Natural Skin Care Newsletter - January 2008

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WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS

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Natural Skin Care Newsletter: January 2008 Issue

Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products

Introduction

Welcome to the January Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter and a brand New Year with new opportunities and challenges. We at Wildcrafted have lots of plans and you, our readers, will be the first to know about any new products and other goodies we have in store for you.

Stay tuned and happy reading


Index of the January Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter:

(You can click on the topics below which will take you to the article of choice on this page, or simply scroll down and read each one)

Articles:

Feature Article: Stretch Marks - How to get rid of them
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Article: How to Avoid Having Allergic Reactions to Skin, Personal and Cosmetic Products
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Article: Care for Your Skin from the Inside-Out
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

About a herb of interest - Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum (L.))
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Kitty's Corner - 20 Amazing Facts about Cats & Dogs
(by Kitty the Cat)


January 2008 Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretch Marks - How to get rid of them

 

Natural Skin Care for Stretch Marks

Both men and women, yep, men too, can develop stretch marks. More often than not these develop in women from pregnancy, however, any rapid body tissue growth/expansion can cause stretch marks. These include puberty, weight gain and of course pregnancy. We tend to think that once we’ve got them they are ours for life - not so.

A good natural skin care regime using natural skin care products, can help to prevent them in the first place, but to get rid of them will take a little more effort and a few more steps.

Why do we get stretch marks?

The reason we get stretch marks is that if we cause our skin to quickly stretch, the collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis of the skin reach breaking point and literally break apart, which damages the skin and results in scarring - stretch marks.

What will help your stretch marks go away?

Nutrients such as vitamin A & E will help to repair and promote the development of collagen fibres. Combining essential oils such as Rose, Chamomile and Rosehip, together with Wheat germ oil (contains natural vitamin A & E) and Evening primrose oil will help to reduce visibility of stretch marks.

Evening Primrose Oil is high in oleic acid, which allows nutrients such as vitamin E to be carried deep into the skin to reach the dermis. Wildcrafted's Age Defying Essence fits the bill perfectly.

Other things to keep in mind

You need to remember however, that no treatment is going to be effective in a matter of days. You’ll need to be persistent and patient. Don’t expect to see change of at least 6-8 weeks.

Also eating foods rich in vitamins A (pro-vitamin beta carotine) C and E, zinc and silica (important for collagen formation), drinking plenty of water, and maintaining a natural skin care regime free of harsh soaps and chemicals will help - and don’t forget to use a good moisturising lotion to keep your skin hydrated, moist and supple.

Back to index


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How to Avoid Having Allergic Reactions to Skin, Personal and Cosmetic Products

 

Top 10 causes of contact dermatitis

Dermatitis comes in many forms. One of the most common causes of dermatitis is when skin comes in contact with an allergen. An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction.

These reactions range from mild, that is a slight reddening of the skin for example, to very severe and potentially life threatening allergic reactions - you may remember news reports of severe allergic reactions experienced by children to peanuts, for example.

A simple definition of contact dermatitis is: an allergic reaction resulting from skin contact to an allergen.

The Mayo Clinic lists the top 10 causes of contact dermatitis as follows:

  • Strong detergents or soaps
  • Skin cleaning products
  • Cosmetics or makeup
  • Deodorant
  • Clothing or shoes
  • Household cleaning products
  • Formaldehyde and other chemicals
  • Rubber or latex
  • Metals, such as nickel
  • Jewellery
  • Perfume or fragrances
  • Weeds and plants, such as poison ivy or poison oak
  • Medicinal lotions, such as antihistamines, antibiotics or antiseptics

There are of course many other substances we might be allergic to. In fact, one can be allergic to almost anything.

So let’s focus on some of the most common. Personal care products including skin care, soaps and cosmetics, are the number the top 3 causes of contact dermatitis, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic above.

Measures you can take to avoid an allergic reaction

Let’s consider products we might use on our face. Because our face is revealed to the public, so to speak, we get very anxious if we break out after applying a cream or some make-up or another product.

A great way to test whether or not we have an allergy to a new product we’ve purchased it to rub it onto the inside of the forearm. If we have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the product, it will usually show on the sensitive skin of our forearm within minutes.

If redness or itching results, do not use the product. It is probable that you are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the product and if you were to put it on your face, you may have a very bad reaction.

