Fresh Plant Hydrosols

 ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN   NATURAL HERBAL LIVING MAGAZINE * , July 2014

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN NATURAL HERBAL LIVING MAGAZINE*, July 2014

Herbs are replete with enchanting scents, be it the beautiful scent of a rose or the lemony green smell of just crushed lemon balm.  Like essential oils, hydrosols are a way for us to capture these lovely smells and other amazing properties of many herbs to use and enjoy.  The fragrant flowers and plants of high summer are wonderful for making your very own hydrosols at home.  

Hydrosols are the beautiful aromatic waters which are created as a by-product of essential distillation.  These amazing waters are very healing.  Jeanne Rose tells us that hydrosols “can be considered the homeopathy of aromatherapy; as herbs are to homeopathy, so are essential oils to hydrosols.  [That hydrosols in fact] “represent the true synergy of herbalism and aromatherapy.” 1

Hydrosols contain very tiny “micro drops of essential oil” 2  yet in addition to these tiny drops of essential oil there are healing water-soluble compounds present in hydrosols.  Among these compounds are plant acids which lend themselves beautiful as toners for the skin.  Hydrosols are generally considered to be gentler and safer to use than their essential oils counterparts.  According to Sagescript Institute hydrosols "contain the beneficial products of essential oils plus more and in a less concentrated, safer form." 3

THE BENEFITS OF SOME COMMON HYDROSOLS

  • Rose ~ This beloved hydrosol is wonderful for all skin types, helping to balance oil production and skin pH.   Rose helps to relieve anxiety, stress and ease moodiness.  It is also an aphrodisiac and makes a tasty addition to food.  Part Used: Flowers

  • Orange Blossom (Neroli)  ~  Orange blossom hydrosol is very calming and wonderful for easing anxiety.  It is mildly astringent and therefore helpful for those with oily skin.  Like rose, orange blossom hydrosol is wonderful added to food and reportedly “one teaspoon in a cup of coffee eliminate jitters”4 and I bet it tastes great too!  Part Used: Flowers

  • Lavender ~ This mellow, cooling hydrosol is balancing for all skin types and particularly benefits sensitive skin.  It will help to soothe and heal skin irritations, minor burns and eczema.  Just like the plant and essential oil, lavender hydrosol eases stress and refreshes the mind.  Part Used: Flowers

  • Peppermint ~ Peppermint hydrosol is very cooling.  It will help ease redness, inflammation and itchiness.  Use it on rashes, insect bites and as an aftershave for razor burn.  It is a wonderful facial toner too!  Peppermint hydrosol is very uplifting and energizing.  Great for cooling pick-me up on a hot day!  Part Used: Leaves, Stems & Flowers

  • German Chamomile ~ This hydrosol is very anti-inflammatory and great for helping those with sensitive skin.  Use for any type of skin inflammation such as sunburns, rashes, diaper rash, and acne.  It helps ease anxiety and soothes upset emotions.  Part Used: Flowers

  • Lemon Balm  ~ Hydrosol made from lemon balm is very relaxing and sedating finding use in relieving insomnia and emotional upheaval.  It is also anti-viral and can be used topically to treat shingles and herpes outbreaks.  It is very gentle and improves all skin types.  Part Used: Leaves, Stems & Flowers

  • Rose Geranium ~ Rose geranium hydrosol is well known for it’s ability to balance both dry and oily skin, making it wonderful for folks with combination skin.  It is also a cellular regenerative 5, 6 encouraging new cell formation and benefiting mature skin.  Rose geranium hydrosol also helps to balance hormones during menopause and helping with PMS, good news, uh?  Part Used: Leaves, Stems & Flowers

  • Calendula ~  Though not really considered a common hydrosol, calendula does make a lovely hydrosol, and of course it is our herb this month, so I wanted to tell you about it!  Like the herb, calendula hydrosol is wonderful for healing all kinds of skin issues such as rashes, abrasion, sunburns and to encourage healing while decreasing scaring.   It is a wonderful, soothing facial toner.  7 Part Used: Flowers

WAYS TO USE HYDROSOLS

There are so many ways to incorporate hydrosols into daily life!  Have fun playing and enhancing your life with these lovely waters.  

  • Sprays ~  Without a doubt hydrosols make lovely sprays for home and body.  Spraying aromatic hydrosols in the air is like magic, instantly transforming the energy of a room.  Use them to refresh and cleanse the air, linens and more.   These amazing waters are wonderful for the skin and emotions.  Spray on face and body to tone the skin, refresh and soothe the mind. I like to keep a bottle of peppermint hydrosol in the refrigerator to make the ultimate cooling spray on a hot summer’s day!

  • Skin Care ~ Use hydrosols as amazing facial toners, add to lotions and creams, put a cup or two in the bath, use in hair rinses, and help soothe  rashes and burns.

  • Home Care ~ Using hydrosols around the home is a lovely way to incorporate them into everyday life.  Spritz the bed sheets when changing the bed, use as an aromatic laundry spray, and even add hydrosols to your own homemade cleaning products.  

  • Culinary ~  Many hydrosols can be added to foods and drinks to create delicious surprising tastes.  The most well-known in hydrosols cooking are rose and orange flower water.

Really the possibilities are endless and limited only by your own limitless imagination.  Have fun and enjoy exploring the world of hydrosols!

Visit here to learn how to make your own hydrosols from fresh plants growing right in your garden!

  • 1 Jeanne Rose, 375 Essential Oils And Hydrosols, pg 163
  • 2 Jeanne Rose, 375 Essential Oils And Hydrosols, pg164
  • 3 Sagescript Institute
  • 4 Jeanne Rose, 375 Essential Oils And Hydrosols, pg 171
  • 5 The Aromatic Plant                        
  • 6 Jeanne Rose, 375 Essential Oils And Hydrosols, pg 175
  • 7 Mountain Rose Herbs

REFERENCES

Books:

  • Green, Mindy and Keville, Kathi, Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art,The Crossing Press, 1995

  • Rose, Jeanne, 375 Essential Oils And Hydrosols, 1999

Websites: