Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Our botanical garden is so prolific this year!
We have already processed many aromatic plants into infused oils, dried herbs and hydrosols.
Hydrosols are the aromatic waters distillated from aromatic plants. Also commonly referred to as hydrolates, floral waters and plant waters. Plant matter such as roots, bark, needles, leaves, fruit and seeds can be steam distilled into a hydrosol with great therapeutic benefits.
Hydrosols and Essential Oils have many similarities, but are very different in terms of shelf life, precautions, usage, storage and shlef life.
Unlike essential oils, Hydrosols:
• Are Water Soluble--but they have a very different pH than water...
Each hydrosol has a different pH and the pH is one of several factors that assist to determine how best to use each hydrosol when it comes to blending for therapeutic needs.
• Have a finite shelf life...
Each hydrosol has its own unique attributes that determine the shelf life. It is best to keep them refrigerated to extend their shelf life.
• They are easily contaminated...
The simple act of even touching the neck of the bottle or inside of the cap with your fingers can contaminate a hydrosol. Handle with care and store in sterile amber or blue glass bottles.
• Are mild, yet effective...
Many hydrosols are gentle enough to wash a cut or scrape without worrying about diluting in an unscented base (such as Castile Soap). The mild nature of hydrosols indicates that most are safe to be applied neat on the skin. Hydrosols are a more gentle approach to use for babies, children, elders, pets and those with sensitive skin.
• Most can safely be used internally...
Unlike essential oils, hydrosols are much safer to use directly on the skin and can be added to water, other beverages, salad dressings and other foods. Many, but not all, hydrosols are safe to use internally. If a hydrosol is safe for internal use (first read each hydrosol's product description carefully to see if internal use is advisable), you can make hydrosol ice cubes, add one to two tablespoons of hydrosol to your favorite beverage, or add to one quart of water and to drink throughout the day. Hydrosols can also be used to maintaining good oral health; add to homemade mouthwash, rinse braces or other dental appliances.
Here are a couple of our favorite summer hydrosols that we have recently distilled:
Peppermint- (Mentha piperita)
Benefits: Known as an energizing, revitalizing and refreshing facial and body spray. It is cooling and beneficial for irritated skin and digestive issues. Suzanne Catty, the author of Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy states, " A three week treatment of peppermint hydrosol will do wonders for bad breath or acne skin by both detoxifying the liver and the colon." This hydrosol is useful for skin abrasions, hot spots, hot flashes, and as an addition into aromatherapy facial toners. Excellent to use in a mouthwash and dental care, add to iced tea and to make into ice cubes as an addition to other beverages.
Precaution: Best to avoid use with children under 5 years old.
Shelf Life: 1 Year, when kept refrigerated.
Replace water in mouthwash
Add to herbal tea or other beverages
German Chamomile: (Matricaria recutita)
Benefits: Those with sensitive or troubled skin will appreciate all of German Chamomile's anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial therapeutic properties. When making a compress or a facial mask, consider using this hydrosol in place of water for a more therapeutic treatment. In skin care, German Chamomile hydrosol's cooling property is calming to irritated skin. Emotionally, German Chamomile is also calming. It would make an excellent base for a nighttime pillow spray!
German Chamomile hydrosol is calming and is safe and recommended for use in skincare formulations and even baby care. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and can be used as a soothing wetting agent for natural skin care, baby care, and pet care. It can also be blended with lavender hydrosol for a synergistic anti-inflammatory and calming blend. Its remarkable calming properties makes it a wonderful addition to sprays for baby's room, baby's bathwater and for use to wipe after diaper changes.
Shelf Life: 1-2 Years when kept refrigerated.
Use to Replace Water in Facial Toners
Use in Clay Facials and Masks
Want to learn how to distill your own stove-top hydrosols? See Hydrosol: Liquid Aromatherapy Digital Seminar.
Recommended Book Resources on Hydrosols:
Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy by Suzanne Catty, Healing Arts Press, 2001.
Harvest to Hydrosol by Ann Harmon, BotANNicals, 2015.
375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols by Jeanne Rose, Frog Books, 1999.
Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy, by Len and Shirley Price, Churchill Livingston, 2004.