There is a common misconception that essential oils and water do not mix. In fact, as a by-product of essential oil distillation, rose water and other hydrosols are routinely produced. The steam carrying the aromatic molecules of plants rises during the distillation process and, after cooling, separates into essential oil at the top and water, the hydrolat at the bottom. Hydrolats are used most particularly in European phytotherapy, a form of herbal medicine, but orange flower water, has been used for centuries in Europe for cooking.
Although one might not see how, technically, any of the rose could be left in water during the process of distillation, the fact is that water is distinctly rose-scented, or scented with the particular plant being distilled. Even if you put, say six drops of geranium essential oil in a bath, and can see that the essential oil floats on the top of the water, if you were to taste some of the water that seems untouched by it, the geranium is nevertheless evident.
In some way, the aromatic molecule, or the vibration of the essential oil, has managed to become imprinted in the water. I was then very interested to read the scientific journal Nature (30 June 1988) a paper written by thirteen scientists which showed that, even when antibodies were not technologically detectable in a highly diluted aqueous solution, the memory of them lingered on, making the solution still biologically active.
Commenting on the paper, the deputy editor of Nature, Peter Newmark, said that if the results were confirmed to be true, ' we will have to abandon two centuries of observation and rational thinking about biology because this can't be explained by ordinary physical laws.' The man at the centre of this discovery, Dr Jaques Benveniste, later appeared with his detractors on Channel 4's three-hour discussion programme, After Dark, in which his work was debated.
As the argument heated up, the viewer was shown an example of how a totally new scientific pathway is very difficult for unimaginative people to grasp. Dr Benveniste was at the time of his discovery working for INSERM - the national medical research institution of France and was one of France's leading biologists and immunologists, the author of four previous Nature articles and over 200 other scientific articles- two of which are called citation classics.
Before he could publish this particular piece of work replicated by other labs - and this was successfully carried out in Israel, Canada and Italy. Nevertheless, the controversy continues.
The implications of Benveniste's discovery are far-reaching - for allopathic and homeopathic medicine, and for aromatherapy and essential oil use ( not to mention public water management). When aromatic molecule enters water, the function of the molecule becomes imprinted throughout that water-body. To understand how this may work, we need to look at water itself.
Water is ubiquitous in that it is everywhere, including our bodies (65%) and brain (90%). Yet according, according to Patrick Flanagan, MD (MA), who was listed at age seventeen by Life magazine as one of America's top ten scientists, water is 'one of the world's most mysteriously anomalous substances.