by Paula Harris
known as floral waters and hydrolats, are the by-products of the steam
distillation of essential oils. The hydrosols contain small quantities
of the essential oils themselves, as well as water-soluble components
of the plants that would otherwise be lost in the distillation process.
from many of the "face sprays" and "spritzers" available in shops (which
also occasionally call themselves floral waters) which are often a
simple mix of water and essential oil, sometimes with a little food
colouring added to make it too "authentic".
a very subtle energy, and are therefore a useful addition and complement
to essential oil-based therapy where a gentle approach is desired.
Traditionally hydrosols are most commonly used for skin care, but they
are also useful for eye inflammation and infection, and can be taken
the most readily available hydrosols were rose, lavender, chamomile
and neroli (orange flower). But over the last few years more and more
possibilities have been explored, as people realize that if it can
be distilled, there can be a hydrosol.
And Uses Of Hydrosols
- Chamomile, Roman
- soothing; anti-inflammatory; relieves stress; a compress for migraines;
relieves nappy-rash; suitable for sensitive, inflamed or dry skin;
sunburn; excellent for eyes
- Lavender - soothing;
gentle; balancing; antiseptic; suitable for all skin types; eczema;
razor-burn; healing for burnt skin (including sunburn)
- Manuka - cleansing;
anti-fungal; antiseptic mouthwash
- Melissa - hot
flashes; a compress to relieve pain of shingles; suitable for oily
- Neroli - calming;
balancing; hydrating; rejuvenating; uplifting; anti-depressant; relieves
stress; mildly astringent; suitable for all skin types
- Peppermint -
refreshing; deodorizing; cooling; antibacterial; mouthwash; clears
sinus congestion; excellent as a facial and body spray in summer
- Rose - refreshing;
soothing; anti-inflammatory; regenerative; rehydrating; a gargle for
sore or inflamed throats; suitable for sensitive or dry skin; soothes
- Rose Geranium
- balancing; antidepressant; hot flashes; suitable for oily or dry
- Rosemary - refreshing;
stimulating; razor-burn; suitable for congested skin
- Tea Tree - stimulating;
antiseptic; athlete’s foot; acne
excellent for using within a skin care regime. In addition to being
completely natural, they are gentler than many commercial skin toners.
They can also be combined with sun-dried clays to make natural face
masks, enhancing the properties of the clay. During the long, hot summer
days or when traveling, they can be used as a facial spray to revitalize
and hydrate the skin, or to set makeup.
But to limit their
use simply to skin care is doing an injustice to these often overlooked
Much like the
essential oils themselves, hydrosols can be used in the bath, in compresses,
for facial steaming and as room sprays. And like essential oils, that
can be blended together to create synergies.
also be added to carrier oils, along with essential oils, to heighten
the essential oils’ therapeutic value. For instance, adding a little
lavender hydrosol to a massage blend containing lavender essential
oil will enhance the lavender, and essentially make the blend "complete"
by utilizing both the water-soluble and oil-soluble components of the
The internal use
of hydrosols is still being explored, and should be considered cautiously.
But studies do show that, for example, taking controlled doses of chamomile
hydrosol orally can ease intestinal spasms.
should be colourless, or at most contain only a light sheen. If you
pick up a bottle of neroli water and it is decidedly orange, put it
that not all hydrosols have a pleasant aroma, particularly those obtained
are all natural, they contain no preservatives and therefore deteriorate
over time. The usual lifespan of a hydrosol is a year, and they are
best stored in the refrigerator.
her Certificate in Body Massage from the Makara College of Therapeutic
Massage in 1994, Paula studied through the London School of Aromatherapy,
obtaining her Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy in 1995. Her studies
led to an ongoing interest in the effects of aromatherapy on the mind
and emotions. She is also interested in pelotherapy, the use of clay
for therapeutic uses, which can be incorporated with aromatherapy in
treatments. In her home based clinic with peaceful views, and as a
Professional Member of the New Zealand Register of Holistic Aromatherapists,
she offers each of her clients holistic treatments for mind, body,
and soul. Visit Paula at her website: http://elements.eyesis.co.nz/
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