Natural Skin Care Newsletter - June 2007



Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution


Natural Skin Care Newsletter: June 2007 Issue

Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products

Natural skin care products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products Natural skin care products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products


Welcome to the June Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter.

It has been a busy month. You may have noticed a few changes to our Website such as the colour scheme, the new Navigation bar and more visible links within each of the pages. Some visitors have commented that it was difficult to navigate around our site, so hopefully these improvements will make all of your visits easier and more enjoyable. I've also written several new articles and added them to our articles library, so there is lots of new and exiting things to read and explore.

Happy reading.

Index of the June 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)


Feature Article: Back-to-Basics of Skin Care
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Aromatherapy: A review of the Literature surrounding the research into aromatherapy
(by Anne Cawthorn)

Your Skin & You: Aging Gracefully: Skin care in your 20's, 30's, 40's and beyond.
(by Danny Siegenthaler)

About a herb of interest: Elecampane (Inula helenium)
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Kitty's Corner - Your Older Pet
(by Kitty-the-Cat)

June 2007 Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter
















Back-to-Basics Skin Care Tips

Almost every day a new skin care product hits the market with the accompanying hype of being better and making you look younger than anything else on the market. The magazines are full of colourful advertisements selling skin care products that will ‘turn back the clock of time’ and similar slogans. But we all know that this is mostly hype and marketing and the 15 year young girl pictured in the advertisement probably never used the products her face is associated with.

What We Are Told

Almost daily we are bombarded with a new skin care product and are told that if we use this product, our skin will look younger, smoother, more attractive and so on. We are presented with pictures of young, attractive women who have probably never used the products their faces are associated with and probably never will.

We are lead to believe that 'the active ingredient' in these products are a new discovery (usually they also get some sort of pseuo-scientific name) and if we use the product that has this 'magical' ingredient we will end up with 20 year young skin - Sure !

The Truth About Skin Care

Skin care is just that - taking care of one’s skin, nothing more, nothing less. How you do this can depend on many things. The health of your skin, money, time, knowledge and probably a number of other factors will determine how much care you give to your skin.

Let’s review what your skin does for a moment. Firstly, it protects the inside of you body from the outside. That is, the skin forms a barrier between our external environment and our body’s insides. It is water proof and at the same time acts as a defence from pollution, microbes and other potentially harmful factors. In addition, it is partly responsible for eliminating toxins from our body in the form of perspiration, and your skin assists the body in temperature regulation. These and other functions are preformed by our skin on a continuous basis.

So how do we take care of our skin, to ensure that it can continue to perform at its optimal level?

Back-to-Basics of Skin Care

There are 3 basic principles that come together in good skin care.

  1. Drinking enough water on a daily basis to keep the skin well hydrated. This involves drinking at least 2 litres of water each and every day, because the body’s metabolism will require this amount of water to function properly. More water is required if we engage in strenuous physical activity or work in a physically demanding environment. You can use the most expensive moisturisers you like, if you don’t drink enough water, your skin will become dehydrated and no moisturiser or beauty treatment will stop this in the long term.

  2. Eating good quality, unprocessed foods such as fruits, grains, vegetables, some dairy and lean meat, will help you to provide the skin with the nutrients it requires to keep performing its vital functions. Your skin needs vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, etc., to function properly and while some natural skin care products do provide many of these nutrients, there is no substitute for nutrients gained from high quality food.

  3. A daily skin care regime that will unclog pores, remove dirt and dead skin cells, as well as provide nourishment to the underlying, living skin cells, is an essential step to good skin care. Now this regime can be quite simple or more involved.

At its most basic, skin care can involve as little as using a loofah on a daily basis when showering or bathing, to remove the dead cells from your body’s outermost layer of skin. Using a loofah not only removes the dead skin cells, but also promotes blood circulation to the outer layers of your skin, providing it with nutrients and oxygen.

In addition, use a mild, natural, pH-balanced (slightly acidic) soap to keep your skin clean and you’re done.

Let’s face it, many people don’t even use a loofah, and couldn’t care less about what sort of soap they use to wash their face and body with. However, more concerned folk, who have an interest in maintaining the health and look of their skin for as long as possible, may be prepared to go a few steps further than that by implementing a good, daily skin care regime utilising natural skin care products.

