Aromatherapy and Hydrosols
Hydrosols are another type of product commonly used in aromatherapy. They’re frequently combined with essential oils and carrier oils as a way to enhance the base product. The steam and water distillation processes used for extracting essential oils from plants, roots, flowers and fruits produces another byproduct: water. This leftover water retains the scent of the plant from which it was extracted and the fragrant liquid is what’s referred to as the hydrosols. Hydrosols are known by other names including hydrolytes and hydrolates.
Hydrosols are much lighter than essential oils. They maintain many of the same attributes of essential oils and the addition of water simply makes a milder product. There are times when a milder version of an essential oil is preferred. For example, hydrosols are perfect for using as a toner for skin. Hydrosols, because they are milder, are also safer to use on children’s skin and sensitive skin.
Hydrosols are water-based so they’re sometimes also called floral water. Just be certain to read the label as some ‘floral water’ products claiming to contain hydrosols really are nothing more than colored water scented with a few drops of essential oils. Most hydrosols are nearly without color, so steer clear of those that have color.
A few drops of your favorite scented hydrosols can calm, invigorate, relax and soothe. Believe it or not, these light scents can turn a cranky person into a happy person in just a few minutes. Aromatherapy hydrosols really are that effective.
The thing that’s important to remember about hydrosols is that in order to preserve their shelf life, they need to be refrigerated. And although they are primarily used externally, they can be used internally, with caution. Some need to be heated prior to use. When in doubt, always read the product label.
Roman Chamomile hydrosol is an excellent way to alleviate a number of skin problems. Whether you have dry, flaky skin or a problem with eczema, acne and even hemorrhoids, a few drops will make a huge difference. A few drops on a compress can alleviate tired eyes and can even dull the pounding pain of a migraine headache.
If you love the aroma of freshly cut Christmas trees, a few drops from a bottle of balsam fir hydrosol can fill the air inside your home with that same pleasant scent all year ’round. The scent is distilled from a balsam fir’s needles. Besides adding the aroma to the air, you can pour a few drops into a foot bath to help invigorate tired feet. This scent is a powerful mood booster, too.
One of the most popular aromatherapy hydrosols and one that has been used for thousands of years is rose hydrosol. Rose hydrosol is used in many different types of skin care products including toners and moisturizers, body sprays and douches. Rose hydrosol can help balance the skin’s pH and its antibacterial properties can help those with acne.