Life Style

A Beginner’s Guide To Using Florals and Botanicals To Boost Sleep and Fight Inflammation

They’re not just for spring anymore. According to a report from Innova Market Insights, floral and botanical flavors (like chamomile, honeysuckle, and rose) will be the fastest-growing trend in packaged foods in 2024. The surge in interest, according to the report, is likely due to continued consumer interest in sustainability, plant-based ingredients, and functional health....CONTINUE.THE.FULL.READING OF THE ARTICLE>>>

But unless you have the skills and knowledge of an herbalist or forager (hi, Alexis Nikole!) you might feel overwhelmed by the possibilities of using botanical ingredients at home to reap their benefits. Are they added to recipes for presentation, flavor, or health benefits? We’ve asked two reputable herbalists all the hard-hitting questions about these beautiful ingredients to get the full story, helping you to choose and use them at home.

What are botanicals and florals?

“Botanical and floral ingredients are fancy names for plants added to foods and beverages,” says Rosalee de la Forêt, herbalist, podcast host, and best-selling author of Alchemy of Herbs and Wild Remedies. “Botanicals may refer to entire plants—leaves, stems, roots, flowers, seeds, etc.—while florals refer specifically to flowers.”

“Botanical, floral, herbal (and fungal) ingredients are all considered ‘herbs’ by herbalists,” adds Rachelle Robinett, RH (AHG), an herbalist and the founder of Pharmakon Supernatural and HRBLS. “We consider all natural, non-synthetic ingredients with medicinal properties to be herbs, including food.”

In fact, you likely already have many common examples of botanical and floral ingredients sitting in your pantry right now. “Tea is a botanical, so are culinary herbs, spices, coffee, rose, lavender, turmeric, pepper, ginger, saffron…the list is endless,” says Robinett.

Herbal ingredients come in many forms, which are then be added to foods and drinks. “Oftentimes, botanicals and floral [compounds] are extracted using a solvent like water, alcohol, honey, or vinegar for mixing into recipes,” says de la Forêt. “Because florals are often beautiful, they also may be dried, candied, or otherwise used whole as a decoration on foods.”

Beyond a beautiful appearance and unique flavor, all botanicals and florals are filled to the brim with plant compounds, also known as phytonutrients, to offer a whole host of health benefits. “Most florals and botanicals are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and high in a variety of other beneficial compounds and/or nutrients,” says Robinett.

While these ingredients are having a resurgence in popularity, especially in specialty products, they are far from new. “People have been adding [botanicals and florals] to foods and drinks for as far back as we could possibly remember,” says de la Forêt. The Chinese emperor Shen Nung wrote a book in 2500 B.C.E. about using plants like ginseng and cinnamon as medicine1. Ancient Egyptians reportedly had written records of medicinal plants way back in 1500 B.C.E. Indigenous peoples in what is now the United States long used native plants as part of their culinary, spiritual, and healing practices—many of which are still observed to this day.

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Tiara Clephin

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