There’s an interesting bit of research over at the Hort Sci journal where V.D. Zheljazkov from Mississippi State published a report on “Effect of Plant Hormones and Distillation Water on Mints”.
Research indicates that if you distilled plants such as Monarda for their essential oils (there are a wide range of plants that are distilled for oils for use in food flavorings, cosmetics etc) then the waste water from the distillation process might have an effect if it is applied to other aromatic plants.
The bottom line was that indeed some plant wastewater from the distillation process increased the oil content in the target plants (in this case mints).
Implications for Our Gardens?
The implication here is that if the industry (or home gardeners) have water that has been used in distilling or making craft projects with aromatic plants, then using that water on other aromatic plants might indeed make them even more aromatic.
This doesn’t have much practical implication in my garden as I don’t do crafty-types of things but it does lead me to wonder about other waste water I might use. For example, if I heat water to take the skins off of tomatoes for canning – what happens if I dump that water (when cool) on the vegetable garden rather than down the drain?
Food for thought though and you just never know when it might come in handy.