Implementing a Good Skin Care Regime

A sound, basic skin care regime is more than enough for most people. Using a loofah for their body’s skin, a cleanser, toner and moisturiser for the face, plus an all-over body moisturiser is all that’s required most of the time. In addition, using a clay mask once or twice a week will help to remove dead skin cells and deeply imbedded dirt from the facial skin and pores. An exfoliant can also be used, probably 2-3 times a week, if you’re not using a loofah.

Increasingly, consumers are becoming aware of the potential health risks presented by artificial and other non-natural ingredients in beauty products. We all, well most of us, avoid foods and beverages which contain artificial preservatives, flavours, emulsifiers, etc., for sound health reasons. These days, we’ve extended this concern to other areas of products we use on our body and in our home.

Making use of natural skin care products that contain as many organically grown ingredients such as essential oils, herbal extracts, cosmetic butters and the like, are a preferred option for discerning customers. There are positive health benefits associated with using holistic natural ingredients rather than isolated active compounds, because the body is able to better utilise natural substances and the chance of negative side-effects is reduced.

Choosing the right skin care system for your skin type is the final aspect to good skin care. Most people have two different facial skin types, for example, the forehead, nose and sometimes chin may be slightly oily, while the remaining areas of the face and neck may be slightly dry. It is important to identify your skin type before buying your skin care products, because the ingredients in the products should benefit the skin type you are trying to normalise. You may need to purchase two different skin care systems to accommodate your different skin types, however, more often than not, especially if the skin types differ only marginally from ‘normal’, you may be able to just aim between the two skin types for your choice of toner, and buy a second cleanser and moisturiser to accommodate the two skin types.

Let me give you an example. Let’s stick to the example above, where you may have an oily T-zone with otherwise dry facial skin.

If you have a close look at Wildcrafted’s systems for oily and normal skin types, you’ll discover, that the two systems only differ in one product - that is, the facial clay mask for the oily system is our Green Earth Medicine Facial Clay, while the Yellow Clay Mask is used in the system for Normal skin. Now, the system for dry skin, is somewhat different and there are actually two systems - one for primarily dry skin, the other for dry and sensitive skin.

The key here is to identify whether the oily or dry facial skin is the primary problem. That is, which is giving you more trouble? If it’s the oily part of your skin, than use the system for oily skin and use the Papaya day cream on the dry areas of the face rather than the Avocado cream, although, the Avocado Day Crème is okay to use even on slightly dry skin. If on the other hand the dry facial skin is more problematic and there are areas where your facial skin is not just dry but also sensitive, use the Hydrating Cleanser and Rose Day Cream to cleanse and moisturise instead of the Lemon Cleanser and Avocado Day Crème. Choose the Green Clay mask for the T-Zone and the Red Clay mask for the dry and sensitive areas of your skin.

By mixing and matching the different products you can ‘make’ a system that will suit your skin types and you do not have to purchase two entirely different systems, which of course is another option and you don’t have to think about it too much.

Back-to-Basics of skin care is really about applying common sense, a little knowledge and making the right choice of products. By providing your body with sufficient amounts of water, quality, unprocessed food, and using natural skin care products you can’t go wrong and the health of your skin is likely to stay with you a lot longer.

Back to index

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Aromatherapy: A review of the Literature surrounding the research into aromatherapy


Anne Cawthorn

RGN, OND, BSc(Hons), DIPN, RNT, CI:RT ED, Cert Counselling, MISPA, Lecturer Practitioner Manchester College of Midwifery and Nursing and Devonshire Royal Hospital Buxton, Derbyshire

When analyzing the research relating to aromatherapy, it appears that there has been very little clinical research undertaken in the UK.

Balacs (1992) suggests that lavender has been demonstrated to increase alpha brainwave activity, which is associated with relaxing meditative states.

Whilst nurses in the UK are increasingly introducing aromatherapy into their practice, the research surrounding its use is still in its infancy. This position is in contrast to other parts of Europe such as France, where aromatherapy has been incorporated into areas of medical practice for some time, and is supported by increasing numbers of research papers. More recently, studies have been undertaken into the absorption of the essential oils, their therapeutic properties and the antimicrobial activity of certain oils. These studies will be reviewed, along with an evaluation of the studies undertaken in the UK into the use of aromatherapy with patients.


