Aromatherapy introduces us to such gifts of creation. For eons, essential oils have been used to make humanity feel human. To ease suffering, aches, pains, to provide emotional and physical comfort through all the systems of the body.
When steam distillation of plants came along to produce essential oils, another gem of aromatherapy was produced. Not only do we get the essential oil itself which is scraped and gathered through the steam distillation process but what is left the waters of that process. These waters contain therapeutic plant-based material and we call them Hydrosols.
I like to think of Hydrosols as therapeutic waters. They are a phytotherapeutic substance with a slightly different chemistry than their essential oil counterpart from the same plant. Why? Because during the distillation process some of the chemicals that are highly lipophilic will stay just with the essential oil being created and not able to remain in the water and other chemicals that are too hydrophilic will stay with the water.
I love the variety that hydrosols add to aromatherapy. Their gentle touch makes it possible for most any delicate body to enjoy and benefit. Much like essential oils, once you start using hydrosols their possibilities and uses are ENDLESS.
The texture of hydrosols are much like water and the aroma much like essential oils with a “lighter” aroma. An interesting note is that every liter of hydrosol contains between 0.05 and 0.2 milliliters of dissolved essential oil.
Hydrosols cannot be recreated by attempting to mix essential oils in water. For one thing oil and water won’t mix so even if shaken you quickly have 2 separate materials the essential oil and the water. Hydrosols on the other hand naturally contain plant material from the process of creating the essential oils. Think of it as really amazing therapeutic “waste” from the processing of the essential oil. It cannot be recreated so although an essential oil infused bath is breathtaking it cannot be mistaken for a hydrosol creation.
Genuine hydrosols can be difficult to find but they are available at some reputable sources. Before you begin using hydrosols as with essential oils do your homework and ensure you are using a genuine, therapeutic grade, unadulterated product. If you do, you will greatly add to the delightful journey that is aromatherapy.
Reference: Hydrosols – The Next Aromatherapy Suzanne Catty