Natural Skin Care Newsletter - October 2007

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WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS

Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution


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Natural Skin Care Newsletter: October 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

Introduction

Welcome to the October (Spring) Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter.

Now that Spring here in Australia is well on its way and the days are getting warmer, the clothes are coming off and your winter skin is on show. It's time to redress that dry, probably somewhat neglected skin. So in this issue we'll have a close look at dry/sensitive skin, problems associated with it, and how to care for it.

But first, we at Wildcrafted would like to thank all of you for your great suggestions of names for our new natural hair care range of products. Yes, we have picked a winner...

The Winner Is...
Leanne M. of Padstow, NSW, Australia! Congratulations, Leanne.
Leanne's suggestion was: Natural HairSense by Wildcrafted, which was picked as the most popular one by the staff at Wildcrafted Herbal Products.

A big Thank you to all who have entered our Naming competition.

Don't forget our Special Introductory Offer of a FREE Conditioner with every Shampoo ordered - you must order before October 15th, 2007:

To place your order for your Shampoo (250ml) plus FREE Conditioner (250ml), please use one of these links:

1. Shampoo for Oily Hair plus Free Conditioner (AUD $24.75 plus postage & handling for orders outside Australia)
2. Shampoo for Normal Hair plus Free Conditioner (AUD $24.75 plus postage & handling for orders outside Australia)
3. Shampoo for Dry Hair plus Free Conditioner (AUD $25.75 plus postage & handling for orders outside Australia)

Please remember, to take advantage of this limited offer you must order before October 15th, 2007

Happy reading.


Index of the October 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: Sensitive Skin and How To Deal With It
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Article: Eczema and Dermatitis: Extreme skin sensitivity.
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Fitness Program for Your Skin (Part I)
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

About a herb of interest - Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Kitty's Corner - Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs
(by Kurrajong Vet Clinic and others)

October 2007 Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Suffer from Sensitive Skin, There is Help

Sensitive skin is a problem for many people. Women are particularly vulnerable and commonly experience sensitivity to a variety of chemicals that cause mild to severe skin reactions. Sensitive skin is just that, sensitivity of the skin to natural and non-natural chemicals and pollutants.

This article will provide you with insight into the causes and give you step-by-step guidance on how you can manage and take care of your sensitive skin.

What is Sensitive Skin?

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you know it. But, reasons behind and solutions to sensitive skin depends on many factors ranging from how long you've had the condition, to the chemicals you're exposed to on a regular basis, to underlying health problems.

This article will discuss the following topics (you can click on the topic to go directly to that topic):


Signs and Symptoms of Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin presents with the following symptoms:

  • Your skin reacts quickly to both heat and cold,
  • Sensitive skin burns easily, when exposed to wind or sun,
  • Your skin is easily irritated by detergents, cosmetics and alcohol, leaving the skin red and blotchy, with visible surface veins.
  • You may also experience sensations of heat much like when you have a fever and your skin may be itchy.

Symptoms of sensitive skin may vary in frequency and severity and may include other symptoms such as pealing of the skin, blistering, etc. However, if you are suffering from sensitive skin, chances are you definitely know it.

 

Causes of Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is very common and has many causes. Usually it is an allergic reaction to one or more chemicals. The difficulty is in identifying who the culprit is. Soap, make-up, skin care and hair care products, washing powders, detergents, and other chemicals are all capable of instigating an allergic skin reaction in people with sensitive skin.

Recent onset of sensitive skin

If you only recently developed sensitive skin than there is a good chance that it is due to a new chemical you have introduced recently. For example, a new perfume, cosmetic, hair care or skin care product, a different washing powder or even a different deodorant/ antiperspirant can all be at the root of your new sensitivity. In addition, don’t forget drugs. Prescription drugs and even simple over-the-counter drugs are all capable of eliciting an allergic reaction.

Is your skin’s sensitivity localised to a specific area? For example under the arms, around the eyes, on your scalp, or is the blotchy skin all over your body?

If it is isolated to a local area, think about what you have done differently or whether you bought a different product recently that you are applying to this area. If the problem is in an isolated area it is usually easier to identify what has caused it.

