Hydrosols are the most underrated and overlooked tools in aromatherapy. Gentle and versatile, I'll reach for them before essential oils. Hydrosols are the water product created by plant distillation. They are also known as distillates, floral waters and hydrolates. They retain many of the same therapeutic values as the plant they are distilled from (the water soluble constituents), and all of the fragrance. Some say they have a more complex aroma, making them ideal for body care preparations and sprays. Because of the concentrated nature of essential oils, a distillation will yield a substantial amount more of hydrosol than essential oil.
The gentle nature of the distillate makes this an ideal alternative to essential oils for usage on children, pregnant women, pets and sensitive areas like our face. In fact they're so gentle that you can apply a drop of Chamomile Hydrosol to the gums of a teething baby, or a spoonful of Peppermint Hydrosol to a bottle of water to ease car sickness, where as these would not be appropriate treatments for their essential oil counterpart. There are very few safety issues with Hydrosols, and especially not with common Hydrosols.
Hydrosols are a great way to introduce your children to aromatherapy. Make your children their own set of hydrosol to explore. In unbreakable spritzer bottles (Clean, and preferably PET plastic), add 10% hydrosol to 90% distilled water. This dilution of hydrosol is safe for children to try, smell, even taste and is completely safe when using commonly found hydrosols. I recommend Lavender, Chamomile and Rose to begin. Hydrosols are also a safe alternative to those who would like to use aromatherapy on their animals. Essential oils can be toxic to pets, especially when used without training in animal aromatherapy, so using hydrosols is a safe way to connect with your animals using plant medicine.
So how do you integrate hydrosols into your everyday life? Here are some examples:
Storage and Shelf Life
Hydrosols are at risk for bacteria growth due to their water content and lack of preservatives. Storage becomes important to their shelf life, as improper storage can speed up deterioration and bacteria blooms. We store all of our hydrosols in a fridge, but you can store them in cool room temperature. The most important thing about their storage is avoiding temperature fluctuations, just keep them at a stable temperature and you should get a minimum of 6 months shelf life, but this can be extended to 12 months or more. Additionally, just like essential oils the air space in the bottle is important as well. The less air space you keep, the less chance of contamination.
How do you know if your hydrosol has gone bad? You will see white or discoloured blobs floating around in the hydrosol, these are similar looking to an algae bloom in water. Once you see this, discard your hydrosol immediately. We store and package all of our hydrosols in clear containers to make it easier to see any potential blooms.
Essential Oil and Hydrosol Usage Information Facebook Group: Essential Oil Safety for Families
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