8th and 9th centuries, by the 12th century, most monasteries in Southern Europe produced a distillate of herbs. These were prescribed for various maladies, from toothache to plague and the recipes were a closely guarded secret. People bathed in them, sprinkled them on clothes and drank them - for general good health or simply to prolong life…

Taking the Waters

The famous Carmelite Water was made by nuns and monks, using a variation of: lemon balm, cloves, coriander, angelica, orange peel and an alcoholic grape juice (which developed a niche market all of its own...) . This was tremendously popular for over a century, until 1810, it was banned by Napoleon. However, it was the high prices being charged for it that he objected to, he personally used the herb distillations daily. He suffered with ‘neuro-dermatitis’ which affected most of his skin and was only soothed by lying in a bath of hydrosol for hours.

The Modern Take - The process is now well established and plants, roots and barks all produce popular hydrosols. More delicate plants, like the tissue-like Evening Primrose petals, need steam to lift out the precious constituents, whilst more fibrous plants, only release theirs when steeped in water. As different properties are extracted in each method, knowing your plant is important.

Hydrosol or Essential OilHydrosols differ from essential oils in that they are much less concentrated. The distilled water contains the hydrophilic (water loving) properties that are not in essential oils. But the hydrosol has only a small amount of constituents that are lipophilic (oil loving). When the water is saturated in all the oil it can dissolve, the oil then begins to separate out and sit on the surface. This is the part collected for essential oils. Many of phytochemicals can be effective in small amounts in a daily routine. Hydrosols are well-tolerated by skin and their potent, but gentle properties work well, especially on sensitive skin, with a tendency to react to both oily and alkaline products.

All our crops are grown pesticides-free, GMC-free, GMO-free. 
Vegan: Yes    Animal Testing: No    Country of Origin: Isle of Man


We produce hydrosols for use on the skin - before consuming hydrosols for any therapeutic purpose, please consult a physician. Anyone who has an allergy to a particular plant should avoid other plants from the same family. So anyone who has had a bad reaction to calendula, should also avoid German chamomile.