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Using Botanical Ingredients in Aromatherapy

Updated on October 8, 2014

Introduction to Botanical Medicine

Botanicals are those plant materials or plant parts that naturally possess therapeutic properties. Hence, they are utilized in a branch of medicinal practice known as botanical medicine. Indeed, the innovation of herbal medicine as an effective but safe treatment for various diseases is one of the biggest medical breakthrough ever that has benefited both patients and medical practitioners. Not only are the sources of medicinal properties cheaper and easily accessible, it does not provide the same risks as using synthetic or chemically produced drugs do.

Among the common plant parts processed to extract the healing components of the plant include the leaves, flowers, stem, bark, and roots. As technologies evolved, there are also more choices for administering the healing properties of the plant substances. Most botanical ingredients used in aromatherapy come in liquid or oil extract, capsules, tablet form, fresh or dried products, tea bags, among others.

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Use of Botanicals in Aromatherapy

If you are familiar with how aromatherapy works and how essential oils are derived, then you might be able to understand how both methods are intertwined. Aromatherapy implies the use of natural plant sources and utilizing their natural essential oils through extraction methods for a variety of application methods. That way, one can benefit from the healing properties intrinsic to the plant material in treating a variety of ailments. However, aromatherapy is not just isolated to disease treatment but can also be used to improve overall health.

There are several beneficial effects that the use of botanical ingredients bring to the practice of aromatherapy. They are as follows:

  • The use of botanical ingredients in creating aromatherapy oils reduces the risks of developing side effects.
  • You can be assured of producing quality aromatherapy oils by opting for fresh and organically produced botanical plants.
  • The benefits of botanical ingredients are not just limited to its medicinal use. Botanical ingredients are also widely used in several cosmetic products such as skin and hair care.

How to Blend and Use Aromatherapy Oils : Making an Aromatherapy Oil & Lotion Recipe Using Cinnamon

Methods of Botanical Preparations

Botanical products are processed using various methods to provide the most convenient and accessible way to apply them and experience its therapeutic benefits. Choose among the following methods of applying botanical ingredients in aromatherapy:

  1. Tea – There are several teas available made out of botanical ingredients. This is a good way to acquire the healing essences of the botanical plant to provide relief and treatment. To prepare your own botanical tea for aromatherapy, simply boil water. Then, add your own choice of fresh or dried herb into the boiling water to fully incorporate. You have the option to drink tea either hot or cold.
  2. Tincture – Begin by mixing water and alcohol. After you have created this solution, add the botanical in. Most tinctures are available in liquid form, but you can also use this method to preserve the healing properties of the botanical plant.
  3. Decoctions – For various botanical plants, it extract essential oils or other healing properties from different parts including the root, stem, bark, or leaves. Choose the part you want to use (which varies from one botanical plant to another) and add it to a boiling water until it simmers. Basically, this method uses the same procedure as when creating a botanical tea but with the boiling time extended.
  4. Extracts – To soak the botanical plant part, you will need a different type of liquid that allows chemicals to be removed from the plant. Thus, you can be assured that only natural ingredients remain and ensures your safety when using this particular aromatherapy oil. Sometimes, the liquid extract are processed further to produce a solid form such as capsules or tablets.

Making Aromatherapy Products : What Is Essential Oil?

Top Botanical Aromatherapy Ingredients

There are several botanical ingredients in the market, each one possessing different qualities that make them suitable in aromatherapy application. However, there are a few “old reliables” when it comes to using botanical materials in aromatherapy.

Each one are briefly discussed below.

Arnica Botanicals

Arnica is a part of the sunflower family, which contains the ingredient Helenalin that is responsible for producing anti-inflammatory effects. Thus, you can use arnica to treat bruises, sprains, and strains. Aside from that, Arnica is widely used in aromatherapy for its therapeutic properties, mostly extracted from the root of the plant.

As for your overall health system, essential oils produced from arnica can improve circulation by enhancing the dilation of blood capillaries.

Aloe Vera Botanicals

You might recognize aloe vera as a botanical ingredient commonly used in hair care products since it provides wonderful benefits for your hair. When it comes to medicinal application, aloe vera contains properties that elevated human blood lipids and enriching cellular regeneration.

Other conditions that are treated with aromatherapy using aloe vera ingredients include heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and also enhances the beauty of your skin.

Witch Hazel Botanicals

Witch hazel is mostly known as an ornamental plant, especially with the flower the plant produces. These flowering plants, specifically the leaves and bark, contain several therapeutic properties that make it ideal to use in aromatherapy. The liquid extract from the plant is known as witch hazel.

Witch hazel contain astringent properties that makes it beneficial for the skin; hence, this explains why witch hazel is a common ingredient in several skin care and cosmetic products in the market.

Ginseng Botanicals

This type of botanical ingredient has wide application in traditional Chinese medicine. There are two popular variants of ginseng, which is the American and Asian ginseng.

The cooling properties inherent in the American ginseng variant makes it quite useful in treating respiratory tract diseases, while the Asian ginseng is beneficial in improving circulation to properly assimilate oxygenated blood throughout the body.

The strong aroma produced by ginseng is known in aromatherapy for improving mental and physical performance, as well as being an aphrodisiac.

More Botanical Aromatherapy Ingredients

To find out what other botanical ingredients are ideal to use in aromatherapy, you can do some research. Meanwhile, here are some other botanical plants that used in aromatherapy:

•    Goldenrod
•    Horse Chestnut
•    Carrot Oil
•    Seaweed & Algae
•    Lady's Thistle
•    Rose Mallow
•    Centella Oil
•    Vitamin E
•    Comfrey
•    Shea Butter
•    Sea Lavender
•    Primrose
•    Evening Primrose, etc.

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  • Hugh Chism profile image

    Hugh Chism 8 years ago

    Very interesting info, I use Ginseng myself but I'd never heard of American Ginseng, I'll have to give it a try.