Scalp - maybe due to the new shampoo; eyes - maybe you’ve bought a different brand of eye make-up, a different colour or a different eye cream.


Once you have identified all the products you use in your daily and weekly routine, ask yourself if you have made any changes, say, bought a new shampoo or perfume or what ever. Make a list of all the products and highlight the ones you have purchased recently that are different from the usual brands you have used in the past (that is used before you developed sensitive skin).

Then have a close look at the ingredients of the new products. Are there chemicals you don’t recognise? If so, use the Google to find out what that chemical is and look for information about its possible side effects. Put in a search using ‘what is xyz’ you will probably get a definition of the chemical at the top of the results. Look for the work MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) in the remaining list of results and if there is such a reference, look at it and read it carefully. This will tell you if it is known to cause allergic reactions or other potential health problems.

Let me give you an example. Say one of the ingredients is Imidazolidinyl urea, an ingredient often found in personal care and cosmetic products. Type: What is Imidazolidinyl urea into Google.

At the top of the results page you will see: “Web definitions for Imidazolidinyl urea”. Click on the result and you will get the definition, which is: “after the parabens, the most commonly used preservative in cosmetics”.

Now type: Imidazolidinyl urea MSDS into the search field near the top in Google and hit search. You will now be presented with a punch of results containing MSDS information. Looking at one of them will reveal the following:

Toxicology: Eye irritant. May be harmful - toxicology not fully investigated. Prolonged exposure may cause allergic reaction in some individuals.

Potential Acute Health Effects: Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant, sensitizer), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

Special Remarks on other Toxic Effects on Humans:
Acute Potential Health Effects:
Skin: May cause skin irritation.
Eyes: Causes mild eye irritation.
Inhalation: May cause respiratory tract irritation.
Ingestion: May cause gastritis. May affect behaviour/central nervous system (ataxia).

Chronic Potential Health Effects:
Skin: Prolonged or repeated skin contact may cause dermatitis, an allergic skin reaction.
Ingestion: Prolonged or repeated ingestion may cause gastritis and may affect metabolism (weight loss), and endocrine system (adrenal gland).

Looking at this information it is possible that if your new product contains this ingredient, then it may be causing your skin’s reaction.

Long term problem of sensitive skin

If you have had sensitive skin for a long time and have always had to be careful and selective about the products/chemicals you put on your skin, then the sensitivity is more likely to be of an internal or underlying cause such as an immune system deficiency.

 

How to deal with Sensitive Skin

Allergies in general are an inappropriate reaction by your immune system to an allergen (a substance that triggers your immune system to react to it). There are a number of ways to deal with this.

One way is to try and de-sensitise the system by subjecting it to very small doses of the allergen over a period of time. This is to ‘teach’ the immune system not to go ‘crazy’ every time it detects this chemical (natural or otherwise) and to stay cool, so to speak.

Another way to treat your sensitive skin is by using herbs and essential oils that strengthen and boost your immune system. Echinacea purpurea for example is an herb known for its beneficial effect on the immune system. It is also very good for a variety of skin problems.

 

Sensitive skin and personal care

Unfortunately many personal care items do contain a large number of chemicals. In it self, this is not necessarily a bad thing, however, identifying which chemical or combination of chemicals are causing your skin to become sensitive is not easy.

In addition, it is not just synthetic and/or artificial chemicals that can cause adverse skin reactions, natural substances may also cause problems. Just think of peanuts, strawberries and so on.
Having said that, it is however, less likely that you will have an allergy to natural substances than synthetic ones.

 

Product choices for people with sensitive skin

Natural Skin Care System for Sensitive SkinChoosing all natural skin care products for sensitive skin is the best way to reduce your risk of having an allergic skin reaction. Use a natural skin care system that has been specifically formulated to care for sensitive and easily irritated skin as the basis of your daily skin care regime.

Doing so will reduce the risk of exposing your skin to potentially nasty petro-chemicals and other potentially harmful ingredients such as the one we looked at earlier in this article.

Similarly, choosing hair care products that are totally natural and do not contain potentially toxic ingredients are another way to reduce your chance of developing an adverse allergic reaction.

Perfumes and aftershave lotions are very common causes of allergic reactions. Using a blend of essential oils instead may be a safer way to go, as the alcohol present in many of the perfumes and aftershave lotions can be irritating to your skin and will tend to make it dry.

