The word Hydrosol is a term meaning “water solution”. Hydro means water and Sol means solution.   Other terms include hydrolats, hydrolates, or plant waters and are sometimes used interchangeably. Financially speaking, hydrosols are often more affordable than the essential oil which was extracted.

In soap-making, the addition of hydrosols may help boost the natural scent profile. It may be possible to use less fragrance or essential oil if a hydrosol as part of the recipe water content.

The best definition we have read is “Hydrosols are the condensate water coproduced during steam or water-distillation of plant material.”  Hydrosols are NOT floral waters, they come from the roots, bark, wood needles, leaves, fruit, seeds AND flowers, just like an essential oil.  It is the water that is left over after essential oils have been extracted from plant matter.

So a TRUE hydrosol is composed of only one distinct plant species. It contains both water soluble compounds as well as essential oil molecules which were left behind during distillation. So how do you recognize the copy-cats?  Here is a helpful list……..

  • A hydrosol is not spring water, distilled water or tap water with essential oils added.
  • A hydrosol is not water with fragrance oil or other synthetic compounds added.
  • A hydrosol is neither tinctures or teas mixed with water.
  • A true hydrosol is never alkaline. They are always on the acid end of the pH scale.

If you seek therapeutic benefits from hydrosol waters, here are a few guidelines to help you choose wisely:

  1. Hydrosols are not blends…..they should be from a single, botanically specific plant
  2. True hydrosols should be sourced from certified organic, chemical-free agriculture
  3. If wild-crafted, they should have been tested for chemical contaminants
  4. Distilled specifically for therapeutic use, steam distillation – no alcohol extraction
  5. Property bottled, stored and handled to protect the therapeutic value
  6. Hydrosols can be added to soaps, lotions, and creams.

Plain water in any recipe may be replaced with a hydrosol for more skin-loving therapeutic benefits.  For those who may have experienced allergic or sensitization to essential oils, hydrosols are a good choice.  Here is a hydrosol recipe to help with headaches…….safe, effective and all natural…..no NSAID drugs needed!

Soak a soft wash cloth in 50 ml Peppermint Hydrosol and 50 ml Roman Chamomile Hydrosol. If you suffer from migraines, add 2 – 4 drops of pure Peppermint Essential oil into the mix for a stronger version. Cover the eyes with the dampened cloth for 10 – 15 minutes.