Apothecarie Brand Company Handmade Vegan Soaps and Lotions
Our Natural Ingredients...

Apothecarie Brand Company makes no medical claims in its descriptions and merely offers the following as information for educational purposes only, it is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or, diagnose any disease or condition. Nor is it intended to prescribe in any way. This information is for educational purposes only and may not be complete, nor may its data be accurate.

Herbs & Botanicals


Botanical name:  Ocimum basilicum. Amply named the King of Herbs, we grow basil from seed.  We have recently been partial to the new ‘Perpetuo’ basil because the same basil that we use to make soap is also what we use to make pesto for our families’ and neighbors.  It is a variegated basil that isn’t short on fragrance or taste. 


This is an example of the importance of knowing the botanical name of an herb, vegetable or fruit.  Often, common names are shared by plants.  In this case Bergamot is both a fruit and an herb that have little to do with each other.  One is a citrus fruit whose rind is used for extracting the Bergamot Oil and has the botanical name of Citrus aurantium.  It is also the common name for Monarda didyma which is an herb.  Monarda is a member of the mint family while Citrus aurantium is a member of the orange family.  Each has beautiful flowers that can be used whole and dried made into a hydrosol or essential oil. Monarda is a more floral fragrance and the one that we used in the Monarda & Tarragon Vegan Soap and Lotion.

Clary Sage

Botanical name: Salvia sclarea – Soft, smoky fragrance with rich grey foliage.  It has been historically used as an eye wash when made into a tea which is a testament to the mildness of this herb.  Interesting fact, it was at one time one of the key ingredient in Mead; a sweet beer made by monks.


Botanical name: Pelargonium graveolens.  We have a huge collection of scented leaf geraniums and generally collect a combination of foliage in order to extract the fragrance.  We use this for its aromatic properties.  It has great uplifting notes from citrus to rose to moss. 

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Red Hibiscus

Hibiscus has an amazing history for whole body care.  Since ancient times in Egypt it has been used in both hair and skin care as a healthful cleanser and skin brightener.  Now, it has been dubbed the modern "Botox" because it also has an interesting effect on firming and tightening the skin.  How that translates to hair is that it draws in moisture and smoothes down the cuticles.  We use a 2 full tbsp. per bar which also lathers well and makes an excellent shampoo bar.  This is one of nature's ultimate whole body botanical ingredients.   Our hibiscus is sun dried and brokered from Egypt through fair-trade.


Botanical Name: Jasminum officinale – The oil is extracted from the white heady flowers that bloom at night.  The oil is strong but sweet and has a pleasing and romantic fragrance.  It is known as an aphrodisiac.  There may be some natural parallel with a night blooming flower and its properties towards aphrodisia. 

Kentucky Colonel Spearmint

Botanical name: Mentha spicata v. ‘Kentucky Colonel’ .  Known best as the Julep mint, this is the sweetest fragrance of spearmint we can grow.  It makes a fantastic ground cover that we can continuously harvest, walk on and even mow. 


Botanical name: Lavandula intermedia ‘Grosso’.  The best lavender in our opinion for true lavender fragrance with very little camphor.  It is the most popular Lavender used in the French perfume industry though ‘Provence’ seems to be a petite runner-up.  Rich blue-gray foliage, with tall spikes of exquisite purple wands of rice-shaped buds.  We have over a dozen of these plants in our new beds and are looking forward to propagating more.  Its root Lave is the Latin word for clean explains its long steeped history in the soap and perfume industry.   The oil is easily extracted in our distiller but it takes a tremendous amount of bulk to get quite a little essential oil produced.  Completely worth the effort. 


Botanical name:  Cymbopogon citratus.  Oh lemongrass! So fun to grow, more fun to eat.  Our favorite recipe is Lemongrass soup.  It’s great when you have a cold so if you endeavor to grow this make sure to dry some for winter.  It is popularly braided and hung in the kitchen for the fragrance.  It is eay to grow in a container that can be brought in before frost but doesn’t survive winter outside.   It is excellent crushed and put in the tub too.  We add both the oil and crushed blades to our soaps to brighten them and bring up citrus notes.  So refreshing and more lemony than lemon but not as lemony as lemon verbena. 

