Sweetgrass is only distilled for its hydrosol. I enjoy using Sweetgrass Hydrosol in a spray to clear the energetics of a room. It is also one of my favorite hydrosols to give to my sons and their families to use to help my grandchildren sleep peacefully through the night. They simply spritz it in the air around their beds and lightly on the bed linen, and everyone seems to get a good night’s sleep. If I am in a situation where I feel things are escalating towards a heated argument or discussion, I will spritz sweetgrass into the room to help bring in more positive energy and defuse the situation. Whether it is just because the Sweetgrass calms me down, or whether it also has an effect on everyone else in the room, doesn’t really matter. I believe there is truth in the idea that if you change yourself, everyone else around you will change, and spritzing sweetgrass in these situations always seems to work for me!
Sweetgrass is a perennial, erect, slender, sweet-smelling grass. It grows between 12 – 20 inches tall and has small seedheads bearing broad, bronze-colored spikelets. The grass spreads by sending up several leafy shoots from its system of creeping rhizomes. The seeds are not particularly viable so propogation is generally done by cutting out plugs from established plants. Sweetgrass likes to grow in the sun or partial shade and it does not like drought. It is a plant that attracts birds. Because Sweetgrass loses most of its scent after the first frost, harvesting takes place in early to late summer. During rain the scent of sweetgrass intensifies. Burning sweetgrass will also intensify the aroma.
History/Folklore: Sweetgrass is also called manna grass, Mary’s grass, vanilla grass, holy grass in the UK, and bison grass by Polish vodka produces. The name Hierochloe odorata comes from the Greek Hierochloe meaning holy grass and the Latin odorata meaning fragrant. In northern Europe holy grass was strewn in front of church doors on saints’ days and the dried leaves were used in medicinal teas. In France, it was used to flavor candy, tobacco, soft drinks and perfumes. It is still used to flavor vodka like the Polish Żubrówka.
In North America it is also known as the Hair of Mother Earth and is one of the four sacred herbs of indigenous North American peoples. On the Traditional Medicine Wheel, it is represented in the East. According to legend, the first plant given to the First Nations Peoples by the creator was Tobacco and it is the main activator of all the plant spirits. The Four Sacred Medicines are tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass. Sweetgrass is used in prayer, smudging and purifying ceremonies. It is usually braided, dried and burned and used for smudging, healing or talking circles to purify thoughts, the environment and to eliminate bad or negative thoughts.
Aroma and Taste: Sweetgrass hydrosol is a clear, colourless liquid with a pleasant aroma of sweet, herbal notes. Closely resembling fresh sweetgrass braids.
Stability and Shelf Life: Stable. 12 – 14 months.
Sweetgrass hydrosol is a great addition to skin care products providing a fresh aroma and astringent properties. Excellent for providing relief to swollen sore throats, as well as soothing to cuts and scrapes. It can be helpful as an insect repellant. Sweetgrass with its lovely uplifting effects is helpful in many therapeutic situations. Its powerful space clearing effects also make it a helpful adjunct to any therapists toolkit. I find it can be very helpful to spritz my treatment room or consultation space before and after clients.
Stillpointaromatics.com says sweetgrass hydrosol is uplifting and extremely energetically protective. They also say it may be helpful for sore throats, and used on scrapes and cuts.
Raedunphy.ca says that sweetgrass hydrosol produces a relaxed, meditative state and it is also used to cleanse a space or person to bring them to a higher vibrational state.
Mountainroseherbs.com says that sweetgrass hydrosol may be added to lotions and body creams in place of water for uniquely sweet formulations, or used as a base for outdoor sprays. Organic sweetgrass hydrosol contains coumarin, an organic compound present in many plants that provides the sweet scent.
You can view other posts written on individual hydrosols here.
Another general article on Floral Waters/Hydrosols/Hydrolats.
Reference wildflower.org northernc.on.ca/indigenous/four-sacred-medicines ictinc.ca/blog/sweetgrass-sacred-plant-aboriginal-ceremonies