Another area of concern to women with sensitive skin is their make-up. Most cosmetics contain many non-natural, potentially toxic chemicals that can easily trigger allergic reactions. It is best to look for a range of natural cosmetics that does not utilise synthetic chemicals, or use potentially harmful ingredients.


Herbs and Essential Oils that are beneficial to Sensitive Skin

Essential oil of rose, camomile and geranium, and oils of coconut, almond and shea nut butter soothe and hydrate irritated and sensitive skin.

In addition, rose and chamomile are calming to the skin, able to reduce both redness and inflammation.

The combined actions of glycerine (plant based), coconut, palm and almond oils have a hydrating effect and maintain moisture in the skin, thus reducing sensitivity.

Calendula, glycerine (plant based), witch hazel and aloe vera are all known to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

Almond, olive and jojoba oils provide gentle yet effective moisturising and hydrating properties.

 

Predisposing Skin Problems

Eczema and Dermatitis are two major underlying skin problems that will predispose you to having sensitive skin.

These conditions need to be addressed in order for you to overcome the sensitive skin. Often these conditions are tightly associated with the sensitivity of your skin and are in fact the direct cause of it.

 

Final Comments

Finally, but by now means less important is your food and water intake. It is vital that if you have sensitive skin you minimise if not eliminate all processed foods from your diet. Eat fresh foods that have not been processed. The more processed foods are the more likely it is they will contain additives such as emulsifiers, preservatives, added sugar, salt and other ingredients that may trigger an outbreak.

In addition you must drink at least 2 litres of water every day, more if you are physically active. Your body requires at least this amount to function properly. If it does not receive its 2 litres a day, it will take it from tissues in your body and this will lead to dehydration, which in turn will predispose you to developing sensitive skin or worse eczema and/or dermatitis.

 

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Eczema and Dermatitis: How to treat Eczema and Dermatitis Naturally?


Two types of eczema

Eczema due to external or exogenous factors (usually referred to as Contact Dermatitis) is usually treated by eliminating the irritant in the external environment, which will usually result in the successful treatment of eczema.

Endogenous eczema, or atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder featuring blisters that dry to become scaly, itchy rashes due to excessive loss of moisture in the epidermis (upper layer of the skin). This results in the loss of the ‘Acid Mantel’, which serves to protect your skin and thus there is an increased risk of infection from bacteria and viruses.

Signs and Symptoms of Eczema:

Eczema occurs episodically; that is it flares up from time to time and does not cause any problems at other times.

Symptoms of an acute flair up of eczema commonly include:

  • Dry, irritated, extremely itchy skin
  • Blistering with oozing and crusting
  • Redness of the skin around the blisters
  • Red raw areas of the skin resulting from scratching, which may lead to bleeding
  • Dry, leathery areas with more or less pigment than the normal skin tone (also called lichenification) of unaffected areas.

Generally, infants may develop red, oozing, crusted rashes on the face, scalp, diaper area, hands, arms, feet, or legs. The rash may affect large areas of the body. In older children and adults, the rash often occurs (and recurs) in only one or a few spots, especially on the hands, upper arms, in front of the elbows, or behind the knees whenever an acute flair up occurs. However, it is not limited to these locations and has been known to occur on other areas of the skin.

Although the colour, intensity, and location of the rash vary, the rash is always itchy and leads to uncontrollable scratching, which sets up a cycle of itching-scratching-itching, which exacerbates the problem.

Causes of eczema include:

  • A combination of hereditary (genetic) and environmental factors, such as allergies, which can cause eczema in susceptible people.
  • Exposure to certain irritants and allergens (see Lifestyle section for further definition of these substances) in the environment can worsen symptoms.
  • Dryness of the skin,
  • Exposure to water,
  • Temperature changes, and
  • Stress.

