How often have you gone to a craft fair or festival and there was someone selling soap with some plant material in the soap. These materials are called botanicals and are found in many varieties and fragrances of soaps. It might not actually be plant based. I’m sure that a lot of people have heard of charcoal soaps or soaps that have clay in them.
I have two soaps that contain botanicals. The first is my Lavender soap. I have started growing my own lavender plants so that I can harvest the flowers. I then dry the flowers on their stems by hanging them upside down for a few months in the house. Once they are dry, I remove the flowers from the stems. When I make up a batch of lavender soap I add in a few ounces of the flowers to the mixture. The flowers turn brown in the soap as it cures, but they start off as various shades of purple. A lot of women love the Lavender fragrance.
The other soap that I make that has botanicals in it is my Oatmeal, Milk and Honey. To this soap I add rolled oats and honey. This makes it an exfoliating and healing soap for the skin. My wife loves the fragrance of this soap.
Most plants used in making soap turn brown during the process. The only plants that I know of that does not change color are dill and calendula flowers.
There is a wide variety of things that you can use and for just as many reasons. You can add seeds, leaves, stocks, roots, flowers, ground or rolled grains and any other part of a plant. As I stated in the opening paragraph, you can use charcoal. This is good at removing odors from the skin. Ground coffee can do the same thing. However, I use a little bag of ground coffee on my display table so that when someone smells too many soaps and they all start smelling the same, the coffee scent cleans the senses and they can start smelling the different fragrances again.
Another way to get the benefits of some botanicals is by infusion. This is done by putting the dried plant material into a jar and covering the material with oil that you will be using in your soap. When I first started making soap, I would infuse my olive oil with calendula. I would then use this infused olive oil in my soaps.
For more information on this subject, go to google and check out “botanicals in soap.” This will get you a wide variety of information on the different botanicals and their uses and healing aspects of them.