When analysing the research relating to aromatherapy, it appears that there has been very little clinical research undertaken in the UK. This view is supported by Stevensen (1994) who comments, that the amount of research readily available does not reflect the enthusiasm with which aromatherapy is being introduced into nursing practice. Also, the validity of much of the research is questionable, many of the findings being based on case studies and anecdotal evidence. In addition, it is felt that many of the nurses involved have little knowledge of the oils they are using (Martin 1990).

Buckle (1990) asserts that this epitomises everything that orthodox medicine dislikes about complementary medicine, which is 'no obvious clinical data; unproved hypotheses; dubious aetiology and the possibility of indiscriminate usage'.

In contrast, there is more research into aromatherapy in Europe where its practise and use is more accepted by doctors and where there is a long tradition of studying the use of essential oils. In the past, much of the research was not translated into English. However, Tisserand, in 1993, found and translated work by Gattefosse' (1937) who was the founder of modem aromatherapy and who did much pioneering work into the oils and their effects. This is an important text, as it is full of his own research and has an extensive bibliography. In addition, Valnet (1980), a French surgeon, also documented his use of essential oils, in particular their use in wounds of soldiers and subsequently with psychiatric patients. However, it needs to be noted that this is not formal research.

Studies looking at the antimicrobial activity of essential oils have been undertaken by Yousef Tawil (1980). They tested 22 oils for the bacteriostatic and fungistatic activities. The oils varied in their antimicrobial activities, with cinnamon being the most effective against the fungi and bacteria used. Hinou et al (1989) tested the terponoid constituents of 32 essential oils. Twenty five were found to be active against Staph. aureus, six against Ps. Aeruginosa and eleven against E. coli.

Research by Buchbauer (1993) has also been undertaken into the absorption of the essential oils. He stated that there is now evidence to prove that a good to excellent resorption takes place through mucosa of mouth, nose, pharynx, gastrointestines and intact skin. They are easily absorbed through the blood brain barrier due to their lipophilic nature. Balacs (1992) reports that hundreds of receptor cells have been discovered in the nose which relay smells to the brain.

Another area where research is beginning to emerge, is into the effects of the essential oils. Research has been carried out in Japan, USA, UK and Europe into their effects on the olfactory system and central nervous system (Van Toiler-&: Dodd, 1988). Klemm et al (1992) in the USA, demonstrated that a wide range of odours can produce cortical brainwave (EEG) responses. Balacs (1992) suggests that lavender has been demonstrated to increase alpha brainwave activity, which is associated with relaxing medative states. A study by Manley (1993) measured the effects of sixteen essential oils. Slow brain waves were measured using an electroencephalographic method and classifications of stimulant, sedative, neutral were then arrived at. The findings seemed to correspond with the reported aromatherapeutic properties of the majority of the oils.

A study by Jager et al (1992), looked at the percutaneous absorption of essential oil of lavender (lavendula angustafolia) following massage. The research demonstrated that lavender oil penetrated the skin of the male subject. It was found that within 5 minutes of finishing the massage, there were traces of linalool and linalyl acetate, which are the main constituents of lavender oil, detected in the blood stream.

The maximum concentration being measured after 20 minutes with most of the lavender being eliminated by 90 minutes. In addition, they noted that the lavender oil had both sedative and relaxing effects.

Another study by Buckbauer et al (1991), looked at the sedative properties of lavender oil. This was undertaken on mice. The mice were injected with caffeine which made them become hyperactive. This was then reduced by inhalation of the lavender fragrance. These results would appear to support the use of herbal pillows, which were employed in folk medicine in order to facilitate sleep or to minimize stressful situations. Another test using mice and lavendula angustafolia was undertaken by Guillemain et al (1980). Mice were given essential oil of lavender orally, diluted to 1 in 60 solution in olive oil. The results demonstrated sedative effects. Although these findings are important, it needs to be noted that results from studies on mice will not automatically be replicated in human subjects.

When looking at the studies carried out in UK hospitals, they have predominantly been controlled clinical trials, undertaken in high dependency units. Lavender has been the most popular choice of essential oil. These studies will now be discussed.

