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Hydrosols, or hydrolates, are flower oils distilled by steaming into water, which are then used for a variety of culinary, aromatherapy and skin-care uses. Jasmine water is one of the more commonly utilized hydrosols. Not only do several Thai desserts call for this ingredient, but it is also a centuries-old Chinese remedy for menstrual problems. On a more global scale, many appreciate jasmine water for its long-lasting, stress-relieving perfume.
Several Asian markets as well as incense vendors sell hydrosols, though they often come in the form of essential oils. Some of the more common waters infused with floral essences are jasmine, sandalwood, rose, lavender and chamomile. Many others are available though, from frankincense and eucalyptus to cinnamon and juniper berry. If a plant grows flowers, a water can be made from it.
Creating jasmine water from scratch requires just two things: distilled water and having enough jasmine petals to infuse that water with the flower's distinctive aroma. To distill water, it should be boiled and then cooled. After that, petals are placed on the surface of the water, and then the container is covered so that the water can become infused overnight. Some add the flowers immediately after the boiling process is completed to create a steam that helps to distill the petals and drain them of oils that can be absorbed by the water. One recipe calls for the petals of a dozen jasmine flowers for every about 33.8 fluid oz (1 liter) of distilled water.
Jasmine water is called for as an ingredient in several Thai desserts. Thai jasmine pudding is a sweet and floral custard topped with coconut cream. the water also has been utilized for centuries to impart distinctiveness to Thai rice, called jasmine rice. The floral water's inclusion not only adds a subtle sweetness but also a distinctive floral aroma.
Jasmine water is not only prized for food though. Chinese herbalists have utilized this hydrosol for easing menstrual cramps, anxiety, lethargy or even sore throats, when inhaled. It is also considered by some to be a stimulating aphrodisiac when worn as a perfume in the hair or on the body's pulse points. This water is also included in many lotions and anti-wrinkle creams, not for moisturizing qualities but as a stress-reducing aromatherapy agent. It is commonly paired with vanilla extract or black currant as a distinctive and lingering scent.