Risk Factors

There are a number of risk factors which can cause eczema:

  • Age: infants and young children are most affected by eczema. About 65% of cases occur before age one, and approximately 90% occur before age 5.
  • Exposure: Exposure of the skin to harsh conditions, such as wind, radiation from the sun, severe/moderate temperature; Sudden change in temperature.
  • Humidity: Living in a climate with low humidity, such as in land regions of Australia and other similar climates where humidity is usually low.
  • Predisposing factors: Personal and/or family history of allergies to plants, chemicals, or food
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals (for example, zinc).
  • Emotional: Anxiety, Nervousness and/or Stress can make eczema worse.
  • Irritants: Irritants which may make eczema worse include:
    • Wool or synthetic fibres,
    • Washing detergents, soaps, perfumes, cosmetics (especially non-natural cosmetics), fumes from various chemicals including cigarette smoke, and dust.

Diagnosis

Your health care professional will be able to make a diagnosis from a combination of factors: a) the appearance of the skin and b) a series of questions relating to your personal history and your family’s history. You may be asked questions about stress in your life, diet, medications you’re taking, chemicals you are using or are exposed to recent changes in your life, etc.

Prevention of Eczema

Learn as much as you can about eczema. It is always a good idea to inform yourself of what it is you are dealing with, what research is being done and what new information is uncovered. The Internet is a perfect medium to quickly and easily find quality information from a variety of sources. The more you know about your eczema, the more likely it is you can find helpful information and pick and choose from information which is most relevant to your situation.

Emotional balance is very important. Stress, nervousness, anxiety, irritability and depression all cause chemical changes in your body, which can trigger eczema to flare up. Techniques such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, autogenic training can help to minimise emotional swings.

Dietary considerations are essential to reducing flare-ups and may include foods such as peanuts, some types of fish, eggs, soy and many other foods, which could be aggravating your eczema.

Consult a qualified health professional to help you identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food for you to use/avoid in your diet.

Some studies, although somewhat controversial, suggest that children who are breast-fed for at least the first 4 months after birth are less likely to get eczema, especially if the mother has avoided cow’s milk in her diet. In addition, studies suggest that babies whose mothers were using probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding were less likely to develop eczema up to 2 years of age.

Treatment Approach

  • Healing the skin
  • Reduce Symptoms
  • Prevent skin damage
  • Prevent flare-ups

There are primarily 4 factors, which when used in combination result in excellent results when treating eczema:

  1. A good, natural skin care regime
  2. Sound nutrition and water intake
  3. Emotional balance and
  4. Physical fitness/exercise


Implementing a natural skin care regime:

Implementing a natural skin care regime has been described in several articles: ‘Dry Skin – Preventing Dry Skin by Adopting The Right Skin Care Regime’, ‘Importance of Skin Care’, and many more, which are all available at: http://www.wildcrafted.com.au/Articles/Natural_Skin_Care_Articles/Natural_Skin_Care_Articles.html
These articles also discuss some of the other factors listed above and are well worth reading.

In addition to the information in the suggested articles, you will need to identify the factors that trigger flare-ups. Your health care professional should be able to help you identify those and suggest possible alternatives as part of your treatment plan. Products which will help to normalise your skin successfully are found at Natural Skin Care Systems for Dry and Sensitive Skin, where you have 2 options to choose from, depending on your skin type and you age.

Some other triggers may include: pollen, dust, dust mites, cat hair and animal dander, wool, synthetic fibres, detergents and soap, perfumes, cosmetics, lanolin, chemicals such as chlorine, etc.

Sound Nutrition and Water Intake:

Again, see the articles suggested above. They contain much information helpful to managing eczema, even though they were not specifically written with eczema sufferers in mind. The information is still applicable and useful.

One of the key factors is the adequate intake of pure water. This can not be underestimated. Eczema causes loss of fluids from the skin and therefore it is even more important to maintain high levels of hydration. Some cell salts such as Kali mur., kali phos., kali arsen., kali brom., calcium, iodine and others may be of benefit. Trace minerals too can help to balance the fluid balance in the cells of your skin. These include: Selenium and Zinc, which are particularly useful in treating eczema.

The use of Probiotics (the good bacteria which form the micro-flora of your intestines) is strongly suggested, as these can help the absorption of vital nutrients from your diet and counteract the ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut.

Emotional balance:

Become aware of your emotional swings, the stresses in your life and what factors (including foods) can change your emotional balance. Employ stress management techniques to help you get control of stress and its effects. Using cognitive-behavioural therapy, autogenic training, meditation etc., can help gain control over emotional factors affecting your eczema.