Buckle (1993) undertook a double blind trial of two types of lavender oil. She used massage with either lavendula angustafolia or lavendula bunatii on 28 post-cordotomy patients. The massage lasted for 20 minutes with a 10 minutes rest period. The massage was not performed on a set area, but all the massages were undertaken by the researcher in an effort to maintain consistency. The emotional and behavioural stress levels were evaluated and the results from the two lavenders differed. The lavendula bunatii being almost twice as effective as lavendula aungustafolia in relieving anxiety. Buckle, suggested that because of the apparent difference in the results from the two essential oils, then this would appear to rule out the hypothesis that aromatherapy using massage is effective purely due to touch, massage or placebo. An interesting finding, not mentioned in other studies, were three negative responses to both oils which was identified by the qualitative data. Unfortunately, because the questionnaire was limited to closed questions, she was unable to identify whether they disliked the touch or the smell.

Dunn (1992) undertook a randomised control trial on 122 patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) over a 14 month period. Patients were randomly allocated to either receive massage, massage with 1% lavender oil, or a rest group (control) over 3 consecutive days. The massage was undertaken by 6 nurses, who it stated had been trained by the researcher to carry out massage. Although it is stated that standardisation was achieved using a set massage procedure, the following points need to be taken into account when analysing the findings.

The massage was not given on any set area of the body and the length varied from 15 to 30 minutes. It was also possible for subjects to receive a massage from 3 different nurses and if the procedure conditions were not identical each time this could lead to constant error bias (Hicks 1990). Also, due to the wide range in patients ages, which were from 2 to 90 years, it is questionable how homogenous the group was.

The study demonstrated that there were no statistically significant differences between the 3 groups. There was a slight difference in the systolic blood pressure of the aromatherapy and massage groups. However, those who received aromatherapy reported feeling less anxious and more positive immediately following aromatherapy. No harmful effects were noted.

Therefore, whilst acknowledging the design flaws the results have opened up the debate concerning the use of aromatherapy in hospitals.

Stevensen (1994) also undertook a randomized control trial on 100 post cardiac surgery patients in 1992. She had 3 intervention groups plus a control group. Patients received either a 20 minute foot massage with or without neroli oil, or a 20 minute chat. She hypothesized that the 'aromatherapy foot massage would enhance the psychological wellbeing of patients largely leaving physiological parameters unchanged'.

This was supported and the results from the massage group were significantly more positive than the control and conversation group. The qualitative data obtained on day 5 was only taken from the 2 massage groups. However, it seemed to identify that the effects lasted longer in the aromatherapy group. It was at this point that Stevensen also began calling her conversation group a second control group.

In her discussion, Stevensen acknowledges the study's limitations. The study's design could have been tightened up, thereby controlling for more variables. One example being the conversation, which was undertaken by any nurse who happened to be at the bedside and this was a general conversation as a verbal stimulus as opposed to a tactile stimulus without the use of counselling skills. These factors need to be taken into account when looking at the results from this group. However, the study did demonstrate that neroli oil reduces anxiety in highly dependent patients. In addition, because her study is described in great detail it lends itself to replication.

Another study which was conducted by Woolfson & Hewitt (1992), took place over a 5-week period in ICU and CCU. Again, this was a randomised controlled trail and was undertaken using two intervention groups and a control group. A 20 minute foot massage with or without lavender was given. The findings worthy of note in this study relate to the physiological results. Unlike Stevensen and Dunn, where there were no significant changes in physiological recordings, this study did demonstrate recordable changes. Heart rates fell in 91% of the aromatherapy group and blood pressure dropped by 50% and respiratory rates by 75%. This compares with a reduction of just over half in the massage patients and less than half in the rest of the group.

Wolfson & Hewitt (1992) also looked at pain relief. They demonstrated that there was a 50% reduction in pain levels following massage with lavender oil. Both this and Stevensens' study identified that the benefits from aromatherapy were ultimately longer lasting than massage without essential oils.

Finally a small scale study was undertaken by Hardy (1991) who used lavender oil as a nocturnal sedative for four elderly demented patients with sleeping difficulties. Sleep patterns were monitored for two weeks whilst the subjects received night sedation, with no sedation and for the last two weeks when lavender oil was administered via a vortex unit. Results showed that the lavender oil promoted the same amount of sleep during the night as medication. It also demonstrated that when subjects were receiving lavender, they stayed awake and were more refi'eshed during the day. However, the findings need to be looked at carefully because of the very small sample. In addition, the subjects mental condition made it impossible to gather qualitative feedback.


