Our Ingredients

Natural ingredients for body care grown and used by Holt Wood Herbs
We aim to source natural ingredients in a sustainable way, and want to encourage growers who can produce in the UK in order to reduce air miles and other costs to the environment. For leave-on products, we seek organic ingredients if they are not grown by ourselves. In some cases organic certification for ingredients is not always feasible and we seek to promote fair trade sources. Our base products made elsewhere are top quality and sourced from responsible suppliers. Our dried herbs and tinctures are grown and harvested ourselves or are sourced from herbal suppliers to professional herbalists.


Please note that essential oils should not be taken internally, and if you are pregnant you should seek advice on using essential oils externally.

See our Products section for body and skin care items using these ingredients

Alcohol (Alcohol denat.)
We use organic alcohol prepared from wheat as a natural ingredient in our products. This is denatured alcohol unsuitable for consumption and specifically used in cosmetics. It is an excellent natural preservative and provides a means to dissolve essential oils. This ingredient is flammable and care must be taken with alcohol-containing  products to keep away from heat.
Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria root extract)
This root extract from the Alkanet plant in the Borage family is ideal for colouring soaps. It produces a dark pink to purple colouring and is used in our exfoliating Violet willow and juniper soap.
Almond oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis seed oil)
Sweet almond oil is a light, yet emollient oil that is high in oleic and linoleic acids. It is readily absorbed into the skin.
Beeswax (Cera alba)

Our beeswax comes from a local supplier in Devon. It is naturally produced in the honey bee hive and it has a gorgeous honeyed scent. It has a use in firming ointments, and helps to make skincare products more water resistant. Beeswax on the skin provides a protective layer to keep moisture in. We use beeswax in our Juniper insect repellent balm, and our Marigold balm.

