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Just Aromatherapy - Floral Waters, Hydrosols, Flower Water - Information

Today, most common essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus, are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic (distillation apparatus) over water. As the water is heated the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.

Most oils are distilled in a single process. One exception is Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), which takes 22 hours to complete through a fractional distillation.

The water recondensed from the distillation process is referred to as a hydrosol, hydrolat, herbal distillate or floral water. Popular hydrosols are rose otto water, lavender water, chamomile, lemon balm, clary sage, tea tree, peppermint and orange flower/blossom floral water.

How To Use Floral Waters

Hydrosols are valuable therapeutic materials in their own right and can be used alongside essential oils or in place of them especially in cosmetic applications and for treating skin disorders. They can be applied to the skin direct, without further dilution and are particularly useful where a non-oily or water-soluble treatment medium is needed, for example in some forms of eczema where oils or oily creams seen to make the condition worse. Chamomile hydrosol would be particulary appropriate here. because of there gentleness, in comparison with the equivalent essential oil, hydrosols are particulary well suited to use for children, the elderly and people who are debilitated by illness. We have listed some popular ways to use floral waters, mentioned below. It is not an exhaustive list and you may well know, or you may discover, other methods.


Compresses can be either hot or cold depending on the condition that is being treated. It is well-known and frequently used treatment method for sports injuries in particular, though its uses are much wider than this and can be very effective for pain, swelling and inflammation.

How To Use: The method is the same whether hot or cold. Add up to three to five tablespoons of hydrosol in one liter of water.For children dilute two to three teaspoons of hydrosol per liter of water to a basin or bowl of hot or icy cold water. Use a face-cloth, lined pad, cotton wool or other absorbent fabric and dip this into water. Wring out the excess and place the pad on the affected area. Once the compress has achieved body temperature, renew it and continue as required. A hot compress can be held in place with crepe bandage on joints or with cling-film on larger areas, for example the lower back.

Benefits: Most conditions characterized by 'aches', for example earache, backache, etc, should be treated with hot compresses, while sprains, fevers, inflammations and headaches should be treated with cold compresses. Sprains and varicose veins respond very well to the 'hot/cold' treatment, ie start with a cold compress then alternate between hot and cold compresses over the next few days, finishing with a cold one.

Room Burner (oil burner; lamp ring; diffuser; vaporiser)

Room burners are specifically made for use with essential oils, and can also be used with floral waters. You can buy them in many different shapes, sizes, designs and patterns. They can be electric, radiator fragrancer, candle powered or a ceramic light bulb ring that is heated by a light bulb, but most are ceramic oil burners warmed by a small candle. Also remember that a glazed ceramic oil burner will not crack, burn or stain, and is easy to keep clean. Always try to use good quality night lights with a good quality wick so that it will not smell when alight or smoke when blown out.

How to use: Place a small amount of floral water of your choice in the bowl, enough to fill it but leaving some space for water expansion. Place the candle in the chamber, light it and leave in a safe place. Use for 25-30 minutes this will, of course, depend on the size of the room or house etc.

Benefits: Psychological conditions can be treated very effectively with a room burner. Headaches respond well to this method and all respiratory problems can be treated in this way. A major use of the room burner is to scent and purify the air, clear germs and create a 'therapeutic atmosphere'.

Lotions And Creams

Floral waters can be added to fragrance-free lotions or creams, but make sure that you use a very good quality product that if preferably lanolin free (some people are sensitive to lanolin).

How to use: Add the floral water to a dark amber glass jar to help preserve the cream or lotion and prevent it from reacting with a plastic bottle. The recommended dosage is approximately 10 percent. It is usually safe to add at least 10 percent hydrosol, although in some cases the gels will take up to 50 percent to your chosen cream or lotions. Even 5 percent will have an effect and will add a distinct note of luxury, try a batch test first . Apply lotion to the skin and rub until completely absorbed. Cream should be applied to the skin and gently rubbed in. Leave the rest to sit on the surface of the skin and gradually release the oil into the body and the aroma into the nose.

