We all know how essential oils have created a niche for themselves in the health and beauty departments for their multifaceted benefits to their users. But did you know through the process of making essential oils, a much lesser product has been slowly creating waves in the aromatherapy world? Yes, you read that right! We are talking about hydrosols, a by-product formed during the essential oil distillation process.
What used to be discarded as just a by-product, now has been garnering praises from many for its abundant benefits provided by them. Intrigued to know more? Continue reading the article then, as we share with you all the nitty-gritties of hydrosols.
What are hydrosols?
Hydrosols are pure healing waters obtained during essential oil distillation. When plant material is distilled, it is exposed to either boiling water or steam or both. When exposed to steam, the structures of the plants containing essential oils or other plant fluids break open causing the water to soak up all the good things that the plant has to offer. The water is what we know as hydrosols and after the process is complete, the essential oil and hydrosols get separated with the essential oils floating on the top of the hydrosols.
People often tend to confuse between hydrosols and essential oils since both of them are usually obtained from the distillation of plant materials. We know that hydrosols generally are by-products of essential oil distillation but there is some slight difference between the two- hydrosols have high water content and are much less concentrated as compared to the essential oils.
Benefits of hydrosols
Did you know that some of the hydrosols manufactured can also be used in your culinary dishes? However, with all that being said, keep in mind that hydrosols are much less concentrated as compared to essential oils and therefore, getting your desired results from hydrosols can be a little time-consuming. Some of the extensive benefits of hydrosols are:
- Hydrosols allow us to replenish the water content in the skin lost due to environment and age.
- An effective remedy for minor cuts. Wash the affected area with lukewarm water and then apply lavender or neroli hydrosol to promote quick healing.
- Soothes itchy and red skin or any other minor skin irritations.
- Hydrosol acts as wonderful natural alternatives to repel mosquitoes and insects. You can also create a blend of different hydrosols to make your customized insect repellent spray.
- Not only for our skin, but hydrosols also work wonders for our hair too. You can use them to treat dry and damaged hair or as a treatment for your irritated scalp.
- Hydrosols are water-based and therefore unlike essential oils do not create any potential side effects for their user.
Some of the different hydrosols and their purported benefits are:
- Chamomile- calms and soothes red, itchy skin
- Lemon balm- controls excessive oil production and acts as both antifungal and a toner.
- Witch hazel- excellent for balancing the pH of the skin, especially for teenagers and also is abundant in antioxidants
- Lavender- has a calming and relaxing effect
- Rose acts as perfumes and is a great toner for the skin.
How to use hydrosols?
There are tons of unexpected ways of using hydrosols. Since they are diluted, they are generally considered safe to be used by old and young alike. It is also relatively safe for pregnant and nursing women. Some of the most common uses of hydrosols are
- As a hair toner
- For post-sun hydration
- Layer it with moisturizer or after a shower as a hydrating mist
- Spray it on your pulse points to use as a body mist
- As room and car freshener. Also can be used as an aphrodisiac room mist
- Linen sprays
- Use it for aromatherapy.
How to make your own hydrosol?
You can easily purchase hydrosols online or from any supermarket. However, if you want to make your hydrosol at home, then the following procedure can be a great help to you. What do you need?
- 1 heatproof bowl
- A large pot (made from non-reactive metal)
- Lid without steam release hole (keep the size of the lid as same as that of the pot)
- Metal vegetable steamer
- A strainer
- Plant parts that you want to distil (all the parts of the plant can be used)
- Bag of ice
- 3 litres of distilled water (you can also use spring water for an enhanced quality of your product)
- Before beginning the process, make sure that all the utensils are cleaned and all mud, grime and dirt have been removed from the plant parts.
- Add the water into the pot and also the plant parts.
- Let the plant parts be soaked in the water for one to three hours. Make sure that all the parts are completely submerged and stir the contents once or twice during the process.
- After the stipulated time, put the strainer in the middle of the pot and place a bowl in the strainer
- Now put the mixture of water and plants to boil. Use medium-high heat and let your mix-up boil for five minutes or so.
- After you see bubbles forming in the mixture, place the lid upside down on the pot.
- Now put the bag of ice on top of the lid. As the heat creates herbal-infused steam, the steam rises and touches the lid. Upon coming in contact with the cooler lid, it condenses into hydrosols and drips down from the lid into the bowl placed in the pot.
- Keep replenishing the ice till you have got the hydrosol of your desired quantity.
After you have reached your desired quantity, let the contents cool down to room temperature. Once, that happens, transfer the contents to spray bottles or mist cans or as desired and store it in the refrigerator. They do need to be stored properly. So make sure to keep the contents in air-tight bottles and store them in a cool and dark place.
Now there you go, everything you need to know about the multifaceted benefits of hydrosols. As we know that hydrosols are the by-products that are formed during essential oil production, therefore to purchase hydrosols of the best qualities, make sure to purchase hydrosols from those companies that solely manufacture hydrosols.
The bottle should be dark in colour and keep them in a cool condition. Since they do not have emulsifiers, they have a very short shelf life. Also a quick tip from us, hydrosols are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therefore always buy hydrosols from a reputed brand. Now go on, include these new goodnesses into your regime and bask in the magic provided by them.