When we talk of hydrosols, an entire universe opens up to be discussed. Here, in this article we would discuss the subtle areas about hydrosols that are yet untouched. Hydrosols are the purest of liquids that are obtained in the most exquisite of fashion.
During the distillation process that yields the Essential Oils, the steam containing the oils is chilled, thus turning into water, with a layer of EO floating on top. The EO’s are skimmed off and bottled for our use. In some cases the remaining water is just discarded. However, this water contains both minute molecules of the Essential Oil, as well as all the water soluble elements of the plant that are not present in the Oil.
The ‘misters’ or ‘spritzers’ or ‘floral waters’ that you find in the store have their uses. They often are made of distilled or pure spring water with a few drops of the appropriate Essential Oil added. I make and use them myself, for room scenting, for disinfecting, etc. But they aren’t to be confused with a true hydrosol, which can contain many other therapeutic benefits. “Floral Water”, especially, may be any one of many things. It could be a true distillate –
- A hydrosol
- A hydrolat
But most often what are sold as “Floral Waters” are water with some sort of fragrance soliloquized in it. Now it could contain true essential oil or absolute, most often it contains a synthetic fragrance.
Even if made from a blend of essential oil and water, it will lack the specific healing qualities of the hydrosol since different plant chemicals come through in the water portion of the distillate than are found in the Essential Oil. For example, Linalool, a major component of Lavender essential oil is lacking in the hydrosol. For this reason, the differing water soluble phytochemicals, the hydrosol may or may not smell like the essential oil which emerged from the still at the same time.
Hydrosols have many uses. They can compliment the EO’s, as well as extend the scope of the oils themselves. They also allow us to experience some of the benefits of, for example, true bulgarian rose oil at a much more affordable price. I use them to ‘back up’ the EO’s that I use.
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