Botanical Extraction: The Top 6 Herbal Product Trends You Should Know
Justin Klinger, Mar 13, 2023 11:40:00 AM
Consumer research into botanicals suggests that more than 97% of global consumers value them as ingredients for more than just food flavorings. Herbal ingredients inspire positive emotions and feelings like energy, creativity, excitement, and fun.
Liquid botanical extracts such as tinctures, infusions, and distillates deliver more than just aromatic and flavor profiles to products across a range of industries, including:
- Food and beverage
- Nutraceuticals and supplements
- Home care
- And more
That’s because plant-based botanicals also deliver antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and even calming properties…for which today’s consumer is willing to pay top dollar.
In this article we’ll take a look at botanical extract versatility, a few of the most popular and in-demand botanicals, and the different types of extract products consumers are looking for in premium product formulations.
Leveraging the Versatility of Botanical Extracts
The versatility of botanical extracts doesn’t begin and end with the industries they benefit. Depending on the production method used and the botanical extraction skill of a trusted toll processor, botanicals can take on many forms, including:
- Pure isolates: The specific chemicals or compounds from medicinal plants that likely have beneficial properties
- Broad-spectrum: Compounds cultivated to be more natural, effective protections against a wide variety of organisms
- Oil-based: Extracts from fatty plant parts and byproducts (vegetables, nuts, seeds, bark, etc.) that retain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids
- Alcohol-based: Fast-acting ethyl alcohol-infused extracts with limited water solubility that can act as a phytochemical solvent, absorbable tincture, and even as a preservative of herbal compounds
- Solids: A non-liquid compound of wax, botanical oil extracts, and other natural ingredients to form certain aromatics, wellness products, and perfumes/cosmetics
6 Popular Trends in Botanical Extracts
Botanical extracts like cannabidiol (also known as CBD) have been increasing in popularity for years, as health-conscious consumers look for alternatives to synthetic ingredients to address their health, wellness, and beauty needs.
But demand goes beyond CBD to include a wide variety of extracts taken from different florals, as well as fruits, roots, seeds, leaves, and other potent plant biomass. Which herbs and plants are leading the trends?
1. FLORAL EXTRACTS
Flowers are among the most popular and in-demand extracts, and have been for millennia. Flowers including calendula, chamomile, rose, jasmine, lavender, and vanilla are prized for their aromatic qualities as well as their soothing, calming, or energizing properties. CBD is another floral extract that’s grown in popularity as consumers explore its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects.
These extracts are valued on their own for aromatherapy, or as constituents in product formulations across a wide range of applications.
2. FRUIT EXTRACTS
Name a fruit and you can probably find a consumer-targeted formulation that contains its extract. Fruit extracts can be made using similar extraction methods as florals (which we’ll get into later in this post), or fruits can be dried and ground to a fine powder before incorporating into a liquid or emulsion.
Some of the most popular fruit extracts for personal care and cosmetic products include mango seed, pomegranate, coffeeberry, papaya, blueberry, and grape.
3. TREE EXTRACTS
While not yet as prevalent as floral or fruit extracts, products originating from tree extracts are finding a place among health-conscious consumers.
Two tree extracts gaining popularity are Boswellia and Ashwagandha. Boswellia is used primarily for bone and joint health, especially in the treatment of arthritis. Ashwagandha is derived from an evergreen shrub native to Asia and Africa, and is a common stress reliever.
Herbs have long been used for their flavors, scents, and medicinal properties. Thyme extract, for example, has been used since ancient times and is still valued not only for its flavor but also as an antiseptic; tea tree oil is valued for its antimicrobial properties.
Many herbs are valued for the volatile oils they produce. Consider the popularity of mint, eucalyptus, thyme, lemongrass, rosemary, and basil essential oils. Likewise, herbal extracts are being used to increase energy production throughout the body. Cordyceps, maca, and ginseng are popular alternatives to harsh stimulants such as caffeine.
5. TEA LEAF EXTRACTS
Extracts of Camellia sinensis are rich in polyphenols that may help skin heal, particularly after the damaging effects of sun exposure, and inhibit certain enzyme activity that leads to aging of the skin.
Extracts of white tea, green teas, and black teas such as oolong are achieved by various post-harvest processing methods including rolling, drying, and fermenting. Tea extracts are applied directly to the skin for their benefits, making them an attractive ingredient for cosmetic formulations.
6. ROOT EXTRACTS
Several current trends in wellness products are centered around root extracts, particularly ginger, turmeric, and ginseng. The varying potential pharmacological benefits of these ingredients can range from preventives against chronic diseases to general wellness applications.
Extraction methods like steam distillation have been popular for root materials dating back centuries. More recently, supercritical CO2 and food grade solvents are increasing in use. Ginger, turmeric, and ginseng are in-demand ingredients in food and beverage as well as supplement industries.
Top Capabilities to Look for in an Extraction Services Provider
Working with a toll processor offers a much simpler and more cost-effective way for a manufacturer to expand a product line or even create a new line of natural, botanical-based products.
However, an experienced toll processor and essential oil manufacturer need to contribute more than access to extraction equipment and the experts needed to operate it. A knowledgeable partner will demonstrate expertise in several extraction methods and the specialized separation processes needed to produce distillates and isolates.
At a minimum, a contract essential oil manufacturer and botanical extractor should have the facilities and expertise to provide the following capabilities:
- Solvent extraction
- CO2 extraction
- Steam distillation
- Milling and grinding (for ultrafine powders of dried botanicals)
- Decarboxylation (for CBD processing)
- Molecular isolation
- R&D and formulation
- Blending, dispersion, and emulsifying
- Liquid bottle filling with pipette caps for essential oils and extracts
- CGMP certification for food and pharmaceutical products
- Available organic, kosher, and/or halal process certifications
- In-house analytical testing
The right contract manufacturer can help you achieve your commercialized, produced, packaged product quickly, without the long wait times and major expense involved in establishing in-house extraction processes. When you work with a toll processor, you can also count on their team of material scientists and engineers for process troubleshooting and optimization that can help you protect your bottom line.
Learn more about what it takes to create valuable botanical extracts from raw plant biomass with our free guide, From Biomass to Bottled Extract. Just click the link below to get your copy today.