Lemon verbena

Botanical name:  Aloysia citrodora.  The best gardeners in our town have at least two Lemon verbena plants per household.  We use it for the tub, for scenting the house, for keep mosquitos at bay and generally because it is clean and zesty.  In our soaps we use the leaves in every possible form: dried, shredded, pulverized with oil for a paste, and fresh.  It is a woody tender herb so the stems and branches are particularly stiff and unpleasant for use in the soap or lotion.  They are great in outdoor bonfires or on a smoker while you’re gardening to keep bugs away.   We’ve used them for small vegetable skewers after they’ve been grilled because they don’t stand up to the high heat.  The leaves are great candied or fresh on fish or ice cream.   One of our first soaps and one of our favorite herbs to use and grow.


Common name: Maiden Grass.  The natural fragrance of fresh grass evokes spring when used in the winter and clean, crispness when used in the spring and summer.  It is still the same great plant but your state of mind picks up different notes.  That’s probably true for most fragrance but this one seems to be specifically transporting.  We collect several different varieties from growing fields in Harford County, Maryland. 

Passiflora incarnata

Passionflower 'Waterloo Blue'

Passionflowers are commonly used in teas as a sleep aid and aromatic anti-anxiety herb, this bar smells yummy enough to eat but no need.  You will reap greater benefits by lathering it and using it on your skin and hair.  The humid shower air will carry the fragrance of warm honey to quiet your anxieties through aromatherapy.  It is a heavenly combination of spicy fruit and sweet sugar. 


Botanical name:   Pogostemon cablin.  We buy this in from India until we increase our crop.  It is a tender plant that makes a nice houseplant.  For skincare applications it has been recommended for acne, cracked and chapped skin, dermatitis, weeping eczema, oily complexions, and wrinkles.  Its American history extends from prevention of halitosis (bad breath) to “cleaning the air” in the homes of smokers.


Botanical name: Mentha piperita.  It is a cool mint that is both sweet and peppery fragrance and flavor.  It has a great tingly sensation and makes a great oxidizers for skin and hair follicles.  

Roman chamomile

Botantical name: Chamaemelum nobile -   This gentle herb known for its apple-like taste and scent. This herb has a historical medicinal tradition, particularly in Europe, for all states of tension and nervousness.  It worked great on Peter Rabbit’s tummy in tea.  In the tub it adds a powdery fragrance that tends to calm children before bedtime and adults anytime. If you are sensitive to Ragweed, you may experience irritation from this if ingested.


Botanical name: Atremisia dracunculus. It’s latin name dracunculus actually means little dragon which is curious since it is wonderfully mild.  It has a peppery, licorice fragrance and taste.  Wonderful when added to basil pesto recipes, in soap it is just plain refreshing.  The essential oil is a beautiful pigmented green.  Tarragon is as valuable for its color as for its fragrance. 


Botanical name: Nicotiana is commonly referred to as flowering tobacco. It is an easy-to-grow summer blooming plant that has a remarkable smoky fragrance.  Had to be said!  It was made popular for use in butterfly or hummingbird gardens because of its alluring nectar.  It is truly a unique annual flower that can easily be grown from seed but also available at more reputable nurseries. 


Trees & Woody Plant Material


Calluna vulgare - Heather has no recognizable fragrance when combined with the musky rose that we paired it with but on its own it has an earthy fragrance.  Scottish folklore has it paired with empathy and warding off loneliness in poetry and songs.  It seems to calm the heady fragrances of most oils with which it is compared.

Juniper berries

Botanical name: Juniperis commonus. The Dutch word for juniper is Gin where it was first made for medicinal purposes or so they say. Juniper berries can be eaten when cooked or gloriously imbibed by extracting the oil in a distilling method if you are so inclined.  We are just so inclined, but we stop the process and separate the alcohol to use only the oil in our men’s fragrances.  It is a great healer as it is styptic to little cuts such as those from shaving. Nice woodsy, camphor fragrance.  It has been known to have many beneficial qualities for the skin and hair.  Healing acne, athlete's foot, and small abrasions are just a few of the notable benefits.   It is noted as beneficial to the scalp by removing unwanted oils from the base of hair follicles in many articles regarding this magnificent oil.  This attribute helps with dandruff, non-genetic hair loss and dry scalp.


