What exactly are hydrolats? Well, very simply they are the natural waters that are collected when plants are distilled to extract their essential oils. For example, to extract Lavender essential oil, steam is passed through the lavender plant material. The heated steam and gentle pressure causes active chemicals from the plant to be released into the steam. The steamy vapor then flows through a condenser which cools it down and turns it back into liquid form – yielding a layer of oil and a layer of water. 

Some of the chemicals released from the plants are non-water soluble and repel water – giving us the layer of oil which is known as ‘essential oil’. The water-soluble chemicals dissolve into the layer of water and this is what is known as the hydrolat or hydrosol. As well as the water-soluble plant extracts, the hydrolats also contain tiny amounts of essential oil. The hydrolat therefore resembles the pure essential oil in terms of its therapeutic effects but is far gentler as it is naturally diluted in water.

Please note that a pure hydrolat will not necessarily smell like its corresponding essential oil due to their differing chemical constituents, and some may have no scent at all.

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o what I hear you ask is a Hydrolat and why should I be interested in buying one??
During the process of steam distillation to obtain essential oil, steam is passed through the plant material (herb, flowers etc) to release the oil, after which this steam is cooled to return it to its original water state. Since the distilled essential oil is lighter than the water it floats on the top and then tapped off separately. (Hoping in the forseeable future to be able to offer my own organic small batch essential oils too)
The remaining water contains small quantities of essential oil plus many of the water-soluble parts of the plant. Supercharged with more active principles than the essential oil from the plant, this ready to use product (The Hydrolat ) offers a safe and convenient way to deliver a wide range of therapeutic and cosmetic benefits directly to the skin, with no need for dilution.
Know what you are buying!!
It is common to find lots of products sold as floral waters/ hydrosols/ hydrolats simply made by adding pure essential oils or synthetic perfumes to water by means of alcohol or some other nasty solvent, in order to manufacture them quickly and at a lower cost. This IS NOT a true hydrolat and will not have the therapeutic benefits of a true distilled product.
The sciency bit ... when distilling plant material for its essential oil, most of the water-soluble components of the plant are absorbed into the steam and then cooled back into condensate (water), and are therefore not carried over to the collected essential oil. This means the essential oil has not captured all of the plants active constituents because some of them have been dissolved into the water (the true hydrosol). Only a small amount of essential oil is held in solution within the hydrosol together with the hydrophilic components.
This is the reason why hydrosols don’t smell the same as the essential oil from the same plant; a large part of the aroma is captured in the essential oil, while the water-soluble components are in the hydrosol. DO NOT expect your hydrosol to smell like an essential oil of the same plant.
All my organic hydrolats contain no preservatives or nasties of any kind and must be stored in the fridge.

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