What Are Hydrosols?

Hydrosols are an aqueous product of steam/hydro distillation. They are sometimes referred to as floral waters, distillates or hydrolats. Beware of imposters. There are many products on the market that are merely water, essential oil and an emulsifier that are sold as “floral waters.” Though these may be fine as room refreshers they ARE NOT Hydrosols, and will not give the same therapeutic effect. Read your labels.

Descriptions

Jeanne Rose, first used the word ‘hydrosol’ for the distillate waters in 1989 and says she derived it from Latin, the term combines –hydro- meaning water and –sol- meaning solution. In her book, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, she describes hydrosols as “the homeopathy of Aromatherapy; as herbs are to homeopathy, so are essential oils to hydrosols.” She goes on to say “Hydrosol represents the true synergy of herbalism and aromatherapy.” We couldn’t agree more!

In his book Medical Aromatherapy, Kurt Schnaubelt describes them as “the product of steam distillation process and contain the water soluble, volatile components of the plant… Their composition is different from that of the essential oil…this means highly tolerable, anti-inflammative and antiseptic substances are found in aromatic hydrosols”

In Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, Suzanne Catty says of hydrosols, “Hydrosols contain all of the plant in every drop, just like a hologram.”

Not a By-Product

Unlike most hydrosols on the market, ours are not a by-product of essential oil distillation, but are distilled for the hydrosol. This means that they are distilled with FRESH organic plant material, on copper stills, under constant supervision for true therapeutic waters. Many hydrosols on the market carry a “still note” from being distilled on stainless steel, though this does not harm the hydrosol it can make for a very unpleasant aroma. By using copper stills, the sulphur and yeast that cause these off notes bond to the copper, therefore our hydrosols are “sweet smelling” and useable immediately.

Hydrosols can be used as hydrating facial spritz, sprayed on sore muscles and as anti-microbial cleansers. Clients that experience sensitivity to essential oils, are able to use hydrosols with positive results.

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Further Reading and Links

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Harvest to Hydrosol, 
2015, Ann Harman, ISBN 978-0-9913859-0-4
Available at copperstills.com

Distillation, A How to Booklet, 2001 J Rose and B Alkire, ISBN 1-879687-08-9
Available from www.jeannerose.net or www.aromaticplantproject.com

Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy, 2004, Len & Shirley Price, ISBN 0443-07316-3

Hydrosols & Aromatic Waters, from a Personal Collection of …writings, 2007
Available from www.jeannerose.net or www.aromaticplantproject.com

Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, 2001, S Catty, ISBN 0-89281-946-6

375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols, 1999, J Rose, ISBN 1-883319-89-7
Available from www.jeannerose.net or www.aromaticplantproject.com

Secrets of the Still, G Firth, Out of Print
copies can be found on internet and in some libraries

www.aromaticplantproject.com, abundance of information on hydrosols and distilling

www.aromaweb.com, more information on Aromatherapy

WHY ARE OUR HYDROSOLS DIFFERENT?

Distillation Data:

We keep data on every distillation. If you are using your hydrosols therapeutically you need information.

This is what Ann Harman calls The 4 W’s ©.

  1. What herb(s) were used, you should have both a botanical name & a common name; what part of the herb was distilled?
  2. When was it distilled – is it less than one year old? Does it carry a lot#?
  3. Where did the herb come from – is it domestically grown or from overseas?
  4. Why was it distilled – for the essential oil or the hydrosol? Is it a by-product of an essential oil  distillation or was it distilled from fresh plant material for the hydrosol?

Small Batching:

All of our hydrosols are distilled by us personally. When you buy from us you are buying DIRECT FROM THE DISTILLER. Our hydrosols are not by-products of an essential oil distillation, but in fact are distilled for the hydrosol. We distill in small batches, under constant supervision. This makes for high quality essential oils and hydrosols.

Clear, Sterile Jars:

It is important that your hydrosols should be kept cool and dark. However, we believe that you should be able to SEE your hydrosols. We have nothing to hide! It is very important to be able to observe if your hydrosol is off. This includes any changes such as color or “blooms”. This is difficult in dark glass and requires pouring into another vessel, which can cause contamination. Hydrosols are perishable products and should be treated with respect. Always use clean, sterile supplies.

Fresh Certified Organic Herbs:

Our hydrosols are distilled from fresh, organic plant material, not dried. The hydrophillic (water loving) properties are intact when fresh material is used. We firmly believe that this makes the highest quality hydrosol because you are receiving more than just the volatile properties of the plant.

Copper Alembic Stills:

Copper stills remove the yeast and sulphur that can make hydrosols smell bad. Copper is known for its anti-microbial properties and may have some preservative effect on the hydrosols. Hydrosols distilled on copper have a sweeter aroma and are useable immediately. No need to wait for the still note to disappear, which can take up to a year! When dealing with a persishable product this is very important.

USES OF HYDROSOLS

Hydrosols are delicate therapeutics

  • Care should be taken to keep your precious hydrosols cool and dark
  • Avoid rapid changes in temperature that can create condensation
  • Always use sterilized jars when transferring into individual containers
  • Keep portions that are not being immediately used refrigerated to prolong their shelf life
  • Remember, hydrosols are perishable and should always be treated with respect

Suggested applications of 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) apply to affected area. Great for sore muscles, rashes, bites.

Bath: Add 1-2 Cups of Hydrosol to a bath and enjoy

Footbaths: Use hydrosols in footbaths & hydrotherapy

Massage: Spritz on skin and massage gently

Neti Pot: Add 1 tsp to the water portion of your neti

Facial Toners: Spritz on face to rehydrate after shower or anytime during the day

General Uses of Specific Hydrosols

Anti-bacterial: Calendula, Pine, Lavender, Balm of Gilead

Anti-viral: Lemon Balm (Herpes), St John’s Wort, Helichrysum

Astringent: Calendula, Rosemary, Lime, Goldenrod

Back Pain: Helichrysum, Yarrow, St John’s Wort, Willow

Bites & Stings: Yarrow, Helichrysum

Bursitis: Rosemary, Yarrow

Calming: Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Lavender

Digestion, Heart Burn: Basil, Peppermint

Hot Flashes: Sage, Rose Geranium

Hydrating Facials: Rose Geranium, Lavender, Elder Flower

Immune System: Elder Flower, Yarrow

Mild Depression, SADS: St John’s Wort, Lemon Balm, Lemon verbena

Rashes: Calendula, Lavender, Helichrysum

Rheumatism: Elder Flower, Rosemary

Rosacea: Helichrysum

Scar Tissue: Helichrysum, Rosehip, Calendula

Stimulating: Lime, Rosemary

Sunburn: Lavender, Calendula

Women’s Hormone Balance: Sage, Rose Geranium, Clary Sage