What is a Hydrosol, and What are the Benefits?
When searching for aromatherapy and natural healing methods, you may have come across the term "hydrosol" in your research. In cursory reading, it might sound like hydrosols and essential oils are almost identical, but this is actually not true. While both are beneficial, they each have unique properties that make them suitable for different things.
What is a Hydrosol?
Before we get into the benefits and uses of hydrosols, it's important to explain what they actually are. There are a few different methods used to produce essential oils, and a popular one is called steam distillation. Hydrosols, which are sometimes called "flower waters" or "aromatic waters," are co-products of this process. When the steam used during distillation cools back down into a liquid form, the essential oil separates from it and floats to the top. The oil is carefully skimmed off of the water's surface, and the "leftover" water is the hydrosol.
It is important to also note that hydrosols are not the same as simply mixing an essential oil into water. There are unique compounds in hydrosols that can't be replicated by trying to add pure essential oil into water.
How is it Different From an Essential Oil?
Though hydrosols have many of the same beneficial components as essential oils, they are far less concentrated. This can be helpful for anyone who is concerned about essential oil safety or finds essential oils to be too strong.
Some people find that hydrosols are more healing and refreshing because they are water-based. Many people use both hydrosols and essential oils in their healing journeys. Ultimately, which you choose comes down to how you will be using it and what your body needs to heal.
What Are the Benefits of Hydrosols?
One major benefit of hydrosols is that they are safer than the essential oils found in an aromatherapy kit. This is not to say that essential oils are dangerous, but many are not suitable for use around pets, young children, and pregnant mothers. Some are also phototoxic, and all need to be diluted in some type of carrier oil before they can be used.
When you buy an essential oil diffuser kit, it typically requires you to mix oils with water. Because so many oils are unsafe for pets and young children, it's often recommended to replace these oils with organic hydrosols instead.
Hydrosols are able to be used freely on pets, children, the elderly, and around the home. In fact, most can even be consumed or used to treat skin issues. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy even says they are safe to add to baths and therapeutic spritzers for infants.
Another benefit to organic hydrosols is that they are anti-inflammatory and make excellent additions to DIY skincare. You can also use them undiluted as a toner or hydrating mist as well.
Try a Hydrosol For Yourself
The best way to find out whether or not hydrosols should be a part of your aromatherapy routine is to try one out. They're inexpensive and versatile, so pick one or two that sound appealing, and see what they can do for you.