Sometimes, you may need to make this test a little more involved. To make absolutely sure that you do not have an allergy to a new product you’ve purchased, use a small amount of the product, put it onto a band-aid and stick the band-aid with the product on the cotton pad onto your forearm for 24 hours. Then after this time, remove the band-aid and look for redness of the covered skin.

If you do not have any redness, you can be relatively sure that you do not have an allergy to any of the ingredients contained in the product you’ve tested.

These are two simple ways that you can safeguard yourself against an unwanted surprise of an allergic reaction to your newly purchased personal care and cosmetic products.

 

Back to index

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Care for Your Skin from the Inside-Out

Caring for your skin from the inside out emphasises that beauty is more than just skin deep and requires more than just good quality natural skin care products. The products you use to help your complexion, reduce those unwanted wrinkles and blemishes, are not going to fix underlying health problems affecting your skin. For example, if you are suffering from a condition, say a hormonal imbalance, which is causing you skin problems, you cannot expect even the best and purest skin care product to have a long term effect of improving your skin, unless you are addressing your underlying health problems at the same time.

There are many pathologies (health problems) that can adversely affect your skin, ranging from hormonal imbalances, stress, dehydration, high blood pressure, fever, fungal infections, viral and bacterial infections, allergies, to various organ pathologies such as kidney and liver disease, and the list goes on.

Natural skin care products are not designed to treat systemic disease, they are natural products that are designed to help you retain healthy vibrant skin and help to protect your skin from external and environmental effects. They cannot reduce your stress levels, or adjust your hormonal imbalances, or reduce your high blood pressure – and they are not intended to do those things, even though, when you read some of the adverts in beauty magazines, you would think they could cure death itself.

Herbal extracts and teas, on the other hand, do work on systemic problems such as stress, high blood pressure, circulatory disorders, hormone imbalances, blood impurities, liver function, constipation, diarrhoea, diverticulitis, and so on.

Skin care from the inside out, using herbs, is a great addition to promote healthy, vibrant looking skin. For example, using dandelion tea/coffee is a good approach to promote liver and kidney functions; green tea is a well-known source of anti-oxidants. Echinacea has great immuno-stimulant effects and lavender, chamomile and many other herbs help you to relax and reduce stress.

It’s a simple concept – feel great and you’ll look great.

It is critical that when you aim to achieve better looking skin, you consider looking at your general overall health as well as carefully considering which natural skin care products you choose.

There are many herbal teas available at health food stores and natural therapy outlets that will help you maintain or even regain good health. Below is a list of teas and herbs you can use to beneficially influence your health and in turn promote healthy skin from the inside out.

Stress:
Generally, stress can cause you difficulties with sleep, make you more irritable, elevate your blood pressure and tends to make you frown and frowning leads to those unwanted wrinkles...

Stress is the single most nominated cause of disease and just about every disease can have stress as its cause…

Herbs such as the ones listed below, can have a positive, calming effect and reduce the effects of stress caused by day-to-day 'stuff'.

Chamomile, Lavender, Passionflower, Hops and others, are great first steps to help you calm your nerves and reduce the feelings of agitation often associated with stress.

Insomnia:
Apart from systemic diseases, anxiety (stress) is the number one reason for insomnia; a stress which we can all do without. Insomnia is a very real problem for many people and will in turn cause you more stress – it’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken.

Herbs similar to the ones used to reduce stress are helpful in promoting a good nights sleep. They include: Chamomile, Lavender, Passionflower, Hops, Valerian, …

Hormonal Imbalances:
Hormonal imbalances, such as Menopause, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), The Pill etc. can all cause a variety of problems.

Your skin may become blotchy, suddenly develop middle-aged acne, or you may develop dry skin, skin allergies or other symptoms.

You will need to consult a qualified herbalist in order to get the correct herbal treatment to avoid interfering with the pharmaceutical drug you may be taking.

Herbs that may be helpful include:
Dang Gui, Ginseng, Evening primrose, Vitex agnus castus (Chaste tree berry), Black cohosh, and others. However, before you rush out and get some of these herbs, make sure you consult a qualified herbalist. I cannot stress this enough, because more often than not you will need a detailed assessment of your health issues and the herbal prescription you require will be a combination of herbs in specific ratios that are not available on the supermarket shelves.

