Botanicals 101

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It is well known that the use of plants to enhance physical and psychological well-being has been in practice since the beginning of time. If you're learning about aromatherapy and herbology for the first time, here are some basics to get you started. This information is for educational and informational purposes only.

What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance physical and psychological well-being.

What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the fragrant essence of a plant.  These highly concentrated liquid oils are the foundation of aromatherapy, which is based on the idea that the aromatic oil from a plant has many beneficial properties.

How are essential oils made?
Essential oils are extracted one of two ways: either by steam distillation, expression or pressing. Distillation is the most prominent method used to extract essential oils. This technique involves steaming the plant matter until it breaks down. The byproduct of this breakdown phase is the plants fragrant oil, which is cooled, separated from the water and finally filtered into a pure essential oil.

How are aromatherapy products utilized?
Historically aromatherapy products and essential oils have been utilized via steam, diffusion, inhalation, topical application and internal consumption. Internal consumption is not a general practice in the United States and is NOT recommended by Botanical Therapy.

What is herbology?
Herbology is the practice of using flowers, bark, berries, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance physical and psychological well-being.

How are herbal products utilized?
Historically, herbal products have been utilized via steam, inhalation, topical application and internal consumption.  Internal consumption of herbal products should be practiced under the care and guidance of a licensed, medical professional.

Where can I find more information on aromatherapy and herbology?
American Herbalist Guild
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
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Unless you are well versed in aromatherapy or herbology, I strongly recommend you check out some books on the subject. Not all websites provide you with all of the dos and don’ts that must be kept in mind when you work with essential oils or herbs. There is a lot to remember when you start to learn about these subjects, but the end result of being able to take care of you and your family’s needs is well worth it.

Until next time, discover the power of learning something new.

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