Botanical name: Citrus Aurantium - Petitgrain essential oil is considered a blended oil because it uses twigs, flowers and fruits from the bitter orange tree.  This oil comes from France and Italy. As a citrus derivative it has antiseptic qualities but the part that we like is that it is soothing to the skin and can help with acne.  Plus, it smells so fresh and zesty.


Rosa hybrid – Rose has a musky fragrance that is traditionally found in the perfume and fragrance industry.  It holds beneficial qualities in all its parts: whole flowers, petals, stems, foliage and hips.  Rose hips are dried and ground to calm female discomfort and joint pain in both sipping teas and bath teas.


Botanical name: Santalum spicatum.  We use the Australian sandalwood for its richness, ease of availability and confidence in its fair trade.  It is a fragrance that spans generations for popularity and is perfect for both men and women.  It has a deep, warm wood fragrance that lingers as it combines with your own skin's notes.  The best fragrance comes from the oldest trees which produce a nutmeg richness.  There are as many spiritual uses for Sandalwood as there are health and beauty. 

Tea Tree

Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia - Austrialian tea tree oil known for its antifungal and first aid properties.  It is very strong and benefits from a buffer such as almond oil when used in soap and lotions.  It has a similar fragrance to Eucalyptus but somehow just enough difference to be distinguishable.  It is often paired with Rosemary oil to increase the antifungal properties though on its own it is pretty remarkable.  A favorite for acne, eczema, inflamed contact dermatitis but should be tested in a small spot behind your knee or inside the crook of your arm to check for sensitivity, especially during a break out.  Melaleuca is tropical but makes an amazing house plant.  It is known to clean the inside air and reduces seasonal airborne germs.  Great housewarming gift if you can find it. 


Fruits and Vegetables

(fruits do not make essential oils from their flesh easily if at all.  It general comes from the seeds.  That process is entirely too difficult for the average person.  It is an easy task to extract oil and essence from fruits with a rind but generally we use these as hydrosols)

Blood Orange, Lemons and Limes

We buy these fresh fruits from the organic grocery store, remove the rind to extract the essential oil and remove (eat) all the flesh for all of these citrus fruits.  We highly recommend trying blood oranges.  We usually find Sanguinello Blood Oranges which are the Sicilian late "full-blood" orange.  That’s always a good day at the market.

Brown Turkey Fig

Botanical name: Ficus carica 'Brown turkey'. The fig is one of the sweetest fruits with dense delicious flesh. It was used as the original sweetner when the Spanish brought the fig home from Asia during travels. The Spanish then brought the fig to North America and it has been loved here ever since. The fig has a recorded history dating as far back as 2500 B.C.    Actually, a fig tree can live over 100 years and grow 100 feet tall. We harvest from our neighbor's domestic trees which are only around 10' tall.  We harvest and use all parts of the fig including skin and seeds. We always have fun with the fig leaves too.

Cassis (French Black Berries/Currant)

Botanical name:  Ribes nigrum – Made famous by the liquor that is made in Cassis, France.  It has a sweet wine fragrance.

Japanese Apple Pear

Botanical name: Pyrus pyrifolia.  Such an amazing fruit!  Its flesh has a sandy texture with a flavor similar to Pez canday.  When we reduce it for hydrosol, the pear fragrance really comes through.  This is used basically for just the magical fragrance.  Pear is calming.

Pink grapefruit

Botanical name: Citrus paradisi.  The wonderful sweet citrus fragrance has a clarifying quality for both the mind and the body.  Grapefruit is frequently used to calm post-migraine soreness around the neck and temples.  It is cooling, cleansing and decongesting.  It has shown to be helpful in reducing redness from acne and reducing skin-surface oil.  We use the essential oils from the rind.


