WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution
Natural Skin Care Newsletter: July Issue
Welcome to the July 2009 Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter. As usual we have included several articles, news and information on natural skincare and alternative health.
Kitty takes a look at arthritis in cats and dogs, the symptoms to look out for and possible treatment options.
We hope you'll enjoy this issue of our newsletter.
Can Science Really Evaluate Alternative Medicine?
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Treating Acne Scarring and Stretch Marks Naturally
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Baby Skin Care: Caring for Nappy (Diaper) Rash
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
About An Essential Oil of Interest: Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.)
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Kitty's Corner - Arthritis and Your Pet
(by Kitty the Cat)
Newsletter - July 2009
Let’s start with what should easily be verifiable by western science. The effect of a specific herb should be readily testable and should provide consistent results. Problem is, the tests often get very different results and do not agree about a specific herbs’ effectiveness. Why? This is where it gets a bit more complicated.
Firstly, in order to test a particular herb for it’s medicinal properties and effectiveness, the scientists must use the correct species of herbs. This is simple to achieve, however, there are major differences in the same species, depending on how and where it is grown, the time of day and year it is harvested and the condition of the soil the herb was grown in, not to mention the different processing methods that can be used.
Let’s look at an example that is very typical. Echinacea is a herb that most people have heard of and where science provides at best confusing information and results.
Now, Echinacea has 2 major species that are commonly used by medical herbalists. The first is Echinacea purpurea, the second is E. angustifolia. Now, these two species of Echinacea have different actions, and depending on the parts of the plant that are included in the herbal extract, these functions will vary again.
Let’s just stick to Echinacea purpurea and look at the many different extracts that are used in the market place.
The single best quality of this herbal extract comes from Switzerland and is made by a company called Bioforce AG. No, I’m not in anyway affiliated with this company, nor are they paying me for including their product or company name in this article or elsewhere.
As a herbalist, I’ve used many different preparations of Echinacea purpurea from different companies and have found that the best results come from the herbal extract of Echinacea purpurea produced by this company.
But why is that, what makes their Echinacea extract so much more effective? The first reason is the way they grow the herb. Firstly, they grow it in organically prepared fields, which are surrounded by buffer zones that keep any leaching into the primary fields from occurring.
Secondly, their crops are grown in rich mountain soil above 1800 meters. This appears to have a major influence on the properties and their concentrations in this herb. Thirdly, once the herb is ready to be harvested, the herbs are processed in their fresh, living state within 24 hours of being harvested. That means the plants are still alive and viable, with all their active and non-active constituents still intact.
The product is a green plant extract full of the goodies that make up this herb.
Alternatively, you can purchase Echinacea purpurea that has not been grown in organically prepared soil, that has not been grown above 1800 meters and is grown on much poorer, non-organically prepared soil. The plant is not processed within 24 hours of harvesting but instead is processed as a dried herb. Despite these major differences, they are of course still the same species and therefore treated as if they were the same. While preparations from such plants are generally standardised to meet minimum therapeutic quantities of the active ingredients as set by the British Pharmacopoeia, these preparations widely vary in other, so called non-active ingredients.
Even blind Freddy can tell you that the extract resulting from the two differently grown plants is going to be different and will have difference in their therapeutic effectiveness.
Herein lies the first problem for scientists. They are not really testing the same herb and therefore will get confusing results. They may be testing the same species, Echinacea purpurea, but not the same quality of the herbal extract. Unfortunately, they are probably not even aware of the fact that there are differences in plant constituents depending on where the plants have been grown and the methods used to make the extract.
This, just by the way, is also a problem for the herbalists that use Echinacea purpurea to treat their patients. While it’s easy to establish whether an extract is a green plant extract or not, it is often difficult to find out where the plants used to make the extract have been grown, etc. In our clinic we have often found one brand to work much better than another, despite the standardised active ingredients.
Now, if the scientists are looking for the chemicals that make up the extract (plant) to identify which of the chemicals are responsible for the range of therapeutic applications, they will find widely different concentrations and different ratios of ingredients depending on the origin of the plant/s. If they are not aware that this is (a) possible, and (b) provides different therapeutic results, then of course their results will not agree with other studies that have used plants from a different region.