Benefits: This is a particularly good way of treating most skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, which will benefit greatly. A lotion is an excellent way to get essential oils rapidly into the bloodstream and is therefore useful for treating conditions such as circulation problems. Lotions and creams can be effectively used for headaches, while creams are a good way of treating respiratory conditions. Both are an essential medium for general body and skin care.

Room Sprays

Make a home-made room spray using a sprayer that has been thoroughly cleaned, to provide your favorite aromas to freshen your home. It is perfectly possible to make a room spray using floral water. This will mean that every time you use it you will have to make sure you shake it vigorously to disperse the oils in the water.


For babies up to six months old add one teaspoon of hydrosol to an infant-size bath of water or two teaspoons to an adult bath filled to baby depth. For children up to twelve years, add to the bath one teaspoon of hydrosol per year of age, up to a maximum of eight teaspoons. Adults can use frm 30ml to 250ml per bath; the amount is dependent on personal taste, whether the bath is therapeutic of for pleasure, and the size of the bath.

Makeup Remover

Roman chamomile, and geranium are the most effective, in that order. Use as you would any makeuo remover by applying the hydrosol to a cotton pad and gently wiping it over the skin, moving up the face. Chamomile will even remove some waterproof types of mascara, although not all of them. Follow with a splash of fresh water or water-hydrosol blend.


Perform this treatment by boiling water, then diluting it up to 50 percent with hydrosol and pouring the hot liquid into a bowl. Now tent a towel over your head and sit with your face over the steaming vapors. This is an excellent method for deep-cleaning pores and removing stubborn impurities without damaging the tissue. Follow with a cold water-hydrosol rinse to close the pores afterwards. Diluting the boiling water with room-temperature hydrosol means that the steam won't burn. Steam for a maximum of ten minutes only.

Moisture Mist Spray

Any time your face feels the ravages of the elements-dryness, humidity, stress, smoking, fatigue, climate-controlled air, a hydrosol mist can bring relief. Applied in a fine spray it will not ruin makeup, and you will feel and look better for it.

Gargle & Mouth Wash

Combine one part hydrosol with four parts water for a general-purpose mouthwash that will help maintain oral hygiene and sweet breath. For children over three years, dilute one part hydrosol in ten parts water. If you are dealing with specific mouth or gum conditions in adults, such as cankers, ulcers, gingivitis, sore throat, or infections, use neat hydrosol, twenty milliliters at a time, and hold it in your mouth around the sore spot. For a gargle, using a total of thirty milliliters of hydrosol, gargle with fifteen milliliters twice; spit out the hydrosol, don't swallowit. Repeat two or three times daily.

Latin Name: Chamaemelum nobile.

Aroma: A fruity, honeylike aroma. With more apple overtones than the oil has but softer, more delicate.

Stability and Shelf Life: Very stable, lasts for two years or more.

Properties and Applications: One of the best all-purpose waters, along with lavender and melissa. Roman chamomile is the number-one choice for baby care. It can safely be used right from birth, in the bath water and as a soothing mist for bedding. Mothers can use it diluted to wash the breast area, and in sddition to helping prevent cracked and sore nipples, its calming properties will make feeding time even more relaxing. When child care is required, the handover is easier if the caregiver uses chamomile as well, as the child will feel that Mother is near. Nappy-rash redness and pain can be soothed with dilute chamomile, or use neat applications of 50:50 blend of Roman chamomil and lavender waters to compress the tender skin.

New mothers can use it in a compress or a sitz bath for postpartum relief. Homemade wet wipes for babies and young children should always include chamomile. When teething starts, add two or three drops to a bottle of water to help calm diarrhea and stomach upset. Rub the gums with diluted chamomile frequently to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain and help to sooth the associated crankiness. Children adore the flavor of sweet chamomile and will soon recognize the relief it brings. Spritzing a light mist over the blankets or in the air of the child's room will help children sleep.