Remember, that your skin does eliminate toxins, and in some cases, if your kidneys or your liver are not doing their jobs well enough, some of these toxins will be eliminated via the skin. This can cause acne, boils and many other skin problems, which are partly addressed by using good skincare products, but you will not fix the underlying problems or weaknesses. These have to be addressed using either, herbs, diet or orthodox treatments, or maybe a combination of approaches.

Pain:
Most people experience pain at least once in their life and it’s not a nice experience. Pain is often a warning by your body to let you know something is not right and you should heed this warning and find out why you are getting the pain – especially, if it persists for any length of time, or reoccurs on a frequent basis.

For this article, we’ll assume that the pain is of a non-pathological nature. That is, your headaches, back pain, chest pain or stiff neck is caused by stress, bad posture or anything other than a systemic disease.

Herbs that are beneficial in the treatment of pain include: White willow bark (Aspirin was originally made for this herb), Hypericum (St. John’s Wort), and many others, depending on the type of pain and its location.

Treating pain can get very complex and involved, because it can be due to so many different causes. The best approach is to get some professional help if taking White willow bark or Hypericum does not work. One of the most effective treatments for pain is Acupuncture.

The health of your skin is a good indicator of the internal health of your body. As I said earlier - if you feel great, you’ll look great and that is the key.

A word of caution

Herbs are powerful medicinal substances. They have potent, medicinal properties, which can also do you harm if used incorrectly or under the wrong circumstances or dosage.

Before you start to take herbs, I would strongly advise you to consult a professional, qualified herbalist. You will get good advice, the right combination of herbs for your specific needs and therefore much better results. And you’ll save money in the process.

If you are taking any Prescription drugs, make sure you speak with your health care professional to avoid adverse interactions.

 

 

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About An Interesting Herb: Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum (L.)

 

Biological Name:
HerbTrigonella foenum-graecum (L.)

Family:
Fabacae

Other Names: 
Hu Lu Ba

Parts Used:
Seed, fresh leaves2

Active Compounds: 
Accordiing to the University of Graz, the following main constituents are present in Fenugreek:

Fenugreek seeds contains only minute quantities of an essential oil. In the essential oil, 40 different compounds were found, furthermore, n-alkanes, sesquiterpenes, alkanoles and lactones were reported.3

The dominant aroma component in fenugreek seeds is a hemiterpenoid γ-lactone, sotolone (3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone), which is contained in concentrations up to 25 ppm. It supposedly forms by oxidative deamination of 4-hydroxy-isoleucine. Sotolone has a spicy flavour and was also found a key flavour in fermented protein seasonings, e.g., Maggi sauce. There is chemical similarity between sotolone and the phthalides responsible for the quite similar flavour of lovage leaves3. (ACS Symposium Series, 660, 1997)

Toasted fenugreek seeds owe their altered, more nutty flavour to another type of heterocyclic compounds, the so-called pyrazines. See cumin for further information.3

Fenugreek leaves were found to contain small amounts of sesquiterpenes (cadinene, α-cadinol, γ-eudesmol and α-bisabolol). (Journal of Essential Oil Research, 16, 356, 2004)3

Among the non-volatile components of fenugreek seeds, the furostanol glycosides are probably responsible for the bitter taste; among the several more compounds yet identified, steroles and diosgenin derivatives (of potential interest for the pharmaceutical industry) and trigonellin (N-methyl-pyridinium-3-carboxylate, 0.4%) are most worth noting.3

 

History:
A wide range of uses were found for fenugreek in ancient times. Medicinally it was used for the treatment of wounds, abscesses, arthritis, bronchitis, and digestive problems. Traditional Chinese herbalists used it for kidney problems and conditions affecting the male reproductive tract. Fenugreek was, and re-mains, a food and a spice commonly eaten in many parts of the world.

 

Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:


Western Herbal Applications:

Actions:

Expectorant, demulcent, tonic, galactogogue.4

Indications:

  • Inflammation of the skin - wounds, boils, sores, fistulas and tumours4
  • Indigestion4, Dyspepsia2, Diarrhoea2.
  • Insufficient lactation4, Stimulating development of the breasts4.