Exercise

One study showed that regular group sporting activities improved the symptoms of eczema in participants, which participated in the activities for 3 weeks.

This effect may be related to the positive effect exercise has on the emotions, however, exercise improves cardiovascular fitness and promotes the circulation of blood, which helps to transport nutrients and oxygen to the surface of the skin in greater quantities, Thus, exercise is possibly helping in the reduction of symptoms associated with eczema and dermatitis.

 

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Fitness Program for Your Skin (Part I)

Now that Winter in Australia is behind us and the days are getting warmer, our skin is starting to see daylight again. But, oops, it's looking a bit on the dry side, pale and well, another year older. It's the same story every year, so how can you get your skin's fitness back on track?

The Basics are always a good place to start. So let's take a step-by-step approach to invigorating and 'rejuvenating' our skin.

1. Exfoliation:

    Exfoliant - Skin renewal gelThis is not foreign to any of you who undertake a regular skin care regime.
    Exfoliation is simply the use of a loofah, or a scrub-based skin care product that is applied to your skin to remove the dead skin cells that build up on the surface of your skin.

    Dead skin cells have a dull appearance and tend to clog skin pores, which sometimes results in white- or blackheads or acne pimples.

    Healthy looking skin is just below this surface. It is enriched with blood that provides nutrients and oxygen, and this is why this 'new' skin will look healthier and does not have a dull, silvery shine to it.

    Just using an exfoliant will improve the look of your body's skin.

2. Facial skin exfoliation:

    Earth Medicine Facial ClaysBecause your facial skin is somewhat more delicate than your arms, legs and remaining body skin, you can't really use a loofah on your face. It is just too ruff and could do more damage than good.

    So for the face, you would probably choose a facial scrub or a deep cleansing face mask. Both of these two products are useful to remove dead skin cells, but because they also contain (or at least they should) essential oils and other herbal extracts that nourish, hydrate and promote healing of the skin, they are more suitable for use on your face.

    Just remember, don't go overboard with rubbing the skin when using an exfoliating scrub or when washing off the product after you have finished the exfoliation step. You don't want to damage your skin in the process of washing off product residue - that's what the cleanser is for.

3. Cleansing your skin:

    Cleansers from Wildcrafted Herbal ProductsExfoliating is the first step, now it's time to remove any residue from the mask or the scrub you have just used.

    Cleansers are products that help to remove any of the soap used in scrubs or traces of clay left behind in the little lines and wrinkles of the skin.

    Remember your skin is not a perfectly smooth surface, no matter what age you are. So inevitably there will be some product residue left behind and it is the cleanser's job to get rid of it.

    Using upward, circular movements, but without firm pressure, apply the cleanser to your facial skin and neck using a cosmetic pad.

    Use warm water to rinse off and you're ready for the next important step in 'rejuvenating' your skin.

4. Toning your skin:

    Toners from Wildcrafted Herbal ProductsToning your skin is a step many women leave out. I don't know why, but they do. Here's why this is not a good idea to leave this step out:

    a. You have just spent time on removing dead skin cells, and/or

    b. You've cleansed your skin and removed any residue from the exfoliation process; or used the cleansing step to remove make-up and other cosmetic products from your facial skin.

    This process has the result that your skin's spores are open and the acid mantel of the skin has been largely or totally removed. Your skin is very vulnerable at this time to microbes and infection.

    Using a toner will rectify this. A toner will close the open pores and in doing so stop additional moisture being lost from your skin, thus preventing dehydration.

    In addition, your toner will also start to rebuild the acid mantel of the skin (the acid mantel is a protective layer that prevents the infection of the skin from microbes). It is designed to rebalance the skin's pH and, as mentioned before, prevent loss of moisture.

5. Moisturising

Range of Moisturisers from Wildcrafted Herbal ProductsMoisturising your skin is the final step in your daily quest to rejuvenate and invigorate your facial and body skin. Moisturising does a number of things including hydrating, protecting, nourishing and supporting your skin.