It can be seen that whilst research into aromatherapy is in its infancy in the UK, there is a longer history of both usage and study of benefits in France and other parts of Europe. The few studies camed out in hospitals in the UK, have mainly been undertaken in ICU or CCU's and their findings do not easily extrapolate to other areas. However, there are several studies currently being undertaken in different areas which should add the present findings. In addition there is a need for more studies to be undertaken which evaluate other uses of essential oils such as inhalations, baths, topical applications and wound care to add to those already undertaken in other countries.


  • Balacs T 1991 Research reports. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 3 (1): 6-8
  • Balacs T 1992 Research reports. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 4 (1): 28-29.
  • Buchbauer G 1993 Biological effects of fragrances and essential oils. Perfumer & Flavorist 18:19-24
  • Buchbauer G, Jirovetetz L, Jager W, Dietrich H, Plank C 1991 Aromatherapy: evidence for sedative effects of the essential oil of lavender after inhalation. Zeitschrift for Naturforschung. Section C. Journal of Biosciences 46 (11012): 1067-1072
  • Buchbauer G, Jiroetz L, Jager W, Dietrich H, Plank C 1991 Aromatherapy: evidence for sedative effects of the oil of lavender after inhalation. Section C. Journal of Biosciences 46 (i1-12): 1067-1072
  • Buckle J 1993 Aromatherapy. Does it matter which lavender essential oil is used? Nursing Times 89 (20): 32-35
  • Dunn C 1992 Unpublished report on a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the use of massage and aromatherapy in an ICU.
  • Gattefoss6 R M 1993 Gattefoss6's aromatherapy. In: Tisserand R B (ed) C W Daniel Co. Ltd., Saffron Walden
  • Guillemain J, Rousseau A, Delaveau P 1989 Neurodepressive effects of the essential oil of Lavendula angustifolia Annales. Pharmaceutique Francaises 47 (6): 337-343
  • GuillemanJ, Rousseau A, Delaveau P 1989 Neurodepressive effects of the essential oil of Lavendula angustifolia. Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises 47 (6): 337-343
  • Hardy M 1991 Sweet scented dreams. The International Journal of Aromatherapy 3 (1): 12-14 Hicks C M 1980 Research statistics. Prentice Hall, London
  • Hinou J B, Harvala C E, Hinou E B 1989 Anti microbial activity screening of 32 common constituents of essential oils. Pharmazie 44 (4): 302-330
  • Jäger W, Buckbaver, Jinovtz L, Fritzer M 1992 Percutaneous absorptiori of Lavender oil from a massage oil 43:49-54
  • Klemm W R e t al 1992 Topographical EEG maps of responses to odors. Chemical Senses 17 (3): 347-361
  • Manley C H 1993 Psychophysiological effect of odor. Critical Review Food Science Nutrition 33 (1): 57-62
  • Stevensen C J 1994 The psychophysiological effects of aromatherapy massage following cardiac surgery. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2 (1): 27-35
  • Valnet J 1980 The practice ofaromatherapy. In: Tisserand R B (ed) C W Daniel Co. Ltd., Saffron Walden' Van Toiler E, Dodd G 1988 Perfumery. Chapman Hall, London
  • Woolfson A, Hewitt D 1992 Intensive aromacare. International Journal ofAromatherapy 4 (2): 12-14 Yousef R T, Tawil G G 1980 Antimicrobial activity of volatile oils. Pharmazie 35 (11): 698-701

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Aging Gracefully: Skin care in your 20's, 30's, 40's and beyond

Skin care is important at any age. However, as we get older, our skin's micro-anatomy and physiology begins to change. The steps you need to take to adjust your skin care regime are outlined in the following article. You can have great looking skin at any age and your first step to achieving great looking skin is to understand how natural skin care really works.

How to keep your skin looking great!

Invest some time and care today and your skin will thank and reward you tomorrow!
These days it seems everyone wants to have younger looking skin. Unfortunately, even the most expensive skin care products, with all their claims of 'reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles', can't turn back the years. However, don't despair! There are steps that we can all take to make sure our skin looks healthy and vibrant and stays wrinkle-free for longer. All we've got to do is invest some time and care in looking after it.

