The oils or call them floral waters or hydrosols are wonderful solutions to a number of health-related problems. They are highly antiseptic and amazingly mild in nature. The floral waters are used for a number of purposes.
The term hydrosol is derived from the Latin words hydro and sol, meaning “water solution.” When plant material, such as the -
All of these are steam distilled to obtain an essential oil, certain chemical constituents of the plant first build up in the water. Only after they reach their maximum solubility in water, do they start to collect in a separate layer on the surface of the water (the essential oil). Many of the water-soluble plant compounds and some of the oil-soluble compounds wind up in the distillation water.
A hydrosol is the pure, distillate water that remains after essential oils are steam distilled from the original plant material. Hydrosols are usually clear and have the appearance and consistency of water. Their aroma is generally, but not always, similar to that of the essential oil, but the aroma is usually much more subtle. Hydrosols contain small amounts of essential oil. They also contain water-soluble components of the plant material that may not be present in the essential oil. The aroma, therefore, may differ somewhat from the plant’s essential oil. Some hydrosols do smell surprisingly different from the essential oil.
Hydrosols are also known as hydrolates. Hydrosols are also sometimes incorrectly referred to as floral waters. Floral waters are typically aromatic waters made with the use of fragrance oils (see our Floral Water category, but do not contain the natural therapeutic properties that hydrosols contain. Hydrosols cannot be made by solubilizing essential oils in water.
Hydrosols are gaining importance in aromatherapy because they naturally contain low dilutions of essential oils combined with the botanical’s water-soluble compounds not present within the essential oil itself. Hydrosols are generally safer for use in babies and individuals with depressed immune systems.
Use hydrosols in toners, creams, lotions, body sprays, room sprays and in place of water in most formulations. They will impart both fragrance and therapeutic benefits to your products. Hydrosols are also wonderful when used as wetting agents in clay facials. An anti-bacterial preservative should be considered for preserving products that contain hydrosols.
Pure hydrosols are more gentle and thus even more fragile than their essential oil counterparts. They do not have the same concentrated anti-bacterial properties that essential oils possess and are subject to much more rapid degradation. Even when stored in an ideal, sterile environment, the shelf life of hydrosols is limited to 6-24 months, depending on the specific hydrosol.
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