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Botanical Ingredients
2014-09-18 15:26:21
What Is It?
A Botanical Ingredient is a component of a cosmetic or personal care product that originates from plants (herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, leaves or seeds). Specific ingredients derived from biological sources are classified based on their chemical structure and how they are isolated from plants.
Why are they used in cosmetics and personal care products?
Plant-derived (Botanical) Ingredients were among the very first cosmetics. Natural colorants, plant juices for soothing and protection from insect pests, and fragrant oils for imparting scent were all used in ancient times. Historically, plants were the only way to produce products for cleaning, moisturizing, covering up blemishes and even treating minor skin conditions.
Scientific Facts: 
It is probably safe to say that plant derived ingredients were among the very first cosmetics. Natural colorants, plant juices for soothing and protection from insect pests, and fragrant oils for imparting odor were all known and used in ancient times. The actual composition of a botanical ingredient can depend on a number of variables. For example, a Botanical Ingredient can be prepared by the extraction of the plant using a suitable solvent. Depending on the desired ingredient, different parts of the plant might be processed for use in cosmetic and personal care products. This might include the flowers, seeds, roots, leaves or other plant part. Some ingredients are obtained directly without extraction. The plant part might be dried and/or ground into a powder. In other cases the plant might be squeezed or pressed to obtained the juice or oil. In all cases, the manufacturing process is carefully controlled to ensure quality and a predictable composition. Although there has always been a continuing interest in the use of ingredients derived from plants in cosmetics, beginning in the 1990s, that interest exploded, with new discoveries of benefits, greater standardization and control of raw material specifications, and new formulation techniques.
That explosion of new botanical ingredients being introduced to the market led to the need to re-examine the industry's rules for identifying the ingredients on consumer products. The earliest rules for identifying botanical ingredients (ingredients derived from plants with little processing, such as simple extracts, oil, etc.) for cosmetic labeling purposes were developed in the United States. With few ingredients initially, it made sense to simply call them by their common name, for example: apple, orange, etc. As more and more distinct ingredients entered the market, however, and as it was recognized that many of the common names could be representative of different compositions from differing species of plant, it became apparent that new rules for assigning names would be required. At the same time, countries around the world were expressing interest in requiring cosmetic ingredient labeling for their products, and were considering using the U. S. nomenclature as a base, but expressed concern that common American names for plants would not be understood by their citizens. The current approach uses that Latin Genus and species names as the base for botanical derived ingredient nomenclature. With this approach, much more specificity can be given to the botanical source of the ingredient, and, they would be easily recognized by the entire scientific and medical community.
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