It is important to understand the basic function of our skin in order to look after it properly. The skin is our body’s largest organ and comprises three major layers:

  • The Epidermis: This layer has five sub-layers; the outer layer consists of mainly dead cells which are continuously shed and replaced by cells beneath. The epidermis is also responsible for ‘water proofing’ your skin, protecting your skin from potential invasion of microbes and generate new skin cells which move from the deep layer of the epidermis to the outer layer, where they are eventually shed.

  • The Dermis: Is the ‘middle layer of the skin and is composed of connective tissue containing collagen and elastin. The dermis is thick in the palms and soles and very thin in the eyelids. It contains blood vessels, nerves, glands, and hair follicles.

  • The Subcutaneous layer or Hypodermis : This layer consists of areolar and adipose tissue. Fibres from the dermis extend down into the subcutaneous layer and anchor the skin to it. The subcutaneous layer, in turn, attaches to underlying tissues and organs.

Aging of the skin

There are several factors influencing how quickly our skin will age, ranging from genetic factors, your natural skin type, as well as external factors such as exposure to sunlight, environmental factors and whether you smoke or not. In general, pale skins wrinkle faster than darker skins, which are protected by increased amounts of pigment and lipids.

Another vital factor is, of course, our age. Our skin looks and functions very differently at 20 as opposed to when we are 60.

Below is a skin care plan of how to look after your skin as the decades go by and how to adapt your skin care regime accordingly.

Looking after your skin in your 20s

Your 20s is a great time for your skin. You've left behind the adolescence acne and your skin has a healthy, radiant, youthful glow and the epidermis is firm and well toned.

However, this is not the time to be complacent. In your 20s skin cell renewal drops by up to 28 per cent, dead skin cells are not as easily shed and external factors are starting to have a greater impact, leaving your skin slightly duller. For these reasons, it's a good idea to use an exfoliant regularly to remove the old cells and stimmulate the regrowth of new ones.

According to dermatologists, 80 per cent of all aging can be directly related to exposure to sunlight. Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid the mid-day sun, or if you have to be out in the heat of the day (especially in countries like Australia), than cover up. Penetrating UVA rays will start to damage collagen fibres and elastin coils in your skin. Make sure you use a good quality, natural moisturiser before and after you've been out in the sun. This will keep up nutrients levels in your skin and protect it to some degree from loss of moisture.

Smoking is one factor you can control and now would be a good time to quite. Smoking inhibits oxygen getting to the outer layer of your skin and has a premature aging effect. In addition, smoking can cause fine lines around the mouth over the years and this is to be avoided – if you want to keep your good looks. If you do smoke, make sure you have a good exercise regime which promotes cardio-vascular fitness. This will to some extent counteract the reduction of periforal circulation caused from smoking.

Looking after your skin in your 30s

By the time you get to your 30s skin cell turnover has slowed even more. Environmental damage from pollution, smoke and sunlight are starting to take their toll on the dermis, causing collagen fibres to loosen so that skin starts to loose its tone and develop fine lines and wrinkles. When you smile, subcutaneous fat forms ridges and refuse to bounce back as readily as it once did. Your first wrinkles may start to appear.

By now you should have established a daily skincare regime that involves exfoliating (two or three times a week), cleansing, moisturising and sun protection for your skin. If you haven't, don't wait andy longer.

In your 30s, it's important to maintain a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and fish, which are high in antioxidants such as Vitamins A, B, C and E. These Vitamins counteract free radicals in your body that help the skin to repair itself, produce the enzymes that stabilise collagen production, and stay moist and healthy. For further protection, try using a day crème, such as one that contains vitamin E, for example: Wildcrafted’s Age Defying Essence. Remember too that the less processed your food is, the better it is for you. Fresh is absolutely best.

Alcohol should only be consumed in moderation as it deprives your skin of vital nutrients, dehydrates the skin and may cause your facial blood vessels to become dilated leading to permanent, red ‘spider veins’ on your cheeks and in men often across the nose.

Maintaining well hydrated tissues by drinking plenty of water each and every day (3 litres a day is not at all excessive) is vital to retain moisture in your skin. When ever possible, use filtered water to avoid the intake of chlorine and other chemical impurities such as rust from the pips etc.

