The steam, or in some cases water and steam, that passes through the plant material during the distillation process is referred to as a hydrosol or hydrolat. These healing waters are rich in hydrophilic components not found in essential oils. These elements are referrred to as “weak acids” and occur in trace amounts, similar to the energetic blueprint in homeopathic and flower remedies.
Uses of hydrosols are similar to those of essential oils such as applying them to the skin and through inhalation. Hydrosols have been found to work on all the systems of the body from strengthening immunity, calming the spirit and focusing the mind. Here are some suggestions:
- Drinking: Add approximately one teaspoon per 4oz glass of chilled, purified water. Before drinking give thanks to the plant spirit and ask for its guidance. Close your eyes and receive the blessing. This is terrific for group gatherings where intention or spirit is invoked, and for celebrations.
- Add to the bath water and/or inhalations.
- Spritz on the face and or body: Use as a toner on the face. Spritz before applying moisturizer, after shaving or to cool down in the hot summer months. Can also be applied just after applying make-up. Hydrosols are soothing to the skin and can alleviate itching. Use on the delicate skin of both babies and the elderly, as well as animals.
- Add to your lotions and potions.
- Add to food preparation. A common practice in the East where the waters are utilized in both food and drink.
- Excellent as a compress for the eyes and or skin applied locally.
- For magical purposes use hydrolats when you want to bring in elemental water. The different hydrosols can be aligned with the vibrational aspects of different plants, for example Jasmine for invoking the feminine and the moon.
- For the perfumer, especially those interested in the healing aspect of botanical perfume, hydrosols can be added drop by drop to perfume formulas and colognes.
Dr. Emoto has some interesting thoughts on water. Watch the extended version of the film “What the Bleep” to see his experiments and hear his theory.
Inspiration for this post come from the Jan Kusmerik article titled “Exploring Floral Waters” in the Aromatherapy Journal from Spring 2000, Volume 10, No. 1. Thank you Jan for sharing your immense wisdom and inspiring my path!
Suzanne Catty has an excellent book out titled “The Next Aromatherapy” where you can read more about the healing aspects of hydrosols. Take a look at the list on her website where you can view the therapeutic action of the different available hydrosols.