Scents are said to have a positive effect on emotional well-being. Although hydrosols are not as well-known as essential oils, they are an important part of aromatherapy.
What Is Hydrosol?
These ‘floral waters’ are versatile and can be used in a number of ways to improve physical and emotional health.
Hydrosols are a versatile but lesser known product of aromatherapy. They are created during the distillation process along with the more widely known essential oils.
Toward the end of the distillation process, vapor collects in a condenser. As it cools, it separates into water and essential oil. The water is now called hydrosol -- hydro for water and sol for solution.
Because it is less volatile than essential oil, hydrosol can be used for purposes that you could never use essential oil for. For instance, hydrosols can be applied directly to the skin without dilution. They can be substituted for water in skin care recipes, given to plants in lieu of water, and even used in cooking.
Making Distilled Essential Oils and Hydrosols - Douglas Fir
Organic Rose Hydrosol
|Shea Terra Organics Pure Moroccan Rose Water 4 oz.|
Shea Terra Organics
Aromatherapy | Holistic Health
Uses for Hydrsols
Hydrosols contain small molecules of the plant and essential oil they were distilled from so they are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and work well with sensitive skin. Ideas for hydrosol use include:
- Spray damp hair and style
- Drink as a tonic
- Add to bathwater
- Add to creams/lotions
- Add to clay to make a mask
- Use as cologne/perfume
Sometimes the terms 'hydrosol' and 'floral water' are used interchangeably, but they mean different things. A hydrosol can be made from any plant that is distilled such as Lemon Balm Water from the herb Melissa or Bay Laurel water from the leaves of the Bay Laurel tree.
Hydrosols can be floral waters if they have been distilled from petals such as rose floral water from rose petals or lavender floral water from lavender petals.
Another use of hydrosols is for the benefit of mental and emotional health. The effect of certain scents on emotional states has been well documented. This is why perfume is a multi-billion dollar industry and manufacturers pay so much attention to how their products smell. Certain smells make us feel good, but this is a psychological response.
Smell and the Brain
We smell with the brain -- not the nose. Molecules in the air travel to the olfactory centers of the brain where they land on differently shaped receptors. Molecules attach to certain receptors like a peg in a hole, and an electrical stimulus is sent to the brain which in turn is linked to the limbic system that controls feelings and emotions.
The olfactory center perceives a smell, but it doesn't judge the smell. Our emotions do that. Whatever frame of reference we have for that smell determines if it is good or bad and how it makes us feel. Our reaction to a scent is psychological.
Emotions and memories that are triggered by smell tend to be stronger than those triggered by an image, book, etc. Let's say you associate the smell of roses with a loved one's funeral. The smell of roses would then likely trigger sad emotions, as opposed to someone who associated the smell of roses with a happy occasion like a wedding.
So pick your scents carefully. You can uplift and energize yourself by picking the right hydrosols. Keep in mind that they must work for you personally. Don't buy lavender because someone told you to. You may find that you prefer herbal scents as opposed to floral. There's more than enough variety available for you to find a scent that works for you.