Let’s talk about botanicals…

Unless you’re experienced when it comes to all things botanical it can be quite intimidating getting to grips with the vast range that are available today. From berries, flowers and fruit peels to gums, resins, herbs, powders and teas, the list is never ending! Let’s educate ourselves on what these beneficial ingredients are and how they can be used.

What are botanicals?

A botanical ingredient is a substance obtained from a plant and used as an additive, especially in gin or cosmetics.

Berries

We’ll start with an easy one, berries! One of our most popular berries is Dried Sloe Berries. This particular ingredient is often used to create sloe gin (find our simple sloe gin recipe here). This popular beverage is made by infusing gin with sloes and sugar. Gin not your thing? Not to worry, you can also infuse vodka with these versatile berries. 

Then there’s Goji Berries… these berries can be used in a similar way to raisins and are a good source of vitamins and minerals. People often sprinkle goji berries on to their breakfast or even salads for extra texture and nutrition. Learn more about these powerful berries here.

Flowers

Flowers can be used to garnish and decorate your baked goods and beautiful botanical lattes, create tasty teas when infused in hot water, add to pot pourri, sleep pillows and scented sachets; they can even be sprinkled in to herbal infusions. Take our Red Rose Petals, Blue Mallow Flowers and Marigold Flowers for instance, these flowers can be used as natural confetti at weddings, combined with lotions and creams for the skin and shampoos for the hair. Add to bath blends, soaps, face masks, foot powders and bath salts and use to decorate soaps and homemade cosmetics. The opportunities are endless!

Fruit Peels

 

We stock a range of Lemon Peels and Orange Peels but how exactly can they be used? Sometimes Orange peel is used as a kindling to start BBQ’s, the fragrance from the fruit peel will lend its fragrance to meat and fish. Our peels can also be incorporated in to bath teas and can be added to lotions, creams and shampoos. Why not create your own dry pot pourri blends or try using an infusion of the herb to wash floors and surfaces? Dried orange peel can also be poured in to a sugar, pepper or salt grinder to make freshly ground orange sugar/salt/pepper.

Gums & Resins

From Arabic Gum, Benzoin Gum and Frankincense to Guar Gum Powder, Mastic Gum and Pine Lump Resin, we stock a wide range of gums and resins which you can find here. There are a number of ways in which you can use gums. Our Benzoin Gum resin on its own can be used as an incense, it blends well with other herbs and resins and is often used as a base resin in blends. It can be turned in to a tincture or powdered to add to lotions, creams, balms and soaps for the skin, in cosmetics or in pot pourri as a fixative for other essential oils.

Herbs

Herbs are one of the most commonly known botanicals that are used more frequently than others. You’ll be surprised by how many uses these herbs have, take our Witchhazel Leaves for example, this particular botanical can be used to make tea and infusions of the herb are often added to lotions and washes to help cleanse oily skin without stripping natural oils. Gentian Root is a very bitter botanical herb and can be used when brewing beers to add a bitter flavour instead of the use of hops or there’s Fumitory, where the flowers are sometimes used to obtain a yellow dye for wool and fabric.

Powders

Botanical powders are super handy! Infusions of Raspberry Leaf Powder can be used as a hair rinse to help darken the hair (we recommend doing a little more research before trying this one at home!). Powdered Horse Chestnut is used to wash silk and woollen fabrics, it will clean the fabric due to the natural saponins and can also help to brighten fabrics. Valerian Root Powder can be used as a natural compost activator and a liquid feed in the garden. Watercress Herb Powder will add extra flavour to soups or it can be mixed with vinegar and a little sugar to make mustard like salad dressing.

 

Teas

A popular use for our botanicals is creating teas. This is done by infusing them in hot water to create refreshing beverages. We stock a huge range of botanical teas, from Peppermint, Nettle and Dandelion to Green Sencha, Lemon Balm and Spearmint. One of our favourite teas is Organic Chamomile Flowers which are said to help aid sleep. When using natural botanical ingredients in teas it’s important to remember to strain your tea before drinking!

 

About the Author

Georgia

As an animal lover and baking enthusiast, Georgia can usually be found experimenting with new vegan recipes in her kitchen.

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