The second problem scientists face (possibly unknowingly) is that the strict paradigm of science is not designed to accommodate the paradigms of alternative medicine. For example, what western medical science refers to as the Liver is totally different to that of traditional Chinese medicine. For example you would be very hard pressed to find an orthodox medical doctor that would consider the Eyes to be part of the Liver, however, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine will very much consider the Eyes as part of the Liver.
These two differing paradigms are not easily merged. Let me give you an example. An individual that presents with consistently red eyes, a reddish face and short temper is highly likely to be diagnosed in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as having heat in the Liver (no, not the eyes, the liver). Now an orthodox medical practitioner may diagnose this as an allergy or a range of other problems, but is unlikely to diagnose a Liver disease.
I’m not saying either of the two approaches is right or wrong, what I’m trying to point out here is that the two paradigms are vastly different and are therefore difficult to unite under a single, testable paradigm that easily accommodates both philosophies.
This then makes it very difficult for western scientists to adequately validate alternative medicine and its therapeutic methods, if the paradigm under which they operate is vastly different.
In conclusion, unless we are testing the same thing in the same way, there is a very strong chance of obtaining different, non-conclusive, results. This is one of the major reasons that orthodox medical science is more often than not critical of alternative medicine, herbs, and other aspects.
Unless we can unite the paradigms so that every time a particular plant species is tested for its therapeutic actions and effects and the extracts are identical in all aspects, there will never be any agreement over the effectiveness of herbs.
Similarly, if we can’t find a suitable common denominator that can adequately unite differing paradigms, then any resulting tests are unlikely to be conclusive or shed insight into the effectiveness of alternative medicine.
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There are many reasons for why we can end up with a scar on our bodies; post-acne scarring; cuts or other injuries may all result in scar tissue formation. Unfortunately, frequently scars end up being a permanent mark on the landscape of our skin and in particular facial scars resulting from acne can be particularly bothersome.
Treating scarring naturally is not as difficult or complicated as it might seem. There are several essential- and carrier-oils, as well as herbal extracts that come to our rescue. But first, let’s look at how scarring develops and what changes take place in the various skin layers.
Take a look at the video clip, it shows the step-by-step process of how an injury (or for that matter a severe acne lesion) produces a scar. Depending on the severity of an injury, a scar is inevitable, however, here we'll focus on the scars from acne, and stretch marks resulting from pregnancy.
In either case, prevention is always better than having to cure a problem later on. So, following advice given in previous articles on how to treat and manage acne, is the first step. Similarly, stretch marks can be minimised if not totally prevented if the woman starts treating her growing breasts and tummy before the stretch marks start to appear.
How do these types of scars form
Basically there are three layers that make up our skin: the epidermis (5 outer layers), the dermis (the elastic, resilient middle layer), and the subcutaneous tissue (the deepest layer).
Formation of Stretch Marks
Stretch marks, also known as striae atrophica and striae distensae or striae gravidarum reflecting their occurrence in pregnancy, form in the dermis. When the dermis is stretched, the connective fibres (collagen and elastin fibres) break, causing microscopic bleeding and tissue inflammation. Usually the skin is quite elastic, however, when it is overstretched, the normal production of collagen is disrupted, resulting in scars called stretch marks. Collagen is the major protein that makes up the connective tissue in your skin.
Formation of Acne Scars
Acne scars are a result of the body’s inflammatory response to sebum, bacteria and dead cells in the sebaceous follicle of the skin. There are two types of acne scars: (1) depressed areas such as ice-pick scars, and (2) raised thickened tissue such as keloids (AAD, 2009). In other words, the first is due to a loss of tissue, while the second is an excessive build up of tissue, namely collagen fibres.
In the process of the body reacting to an injury, such as overstretching of the skin and underlying tissues or a severe acne lesion, the white blood cells and an array of inflammatory molecules involved in the repair, tend to leave behind a somewhat messy repair site. This takes the form of fibrous scar tissue or eroded tissue (AAD, 2008).
How to treat these types of scars naturally?
In either case, fibrous or eroded scar tissue can be treated naturally by employing some or all of the following steps.
The way these oils work on your skin is by helping to rebuild the normal tissue underlying the scar. As you exfoliate the old layers off the top of your scar, and promote new tissue forming below the scare using the herbs and oils, over time it is possible to virtually replace all the scar tissue with new, healthy, normal skin cells.
American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), (2008) Acne Scarring. Web site: http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/scarring.html (last accessed June ’09).
