The Power of Botanicals by Bramley

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Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

Chloë Luxton, founder of Bramley, shares her love of the power of plants to soothe the soul. You can win a stay at The Bath Arms, some healing time in the Bramley spa cabin there and a Bramley bundle in our competition.

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Plants really are amazing things. Not only do they feed us and clothe us (thank goodness for cotton) and raise our spirits when we spend time amongst them, but many of them also have amazing therapeutic properties that we can use every day to nurture the soul.   

There are two different ways in which plants work – medicinally and mentally. The former is from the actual plants and is an art that has been perfected over centuries, and the latter is from the essence of the plant or flower. At Bramley, we have always used essential oils within our products, which are extracted directly from the plant or flower in a number of different ways depending on what species it is and where the oil is coming from. 

This extraction can done be via distillation, known as cold pressing. Within the process, the plant’s active botanical constituents that function as its ‘life force’ are extracted. These are essentially the liquid version of a plant and they allow beneficial components to reach the blood stream faster than they would by eating the plant. 

This happens when we smell something, the fragrance goes in through our nose straight to the olfactory bulb – the structure at the front of the brain that sends information to our central system. Odours take a direct route to our limbic system, including the amygdala and hippocampus, that relates to emotion and memory and can have a direct effect on our mood. 

Here we look at some of our favourites plants and their benefits:

The power house of plants with benefits is lavender. Lavender is easy to grow and can be found in most gardens or in pots on balconies around the country. It has a distinct, sweet smell and a multitude of uses which include helping you to relax (as a bath oil or via a candle or diffuser). Its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities also help to relieve pain or heal small wounds. 

An apple a day… we use apple in all our Bramley products and it really is an amazing ingredient that has a multitude of benefits. Not only do apples taste delicious but they are packed full of goodness and have been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved gut health and reduced risks of a stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.   

Apples are full of antioxidants and high in vitamins C, A and B. From their peel to their seeds with their flesh in between and not forgetting the blossom, apples really are a wonder fruit.  

Make room for the mushroom! A type of fungus, mushrooms are finally having their moment.  They have amazing health benefits and are packed full of health-boosting essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and are an excellent addition to your diet. 

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and bergamots produce the most beautiful, uplifting essential oils. Alongside the obvious fruit-based essential oils such as sweet orange and mandarin, made from the fruit itself, there’s petitgrain, which comes from the leaves and twigs of orange trees and neroli, which comes from the blossom. Citrus oils have a fresh, light and uplifting scent that can help improve focus, boost energy levels and reduce stress.  

In a recent study, it was found that citrus essential oils contain some biologically active compounds such as limonene and linalool that have a number of notable therapeutic properties including being antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which help protect skin from damage, reduce inflammation and improve its overall health. 

The wonders of weeds.  Many plants that we find in our gardens or along roadsides have therapeutic qualities, including dandelions and nettles.  Stinging nettles in particular can be highly nutritious and contain vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as calcium and iron, and have a high antioxidant value. Carefully pick them with gloves and turn into a soup or a tincture.  From root to flower, dandelions are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre so are highly nutritious. They can be eaten cooked or raw and are an excellent source of vitamins, folates and minerals. 

In skincare, dandelion and nettle extracts are excellent antioxidants, safeguarding skin from free radicals and signs of ageing. They also help protect against UV damage and have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Whether you add some of these ingredients to your diet or to your skin care, you really will reap the rewards over time.  Plants really do have the power to make a difference to your life in so many different ways! 


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Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

Chris is our in-house copywriter, with a flair for turning rough notes and travel tales into enticing articles. Raised in a tiny Wiltshire village, he was desperate to travel and has backpacked all over the world. Closer to home, he finds himself happiest in the most remote and rural places he can find, preferably with a host of animals to speak to, some waves to be smashed about in and the promise of a good pint somewhere in his future.
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