The hydrosols are obtained at the same time as the essential oils: this is distillation water, obtained at the outlet of the still. They are nevertheless much gentler than essential oils, because they are mainly composed of water. This water, in addition to containing a small portion of aromatic molecules, is responsible for all the plant's information. Hydrosols, through these different aspects, are widely used in emotional problems such as insomnia, which often require gentle and deep action. Against sleep problems, Roman Chamomile, Orange Blossom, Lemon Balm or Lavender hydrosols are very often used, depending on individual preferences.

This article was updated on 04/12/2023

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Why use hydrosols against sleep disorders?

Hydrosols are aqueous products obtained at the same time as essential oils for the most part, therefore after distillation of the plant. They are thus more diluted in active ingredients (aromatic molecules in particular), but contain all the distillation water, which must also be considered as an active ingredient.

The aromatic molecules found in hydrosols are the most polar molecules, because they will be attracted to water which is itself a polar solvent. We find there in particular alcohols, aldehydes, coumarins, certain esters, etc. These molecules have calming and sedative properties, useful for getting back to sleep. The water also “takes care” of all the information of the plant: this is partly detectable on the chemical level, via analyses, but another part is not measurable, although being perceptible would not be -what olfactory. “Chemistry does not explain everything”! Hydrosols are natural extracts widely used toharmonize, support the mental and emotional in a gentle and deep way.

Finally, hydrosols have a major advantage compared to essential oils: they are much more flexible to use. They do not present all the risks associated with the aromatic molecules concentrated in essential oils, and can therefore be used to promote sleep in pregnant women and children and babies from a very young age.

How to use hydrosols for sleep?

Since hydrosols are gentle products, many ways of using them are possible to benefit from their benefits. In the context of a nervous action, to promote sleep, 3 ways of use can be considered:

Orally:

  • For babies over 3 months: dilute 1 teaspoon in the bottle, preferably lukewarm. It is also possible to spray the hydrosol on the nipple before feeding, or directly into the oral cavity.
  • For adults and adolescents: dilute 1 teaspoon of hydrosol in a glass of water, preferably lukewarm, 2 to 3 times a day.

In atmospheric spray: spray the hydrosol in the air before bedtime or directly on the pillow and bed linen.

In broadcast: replace the water in a misting diffuser with one or more hydrosols, and diffuse in 10-minute intervals before bedtime.

Cutaneously: add the hydrosol to the bath water: 2 to 3 teaspoons for the little ones, and a few tablespoons for the older ones.

Which hydrosols to use?

Several hydrosols have calming properties of the nervous system. To know which one to use, it is best to favor the one whose smell is most appreciated by the person suffering from sleep disorders. Indeed, the molecules responsible for odor are processed in the brain on the one hand by the orbito-frontal cortex, linked to recognition and perception, and on the other hand by the limbic system, linked to emotions, memories and behaviours. An odor can therefore have different effects depending on each person.

Roman Chamomile hydrosol

Like its essential oil, the distillation of Roman Chamomile flowers makes it possible to obtain a hydrosol with calming properties, having a tiny share of esters in its composition of aromatic molecules, molecules known to be sedative. It helps to defuse anxiety attacks, and helps agitated people fall asleep, especially young children.

L’roman Chamomile hydrosol also presents, just like essential oil, digestive properties useful in cases of insomnia linked to a meal that is too large, too close to bedtime, or digestion problems in general. In infants, it helps, for example, to calm colic, and is useful in cases of teething, both of which can prevent falling asleep.

Orange blossom hydrosol

L’orange Blossom hydrosol is certainly one of the best-known hydrosols alongside Damascus Rose. This is mainly due to its price, much more affordable than the essential oil, obtained in parallel during distillation: Neroli.

It thus presents the diluted properties of the essential oil, namely calming the nervous system central, and above all sleep inducer. It dissipates tension and is clearly described as sedative. Although its composition is not documented, the presence of linalool and α-terpineol can be assumed. These two molecules are in fact part of the monoterpenol family, which are partially found in hydrosols thanks to their water-soluble nature. They have in common that they are soothing for the central nervous system thanks to their hypotensive and calming properties, very useful for promoting sleep.

Melissa hydrosol

Although Lemon Balm has many benefits in aromatherapy, it is unfortunately rarely used as an essential oil due to its relatively high price. L'lemon balm hydrosol on the other hand has the advantage of being much more affordable, and therefore more accessible to benefit from its benefits. And the latter are numerous enough to promote sleep and calm various types of insomnia.

Firstly, and this seems almost essential to act on sleep disorders, Melissa hydrosol has properties sedative and soothing. He calms anxiety and nervous fatigue, favoring a general state more likely to sink into the arms of Morpheus. Then, Melissa hydrosol, just like its essential oil, is particularly hypotensive. It regulates heart palpitations, especially those of nervous origin. Finally, it has beneficial effects for digestion. He stimulates digestion, and in particular the liver, and exerts an antispasmodic effect. It therefore fights against gastric pain or stomach cramps, which can in certain cases prevent you from falling asleep. It also has a very pleasant smell and especially a lemony taste. It should nevertheless be avoided, as a precaution, in people suffering from hypotension.

Officinal Lavender hydrosol

L’officinal Lavender hydrosol has an odor quite different from the essential oil, on the one hand because of the presence of a lower concentration of aromatic molecules, obviously, but also because of a different balance between the aromatic molecules. Lavandulol in particular is a fairly water-soluble molecule, so it would be found more in the hydrosol than in the essential oil.

Its smell can thus be surprising, appearing less fine, nevertheless the hydrosol retains the main properties of the essential oil, namely sedative and relaxing. He calms nervousness and anxiety, has a hypotensive effect, and soothes the psyche and body. It thus promotes sleep or certain disorders that can cause insomnia. It also contains, in the same way as Orange Blossom hydrosol, mainly linalool and α-terpineol, which explain its calming properties.

Hydrolate synergies to promote sleep

As a pillow mist or diffusion

To benefit from the combined effects of several hydrosols, but also combine their scents, it is entirely possible to create synergy by mixing several hydrosols.

In atmospheric spray. In a 200 mL spray bottle, mix:

  • 100 mL of Orange Blossom hydrosol
  • 100 mL of Roman Chamomile hydrosol

Spray this mixture on the pillow and bed linen as needed.

These hydrosols can also be used in broadcast : pour these hydrosols into a misting diffuser, and diffuse 10 minutes before bedtime.

Orally

If the pillow mist and diffusion do not or no longer prove sufficiently effective, it is finally possible to opt for the oral route.

For babies. Add the following mixture to a warm bottle:

  • ½ teaspoon of Orange Blossom hydrosol
  • ½ teaspoon of Roman Chamomile hydrosol

For older children. Add the following mixture to a cup of lukewarm water or herbal tea:

  • 1 teaspoon of Orange Blossom hydrosol
  • 1 teaspoon of Roman Chamomile hydrosol.

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Bibliography

Work : Faucon, M., & Canac, P. (2018). Treatise on scientific and medical aromatherapy, hydrosols (1st ed.). Paris: Ed. Blood of the Earth.

Work : Bosson, L. (2015). Hydrolatherapy. Brussels: Editions Amyris.

Work : Marinier, CFD, Cieur, C., Vidal, DL & Bartczak, S. (2022). Treat yourself with hydrosols: Gentle and effective for the whole family. LIVING EARTH.