Because of its effect on the nervous system, chamomile is a useful aid in stress reduction, depression, relaxation, insomnia, and aggravation. Combine it with melissa or one of the tree waters if alertness is required and to help calm road rage. It can be midly euphoric, instilling a feeling of well-being. Use as a bedtime tea or bath for reducing stress, for physical relaxation, and for restful night. Chamomile is wonderful for skin care, for burns and sunburns, skin cleanser, and toner. Combined with neroli it is good for acneic conditions and oily skin; combine it with witch hazel for very dry skin and with lavender or geranium for very dry skin.

Pets, like babies, can derive great benefits from chamomile, which can reduce stress before travel, after a flight, during a storm, or even when visiting the vet. Teething, especially in puppies, can be as much of an ordeal for owners as for pets; use the same treatment for teething babies. Basically, Roman chamomile is a must have hydrosol.

Latin Name: Lavandula angustifolia.

Aroma: A sweet, floral scent; instantly recognizable to lavender, but with an added honey overtone.

Stability and Shelf life: Very stable. Usually lasts at least two years, frequently longer.

Properties and Applications: The pH of lavender is normally close to that of most balanced cosmetic products, making it ideal for every skin type on a regular basis. A dded to ready-made skin-care products, it will not alter their intended properties and adds a delightful fragrance and its oen beneficial cooling and healing therapeutics.

Lavender is rightly famed for its regenerative effects on damaged or fragile skin. Add it to masks with oatmeal for a nondrying deep cleanse; use it daily as a makeup remover and cleanser, applied with a cotton ball. Mist the face and neck throughout the day to mist the face and neck throughout the day to combat excessively dry atmospheres. Spray skin both before and after shaving or hair removal to reduce inflammation, get a closer shave, and prevent in grown hairs. Indispensable for skin care when traveling. Use it on the plane, all over the body, including feet and legs; carry to warmer climes for calming sunburn, heat rash, sunstroke, rashes, bug bites, and itching. Mist skin with a 60:40 mixture of lavender and witch hazel, before moisturizer or sunscreen applications, when skiing or sailing, to prevent wind and temperature damage.

Its sweet and happy aroma makes lavender a natural for children. Use it to clense cuts and scrapes (and for adults, too). Add it to bath water or spray it directly on the bed for a restful night's sleep. Lavender is fabulous for use with babies from birth and can be added to the bath, used to clean the bab'y bottom, or combined with chamomile for a nappy rash. A mist in the air in a baby's room or a spritz on parents clothing before tucking in will help make naps and bedtime easier to achieve.

Combine with Roman chamomile for the ultimate babys blend. Calming and cooling to the body, mind, and spirit, lavender makes a refreshing room spray for the home or office or in the car to calm, cleanse, and refresh when stuck in traffic.

Combine it with geranium, rose, or clary sage and use it hot or cold on the abdomen and back for cramps and PMS. Combine it with a little pepermint and sage and spray it all over for hot flashes. Use it undiluted in a compress on the neck, shoulders, and forehead for headaches, tension, and stress.

Latin Name: Citrus aurantium var. amara.

Aroma: Floral, fruity, refreshing,sexy, and luscious. Some people prefer it to the essential oil.

Stability and Shelf life: Very stable; easily lasts two years or more.

Properties and Applications: Orange is (neroli) is a major antistress and calming agent, and it is mildly sedative to the central nervous system without causing sleepiness. It stops caffeine jitters and the effects of overindulgence rapidly, although the mechanism is undetermined. This is the choice for hysterics in children, babies, and even adults and is a wonderful treatment for sudden shock. It is also quite effective in children with hyperactive attention deficit disorder (ADHD) and can be used both topically and internally for this purpose. Give babies their own bottle to use as they feel the need.

Neroli is supportive for the physical and emotional bodies during detoxification programs and adstention or when quitting a habit or addiction like smoking. It is a digestive aid, stimulating bile release and relieving heartburn and reflux. It also seems to calm spasms in the digestive tract and valves and, in combination with basil water, has shown some promise for hiatal hernia. Misted on the abdomen or aplied to acupuncture digestion points, it relieves stress-related bloating, gas, cramps, and constipation. Antispasmodic, antibacterial, and antifungal, it is good in a double douch for leukorrhea or thrush, especially when combined with thyme or oregano and rock rose.

