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Hydrolats, Essential Oil waters, and Infused Oils

Throughout these pages I refer to "hydrolats ," essential oil "waters", and "infused Oils. They are all products which include some elements of the healing properties of the essential oils found in plants. Hydrolats can't be made at home but can be purchased from specialist suppliers. Essential oil waters are made with essential oils and they can be used, in some cases, in place of hydrolats.

A great deal of water is used in the process of essential oil distillation, and it's often sold as a by-product of the manufacturing process - a hydrolat. Rose water and orange-flower water, which are used in beauty preparations and cooking, are diluted hydrolats. Herbal medicine used these and other hydrolats, such as lavender, tea tree, and camomile.

It's only the water-soluble components in plants that become imbued in the water used in the distillation process. Consequently, hydrolats should not be thought of as watered down essential oils, because they don't contain all the components that essential oils do.

Hydrolats very often smell quite different from the plant or the essential oil.
have antiseptic properties, and have their own unique uses. They can be used to spray rooms, put on bed clothing, as well as on compresses. They often have a delicious fragrance.

Hydrolats have to be bought like an essential oil. If your supplier doesn't sell them you may be able to get them through a herbalist.

Essential Oil waters
The water-infusion method creates an essential oil water, which could be used if a hydrolat is unavailable. Pour half pint of boiling water into a heat-proof bowl. Then add 6 - 10 drops of your chosen essential oil. Cover the bowl completely, so the cooled, condensed water falls back into the bowl. Then pour the mixture through an unbleached, paper coffee filter, to take out the globules of essential oil. Leave it to cool then bottle. 

Infused Oils

Infused oils can be made at home and there are two ways to make them . The first way is to use a jelly jar or other container that can be kept tightly sealed, and fill it with whatever plant material you want to use, such as, lavender, chamomile, marigold, or calendula. Use the part of the plant that contains the essential oils. Pack in as much as you can, then fill the jar with a good, organic vegetable oil, such as sunflower, grapeseed, or almond oil. Put the lid on tightly, and put the jar somewhere in the sun, like a window sill. Shake the bottle every day.

After at least 48 hours, strain the oil again. To really get all the bits out, strain the oil through an unbleached paper coffee filter. It's thick, so this will take some time. To make the oil stronger, use the same oil, and add more fresh plant material, and repeat the process. Carry on until you get the aroma as strong as you want it.

The second method involves putting the flower heads or other plant material in a jar with the oil, as above and, after sealing the jar, gently heating the jar into a few inches of water in a pot, on the stove. Use Low heat - there should be no bubbling or boiling. Strain as usual.

Reference: Aromatherapy For The Healthy Child: Valerie Ann Worwood.

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