What are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols are the by-product that we get from the creation of essential oil. They are water-based products made by distillation of fresh flowers. Hydrosols share many properties with the essential oils but are mostly water, which means they are less concentrated than the essential oils. Their scent is subtle too.
Essential oils are made with a steam distillation process. There are two end products of this distillation process:
- Essential oils
- Different parts of the plants can be made into hydrosols such as the flower, bark, roots, and leaves.
- Being high in water content, hydrosols are gentler and can be directly applied to the skin, unlike the essential oils.
Hydrosols can be used in a variety of products that includes:
- Skin toners
- Alternative medicines
They can also be used to flavor drinks and food.
Benefits of Hydrosols
Benefits of hydrosol lack scientific research. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting their usefulness in many ways.
Few pants and their benefits are as follows:
- Lavender: It helps by calming and relaxing
- Rose: It can be a useful astringent and perfume
- Lemon balm: It can act as a stress reliever
- Curry: It gives a cooling sensation on the skin
- Witch hazel: It is a good skin cleanser
- Chamomile: It is also a good cleanser
According to research, a carboxylic acid present in some hydrosols, such as chamomile, lavender, and curry plant helps reduce inflammation.(1)
How to Use Hydrosols?
- In the Middle East hydrosols are sweetened with sugar and honey and used as nutritive waters.
- Hydrosols not intended for internal use are used in the products.
- They can be used in skin and makeup products such as toners, creams, and other emollients
- For wounds, inflammation, and soothing skin, they can be used in topical creams
- They can also be used in the products such as deodorants and perfumes
- They can be put in aromatherapy products to be diffused in the air
Before purchasing any product, always consider the manufacturer and the ingredients of the products. Some fragrances and dyes may irritate the skin when applied topically.
Side Effects of Hydrosols
Just like essential oil, hydrosols are also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This means one has to use them at his own risk.
A study conducted on the safety of hydrosol drinks in Iran had positive results. Hydrosols were considered safer than consuming essential oils as they are diluted with water.
The research on the effectiveness of hydrosol is scant in Western culture.
In the United States, using hydrosols in aromatherapy is considered a complementary or alternative therapy. This means it can be taken along with medicines or therapies prescribed by the doctors.
How to Make Your Own Hydrosols?
Unlike creating pure essential oils, hydrosols can be easily made at home.
To make own hydrosol, the following things are required:
- An enameled stockpot or one made with a non-reactive metal
- A lid without a steam release hole
- A bowl
- A metal vegetable steamer that can be put inside the pot
- Fresh herbs, flowers, or roots
Procedure To Make Hydrosol:
Make sure to clean all the distillation pieces. Pour 3 liters of spring water into the crockpot. Add plant matter and leave it for a few hours. Keep stirring the mixture once or twice during the process. Now put the strainer into the pot and a bowl at the top of the strainer. Bring the water with plant matter to boil. Once it starts boiling bring it to simmer and turn the lid upside down. The vapor condenses and starts dripping back into the bowl.
Keep distilling the plant matter for few minutes until you get the desired amount of hydrosol. Cool it down and transfer it to a glass bottle or plastic container. It is good to refrigerate them to last longer.
Hydrosols are water-based products made from plants and their parts. They are beneficial in various ways.
It is important to use hydrosols with caution as there is not much scientific evidence of their effectiveness and they are not regulated by the FDA as well.