Botanical name:  Punica granatum – This wonder fruit is high in antioxidants which fight free radicals and promote skin regeneration and is high in lipids, including the rare Pucinic acid, which help heal inflammation and reduce swelling.  It has also been shown to help sunburned an UV damaged skin.  It is nourishing and moisturizing and has shown to improve elasticity.  All of that is important but the color and the fragrance is just incomparable.   We use this in very small volume of purchased essential oil or exclusively in hydrosol form because it is so rich and syrupy.


Spices & Woody Plants


Botanical name: Arundinaria tecta and Phyllostachs pubescens ‘Moso’.  We use U.S. native bamboo because it has the most foliage from top to bottom.  We also use the sweet edible bamboo because it’s yummy. Using the youngest leaves of bamboo, you can make tea, extract essential oil, make potpourri or make gentle exfoliant.  Using the canes, you can make almost anything that you would normally use wood. What we like the most is the wild grass fragrance of the oil and the wonderful benefits of the charcoal that is easily made.  We also enjoy using black bamboo to make all of our trellises for our vining flowers and vegetables.

Black Pepper

Botanical name: Piper nigrum. The oil has the typical black pepper smell even though it is made from the unripe red berries that are pre-black.  For our use, it really serves to cut sweetness in other fragrances.  It’s a blending essential oil that actually does have warming qualities for your skin.


This is actually a collection of cedars used to make a woodsy, earthy extract that grounds anything with which it is combined.  It is available in most organic markets and a wonderful additive to soap and lotion.  If you have an allergy to Cedar of Lebanon this ingredient would clue you into immediate caution


This is a great exfoliant and natural colorant for soap when used in small doses. It brightens the skin without irritating it. Gives soap a French toast coloring.   


This is a great exfoliant and natural colorant for soap when used in small doses. It brightens the skin without irritating it.  It gives soap a nice autumn fragrance and a dusting of toffee color.


Botanical name: Eucalyptus cinerea – tropical but easily grown on the west coast of the United States.  We’ve grown this in our greenhouse here in Maryland to over 15’ tall.  Every part of the Eucalyptus is usable for extracting oil.  We dried the leaves and seeds and grind them into a powder.  It is wonderfully aromatic if not aggressively camphoric.  It has been described as “nose-twisting” with its potency.  We naturally use this with that in mind.


Botanical name: Zingiberaceae officinale – Ginger oil is extracted from the tropical ginger and is commonly used for nausea.  Ginger ale is a great homeopathic remedy given to pregnant women and our children and something one might reach for when hung-over to settle the tummy. It also has lovely aromatic properties towards calmness as well.  It has a peppery and spicy aroma.

Mustard Seed

We use ground mustard seed because it colors the soap both naturally and gently to a smooth buttery yellow.


This is a great exfoliant and natural colorant for soap when used in small doses. It brightens the skin without irritating it.   It also smells like fall but adds sweetness to peppery companions.


This is a great exfoliant and natural colorant for soap when used in small doses. It brightens the skin without irritating it because it’s made with cool peppers. Gives the soap a hint of clay coloring.


Botanical name: Saccharum officinarum.  This useful grass is another one of those timeless perfumer's ingredients.  Napoleon's wife was actually from a very successful sugarcane farm in Martinique.  As a youth, Josephine was reportedly very willful.  Her nanny set to task to make a concoction of fragrance to calm her and keep her focused.  The key ingredient to this potion was sugarcane believing if the child could not be still she would at least be pleasant to be around.  History has revealed that she was known as the "Rose of Martinique." It was on several occasions included in her biography that she was a "sweet" little girl.  The recipe from her perfume was brought with her and given to official French perfumers to create the potion throughout her adulthood.  It is still available under the name Josephine.  It is still created using natural sugarcane.  We love sugar cane, its amazing history and we love Josephine.

Ylang Ylang

Botanical name:  Cananga odorata   - Means flower of flowers.  Its famous exotic scent is both soothing and sensual.  The oil for this soap and lotion is collected from only the yellow flowers which have the highest notes of jasmine. 


Vegetable and Nut Butters and Fats

Apricot Kernel Oil

(seed based) is very nourishing for the skin, improving elasticity. High in Vitamin E. It's gentle enough for a baby's delicate skin.

