what are botanicals: woman carrying small baskets

What Are Botanicals? Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve recently read the list of ingredients in your common household cleaners, cosmetics, or even some foods, you may have been inspired to toss them all in the trash and find products that are safer for your health. You’ve probably wondered if the answer is in botanicals. While botanicals are not new, they’re trending. But what are botanicals and how should you use them? 

Read on to learn exactly what they do and how you could benefit from adding them to your natural products and wellness routines. 

What Are Botanicals?

what are botanicals: tools for making botanical productsIt probably won’t surprise you to learn that botanicals come from plants — but not just any plants. According to the National Institutes of Health, botanicals are plants with parts that are used for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. They are prized for their scent and flavor too. The products made from botanicals can help people stay healthy and are called herbal products, botanical products, and phytomedicines (aka the medicine from plants).

Some examples are cranberry, echinacea, ginkgo, and turmeric. We’ll dive into some of our favorites in a moment. 

The Benefits of Using Botanicals

woman putting a botanical product on her faceHerbal products and botanical preparations can support your immune system and overall skin health and condition, without using synthetic chemicals. Specifically, botanicals may slow signs of aging and support skin hydration.

According to some studies, using botanical products may even have anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial features.

Slow Signs of Aging

Your skin can make you look older or younger, depending on its condition. When your skin is healthy and supple, you look more youthful and vibrant. When it is dull and dry, it shows fine lines and wrinkles.

According to this study, the use of botanicals on your skin and as dietary supplements can help reduce the signs of aging. If the natural ingredients contain antioxidants, they could help fight against the effects of free radicals or cells that have become unstable. Free radicals cause damage, disease, and aging in skin.

When you use botanical skin care products, you help strengthen and protect your skin naturally.  

Support Skin Hydration 

What are botanicals to skin hydration? The natural plant oils in the products reduce dryness. Many botanical moisturizer products also contain essential oils. These plant oils help strengthen the skin’s outer barrier. That means less of the natural moisture from your skin evaporates. When skin is moisturized, it looks healthier and fuller.

How to Use Botanicals

what are botanicals: person applying a facial maskAfter you’ve answered the question, “What are botanicals?”, you may next ask yourself which ones to use for what you need. Here are several botanicals that support your overall well-being.

Chamomile

Chamomile tea may be the go-to tea for soothing and calming tendencies, but it’s also great for your skin. The chemical compounds in chamomile contain polyphenols and phytochemicals, which can help your body protect itself from free radical damage. Way of Will’s Soothing Face Serum brings the power of chamomile in an all natural formula to make delicate face skin more balanced.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and is a popular spice worldwide. It’s used in many dishes, but people love it for more than its robust flavor. It may also help with some fungal infections, according to this study

It can provide a warm and inviting scent to body fragrances, like in Way of Will’s Tea Room Perfume Oil.

It’s important to note that some people can be severely allergic to cinnamon. Ingesting too much cinnamon can also negatively interfere with blood thinners because of the coumarin found in cinnamon. Coumarin is the chemical compound that gives cinnamon its flavor. Too much coumarin also can cause liver damage and blood coagulation problems. If you have blood conditions, please consult your physician before increasing your cinnamon intake.

Turmeric

Turmeric is probably most well known for being a key ingredient in curry. It’s the yellow spice that gives curry that beautiful golden color. But turmeric also contains a powerful chemical compound called curcumin. Curcumin may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help you maintain your health and well-being, according to this study.

Calendula

pink and white flowers on a bed sheetFrom the marigold family, calendula contains compounds that could help reduce the signs of inflammation. When you drink calendula as a tea, your body can absorb those compounds, and you receive their benefits. 

That said, because the tea is known to be bitter, it’s more common to find calendula in herbal tinctures and lotions. Calendula may help wounds close more quickly and completely. According to this study, patients who suffered from skin ulcers and used calendula on their lesions had better results than those who didn’t use it. 

Way of Will’s Face Serum for Normal & Sensitive Skin uses calendula to help soothe irritated skin while balancing skin texture for an even appearance.

Rose

Rose hips and rose oil are botanicals that may do more than just smell nice. Rose tea and rose essential oils may help you ease anxiety, help you relax, and act as a natural aphrodisiac, which explains why they’re a popular gift from romantic partners! While more scientific studies need to be conducted, you can read about them here

Basil

Basil in all its species, like sweet basil and lemon basil, may help reduce the effects of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause damage to your cells. Basil may even help improve the condition and appearance of your skin, helping it stay better hydrated and look more youthful, according to this study.