Neroli is a wonderful treatment for delicate, sensitive skin and for oily skin, because it is so astringent. A superb toner on its own or combined with rock rose, it clears acne and irritations. Use it in face masks with clay and honey for the ultimate in luxury. Wear it as a natural purfume that won't aggravate the scent sensitive.

Latin Name: Mentha piperita.

Aroma: Freshly crushed peppermint leaves. Pungent, cool, and refreshing but significantly less intense than the essential oil.

Stability and Shelf Life: Fairly stable. Has a shelf life of about twelve months. Although it will occasionally last longer.

Properties and Applications: Peppermint is most famous for its digestive, anti-inflammatory, and mind-stimulating properties. A digestive par excellence, peppermint is useful for treating colic, bloat, heartburn or reflux, and indigestion of all kinds. Try it also if you suffer from Crohn's disease, colitis, or irritable bowl syndrome, as it has provided significant relief to a number of people suffering from these conditions. It can be combined with basil hydrosol for increased antipasmodic effects and for ending the alternating diarrhea/constipation cycle.

Peppermint is an effective digestive tract cleanser, having mild antibacterial and anti-fermentative properties, and is the hydrosol to drink, combined with Roman chamomile diluted in one liter of water per day when treating parasites. Take small sips of a 50;50 dilution to combat motion sickness and nausea. Topically it combats itching and burning, providing fast relief for allergic reactions, bites, and stings. Added to hot water it will have a cooling effect; added to cold water it will have a heating effect. Mentally stimulating, peppermint is the wake-up water. Spritz it on the face to revive during hot weather or when tired, or use it to soothe hot flashes.

Latin Name: Rosa damascena.

Aroma: Smells just like a fresh rose. Moist, cool, intensely floral scent.

Stability and Shelf Life: Quite stable. With a shelf life of two years or more.

Properties and Applications: Divine. This is what rose is supposed to smell like! It is good for almost everything and is so nice to use that you don't need an excuse. Rose is cooling and very midly astringent; use it in masks, steams, and compresses or add it to any beauty product for both its effects and fragrance. An antiwrinkle treatment when combined with rock rose, it dramatically improves the aroma of the latter.

Try it in the bath for relaxation and rejuvenation or for a postpartum healing sitz bath. Anyone suffering from environmental or chemical sensitivities could try this as an aromatic and hypoallergenic body, clothes, or room perfume.

Its moisture-retaining nature makes it a good choice for the traveler, and its mild antiseptic and cooling properties make it useful for many first-aid applications. A good combination if you can take only one hydrosol with you is rose, lavender, and one of the chamomiles in roughly equal proportions, which will allow you to address most general health concerns, from stress and insomnia to sunburns and wound care. Some people claim that rose exhibits the highest vibration of any essential oil.

Rose has an affinity with the heart and the emotional spheres of the mind, body, and spirit. However it is applied or taken, it promotes balance, aids emotional processing, and supports you in decision making.

Latin Name: Melaleuca alternifolia.

Aroma: Fresh, sharp with a hint of spice.

Stabilty and Shelf Life: Fairly stable; sixteen months or more.

Properties and Applications: Antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral: tea tree does it all. Internally it is used in many ways for many conditions, including as a gargle or mouthwash for sore throat, coughs, and gingivitis or as a cough syrup when combined with honey and essential oils.

Mildly mucolytic and wxpectorant, it is best combined with inula and eucalyptus or rosemary for chest infections. You can snuff a few drops up the nose for allergies and sinus congestion. Internally Combine with peppermint for bad breath resulting from poor digestion.

Topically tea tree hydrosol can be used undiluted to cleanse cuts, scrapes, and wounds of all kinds. For children, combine it with lavender and keep it on hand for all the boo-boos. Skin infections of all kinds react positively to tea tree; use as a strong as you can and use clean cotton wool balls to wash the areas. Tea tree is one of the most useful oils.

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