In addition, you should ensure that you get enough quality sleep. Eight hours is considered 'enough'. Research in the UK has shown that sleeping less than eight hours per night actually reduces your IQ. Sleep is also the time when the body undertakes its own repairs, so give it what it needs and you will feel the better for it.

Looking after your skin in your 40s

In your 40s, collagen fibres decrease in number, stiffen, break apart, and form into a shapeless, matted tangle. Elastic fibres lose some of their elasticity, thicken into clumps, and fray. The result is the skin forms crevices and furrows known as lines and wrinkles. In addition, loss of fat in the subcutaneous layer leaves your skin more fragile, whereas the dermis will continue to lose its elasticity. A rich nourishing night crème, such as Wildcrafted’s Rejuvenating Night Crème, becomes a vital part of your skin care regime and should be used every night.

During your 40s the stratum corneum (the outer layer of the epidermis) starts to grow even thicker, as dead skin cells hang around for longer. If you are not already using an exfoliant regularly, now is a good time to get into the habit of exfoliating your skin regularly using a  facial scrub 2-3 times a week. You could also use a cream containing Rose oil, Jojoba oil or similar, as these contain natural AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) which help to remove dead skin cells. It's important that you use natural products that do not use concentrates of AHA's in them. Many products profess to be 'natural', but actually use concentrated extracts of AHA's and not an holistic approach

As deeper wrinkles start to form, you may wish to use a complete skin care system, which systematically helps you to nourish and moisturise your skin on all levels. Choose natural skin care products for your daily skin care regime, as you do not want to introduce unnecessary toxins into your system by using products full of unpronounceable chemicals. Quality natural skin care systems, such as Wildcrafted’s range of natural skin care systems should be matched to your specific skin type.

Looking after your skin in your 50s and above

As we reach our 50s and beyond, the hair and nails grow more slowly. Langerhans cells (involved in the immune response, dwindle in number, thus decreasing the immune responsiveness of older skin. Decreased size of sebaceous (oil) glands leads to dry and broken skin that is more susceptible to infection.

In women, after the menopause, decreased oestrogen levels mean that skin lose its plumpness and tone, and it may be left dry, itchy and more sensitive to allergens.

At this stage in your life it is important to take that extra care of your skin’s health. Mature skin is more fragile, prone to injury and infection and bruises easily. As if this was not bad enough, it also takes longer to heal. Taking care of your skin will reduce the aging effect; keep it healthier as well as more resistant to injury and infections. Remember, a face that has a lived in look is much more attractive than a Botox face and character is much more beauty.


About An Interesting Herb: Elecampane (Inula helenium)

Elecampane (Inula helenium) is a tall, attractive perennial that grows to about 2 m. The stems are hairy, erect, and bearing large, alternate, elliptical leaves to 45 cm long and 15 cm wide and are velvety on the under-side, hairy above and dentate-serrate along the margine (Stuart 1979).

FlowerBiological Name:
Inula helenium


Other Names: 
Inula, inul, horseheal, elf dock, elfwort, horse elder, scabwort, yellow starwort, velvet dock, wild sunflower.

Parts Used:
The root, preferably collected in the fall of the second year and thoroughly freed from dirt, sliced crosswise or lengthwise and carefully dried in the shade (Sievers, 1930).

Active Compounds: 
Inula helenium contains the following constituents: Inulin (40%), essential oil, comprising a mixture of lactones, chiefly alantolactone; resin; a complex camphor, elecampane camphore; mucilage (Stuart, 1979). Bohmann et al., (1978) have identified 20 lactones (Bohlmann, et al., 1978).

Traditional Uses in Herbal Medicine

Inula helenium (Compositae) is an herb traditionally used as a home remedy in Japan, as a diaphoresis in Europe, and in Taiwan and China, as a therapeutic agent for tuberculotic enterorrhea and chronic enterogastritis (Chen, et al., 2007).

Stuart (1979) suggests its actions to be: Bactericidal; antitussive; expectorant; tonic; weak cholagogue.

Elecampance is employed chiefly in the treatment of respiratory disorders, especially bronchitis, coughs, and catarrh (Stuart 1979, Hall, 1988).

