AromaHerbal Hydrosols: The Many Therapeutic Uses of Yarrow Flowers

AromaHerbal Hydrosols: The Many Therapeutic Uses of Yarrow Flowers


by Jeanne Rose, Aromatherapist

San Francisco, California

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils and hydrosols to promote personal health and are obtained by a process called distillation. Plant materials are heated with water in a pot called a still, so that their aromatic oils are released from the plant, vaporize, and rise with the steam of the heated water. The steam and vapor move through a tube to a condensing coil, where they are cooled and returned to liquid state. The essential oil, which is an easily evaporated (volatile) liquid having the characteristic odor of the plant, floats on top of the water. The resulting water contains water-soluble parts of the plant and micromolecules of essential oil and is termed the hydrosol. Both of these products of distillation are considered valuable therapeutic substances and are used by application and inhalation to achieve physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual balance with harmony.

Hydrosols are gentle aromatic healing waters containing the healing properties of the plants from which they are distilled, as well as micro-molecules of essential oil in therapeutic quantities. Distilled water with essential oils added, known as "misters" are not equivalent to hydrosols. In order to be considered a hydrosol, and to have the healing properties of both water-soluble plant material and the essential oil, the product must be the water resulting from steam distillation of plant material. Consumers should look for the word "hydrosol" or "hydrolate" on the product label or ingredients.

Until recently, the only hydrosols available in the United States were imported from Europe. Since hydrosols are perishable, by the time the European-hydrosols reached the U.S. market they have lost their therapeutic value and they have spoiled. Hydrosols from a variety of species are currently being produced from organic crops in California, Oregon, and the mid-west providing the U.S. market with high quality, fresh hydrosols. These hydrosols are grown according to the standards of the Aromatic Plant Project and are available from organically grown Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium), Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender), Aloysia triphylla (Lemon Verbena), Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), and Artemisia arborescens. The growing practices and distillation process meet strict standards and the result is a wonderfully fresh, highly therapeutic hydrosol.

The hydrosols of Yarrow flowers and Artemisia arborescens are useful in a variety of ways for body care, pet care, and home use. They both contain azulene, a chemical component known as a healing and effective anti-inflammatory and much used in treating skin conditions.

Yarrow Flowers Hydrosol from Achillea millefolium Yarrow flower hydrosol, made by the steam distillation of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), is a true flower water, yet has a rich herbal aroma suitable for use by both men and women.

As an astringent spritz, it is a refreshing aftershave and can be used before applying make-up, to freshen make-up or as an all-over body mist after bathing. It is cleansing and can be used as a gentle face wash. As an ingredient in shampoos or as a hair rinse, it is not only cleansing, but has been used to stimulate hair growth, eradicate dandruff, and treat scalp conditions. Diluted with spring water it can be used as a mouthwash and is especially useful for toothaches.

The herb has been traditionally used for severe wounds and bums and the hydrosol is useful as a household remedy to cleanse such injuries: It has been recommended for severe skin rashes such as acne, and wounds that will not heal. For women's care it is a useful cleansing and astringent sitz bath.

Yarrow flower hydrosol is astringent and stimulating and is useful for men and women of all ages.

The Holistic Health Network.


By Jeanne Rose

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