Hydrosols have been in my aromatherapy arsenal for years, but it’s only in the last 3-4 years that I’ve really embraced their wonderfulness. Now, they’re a regular part of aromatherapy use for my whole family – even my pets!
What is a Hydrosol?
Hydrosols (also known as hydrolats or distillate waters) are the aromatic water that results from a plant distillation. The best hydrosols are produced when distilled with a copper still.
A hydrosol is the aromatic water that remains after steam-distilling or hydro-distilling plant materials like flowers, leaves, seeds, wood, etc. This aromatic water contains the essence of everything that was contained within the plant.
This distillate water contains small quantities of essential oil plus many of the water-soluble (hydrophilic) parts of the plant and is a completely separate, safe, and effective product than essential oils with their own unique therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.
For the best quality hydrosol, you should buy a product that was distilled specifically for the hydrosol, not as a by-product. You’ll purchase waters that are superior in both aroma and therapeutic benefits.
Unlike essential oils that need to be diluted prior to topical use, hydrosols are so gentle that they can generally be used directly on the skin without further dilution.
This image may help you visually understand the process:
How Much Essential Oil is in a Hydrosol?
This is from author Jeanne Rose:
“The best comes from a distillation where it is the hydrosol that is being produced rather than the essential oil. Often the best comes from the earliest part of the distillation rather than the body of the distillation. This usually smells bright and pleasantly fragrant. Although, some of the therapeutic part of the hydrosol is also produced at the very end of the distillation, and usually has a rather grassy or vegetative note. As the plants are being distilled, micro-particles of essential oil are in suspension, they give the aromatic distillate its scent and will separate out as the hydrosol cools. There is approximately .02% essential oil in hydrosol”.
Essential oils should always be diluted when used topically (my blending guidelines are here), but that doesn’t hold true for hydrosols. Because they are so gentle, they can be used directly on the skin and you can even use them on babies, animals, if you enjoyed reading this, try my blog post called Practical and Creative Ways to Use Hydrosols!
If you’d like to learn more about hydrosols and how to use them,
check out my comprehensive step-by-step online course:
Hydrosols for Health:
Explore the Benefits and Uses of Aromatic Waters
PS. If you’d like to make your own hydrosols, it’s easier than you’d think!
Check out the premium handcrafted copper still to make your hydrosol at Copperstills.com