Hydrosols - Use and Properties

Hydrosols

Gently Cleanse and Tone Skin - Naturally. 

Plants have been distilled for the benefits that the process unlocks for thousands of years. The oils produced during the process were siphoned off and later used for health, beauty and religious ceremonies - these were the precursors to essential oils. Both Egypt and China seem to have been the earliest civilisations to document their distilling both herbal waters and alcohol. These grew steadily more complex as a number of plants were distilled together. The famous "Carmelite Water"was made from lemon balm and other herbs, by 12th century most monasteries in Spain, Italy and France produced some distillate of herbs. The recipes were a closely guarded secret and they were use to treat most everyday illnesses, from toothache to plague. People drank them and bathed in them, believing they could conjure a dimmed love back to life and if that failed, prolong your own (now possibly lonely) life! The French  Carmelite nuns made the famous Carmelite water with lemon balm, cloves, coriander, angelica, orange peel and some sort of alcoholic grape juice (which clearly didn't catch on...) to prolong life.

It is a simpler process now and plants, roots and barks can all produce wonderful hydrosols. Some plants deliver more beneficial properties when they are distilled in steam, others are more affective if hydro-distilled. Roots and fibrous plants are often better in a water distillation. Evening Primrose does better in steam distillation. Different properties are extracted in each. The composition of hydrosols differs from essential oils as hydrosols contain the hydrophilic properties missing in essential oils, and less of the lipophilic properties. These are concentrated, a hydrosol is roughly 25 times higher than a herbal infusion.

Hydrosols are for use on the skin - before consuming hydrosols for therapeutic purposes, please consult a physician.

Borage: INCI Borago officinalis L. flower  Boraginaceae family.

borage close up

Parts Distilled: Ariel parts - steam distilled

Constituents: mucilage (a demulcent for inflamed skin), tannins, silicic acid and vitamins: A and C.Flowers and leaves contain 0.02% and 0.12% lipids. Flowers contain more essential oil and vitamin C and less carotenoids, chlorophyll and flavonoids. The flowers tend to have more polyphenols. Almost 20% mucous compounds, tannins 3-5%, mineral salts, calcium and potassium nitrate 4%, organic acids: citric, malic, lactic and ascorbic acid; saponins, allantoin1%, carotene and tocopherols. Borage is an astringent hydrosol,

Use: Use neat as a cleanser, toner and hair rinse. Borage soothes damaged tissue, eczema and a number of chronic skin conditions. It is an astringent, with a near neutral pH. 

Best for: Acne, rosacea, Eczema and low grade, chronic skin problems. Soothing on damaged skin, sun-burn or itching, as it contained mucilage, a demulcent for inflamed skin. It has a nice feel and is emollient. 

Borage is not for internal use, due to pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can affect liver function.

Specifications: Appearance: clear liquid.   Odour: Slightly nutty scent.       

pH Value: 5 -6.4 at 25°C. 

Other uses: Used in skincare recipes instead of water - recommended use  5-30% .

Approximate shelf-life without preservative: 6 months 

Scent: A fresh, faint ‘cucumber’ scent; slightly herbal.  Created from organically grown, pesticide-free plants. GMO-free. 

Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free materials. 

Animal Testing: Not animal tested   GMO-free, but not certified    Vegan: Yes

Country of Origin:IOM

 Calendula INCI Calendula officinalis flower distillate    Asteraceae family.calendula close up

Extraction: steam and hydro-distillation.            Parts distilled: flowers 

Contains /Active Constituents: Flavonoids, terpenoid esters, saponins, mucilage, polysaccharides, resin, betacarotene, carotenoids (these make the flowers orange).  Petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin.         

Use: Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diaphoretic, oestrogen, diuretic lymphatic, astringent, anti-fungal, antiviral. Effective at soothing and moisturising. Especially suitable for the sensitive and irritated skin.

Best For: Acne, soothing inflammation and irritation, especially suitable for sensitive skin. This is good for most skin-types, it is moisturising and slightly astringent. It is also anti-fungal and antiseptic with some anti-viral properties.

Specifications     

PH: From 4-5.8 @ 25ºC  Approximate shelf-life without preservative; 6 months.

Odour: A light ‘green’ scent. Appearance: Clear fluid

Created from organically grown, pesticide-free plants. GMO-free. 

