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How to use hydrolates correctly

How to use hydrolates correctly

What are hydrosols used for?

Hydrosols are used for many uses, food, cosmetic, domestic, well-being or care.

Aromas: as in oriental pastries (rose and orange blossom hydrosol), hydrosols can be used to flavor culinary preparations, both sweet and savory (lavender, geranium, Douglas fir, rosemary, etc.), hot or cold, and drinks (mint, blackcurrant, verbena...).

Cosmetics: very gentle, they are perfectly suited to cosmetic care, as a lotion for the skin or hair, alone or combined with other ingredients to prepare your own cosmetics (chamomile, ylang-ylang, rosemary, yarrow, rockrose, lavender, cornflower, etc.).

Sprays or mists: they are very effective for cleaning, deodorizing or perfuming spaces (Douglas fir, giant fir, verbena, lavender, etc.). They can keep insects away (geranium, savory, pine, etc.).

Treatment baths: perfectly soluble in water, they can be used in baths and foot baths (lavender, verbena, lemon balm, rosemary, Scots pine, etc.).

Health care: their many therapeutic virtues make them essential in natural health: anti-inflammatory (yarrow, chamomile, blackcurrant, etc.), antibacterial (bay leaf, thyme, savory, pine, etc.), antifungal (Douglas pine), soothing (lavender, ylang-ylang, chamomile, verbena, lemon balm, etc.), healing (lavender, immortelle (Italian helichrysum), rockrose, etc.), digestive (angelica, basil, dill, mint, coriander, etc.), draining (juniper), circulatory (pistachio mastic, immortelle (Italian helichrysum), witch hazel), detoxifying (lovage, wild carrot, rosemary, etc.), antirheumatic (blackcurrant, juniper, silver fir, etc.), hormonal (salvia, yarrow, pine, etc.), respiratory (giant fir). or pectinate, Douglas fir, Scots pine, etc.), etc.

Who can use hydrosols?

Basically everyone! Whether fit, sensitive, elderly, children, pregnant women, everyone can benefit from the benefits of hydrosols, taking some precautions if necessary depending on the hydrosol chosen and the person using it ( see below on page 32-33 for pregnant women and babies especially).

How to use hydrosols: methods of administration and doses

Hydrosols (as long as they are of quality and food safe) can be used both internally and externally.

Internal route / Oral route
The hydrosols, aqueous, perfectly miscible with water, are very easy to use orally. This is certainly the most effective route for therapeutic use. However, this can only be done with hydrosols without preservatives and registered as “food supplements” or “natural flavors”. They can be consumed pure, but they are generally diluted in water or another drink (lukewarm or cold).

Internal use / Mouthwash and gargle
Hydrosols are very effective as a mouthwash, for oral hygiene, toothache, inflammation or pain in the gums, bad breath, as well as as a gargle, for sore throats for example.
For mouthwashes and gargles, take 1 to 2 tablespoons of hydrosol, pure or diluted by half in water.

External use / Skin application
Very gentle, hydrosols are perfectly suited for application to the skin or mucous membranes. They can be used: pure for skin care, sprayed or applied with a cotton pad; for more cosmetic use, either pure or integrated into a lotion, a shampoo, a cream or an emulsion (an aromatic “milk”, combining a hydrosol, a vegetable oil1 and if necessary an essential oil for perfume, stability – natural preservative – or an additional sought-after property).

External route / Baths
Perfectly miscible with water, therefore easy to use, the hydrosols can be poured directly into bath water (50 ml to 100 ml for a bathtub, 20 ml to 30 ml in a basin for a foot bath, very efficient and water-saving). Aromatic baths are interesting for a systemic effect (soothing, tonic, circulatory, etc.), but also to contribute to skin care.

This is a use that is still little known, but ultrasonic cold diffusers are ideal for diffusing hydrosols, generally pure. Usually, tap water and around ten drops of essential oils are poured into it. But you can also fill the diffuser tank with hydrosol and nothing else!
This method of diffusion makes it possible to create a gentle olfactory atmosphere and to benefit in a non-aggressive way from the properties of hydrosols (calming, stimulating, cleansing, etc.), more suitable for diffusion in a child's bedroom, for example, than essential oils.

In the kitchen
Hydrosols perfectly flavor drinks, salads, soups, yogurts, ice creams or sorbets, dishes, desserts... We can thus kill two birds with one stone and benefit from the properties of hydrosol while enjoying flavoring. Be careful though, hydrosols can lose their olfactory and taste values ​​if they are cooked for too long or too hard. For a cooked dish, it may be preferable to add it at the end of cooking or just before serving (soup for example).

For doses, it all depends on the recipe, but do not exceed 1 tablespoon per person for an individual serving.

How to store hydrosols?

The hydrosol is an aqueous solution, therefore in principle more sensitive than an essential oil and less easy to store, because it is more subject to bacterial contamination.

A quality hydrosol, concentrated in active ingredients, is less likely to be contaminated. Some precautions are nevertheless necessary to limit oxidation (by air, light and temperature) which promotes the proliferation of micro-organisms.

It is advisable to store hydrosols in temperate temperature conditions (no need to store them in the fridge if they are of good quality, but avoid them being subjected to large temperature variations, behind a window in the sun for example) , protected from light (in a tinted bottle) with closed cap.
Under these conditions, a hydrosol can be kept for several years. As a precaution, it is recommended to use them within 6 to 12 months after opening.

You should know that the smell of a hydrosol evolves during its “ripening”, like that of a wine. It can change but must remain a “plant” smell (which we can like or not like, but which does not necessarily indicate a good or bad product). On the other hand, if an acidic or vinegar smell appears, the hydrosol has probably been contaminated and it should no longer be consumed.

What are the contraindications and precautions for use with hydrosols?

Hydrosols are gentler products than essential oils and therefore do not require as many precautions in use.

However, if hydrosols are very safe and have perfect skin tolerance, some precautions should be taken with some of them, particularly internally, for pregnant women and children under 3 years old (hydrosols containing camphor or phenols for example, see table p. 32-33). Precautions should also be taken for people taking medications with narrow therapeutic windows (anticoagulants, antiepileptics, etc.), to avoid interactions. In this case, it is preferable to refer to a competent healthcare professional. Finally, certain hydrosols (cinnamon, savory, thyme) can cause slight, temporary skin irritation in ultrasensitive people or if they are applied in too high a dose.

Precautions for use
- Hydrosols that can cause skin tingling: exotic basil, cinnamon, incense.
- Hydrosols that can cause skin irritation in too high a concentration: cinnamon, ginger, oregano, savory, thyme thymol.
- Hydrosols that can cause liver problems if used over long periods or pure in sensitive people: cinnamon, ginger, oregano, savory, thyme thymol.
- Slightly photosensitizing hydrosols: citrus.

Given the current state of knowledge, it is preferable in these particular situations to seek the advice of an experienced pharmacist. Likewise, avoid consuming a hydrosol from the same plant orally for several months without professional advice.

Even if hydrosols are gentle and devoid of toxicity, they can in no way replace treatment without prior medical advice.



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