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April 2009

Hydrosols

Essential Oils
Hydrosols in 4 ounce and 8 ounce bottles. The hydrosols are surrounded by varieties of fresh cut herbs and flowers that are frequently distilled for their essential oil and hydrosol.  
I adore Hydrosols. A hydrosol is the aromatic water that remains after producing an essential oil via steam or water distillation. As clear and as fluid as water, hydrosols are light, aromatic, refreshing and retain many of the therapeutic properties of their essential oil counterparts.

Hydrosols are incredibly easy to use and can be enjoyed on their own or combined in aromatherapy and body care recipes that require water (substitute them for the water). They are perfect for use in applications where use of the essential oil might be a bit too much.

Hydrosols have a limited shelf life. Even though they are far less concentrated then essential oils, I recommend storing them in dark (i.e. amber) glass bottles and kept in a cool, dry place. Some individuals keep them in the fridge. In the summer, try keeping a spray bottle of lavender or neroli hydrosol in the fridge for a quick, and chilled body mist that is sure to cool you down throughout the day.


Quicklist of Hydrosol Uses:

Facial Toner/Refresher: Lavender and neroli are amongst the most commonly available hydrosols. I love including these in my personal facial toner recipes or even using them on their own to refresh my face during the day. I love variety, so I tend to keep small bottles of each on hand in my vanity so I can choose the hydrosol that best suits my mood. I have oily skin that I keep on top of and I also particularly love helichrysum hydrosol for facial use.

Body Mist: Hydrosols can be used at full strength, combined or diluted with water for use as a body mist. Add a few drops of your favorite gentle essential oils to enjoy the combined therapeutic benefits of your chosen hydrosol and the essential oil. (Be sure that you are familiar with essential oil safety and remember to add essential oils sparingly for topical use.)

Room Mist: Use at full strength for a quick room mist. The aroma, however, will disappear fast. For a much longer-lasting room fragrance, substitute the water called for in AromaWeb's Room Mist Recipe with your favorite hydrosol.

Calming Mist for Baby's Area: Lavender hydrosol is especially calming for use in baby's room and it can gently help to eliminate harsh odors. I do not recommend misting it right near babies because of the risk of the mist getting into their eyes.

Therapeutic and Aromatic Substitute for Water in Body Care Recipes: Use hydrosols instead of water in your handmade lotions, creams, body mists and body sprays.

For more information about Hydrosols, visit AromaWeb's What Are Hydrosols? article. And for a highly detailed look into hydrosols, read Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy by Suzanne Catty.

I have future plans to expand my coverage of hydrosols on AromaWeb and am looking forward to profiling several hydrosols.


Vanilla Extract Recipe

Vanilla ExtractThe aroma of vanilla is beautiful on its own, and it blends so wonderfully with other natural botanicals including citrus, mint and spice essential oils. When used sparingly, it helps to balance out blends.

Steam distillation of vanilla beans does not result in a useful oil. CO2 and solvent extraction is usually necessary to obtain the precious aromatic and flavorful components. Vanilla Bean CO2 and Vanilla Bean Absolutes are generally costly. An alternative is to create an alcohol based extract that can be used for your water based formulations like room mists and body sprays. If you've ever used "genuine vanilla extract" in your culinary recipes, you are already familiar with the aroma and flavor of the concentrated extract.

The process for creating homemade vanilla extract is similar to the process that I introduced in last week's Herbal Tincture blog post and in the new Herbal Tincture Recipe for Aromatherapy/Skin Care that I added to AromaWeb.

Click here to read the rest of this article and to view the Vanilla Extract Recipe on AromaWeb....


More Ways to Stay In Touch With AromaWeb


My Space

Earlier this week, I established a presence for AromaWeb and AromaTalk on MySpace:

AromaWeb: http://www.myspace.com/aromaweb

AromaTalk: http://www.myspace.com/aromatalk

I use other means to keep in touch and find friends, so it's unlikely that I'll use MySpace much. AromaWeb's presence, however, is an added way to spread the word about AromaWeb and AromaTalk.


Twitter

I am now utilizing Twitter to announce updates, aromatherapy news and anything that may be of special interest to AromaWeb/AromaTalk visitors.

Twitter is a free micro-blogging site that allows you to send short 140-character maximum messages called tweets. It is easy to follow those individuals and companies that interest you. It's a practical and time-saving way to stay in touch with your friends, colleagues and clients and develop new contacts.