Cocoa Butter

Botanical name: Theobroma cacao.  The butter is a pale yellow fat obtained from dried and naturally fermented cocoa beans. Originally from the South and Central American rain forests that is a sad part of its history.  Now, it is cultivated principally in Ghana, Nigeria, and Côte d'Ivoire and provides a good living with fair wages for farmers in those areas. 50-60% of the cocoa bean consists of cocoa butter, which is used as a base for chocolate and for yummy soap. The rest is used to make cocoa powder and cocoa mulch for the garden.  We love when something can be completely utilized without destroying the source.  We also love that it is moisturizing by providing a protective layer that holds moisture to the skin making it softener. It has a slight scent of chocolate which lends to warmth to our soap.

Coconut oil

Recently reduced popularity in the food industry due to its high fat content, it is precisely that quality that makes it perfect for making soap.  It has good cleansing properties and is generally known to be mild.  It is sourced from the coconut by pressing the flesh.  It is moisturizing and contributes to a quick, fluffy lather.  We much prefer this over Palm oil as coconut oil is made without destroying the tree.  We use deodorized coconut oil (food-grade or higher) so that it does not influence the essential oils that we are adding.

Olive oil

Botanical name: Olea europaea.  Olive Oil is one of the oldest known vegan fats used to make soap.  It is an excellent moisturizer and attracts external moisture to the skin while still allowing the skin to breathe and perform normal functions.  Even when used in a lotion it does not prevent sweating or shedding. We use the finest grade of olive oil available for our soap and lotion products.

Shea butter (from the African Karite tree)

Botanical name: Butyrosperum parkii. Shea Butter is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins A and E.  It has been known to heal, soothe, and protect the skin from environmental damage.  Should be tested on the inside of your arm for sensitivity but it is often one of the only moisture alternatives for sensitive and fragile skin.  Not a bad alternative since it is a superb, easily absorbed emollient.  One of our favorite ingredients with which to work!  Shea Butter is a natural lipid obtained from the fruit or nut of the Karite Tree.  This is also a good source of income for many fair-trade farmers.

Sunflower oil

Harford County, Maryland is a huge grower of sunflowers.  Farms dedicate literally 1000’s of acres to grow this flower for its seeds and oil.  Known in culinary circles as an inexpensive alternative to olive oil (though it smokes like crazy) it is now known to be as light if not lighter.  It cannot normally stand on its own as a fat for soap but blends nicely with other higher fat oils and butters.  We love it because it smells like home to us but it also makes a nice, non-greasy soap base.  It contains large amounts of Vitamin E.


Beneficials chosen for their aromatic, mineral or astringent properties

Activated Charcoal & Bamboo Charcoal

To be technical, it is a magnet for skin funk.  It has properties that attract bacteria, toxins and other undesirables and whisk them away in a foam leaving your skin clean and prepared to receive and regenerate essential oils.  It appears in acne soap and gives a rich black color.  In small amounts it makes soap more opaque but doesn’t always turn it black (you may see black ‘specks’) so we like to use it in several of our soap recipes including our Tobacco Vegan Soap.  We have a limitless supply of fresh bamboo from a local farm in Harford County.  We use it in chips and smoke it to a charcoal ourselves.  It is readily available from many great organic sources but it’s fun to do yourself.


Botanical name: Aloe barbadensis.  Aloe is a well-known herb that is generally used to heal cells in crisis (dehydrated).  We have learned that it is equally effective in preventative use (pre-hydrated).  It was used by the Egyptians in recorded history and clearly designated in hieroglyphics.  The extract is made from the gel in the leaf material.  Aloe has a natural moisture retaining property. The plant itself retains so much fluid that it rarely needs to be watered.  In fact, the plant contains 99% water.  It is famous for relieving sunburn pain which best exhibits its exquisite ability to rehydrate skin and start the healing process for damaged and irritated skin.  Not only can it rehydrate but it can be used as a preventative against dehydration. 


Botanical name: Fucus vesiculosis.  We use this seaweed also known as sea vegetable in powder form.  Seaweed is high in Vitamin C, protein, beta-carotene, iodine, and phosphorus. It is often used to re-mineralize exhausted soil but can also be used in soup.  Pretty great stuff to have around.