Now there are a few types of moisturising products on the market and they each do different things. So let's quickly look at each of these and establish their purpose:

  • Day creams - This is a moisturising cream that you apply to your face and neck during the day. It is generally a lighter cream that may need to be applied a couple of times. You should choose a day cream that is specific for your skin type(s) and that does not leave a 'greasy' feeling on your skin.
  • Night creams - This type of cream is designed to be applied before going to bed. It is usually a heavier cream and should contain many essential oils and herbal extracts that are specific to nourish, hydrate and 'rebuild' your skin.
    Night time is the best time to nourish your skin, because it is at this time of the day that your skin will absorb nutrients best.
  • Eye & Lip creams - These creams are specifically formulated to be used around the eyes and lips, where your skin is somewhat thinner and more delicate. Other than that, they are similar to day creams/night creams in that they are designed to nourish and protect the skin. Depending on the formulation, they will help to rebuild the underlying tissue to help keep those lines and wrinkles in check.
  • Age Defying Products - Age Defying skin care products are formulated for mature skin. They come in the form of day- or as night creams (lighter for day use, heavier/richer for use at night).
  • Body moisturisers - Body moisturisers are usually more general moisturising lotions, rather than creams. They are similar to a day cream in that their functions are to protect, hydrate and nourish your body's skin, but they are usually not as concentrated and spread more easily over the skin. You should choose your body moisturising lotion according to your skin type - remember that your body's skin type can be very different to that of your face. It is not unusual to have an oily T-Zone on your face, but a dry overall skin type.

Now lets see how all this will help your skin's fitness and get it ready for Spring and Summer.
The first way in which your skin will benefit from this type of fitness program is that it will be able to 'breath' easier and have greater access to vital nutrients and hydration. Applying skin care products over the top of layers of dead skin that cannot absorb the products is simply a waste of money, time and effort.

Secondly, the outlined fitness program for your skin will improve its overall health. This is because all the products mentioned above contain nutrients that benefit the skin on all levels. By 'all levels' I am referring to all the layers of the skin (epidermis - 5 layers of skin responsible for generation of new skin; dermis - layer where blood vessels, nerves and other supporting structures are located that give support to the skin and provide it with flexibility and elasticity; Hypo-dermis or Subcutaneous layer - where all the underlying tissues such as muscles, etc., are located) [You can read up on the anatomy and physiology of the skin by reading 'Anatomy & Physiology of the skin'.]

Your skin's health and look is also improved because the essential oils and herbs contained in the products are used not just included because of their smell, but because most, if not all of them, have medicinal properties that work on the fundamental health of your skin and its associated tissues.

Evening Primrose Oil, for example, is contained both in the Age Defying Essence and the Rejuvenating night cream, and is known for its healing effects on the skin as well as its use in menopause and PMS.

Chamomile (contained in our Hydrating Cleanser, as well as many other products) is another powerful medicinal herb. Apart from all its other healing properties, Chamomile is renowned as a major analgesic, anti-inflammatory and wound healer, relieving pain, redness from any cause, and stimulates the skin's ability to repair itself.

So if you follow the above fitness program for your skin, you will end up with healthy, vibrant and radiant looking skin before you know it. You'll feel better about showing your 'new' skin in public and that's got to be a big plus right there.

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About An Interesting Herb: Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

PicLatin Name:
Oenothera biennis

Family: Onagraceae family

Common names: Sun Drop, King’s cure all, Night willow herb, Fever plant, German rampion, and Scabish.

Evening Primrose Oil is used in the following Wildcrafted Herbal Products:


Overview

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) has served as both food and medicine at previous times throughout history, often for upset stomach and respiratory infections. Native Americans ate the boiled, nutty-flavoured root, and used leaf poultices from the plant for bruises and haemorrhoids. European settlers took the root back to England and Germany, where it was introduced as food and became known as German rampion because it grew as a crawling vine (UMM).

Traditional / Historical Uses:

Astringent and sedative. The drug extracted from this plant, has been tested in various directions, and has been employed with success in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders of a functional origin, asthma and whooping cough (Grieve, 1977).

According to Malcolm Stuart (1979) its uses include: Antispasmodic; nutritive; demulcent; weak astringent; vulnerary; anticoagulant.

