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What is the difference between hydrosols and essential oils?

Updated: Mar 16, 2020



Let us begin with defining an essential oil. These oils are volatile substances that are formed in the sac, veins or glandular hairs of a plant. These parts are typically located in the roots, seeds, flowers, bark and even the fruit of the plant. They are considered to be the main essence of the plant and thus the compounds aptly named essential oils, as they are responsible for the unique scent of the particular plant. The essential oils are extracts in various ways.


The most common method of extraction is steam distillation. However, you can also find that essential oils have been derived through carbon dioxide extraction, solvent extraction and lastly through manual expression. Contrary to their name, essential oils are actually not oily. These compounds tend to be highly concentrated thus need to be dilute before use. They are diluted in carrier oils and perhaps that is why most people make the mistake of assuming they are oily compounds. Every essential oils has its own set of distinct properties when it comes to their scent, their chemical composition, their color and more. That is why you find that different essential oils will have their own different set of healing properties. Some of the properties that a majority of them have in common though is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.


A hydrosol, on the other hand, is a water-based compound that is a by-product of steam distillation of the essential oils. Hydrosols comprise of water-soluble components of the plant as well as some essential oils from the plant. Hydrosols are nowhere near as concentrated as essential oils. As such, they can be safely used without dilution. You can also opt to dilute your preferred essential oil in a hydrosol if you are looking to reap the synergistic effects of the two,


If your pet is extremely sensitive, you can opt to use hydrosols for their aromatherapy rather than essential oils, as they are a competent alternative.


© Joyson, Amy. Essential oils for Dogs. 2019

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