Basil has properties that may help you stay focused and alert. Way of Will uses basil oil in the Think Straight Essential Oil Remedy. It’s a great way to help someone you love know that you’re thinking about them … or go ahead and just get it for yourself!

Witch Hazel

If you use toner as part of your skin care routine, you may have heard of witch hazel before. It’s well known for its astringent properties. Astringents help tighten and contract cells, so your pores are less defined. 

Witch hazel is also commonly used as a natural method to ease hemorrhoid symptoms. Studies have shown that witch hazel may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it useful in treating conditions such as hemorrhoids and facial skin conditions like eczema and acne.

Eucalyptus

what are botanicals: person holding a graduated cylinder and a eucalyptusThe strong minty scent of eucalyptus essential oil is a common feature of saunas. The aroma can help open your airways and relax your body. Those benefits are great after a hard workout and also when you’re suffering from cold symptoms. 

In this study, eucalyptus essential oil reduced the “subjective pain” patients felt after surgery. When inhaled, eucalyptus oil may help you feel less discomfort from swelling conditions, such as osteoarthritis. Eucalyptus oil may also deter bugs from hanging out nearby. 

As a quick pick-me-up in the middle of your work day, keep a bottle of Way of Will’s Face Mask Refresher Spray at your desk. The uplifting scent will help you feel renewed and relaxed.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is known as an effective adaptogen, which are herbs that are thought to have medicinal properties. Traditionally, ashwagandha has been said to enhance physical strength and muscle. It may also lower anxiety because it may help to lower cortisol, according to this study.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort earned popularity as an alternative medicine for depression support. A 2016 study gave indications that the botanical worked about as well as depression medication for mild to moderate cases, but the researchers admitted the study has some limitations. St. John’s wort may also ease symptoms of menopause and help in the closing of wounds. 

It is critical to point out that St. John’s wort also has serious and, at times, life-threatening interactions with some prescription medications. It can also lower the efficacy of other medications. Before adding St. John’s wort to your supplement routine, consult your doctor to be sure you are being safe.

Cardamom

Cardamom is also known for its potential ability to reduce symptoms of inflammation because it contains phytochemicals, or plant chemicals known for their ability to protect the plant from infection. Cardamom is also widely used in its native area, the Middle East, as a natural breath freshener because of its subtle minty and cleansing characteristics.

Way of Will uses cardamom in its Calm Down essential oil blend. The blend can help you ease digestive issues and menstrual pain.

Green Tea

person holding a cup of green teaGreen tea has a long history of supporting health and wellness. This comprehensive review of many studies shows that there is scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal evidence. Green tea contains a chemical compound called catechins. Catechins may help maintain blood pressure and help weight loss.

Valerian Root

People commonly use valerian root as a sleep aid. While there is little scientific evidence for how valerian root works, it may increase the chemicals your brain uses to induce sleepiness. 

This study shows a promising result for using valerian root to support insomnia relief, but more systematic research needs to be conducted to determine what concentrations and dosages work.

Ginseng

Ginseng, or Asian ginseng, may improve energy and brain function. People who use ginseng sometimes report feeling more awake or alert. It may also help with a variety of other conditions, including blood sugar regulation and erectile dysfunction. 

Most people can take ginseng with little to no side effects. Some people, however, may react negatively to the botanical. Symptoms include headache, digestive issues, and skin rashes. 

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is mostly widely used for menopausal symptom support. It may bind to pain receptors, which limits your body’s ability to feel pain, causing it to act as a natural pain reliever. 

Increase Your Sense of Well-Being with Botanicals

what are botanicals: Way of Will's Stay Focused productYou now know the answer to the question, “What are botanicals?” If you’re ready to test the human health benefits of botanical ingredients, there are many easy and simple options to try. Teas are common ways to get the potential benefits of botanicals, but for some, the taste may be off-putting. Essential oils and tinctures offer the power of botanicals in easy-to-apply formulas. 

Way of Will offers several botanical product options to try. If you’re not sure where to start, consider a gift box, like Stay Focused or Trophy Mom. Curated boxes take the guesswork out of your purchase, and you’ll soon see the results of herbal wellness support.

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