Smells That Linger – Floral Waters

I am not sure if you’re aware of this fact that smells trigger memories. Humans can differentiate between n number of smells present in the world. The possible best sources of fragrances are none other than floral waters or hydrosols.

A hydrosol is the condensate water that is left over after the process of extracting an essential oil by water or steam distillation. This aromatic water contains the very essence of everything that was contained within the plant when it was still alive and growing.

When essential oils are extracted by steam distillation, some of the aromatic and healing principles held within the plant are not captured during the process. These important components do not escape into another dimension or disappear into a black hole, fortunately they are absorbed by the steam or water that is used to extract the oil.

This steam eventually condenses back into water, and now contains small quantities of essential oil plus many of the water-soluble (hydrophilic) parts of the plant. Now supercharged with more active principles than the essential oil from the plant, this ready to use product offers a safe and convenient way to deliver a wide range of therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.

Until the Middle Ages the art of water distillation was employed specifically for the purpose of producing these precious aromatic waters, and amazingly, very little attention was paid to the precious essential oil that was produced.

Essential oils were utilised of course, but they were extracted by infusing the plant material in a vegetable oil until it had absorbed all of the healing properties of the volatile oils. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans are all known to have made great use of hydrosols for healing and aesthetic properties along with their -

  • Infusions
  • Unguents

The precise time in history when distilled essential oils became popular in Europe is not known, but a renowned publication called ‘Liber De Arte Distillandi’ written by Hieronymus Brunschwig in Strassburg 1507 AD makes reference to only 4 essential oils.

Suffice to say that as essential oils became increasingly more popular, the use of hydrosols began to slowly decline. By the early 20th Century the healing benefits of these miracle waters were generally being ignored, with the precious hydrosols actually being thrown away after distilling the essential oil.

Have a look at our reference links now -

  1. Floral Waters by Wise Geek
  2. Hydro-sols by Natural Home Spa
  3. Floral Flowers by Chemistry

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