Bergamot essential oil (Citrus bergamia peel oil)
The essential oil of Bergamot is delightfully fresh and uplifting,and we use a distillate which is bergapten-free. It is an ingredient of our Eau de Cologne Splash.
Cardamom seed (Elettaria cardamomum seed extract)
Green cardamom seeds are well-known in culinary dishes, and they come from a member of the ginger family grown largely in Asia. The seeds are an ingredient used to make our Eau de Cologne Splash, providing an intense aromatic fragrance.Cardamom seeds
Chamomile essential oil (Anthemis nobilis flower oil)
Roman Chamomile essential oil has a sweet and uplifting aroma, and can be used to calm and relieve irritated, inflamed skin conditions. It is included in our Witch hazel moisturiser cream.
Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao seed butter)
Cocoa butter is an emollient that has been used for centuries as a skin care product. It is traditionally used to heal and moisturise damaged skin, and keeps the skin supple.
Coconut oil (Caprylic/ capric triglyceride)
Coconut oil is a light oil that will not clog pores. It absorbs readily into the skin. Unrefined, it is available as coconut butter and as a fractionated oil. We use coconut oil in our Rosemary and willow hair oil. In soap-making the oil is converted into ‘Sodium cocoate’ and this is listed as an ingredient in our Violet willow and juniper soap and our White willow and ginger soap.
Frankincense essential oil (Boswellia neglect oil)
Frankincense essential oil provides a significant base note in our Witch hazel moisturiser cream.
Geranium bourbon essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens flower oil)
Geranium bourbon essential oil helps to balance the production of sebum, so it can be helpful for both dry skin or congested, oily skin. We include it in our Rose gentle oil and in our Violet willow and juniper soap.
Ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale root oil)
Ginger essential oil is a volatile oil from the rhizomes of ginger plants grown in Asia. Used in many culinary and medicinal preparations, the ginger root is widely known for its stimulant properties. We use Ginger essential oil in our exfoliating White willow and ginger soap, and in our Juniper and rosemary bodywash.
Grapefruit seed extract (Citrus grandis seed extract)
The Grapefruit seed extract helps to provide anti-oxidant activity in our soaps.
Grapeseed oil (Vitis vinifera seed oil)
Grapeseed oil has a high content of omega 6 fatty acid. It is a thin oil and is widely used in massage oils and skin care products. We use it in our Rose gentle oil and Rosemary and willow hair oil.
Hazelnut oil (Corylus avellana seed oil)
Hazelnut oil is an edible oil made from nuts. It has a high content of omega 9 fatty acids, and is used in dry and sensitive skin preparations. We use Hazelnut oil in our Juniper insect repellent balm.
Juniper leaf essential oil (Juniperus communis)
Juniper is an evergreen coniferous plant, and grows mainly in North America and Europe. The intense fragrance of the crushed leaves is fresh and pine-like. We use Juniper leaf essential oil in our Juniper insect repellent balm, our exfoliating Violet willow and ginger soap and in our refreshing Juniper and rosemary bodywash.
Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia oil)
lavender fieldOur Lavender essential oil is a high quality variety from distillation of plants on lower mountain slopes in Southern France. It can be used to relax and relieve stress, relieve headaches, and encourage healing of small bites, burns and wounds. It has some antiseptic effect and can be used in a diffuser to purify the air.
Lemon essential oil (Citrus limon peel oil)
The essential oil of Lemon is based on distillation of the fresh peel of lemons. It is an ingredient of our Eau de Cologne Splash.
Lemon eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus citriodora oil)
The volatile oil of the Lemon eucalyptus tree contains citronellal and other constituents which make it particularly useful in insect deterrent preparations. We use this oil in our Juniper insect repellent balm.
Marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis)
marigold petalsUsed to infuse an oil, Marigold petals are excellent for irritated and delicate skin since they have some resinous content and mildly antifungal and antiseptic properties.
Neroli essential oil (Citrus aurantium flower oil)
Neroli oil is a costly essential oil that is distilled from the delicate blossoms of the bitter orange tree. The oil has a unique, lovely floral citrus scent that can calm anxiety, relieve depression, and uplift the spirits. It is used in our Eau de Cologne splash based on a nineteenth-century recipe.
Olive oil (Olea europaea)
Olive oil is highly emollient and will leave the skin soft and moisturised. We use two forms, an organically accredited kind for leave-on preparations and a pomace kind for making cold-process soaps. In soap ingredients, olive oil will be listed as ‘Sodium olivate’ which is produced during the cold process of soap-making.
Orange flower water (Citrus aurantium amara flower water)
This flower water is based on steam distillation of the flowers of the Bitter orange.
Orange essential oIl (Citrus aurantium leaf oil)
Orange essential oil provides an uplifting, refreshing aroma that helps to relieve stress and anxiety. This oil is one of the ingredients of our Eau de cologne splash.
Patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon cablin oil)
Patchouli essential oil has a warm, mellow, earthy scent that provides a pleasant exotic base aroma. it is an ingredient in our Rose gentle oil and in our exfoliating Violet willow and juniper soap.
Prickly ash bark (Zanthoxylum americanum bark extract)
Bark, leaves and berries from the Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) are all known for their stimulating effects, somewhat like Ginger. A North American shrub or small tree, this is also known as the ‘toothache’ tree as parts can be used to numb toothache! We grow this shrub at Holt Wood, and infuse the bark into our Rosemary and willow hair oil.zanthoxylum-s
Rosehip seed oil (Rosa canina fruit oil)
Rosehip seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin A. It helps to reduce fine wrinkles and research suggests it can help to repair sun-damaged or scarred skin.
Rose absolut (Rosa centifolia flower oil)
Rose petals provide a wonderful calming and uplifting scent, although true oils come at a considerable cost. Our Rose absolut is from Turkey and is used in our Rose gentle oil.
Rosemary anti-oxidant (Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract)
This extract of the leaves of rosemary has anti-oxidant properties making it a useful additive for products containing oils to prolong self-life.
Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil)
Rosemary essential oil has a sweet and slightly camphorous aroma.  Rosemary essential oil is stimulating, and perhaps this is why it is traditionally thought of as a herb for memory. Used in hair preparations it can help control dandruff and an oily scalp, and is said to encourage hair growth. As it is a stimulant, this essential oil is not recommended for anyone with high blood pressure or epilepsy, and is best avoided during pregnancy. It is an ingredient of our Eau de cologne splash and in our Juniper insect repellent balm.rosemarybasket
Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii butter)
Shea butter is a fatty solid oil obtained from the fruits of the Shea tree which grows wild in West African countries. It provides good moisturising effects in skin preparations and we use it in our Juniper insect repellent balm, and in our White willow and ginger soap. The butter converts to ‘sodium shea butterate’ in the process of soap-making.
Sunflower oil (Helianthus annus seed oil)
Sunflower seeds are expressed to provide the edible oil of sunflowers.sunflowers
Tocopherol is an organic compound related to vitamin E which is widely used as an anti-oxidant.
Vetiver essential oil (Vetiveria zizanoides root oil)
This essential oil is distilled from the roots of the Vetivert, a grass-like plant of India. This fragrant oil provides an earthy base note and acts as a natural fixative for perfume. It is used in our Juniper and rosemary bodywash.
Willow (Salix alba and Salix daphnoides)
Willow leaf and bark contain natural aspirin-like compounds which help to reduce inflammation. Our willow is grown at Holt Wood and the bark and leaves are harvested in spring. We source mainly two forms of willow – White willow (Salix alba) and Violet Willow (Salix daphnoides).willow thumbnail
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Distilled witch hazel is a widely used anti-inflammatory and astringent lotion made from a distillation of leaves and twigs with just under 15% organic alcohol added as a preservative. Our Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is grown and distilled in Devon and the Witch hazel distilled water is used in our Witch hazel and rosemary deodorant. We also make a glycerol-based extract of Witch hazel for use in our Witch hazel moisturiser.Virginian witch hazel
White poppy seed oil (Papaver somniferum seed oil)
This poppy seed oil is grown and made in the UK and we use it in our Rosemary and willow hair oil.