It may be applied externally as a poultice or in ointments in the treatment of minor wounds or skin eruptions, and used internally for coughs, colds, gastric irritation and intestinal spasm. A direct effect on the liver is suspected. Young roots can be boiled or pickled, and can be eaten hot or cold; all parts of the plant are edible.

Scientific Investigations:

The essential oil of the Evening primrose seed is primarily used to relieve itchiness associated with skin conditions such as eczema, and to ease breast tenderness from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or other causes (UMM).

It is considered to be potentially useful for the treatment of many conditions including:

  • Allergies, particularly skin rash or hives
  • Eczema, including redness and scaling in addition to itching
  • PMS, including mood swings and bloating in addition to breast tenderness
  • Arthritis, primarily rheumatoid
  • Dry eyes, from, for example, Sjogren's syndrome (a condition with symptoms of dry eyes, dry mouth, and, often, arthritis)
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, a nerve condition experienced as numbness, tingling, pain, burning, or lack of sensation in the feet and/or legs, from Diabetes
  • Menopausal symptoms. Although evening primrose oil has gained some popularity for treating hot flashes, the research to date has not confirmed that GLA or evening primrose oil is beneficial for these symptoms. However, there are individual women who report improvement; therefore, it may be worthwhile to talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to try evening primrose oil or another form of GLA supplements to alleviate hot flashes.
  • Weight loss, particularly if you have a family history of obesity
  • Alcoholism; evening primrose oil may help lessen cravings for alcohol and prevent liver damage. More research is needed in this area.

Other conditions for which evening primrose oil is currently under scientific investigation and may prove beneficial include: breast cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, stomach ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis) (UMM).

Other indications include:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Osteoporosis (in combination with fish oil)
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Skin ulcers

It is also of use in dyspepsia, torpor of the liver, and in certain female complaints, such as pelvic fullness (Grieve, 1977).

Plant Description

Description: Biennial, or occasionally annual, producing, on thick yellowish conical root, compressed rosette of obtuse basal leaves to 60 cm diameter, from which arise much-branched reddish, rough stems to 1.25 m bearing alternate, lanceolate to ovate, entire, shortly periolate leaves 4 cm long (Stuart, 1979).

Growth Habit: A circle of leaves grows close to the ground around evening primrose stems after the first year it is planted. Flowers bloom after sunset, June through September (in the northern hemisphere), or on overcast days during the second year. Stems are branched, with alternate leaves (which means that the leaves grow on both sides of the stem at alternating levels) (UMM).

Grieve (1977) states:  “The root is biennial, fusiform and fibrous, yellowish on the outside and white within. The first year, many obtuse leaves are produced, which spread flat on the ground. From among these in the second year, the more or less hairy stems arise and grow to a height of 3 or 4 feet. The later leaves are 3 to 5 inches long, 1 inch or more wide, pointed, with nearly entire margins and covered with short hairs. The flowers are produced all along the stalks, on axillary branches and in a terminating spike, often leafy at the base. The uppermost flowers come out first in June. The stalks keep continually advancing in height, and there is a constant succession of flowers till late in the autumn, making this one of the showiest of our hardy garden plants, if placed in large masses. The flowers are of a fine, yellow colour, large and delicately fragrant, and usually open between six and seven o'clock in the evening, hence the name of Evening Primrose.”

The roots of the Evening Primrose are eaten in some countries in the spring, and the French often use it for garnishing salads (Grieve, 1977).

Constituents of Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose Oil (Essential oil) is extracted from the seeds and prepared as medicine using a chemical called hexane. The seeds contain up to 25% essential fatty acids including linoleic acid (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Both LA and GLA belong to the omega-6 family of fatty acids (UMM).

The main active ingredient in evening primrose oil is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Ingredients include: palmitic and oleic acid, beta-sitosterol, and atrienoic acid.

Scientists at the Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology, in Basel, Switzerland, have recently identified highly active anti-inflammatory triterpenoidal esters in cold-pressed evening primrose oil. These compounds may contribute to the anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties of EPO, which had been up to now ascribed solely to the high content in GLA.

Precautions

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) gives EPO a class 1 safety rating, which indicates that it is safe with appropriate use. Reported side effects are rare and mild, and include nausea, stomach pain, and headache. Stomach pain and loose stools may be indications that the dosage is too high (UMM).