Follow AromaWeb


AromaWeb Advertisers

Advertisers, please let me know if you are on Twitter or have a presence on MySpace. I'd like to be sure to follow you on Twitter and add you as a friend on MySpace. I plan to establish a presence on Facebook soon.

Within the next few weeks, I look forward to contacting you by email with an announcement of several exciting new features and enhancements for advertisers including a new Events Calender, new advertising opportunities, and more.


Herbal Tinctures (Herbal Extracts)

Handmade Herbal Tinctures
This photo shows the visual difference between tinctures made from fresh and dried herbs. The mason jar contains a tincture that I made using dried lavender buds. The large vial on the left contains tincture that I made using fresh lavender. The small vial on the right contains a tincture that I made using dried chamomile.  
Each year, I grow a variety of herbs for culinary, aromatherapy and skin care use. Now that April is here, I'm gearing up for the warmer weather and once again having lots of fresh herbs on hand.

I enjoy using room mists, linen sprays and body sprays. They're inexpensive and a great way to easily enjoy aromatherapy and natural plant based aromatics on a daily basis. See AromaWeb's Recipe Box area for recipe ideas. I sometimes use homemade liquid herbal tinctures in place of some of the alcohol or water that a recipe calls for to naturally fragrance my sprays and mists. Properly stored herbal tinctures last indefinitely and are a wonderful way to enjoy the aromatic and therapeutic benefits of the herbs I grow year round. Dried herbs can also be used and usually result in an even more concentrated extract.

I use herbal tinctures primarily for topical/room fragrancing applications. Google herbal tinctures or herbal extracts for details on other ways that you can use them.


What is the Difference Between a Tincture and an Extract?

The terms are often used interchangeably. An herbal extract generally refers to both powdered and liquid herbal concentrates. A tincture is a liquid herbal extract made with alcohol as the solvent. Glycerin can be used as the solvent in place of alcohol. Glycerin based tinctures, however, do not last indefinitely and are not as convenient for use in personal care applications. Glycerin based tinctures, are best suited for use in personal care applications that normally work well with glycerin as an ingredient (i.e. salt/sugar scrubs and mouth rinses).

Click here to read the rest of this article and to view the Herbal Tincture Recipe on AromaWeb....


Aromatherapy Books Most Frequently Purchased by AromaWeb Readers

Disclosure: This post and AromaWeb's Books area contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. If you click on one of the links below and make a purchase through Amazon.com, AromaWeb will earn a commission. Even if you prefer not to shop through Amazon.com, please use this information and AromaWeb's book reviews to help you select the books that are most suitable for you.

Amazon.com Associate of the Month

AromaWeb was selected as the Amazon.com Associate of the Month for July, 2001.

AromaWeb's extensive Book Shelf area features reviews of over 40 aromatherapy books. Each review conveniently links to Amazon.com's corresponding page pertaining to each book for convenient ordering. (AromaWeb earns commissions if you click onto Amazon.com from these links - so please support AromaWeb by using them.)

I have just finished updating the Book Shelf to include a ranked list of the 15 aromatherapy books purchased most frequently by AromaWeb visitors:

 

Book Image   1. The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
by Valerie Ann Worwood
     
Book Image   2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Essential Oils
by Julia Lawless
     
Book Image   3. Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions
by Donna Maria
     
Book Image   4. The Essential Oils Book
by Colleen K. Dodt
     
Book Image   5. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols
by Jeanne Rose
     
Book Image   6. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals
by Kristen Leigh Bell
     
Book Image   7. Advanced Aromatherapy
by Kurt Schnaubelt
     
Book Image   8. Aromatherapy an A-Z
by Patricia Davis
     
Book Image   9. The Fragrant Mind
by Valerie Ann Worwood
     
Book Image   10. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals
by Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs
     
Book Image   11. The Art of Aromatherapy
by Robert B. Tisserand
     
Book Image   12. Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child
by Valerie Ann Worwood
     
Book Image   13. Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy
by Suzanne Catty
     
Book Image   14. Medical Aromatherapy
by Kurt Schnaubelt
     
Book Image   15. 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy
by Carol Schiller & David Schiller

There are a LOT of other invaluable aromatherapy books that aren't on the above list. Be sure to scroll through the Aromatherapy Book Shelf's Alphabetical List to view reviews of 25+ more aromatherapy related books.

In the future, I plan to break down the Book Shelf into subcategories organized by experience level as well as by topic.