As an aromatherapist, I’ve studied essential oils and their benefits for over 16 years. But there is another beautiful product that’s derived from the distillation of plants. As a matter of fact, the distillation of plants was originally done with the purpose of extracting hydrosols way before essential oils. There is evidence of distillation of hydrosols as far back as 5000 years!
So what exactly are hydrosols and what are they used for?
Yes, you heard that right, distillation is not just for the essential oil! It actually takes a lot of plant material to extract just a tiny bit of oil. This is why hydrosols are also very cost-effective. Some plants produce only minut amounts of essential oil and because their yield is so small, the price is very high. However that same distillation can produce a lot of Hydrosol which makes it a great alternative.
BEWARE OF THE TERM FLORAL WATERS.
This is why: there are many products sold on the market with the name floral water. Some of these contain drops of synthetic fragrance or maybe essential oil in water. That is not a true hydrosol. The definition of a true hydrosol is one that is extracted through distillation of the plant.
Hydrosols are considered a safe option for those who are concerned about the potency of essential oils. They are gentle to be used undiluted, even for children or those who have sensitive skin.
Here are a few ideas for using these beautiful hydrosols*:
Atomizer: Spritz directly on body and face. Use after shower/bath to rehydrate dry skin. Spritz in air and inhale. Freshen a room.
Compress: Dampen clean cloth with hydrosol (hot or cold) and apply to affected area. Great for sore muscles, rashes, bites.
Bath: Add 1-2 cups of hydrosol to bath and enjoy.
Footbaths: Use hydrosols in footbaths and hydrotherapy.
Massage: Spritz on skin and massage gently.
Neti Pot: Add 1 tsp to the water portion of your neti pot.
Facial Toners: Spritz on face to rehydrate after shower or anytime during the day.
Laundry: Add Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Rose Geranium (Pelargonium roseum) hydrosol to a wash cloth and toss in the dryer. Great for freshening clothes and making doing the laundry a joy!
Kitchen: Experiment with Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Sage (Salvia sclarea) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) hydrosols. Spritz on a roasting chicken or add to pasta water.
*Source: Brief History of Hydrosols– by Ann Harmann
It is recommended to support your artisan distillers and purchase locally when available. I have started to distill hydrosols this year and have them available in my Aromatherapy workshops and to order online.
I distilled them in small batches so quantity is limited!
Now available for only $7 in a 2oz mist bottle.
Melissa Officinalis/Lemon balm
Soft and delicate aroma reminiscent of lemon.
Melissa is calming to the body and mind without being overly sedating. Wonderful to ease stress and anxiety. A great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to be used on its own or in blends to calm and clarify the skin, rashes, irritations, and eczema. It’s Anti-viral, immune stimulating and infection fighting properties make it ideal for cold and allergy season.
Shelf stable, easily lasts 2 years or more!
A beautiful blend of these two plants combines to release this lovely aroma of mint. Refreshing, cooling and great for bug bites or a nice pick-me-up. Mentally clearing and energizing it can be helpful for students and business people as an effective aid for concentration as it calms and cools the nerves while stimulating the mind. Spritz it on the face to revive the skin during hot weather or when tired, or to soothe hot flashes.
Have you used hydrosols? What are your favorite uses? Please share below!