Chinese Herbal Applications:

Hu Lu Ba (Fenugreek Seed) has bitter and warm properties affecting the Kidney and Liver channels.5

Its Clinical uses include:

  • Warms the Kidneys, disperses Cold and alleviates pain: used for Kidney Yang Xu patterns with accumulation of Cold and Qi Stagnation. Symptoms include: Adominal or hypochonriac distension and/or pain; or hernia like disorders.4
  • Also used for Cold Damp Leg Qi.4
  • Research has shown that Hu Lu Ba is useful in both the prophylaxis and treatment of mountain sickness, but is not as effective as Ginger.4

Other indications include:

  • Taken as a tea for simple infective conditions like colds and sinus problems. Produces perspiration. Take in early stages of viral and bacterial infections of the respiratory tract. Also for bronchitis, fevers (reduces), and as a gargle for sore throats.
  • Used in poultice form for skin inflammations. Helps normalize skin function and is used in cases of acne.
  • Used for flatulence and digestive problems.
  • Used to treat diabetes.
  • Regulates pituitary gland to control appetite. Helps with difficulty of fat absorption.

 

Safety:

Use of more than 100 grams of seeds daily can cause intestinal upset and nausea. Otherwise, fenugreek is extremely safe.

 

References:

  1. Grieve, M. (1977). A Modern Herbal. Penguin Books Ltd, England.
  2. Stuart, Malcolm (1979). The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1979.
  3. University of Graz - Website: http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Trig_foe.html
  4. Hoffmann, David (1983). The Holistic Herbal: A herbal celebrating the wholeness of life. Findhorn Press, Scotland.
  5. Bensky, D. Gamble, A. and Kaptchuk, T. (1986) Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Eastland Press, Michigan.

 

 

 

The information provided here is not for the purpose of self diagnosis or self treatment. It is provided for the sole purpose of providing general information about herbs used in herbal medicine. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

 

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We hope you enjoyed these articles and invite you to send us suggestions of topics you would like to see us cover in the coming months.

Your suggestions are always welcome and we endeavour to cover the topics you would like to know more about - so don't be shy, drop us a line or two!

 

In good health

Danny & Susan Siegenthaler

 

© Copyright: Wildcrafted Herbal Products, 2008

Wildcrafted's Natural Skin Care Newsletter - Back Issues

Kitty's Corner

Kitty

Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.

I hope you found last month's article interesting and helpful.

This month I'll give you some amazing facts about cats & dogs...

10 Amazing Facts about Cats & Dogs

Cats

Did you know...

1. The nose pad of a cat is ridged in a pattern that is unique, just like the fingerprint of a human.

2. If your cat is near you, and her tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you. If her tail starts thrashing, her mood has changed --- Time to distance yourself from her.

3. Cats wag their tails when it is in a stage of conflict. The cat wants to do two things at once, but each impulse blocks the other. For example: If your cat is in the doorway wanting to go outside, and you open the door to find it raining, the cat's tail will wag because of internal conflict. The cat wants to go outside, but doesn't want to go into the rain. Once the cat makes a decision and either returns to the house or leaves into the rain, the tail will immediately stop wagging.

4. Cats knead with their paws when they're happy.

5. In 1952, a Texas Tabby named Dusty set the record by having more than 420 kittens before having her last litter at age 18.

6. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.

7. Cats have 290 bones in their bodies, and 517 muscles.

8. Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of the principles of gravity, also invented the cat door.

9. People who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.

10. A falling cat will always right itself in a precise order. First the head will rotate, then the spine will twist and the rear legs will align, then the cat will arch its back to lessen the impact of the landing.

Dogs

1. It is a myth that dogs are color blind. They can actually see in color, just not as vividly as humans. It is akin to our vision at dusk.

2. A German Shepherd guide dog led her blind companion the entire 2100 mile Applachian Trail

3. Dogs' only sweat glands are between their paw pads

4. Basset Hounds cannot swim

5. Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic - a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian, and a Pekingese

6. Obesity is the #1 health problem among dogs

7. Dog's nose prints are as unique as a human's finger prints and can be used to accurately identify them

8. The phrase "raining cats and dogs" originated in 17th century England when it is believed that many cats and dogs drowned during heavy periods of rain.

9. The largest breed of dog is the Irish Wolfhound; The world's smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua; The St. Bernard is the heaviest.

10. Only dogs and humans have prostates, but dogs do not have an appendix.

For now, Miau from me, until next month.

Paw

 

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