In addition, Inula helenium is officially listed in some European pharmacopoeias as a diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant and anthelmintic remedy. Extracts from the root as well as the eudesmane-type sesquiterpene lactones alantolactone and isoalantolactone (major constituents of I. helenium) possess antiinflammatory, antimicrobial and anthelmintic activities. Moreover, the two compounds show cytotoxic and antiproliferative activities against human cancer cell lines (Stojakowska, et al., 2005).

Other Indications:

Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • stimulates digestion,
  • strengthens stomach, and
  • chronic diarrhoea
  • intestinal catarrh

Respiratory Tract

  • bronchitis,
  • inflammation of the respiratory tract
  • respiratory catarrh,
  • tuberculosis of the lungs and
  • whooping cough.

External applications: as a wash or fomentation for skin problems such as scabies and itches.



Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.

Stuart, M. (1979) The encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism. Orbis Publishing Limited, London.

Chia-Nan Chen, Hsin-Hsiu Huang, Chia-Li Wu, Coney P.C. Lin, John T.A. Hsu, Hsing-Pang Hsieh, Shuang-En Chuang and Gi-Ming Lai (2007) Isocostunolide, a sesquiterpene lactone, induces mitochondrial membrane depolarization and caspase-dependent apoptosis in human melanoma cells. Cancer Letters, Volume 246, Issues 1-2, 8, Pages 237-252

Hall, D. (1988) Dorothy Hall's Herbal Medicine. Lothian Publishing, Melourne, Australia.

Anna Stojakowska, Bogdan K?dziaan and Wanda Kisiel (2005) Antimicrobial activity of 10-isobutyryloxy-8,9-epoxythymol isobutyrate. Fitoterapia. Volume 76, Issues 7-8, Pages 687-690.

Ferdinand Bohlmann, Pradip K. Mahanta, Jasmin Jakupovic, Ramesh C. Rastogi and Arvind A. Natu (1978). New sesquiterpene lactones from Inula species. Phytochemistry Volume 17, Issue 7, Pages 1165-1172


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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!

Also there are some great new posts in the forum and we look forward to 'seeing' you there.

In good health

Danny & Susan Siegenthaler


© Copyright: Wildcrafted Herbal Products, 2007

Wildcrafted's Natural Skin Care Newsletter - Back Issues

Kitty's Corner


Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.

I hope you found last month's article on Ear Problems interesting and informative.

Older Pets

Cats become senior citizens at 8 years of age and have special needs just like people do. With advances in veterinary science your cat is likely to live into its twenties and will need increased care and attention to ensure that these years are happy and healthy.

Keep stres to a minimum. Older cats are less adaptable to changes in their environment and tend to need more attention to keep them both contented and healthy.

Old age comes at different times for different breeds of dogs and different individual dogs. Giant breeds tend to age early, for their life expectancy is generally less than 10 years. Large and medium-sized breeds have a life expectancy of 11-14 years, and small breeds can live 15 years or more.

A strong, healthy dog will probably age later than a dog that is stressed by disease or environment early in his life. Dogs that are spayed or neutered before six months of age ordinarily live longer than dogs that are kept intact.

Both cats and dogs will need adjustment in their nutrition as they age. Reducing protein and fat and increasing fibre to provide bulk supplemented with vitamins, minerals and fresh greens will help your pet remain healthier longer. So avoid cheap, generic foods.

Dogs need ongoing exercise, otherwise they will become fat and lazy. This may suit your pouch, but it's not healthy.
Continue any playful activity with your cat. Your cats should get at least 10 minutes exercise twice a day. This is important for weight control and overall health, especially for the heart, lungs and muscles. If your cat is used to walking on a leash, take it for a short stroll or play games. Watch for laboured breathing while you play with your cat, at this can be indicative of possible respiratory problems.

Whether dog or cat, have them get regular check ups by your vet. Early detection of problems is the key. Cats in particular are expert at hiding illnesses and expertise is sometimes required to pick up problems early on.

Dogs on the other hand are more obvious about not feeling well and usually it is not difficult for the owner to detect that something is wrong. Again, your vet will be able to help you and guide you in the treatment and care of your ageing pet.


For now, Miau from me, until next month.


Information Source:
Dr. Carol Osborne (1999)  Naturally Healthy Cats. Marshall Publishing, London.


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