When you're talking about hydrosol, you will remember Suzanne Catty with her book "Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy". If you want to know more about hydrosol and its uses in aromatherapy then I'd suggest you to read that book.
For those who want to quick overview about that book, then you can continue to read..
A hydrosol means water solution. And in aromatherapy, hydrosol can be the same as floral water.
Hydrosol is made by using an organic plant material harvested in sustainable manner and composed by one species plant only.
The distillation is usually slow and under low pressure over sustained period with pure water to preserve all the therapeutic components of plant material. This will result a therapeutic products for us to use without further process anymore.
If you combine water with essential oils, does it means you already make a hydrosol? Nope, If you're not distilling the plant in a still, you're not making a hydrosol.
A true hydrosol contain both essential oils and water but that is only fraction of what is in it. You can't extract all the ingredient and beside water and oil doesn't mix.
The plant part undergoes the distillation process to obtain its essences. The plant part is placed in a distiller with a specific amount of water. When the plant absorbs enough heat through the steam of the water the plant essence, both oil and aroma, is released into the air with the water molecules. The suspended water molecules and plant extracts are contained in a condenser after the early stages of this process and so Hydrosols are obtained.
Hydrosol is less concentrated than essential oils. There is less than 5% actual oil in hydrosol. Their aroma mostly mild and subtle. Therefore, they can be added to the skin without dilute it first.
Hydrosols often use for astrigents, toners and skin cleansers or refreshing facial mists.
To answer this question of course we will look at its potency. For example, to make a few drops of german chamomile essential oils, takes a kilo of its plant. It is extremely potent chemicals that are only a small amount need to get their anti-infectious effects.
One dose used internally would be only one or two drops taken 3 to 4 times a day. But sometimes we don't need that kind of potency. It will depends on our problems too and in extreme cases our body can't accept it.
Take example for infants. Do you want to give your infant one kg of chamomile to help him sleep? of course no. and that the hydrosol takes place. And because hydrosol as water soluble, its become more absorb and ingest by our body.
Yes, absolutely. We can also use hydrosol for cooking. You can use hydrosol as flavoring agents as well as being therapeutic. And unlike most flavorings, they are free of salt, sugar and additives.
Start by spritzing very small amount into each glass of water you drink. Neroli and Rose are really good on their own. Bay leaf, sage and rosemary are non sweet options. But try to avoid sage if you have high blood pressure.
Because hydrosol is a tricky business, they are still hard to find especially true therapeutic grade but then so are essential oils.
Here are a few parameter to evaluate aromatherapy hydrosol products:
Caution must be taken when using essential oils. Gestating women is highly discouraged in using essential oils in at least the first 12 weeks of child bearing.
The use of essential oils may induce miscarriage and can be harmful to the fetus. Infants of 8 weeks and younger are not to be given, in any form, any essential oil application as the liver is not mature enough to be able to filter the oil and could result to adverse reaction.
Also note that essential oils are highly concentrated substances so direct application or neat application without any dilution is not recommended.
S. Catty Hydrosols : The Next Aromatherapy (Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2001)
Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy
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