Hydrosols, Hydrolats, and Floral Waters
Hydrosols (also called hydrolats or floral waters) are a safe, gentle and less expensive alternative to the use of essential oils. Most often considered a by-product of the steam distillation process, some hydrosols are actually distilled specifically for the water component and not for the essential oil. They are gentler and perfect for children, and they make lovely gifts for yourself or someone special.
Our hydrosols are packaged in 1 oz and 4 oz PET plastic bottles with atomizer spray tops. For larger sizes, email us! Please note: we often receive requests for samples of our hydrosols. Because of their fragility and ease of contamination, we do not want to risk packaging them in the tiny sample vials. Hence we have started offering one ounce sizes for sale.
Please remember to store your precious hydrosols under refrigeration. True, natural hydrosols contain no preservatives and therefore should be treated as perishable. We store them under refrigeration and follow fastidious clean technique while rebottling. However, if you plan on using any of these healing waters internally, we suggest you pasteurize them before use. Pour the hydrosol through a fine filter (a coffee filter works beautifully) and slowly heat it to a very slow boil; this should help with microbial concerns and should not damage the healing elements of the hydrosol.
We would like to thank Jan Salko, Suzanne Catty, and Dennis Archer for allowing us to share information they have provided.
How Hydrosols Are Made
During the distillation process, steam containing essential oil molecules crosses over into a chilled condenser. Chilling the steam causes it to turn back into water with a layer of essential oil floating on top. The essential oil is skimmed off and bottled for use. In some cases, the remaining water (hydrosol) is simply discarded. However, this water contains both minute molecules of essential oil as well as all the water-soluble elements of the plant that are not present in the oil.
Department store spray misters, spritzers, or floral waters do have their uses. They are most often made of distilled or spring water with a few drops of the appropriate essential oil added. Most often, though, what are sold as “floral waters” contain water with some sort of fragrance (whether natural or synthetic) solubilized in it. These products should not be confused with true hydrosol, which can contain many other therapeutic benefits. For example, linalyl acetate, a component important in a beautiful smelling lavender oil, is lacking in lavender hydrosol. For this reason, the hydrosol may or may not smell like the essential oil which emerged from the still at the same time.
Hydrosols have many uses. They can complement essential oils as well as extend the scope of the oils themselves. They also allow us to experience some of the benefits of, for example, true Bulgarian rose oil, at a much more affordable price.
We use Helichrysum Hydrosol to soothe the redness of rosacea or other skin inflammations. A spritz of Yarrow Hydrosol soothes and heals ‘hot spots’ on dogs and cats.
Neroli Hydrosol was what one daughter-in-law carried on the plane to ease her “fear of flying” and to keep the dry airplane air breathable. Rose Hydrosol is both a facial toner and a wonderful linen spray.
Lavender Hydrosol or Chamomile Hydrosol can soothe a sunburn or also function as a relaxing “monster spray” to banish night-time monsters.
Chilled Peppermint Hydrosol is the ultimate summer cooler, either spritzed on, or with a bit added to a bottle of spring water.
Rose Geranium Hydrosol is said to calm a woman’s mid-life “power surges”. Aromatherapist and herbalist Jeanne Rose suggests blending it with one of the mints. Melissa Hydrosol is a wonderful “blotter” for oily skin.
Spike Lavender or Tea Tree Hydrosols both make gentle antibacterial toners for skin with acne.
Teething baby? German chamomile hydrosol, rubbed on the outside of the jaw, can help soothe the ache.
This is just a sample of the uses we have for our wide range of hydrosols. Read more about specific hydrosols on their product pages.