We will put coffee in anything but how nice to know that it is reported to have excellent skin toning benefits.  We use the ground coffee at espresso grade so the gentle grit leaves the skin smooth and revitalized.

Cottonseed oil

We don’t use this often because it is difficult to find organic cottonseed oil.  The cottonseed oil is notorious for its pesticide use.  When we can find it, this oil makes a wonderfully light bar.  Though it has a tendency towards rancidity on its own, once soaponified it has a two (2) year shelf life.

Green Tea

Studies have shown that green tea neutralizes UV Light, rejuvenates skin cells, improves psoriasis and dandruff, and soothes discomfort from acne while it helps to repair the skins surface.  All of these benefits are wonderful.  The fragrance is fresh and gives off notes of light orchid to chestnut depending on the source.


Besides its delicious sweetness, it also has been known to have incredible healing properties attributed to it for at least 1000's years.  It is fascinating to try honey from the different apiaries in our area of Maryland.  We have dozens of vineyards within proximity to us. Their honey has a fruity taste while the farms with lavender have a floral taste to it.  Honey is a wonderful companion to most anything but is definitely a wonderful soap and lotion ingredient.

We are sensitive to all animals and insects.  As environmental stewards, we have carefully researched the impact we make when we take honey from a hive.  The process that it takes for bees to make honey and the fact that it is their winter food makes us ever-aware to never exhaust or exploit the little honey that we do use.  We appreciate the effort and use the honey wisely.  

For more information on the beauty and wonder of bees please go to http://www.vanishingbees.com/.  It is a remarkable documentary and well worth supporting.  Bees are the most useful insect in the flower garden and we love them!


Botanical name: Simmondsia chinensis - despite its name evergreen jojoba trees are native only to the Sonora Desert of Mexico, Arizona and California. They can grow up to 15 feet in height and have a very long lifespan of 100 to 200 years.  The benefits of jojoba are among some of the most wonderful of all lotion and soap ingredients because they unclog blocked pores restore skin's natural balanced pH.  It rapidly penetrates hair and skin folicles to reduce moisture loss. 


Botanical name: Urtica dioica.  Nettle has been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms, particularly hayfever.  It is beneficial particularly in lotion as it can offer a layer of protection against outside allergens. 


Bbotanical name: lichen from the Evernia prunastri.  Oakmoss is a type of moss that grows specifically on the Evernia.  It is used by perfumers world-over as a fragrance binder and an antiseptic.  It is an invaluable ally for freshness.

Shiitake mushroom

Botanical name: Lentinus elodes. The shiitake mushroom has been cultivated in Asia for well over 1000 years and is now the third most widely produced mushroom in the world. Interesting set of factoids that really lent authenticity to our wanting to use this in our lotions.  Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium and iron.  Selenium has a lot of great qualities that are of no benefit when applied topically that might be of interest to you.  In lotions, soaps, ointments and salts it can fight against the free radicals that damage cells resulting in aging.  Selenium is not a time machine by any means but some interesting studies have shown its effectiveness in repairing cell damage from sun, wind, and life in general. 


Botanical name: Vanilla planifolia.  Vanilla orchid is a tropical vine that has a rich fruit/bean that holds the flavored compound that has been loved for centuries.  Interesting botanical note, these orchids will not generate beans without cross pollination. Once done by bees, it is now a very serious business requiring hand pollination. Vanilla has a warm, syrupy embracing fragrance that is both deep and sweet. Historical literature describes vanilla as an aphrodisiac. We tend to agree.


Whiskey has a smokey molasses fragrance and flavor.  It has been made since the 6th century with slight variation to the original recipe.  It is made from water and fermented grains that become sugary that is oak-infused from the casks with which they are aged.  Whiskey stops aging the minute it comes out of the cask so we prefer an older whiskey for the most possible smoke.  It is another classic men's fragrance that is timeless.

White Tea

We recently learned that white tea is actually just the new growth on the tippy-top leaves of a regular tea tree.  It is the tender and supple foliage that is collected and graded as white tea.  It protects the skin and helps to reduce  pore-clog pollutions that we naturally experience daily.  That benefit in turn reduces acne.


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