Country of Origin: IOM    Animal Testing: Not animal tested      Vegan: Yes 

Other uses: Used in skincare recipes instead of water - recommended @ 5-20% Approximate shelf-life without preservative: 6 months; with preservatives 1-2 years.

Members of the Asteraceae family can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to wheat and daisies. Not recommended for consumption during pregnancy. For external use only.

 

Chamomile - Roman - Anthemis nobilis and German -Matricaria recutita L.

Asteraceae family (German is often more concentrated).

 

Extraction: steam and hydro-distillation. 

Parts distilled: flowers.

Contains/Active Constituents: Apigenin (inhibits skin cell adhesions); phenols and flavonoids, including the unusual chamazulene, luteolin and antioxidant glycosides and quercetin. 

Uses: A cleanser and toner. It is moisturising and can reduce TEWL for 24 hours. The relatively high a-bisabolol and apigenin help the anti-inflammatory efficiency and improve texture and elasticity. It can ameliorate UV damage and inhibit skin cell adhesions. It is an excellent anti-irritant. Not recommended for very dry skin, due to the acidic pH.

Best For: Acne, eczema, rashes, dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, heat-rash, sunburn, itching, wound healing and stings. It is probably the best hydrosol for baby skin and like cornflower, it can improve sore eyes and conjunctivitis when applied as an eye-bath.

Approximate shelf-life; without preservatives: 2 years + when stored at a dry and cool place. 

Odour:  Roman - faint apple/strawberry tones and German - slight nutmeg.

Specifications     

PH: Between 3 - 4 @ 25ºC

Approximate shelf-life without preservative; 2 years.

Appearance: Clear fluid

Members of the Asteraceae family (including Chamomile) can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to wheat and daisies. Not recommended for consumption during the first three months of pregnancy. 

Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free materials.

Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus - Asteraceae family

cornflower close

Originally grew in cornfields. Native to Europe naturalised in UK . 12th century french folk-name: ‘casse-lunette’-due to its apparent benefit to eyes). 

Extraction - steam-distilled. Parts distilled: Flowers 

Contains Active Constituents: flavonoids - anthocyanins, aromatic acids, amino acids, acetylenes and coumarins, sesquiterpenes, sugars, indole alkaloids, and rich in vitamins and minerals.

Uses: A cleanser and toner. Soothes damaged tissue and chronic skin conditions. It is an astringent hydrosol and the pH is very similar to most skin. 

Best For: Acne, eczema, dry, dehydrated and flaky skin. Quite astringent and improves skin suppleness and can be used in an eye bath for conjunctivitis. Both soothing and stimulating for skin. Antibacterial (moderate activity against Staphylococcus aureus), anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and excellent antioxidant.

PH: 4.2-5 @ 25º

Approximate Shelf Life: Without preservatives: 2 years - when kept cool and dry. 

Odour: A slight scent in the hydrosol, slightly herby.

Created from organically grown, pesticide-free. GMO-free, but not certified

Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free plants.
Animal Testing:
Not animal tested
GMO:
GMO-free, but not certified
Vegan:
Yes
Country of Origin:
IOM

Members of the Asteraceae family (including Cornflower) can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to wheat and daisies. Not recommended for consumption during the first trimester of pregnancy.

 

Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis - Onagraceae family 

Folk name: King’s Cure All and Tree Primrose. Found in Europe from1600. 

 evening primrose

Extraction: - steam and hydro-distilled.  Parts distilled: flowers and arial parts

Constituents: fatty acids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. 

Uses: Cleanser and toner in one.

Best For: Eczema, bruises, inflammation, redness and oily skin. It is astringent enough to counter oiliness and has antioxidant properties.

PH: Between 4-6 

Approximate shelf-life; 2 years without preservatives.

Odour: the hydrosol retains only a slight vanilla from the flowers
Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free plants.
Animal Testing: Not animal tested
GMO: GMO-free, but not certified
Vegan: Yes
Country of Origin: IOMCreated from organically grown, pesticide-free plants. GMO-free. Not certified.

