Guest Post: Queen of Hungary Water

by Brunem Warshaw of Well Deep Remedies

Queen of Hungary Water is a folkloric recipe of mysterious origins. The oldest surviving version contains rosemary and thyme extracted into brandy. Some say it was created by a royal alchemist at the request of the Queen of Hungary in the 12th century, while others speculate it comes from Romani herbal traditions. Unfortunately, most herbalists writing about the latter theory use a racial slur while citing its origins. I learned this recipe from Karyn Sanders as a DIY floral facial toner. 

While many older versions of this recipe contain alcohol, I was taught to use apple cider vinegar as the base. The acidity of the vinegar helps replenish your acid mantle, which is the protective film on your face that prevents viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants from absorbing into your skin. If you want to keep it really simple, you can infuse organic apple cider vinegar with fresh rosemary and then dilute this preparation with an equal or greater amount of rose water.

Here’s my adaptation of this facial toner recipe:



  • 6 parts fresh lemon balm
  • 4 parts fresh chamomile
  • 4 parts fresh rose
  • 4 parts fresh bee balm
  • 3 parts fresh comfrey leaf
  • 3 parts fresh elderflower
  • 2 parts fresh garden sage
  • 2 parts fresh rosemary


  1. Combine herbs in a jar and cover with raw apple cider vinegar. 
  2. Let sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily.
  3. Strain herbs and bottle with an equal amount of witch hazel extract or rose water.
  4. To use, spray or wipe gently over face after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Making my own herbal toner has been empowering, cost-effective, and magical. Every time I use it, I’m reminded of the beauty of the flowers. It’s like a garden in a bottle! It feels amazing to layer this fragrant spritz beneath luxurious oil and gentle self-massage. The astringency tightens pores and the acidity rebalances the pH of our skin. I notice that using Queen of Hungary Water prepares my skin to better absorb all of the nutrition and moisture available from the facial oil that I apply immediately afterwards. 

If you’d like to learn more about bringing herbal medicine into your self-care rituals, sign up for my mailing list to stay in the loop about my upcoming online class Herbal Support for Glamour & Creative Practice. In this class, I’ll review the etymology of the term glamour as well as the way I conceptualize glamour magic as both queer protection technology and creative practice. You’ll learn an array of herbal home spa techniques along with ritual prompts for moving through creative blocks. Join me to adorn your practice with flowers and feed your spirit with beauty. 

Thanks to Brunem for this guest post! Long Spell <3 Well Deep