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An essential part of every baby's care is changing nappies. Until a child is toilet-trained, usually by 3 years of age, diapers are used to collect urine and bowel movements.
Diaper rash, is a term used to describe different skin rashes in the nappy area. The rash is usually red, scaling and, rarely, ulcerated. It is most commonly seen in infants between the ages of 9 to 12 months, but may begin within the first 2 months of life.
What causes diaper (nappy) rash?
Possible contributors to diaper rashes include the following:
What are the symptoms of diaper rash?
The symptoms of diaper rash vary depending on the cause of the rash, and may be different for each child that is affected. The following are common characteristics of the rash that may occur with each type of infection:
The symptoms of diaper rash may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your child's health care professional for a diagnosis.
Some diaper rashes are caused by a yeast called Candida albicans (hence the name yeast diaper rash), which often causes problems when a baby already has a diaper rash, is on antibiotics, or has thrush. This rash appears bright red and raw, covers large areas, and is surrounded by red spots. With proper treatment, these rashes usually improve in two to three days.
Consult your baby's health care professional if:
The cause of seborrheic diaper rash is unknown, however, it is usually located on the skull – hence it’s common name Cradle cap, but can appear elsewhere on the body. It is associated with a thick sebaceous gland excretion that causes a crust over the skin. Below this layer is irritated, reddened skin. It is like a thickened layer of dead skin and forms a layer, which after softening, by washing the baby’s head and applying olive oil to soften the ‘cradle cap’, can be gently removed with a soft baby brush. Then apply the calendula or antiseptic cream to the affected area.
Caring for diaper rash (all types):
Most babies will get a diaper rash at some time. Their bottoms are in frequent contact with moisture, bacteria, and ammonia, and there is rubbing from the diaper. Babies and toddlers are at risk as long as they are wearing diapers. Rashes are much easier to prevent than to cure. Many rashes can be treated by the following:
Suitable topical creams: Use Wildcrafted’s Calendula or Antiseptic Cream. Apply to the rash several times a day.
Be very careful with all powders; be sure the baby does not breathe them in. Do not use talcum powder because of the risk of pneumonia. Cornstarch reduces friction and may prevent future rashes. Alternatively you can use Wildcrafted’s Rose Day Crème, Geranium & Aloe or Lavender Body Lotion.
Consult your health care professional if the rash is persistent and does not improve or worsens.
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Wildcrafted Herbal Products that Use Goldenseal:
Therapeutic Properties and Applications:
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Susan and I hope you've enjoyed the articles and information provided in our Newsletter and look forward to any comments and feedback you may have. We'd also like to encourage all of you to suggest topics you would like to see us cover.
In good health
Danny & Susan Siegenthaler
© Copyright: Wildcrafted Herbal Products, 2009
Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.
I hope you found last month's article interesting and helpful.
This month we'll look at:
Dogs and Cats do Get Arthritis
Did you know that animals get arthritis and joint problems just the same as humans? How is your pet feeling now that the weather is cooling down: a bit slow, stiff and even a bit cranky? It could be arthritis.
In dogs the most common form is osteoarthritis which is a chronically degenerative joint disease, occurring in one or more joints, with the hips being the most commonly affected joint. It is characterised by sore and inflamed joints that slowly worsen over time. And, you guessed it, is worse during the cold winter months.
Some of the common signs of arthirits are:
Don’t expect your dog to cry out when he or she is in pain, they are stoic, long suffering animals and usually only whimper and show signs of distress when in severe pain.
Some pets may only display the more subtle signs of chronic pain – appearing lethargic and a bit bad tempered or snappy.
In Cats, the symptoms are similar and include:
What you can do
Control your pet’s weight. Extra weight increases the stress and strain placed on the joints. Maintain gentle, regular exercise. Glucosamine has also been shown to aid in the treatment of arthritis in both cats and dogs. Talk to your vet about using Glucosamine.
Another natural treatment for arthritis is Acupuncture. Dogs in particular tend to handle the treatment easily and are quite relaxed about it, but even cats will submit to this type of treatment. Talk to a qualified Acupuncturist who specialises in the treatment of animals.
Homeopathy is another alternative to address the problems associated with arthritis in pets. Again you’ll need to consult a professional who is experienced in treating animals using homeopathic remedies.
For now, Miau from me, until next month.
You can contact Eagles Nest Wildlife Hospital Inc.
Harry Kunz & Karin Traub
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