Shouldn't be taken by anyone with epilepsy

Feverfew -  Tanacetum parthenium

 feverfew

Extraction: Steam and hydro-distillation Parts distilled: flowers and leaves

Constituents: Tannins, sesquiterpenes lactones and flavonoids. Gallic acid, a tannin, is a good anti-oxidant. Luteolin - also in honeysuckle and chamomile, is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and free-radical scavenger.The sesquiterpene lactone-parthenolide is  anti-inflammatory and inhibits prostaglandin production. 

Uses: Cleanser and toner, to calm skin irritations and used for burns and wound healing. It is used to reduce skin-mites.

Best For:  Oily skin, uneven complexions, dermatitis, psoriasis, sunburn and UV damage. It is anti-inflammatory, astringent and soothing, with, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.

PH: Between 4-6

Approximate shelf-life; 2 years.

Odour: only a slight scent - herbal/green and slightly bitter.

Created from organically grown, pesticide-free. GMO-free, but not certified

Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free plants.
Animal Testing: Not animal tested
GMO: GMO-free, but not certified
Vegan: Yes
Country of Origin: IOM

Not to be used on skin with rosacea.  

*When consumed, it can be dangerous to take with Aspirin or blood thinners and is not recommended during the first trimester in pregnancy. 

Honeysuckle: Lonicera japonica

Capifoliacea family AKA: Woodbine and xylosteum. Native to Europe and UK

 honeysuckle

Extraction: Steam distilled Parts distilled: Flowers

Constituents: This contains anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial EGCG (epigallocatechingallate) and apigenin. Quercetin and rutin, very high polyphenol content, catechins, tannins, and glycosides, luteolin and vitamin C.

Uses: A cleanser and toner; an astringent hydrosol. It is paricularly soothing with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Vitamin C is a good anti-oxidant and is widely used to stimulate collagen synthesis.

Best For: Eczema, psoriasis (luteolin) and sun-damage.

PH: 5-5.5 @ 25º

Approximate shelf-life: 2 years - kept somewhere cool and dry.

Odour: Scent of the flower.

Created from organically grown, pesticide-free plants. GMO-free. Not certified

 

 

Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia and Munstead Wood

 lavender fatheads

Extraction: Steam-distilled. Parts distilled: Flowers

These are mixed to gain the most effective combination of beneficial properties. Angustifolia has the highest antimicrobial activity, whilst Munstead has a higher mineral content.

Constituents : linalool (up to 45%), borneol, α-terpineol, terpinen-4-ol, eucalyptol and 1,8-cineol Providing good antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. 

Uses: Cleaner and toner in one. As a hair rinse and used before and after shaving to counter irritation. It is often used as a preservative for other water-based products. 

Best For: Good for all skin types, excellent for minor skin injuries, rashes, insect bites, stings, sunburn and other conditions that cause inflammation. 

PH: Between 4.5 - 6.2

Odour: recognisably lavender, but not as strong as the essential oil.

Created from organically grown, pesticide-free plants. GMO-free, but not certified

Approximate Shelf life: 2-3 years without preservatives if kept in cool conditions.
Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free plants.
Animal Testing: Not animal tested
GMO: GMO-free, but not certified
Vegan: Yes
Country of Origin: IOM

*If consumed, it can be dangerous to take Aspirin or blood thinners. Not recommended to take during the first trimester in pregnancy. 

 

Roses roses

INCI Rosa Gallica - (wild rose) native to France; in UK before 1500
INCI Rosa Chinensis -native to Sichuan province; in UK since early 1700s
INCI Rosa damascena - In UK since 19th century.

INCI Rose Alba (Dog rose crossed with Gallica)

Extraction: Hydro and steam.   Parts distilled: Flowers

Constituents: Alcohols: phenyl ethyl alcohol, beta-citronellol and geraniol; esters and aldehydes. 

Uses: Cleanser and toner; it has the perfect pH for skin. Soothes inflammation, bites and is an excellent base for skincare products (instead of distilled water).

Best For: Soothing, sensitive and dry skin types. To improve UV damage, especially mature skin.
PH: Between 5 - 5.5

Odour: A natural, fresh rose scent.

Created from organically grown, pesticide-free plants. GMO-free, but not certified

Approximate Shelf life: 2-3 years without preservatives if kept cool.

Manufacture: From organically grown, pesticide-free plants.
Animal Testing: Not animal tested
GMO: GMO-free, but not certified
Vegan: Yes
Country of Origin: IOM