Omega-6 supplements, including GLA and EPO, should not be used if you have a seizure disorder because there have been reports of these supplements inducing seizures (UMM).

References

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, 2007

Wildcrafted's Natural Skin Care Newsletter - Back Issues

Kitty's Corner

Kitty

Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.

Did you enjoy the Quiz? If you're anything like me, you probably got everyone of them right, ah wrong?

This month, as much as it goes against my nature, we'll talk about dogs.

Canine Degenerative Joint Disease

If your dog is finding it difficult to jump up into the car, is falling behind on walks, is showing signs of lameness that 'comes and goes', or you are concerned that he seems stiff and sore every morning, it may be that he is suffering from canine degenerative joint disease.

Normal wear and tear on joints occurs daily throughout your dog's lifetime. Cartilage protects your dog's bones and joints from the friction caused by everyday movement.

Cartilage is a tissue found at the ends of bones in the joint areas, that acts as a cushion. It is composed of a spnge-like mass of cells, together with proteins, special substances that hold water, and the water itself.

Healthy cartilage is absolutely essential for proper joint function and overall mobility.

Happy, healthy, active dogs need healthy cartilage and a diet that supports overall well-being, including joint health.

Natural glucosamine, a building block of cartilage tissue, can help maintain cartilage for healthy joins and mobility, thus slowing down the degenerative changes.

Canine degenerative joint disease occurs in 1 in 5 dogs and the symptoms worsen as cold weather approaches. Therefore if you notice that your pet has any of the above symptoms you need to take action.

Give your dog actual bones with joints to eat. Pig's trotters for example are ideal. They contain cartilage and natural glucosamine.

In addition, it is important that your dog get Omega 6 in their diet, as it is the only essential fatty acid their systems can not produce. If your dog does get enough Omega 6, it can produce the others and does not need to be given supplements.

Also make sure your dog get some bone marrow. It is very high in nutrition and will help in providing the needed nutrients for the building of new cartilage

Ask your vet about GlycoMarine which is referred to as Seatone™. This is a supplement made from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel and has been reported to be of benefit to dogs suffering from this condition.

You may be surprised to learn, that Acupuncture is a very good form of treatment for this condition also. In addition, herbs prescribed by a herbalist who specialises in animal health can provide much relief and healing to degenerative joints.

Obviously, you should consult your Vet and get full advice and a complete management program to make sure you are giving your puppy-dog the best chance of a long, pain-free and comfortable life.

For now, Miau from me, until next month.

Paw

Information Sources:

1. Kurrajong Veterinary Clinic, NSW, Australia;

2. GlycoMarine™ SCIENTIFIC and TECHNICAL SUMMARY

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Natural Hair Shampoo
for Normal Hair

.

Natural Hair Shampoo
for Dry Hair

.

Natural Hair Shampoo
for Oily Hair

.

Natural Hair Conditioner for All Hair

.


This is a Must Have if you are interested in Aromatherapy

- - -

Why you should Choose Holistically Natural Skin Care Products made by Wildcrafted Herbal Products

- - -

Look Younger & Feel Younger with Wildcrafted's Age-Defying Essence

- - -

Cleansers

Natural facial cleansers

more information...

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Toners

Natural facial skin toners

more information...

- - -

Moisturisers

Natural facial moisturisers

more information...

- - -

Age Defying Systems

Natural Angi-aging products

more information...

- - -

Deep Cleansing Facial Clay Masks

Natural facial clay masks

more information...

- - -



Topical Articles on skin care and the benefits of using NATURAL skin care products
 
- - -



Need Help with a Skin Problem?
Consult The Virtual Skin Doctor


- - -

Age Defying Natural  Skin Care Systems for even the most sensitive skin types.


- - -

Testimonials

- - -

Natural Skin Care
Treat Your Skin to the Best Nature has to offer.

- - -

Looking for Natural Skin Care?
Look no further... Choose Natural Skin Care Products form Wildcrafted Herbal Products to look after Your Skin Naturally.

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Want Chemical-free, Natural Skin Care?
Choose Wildcrafted Herbal Products to Look After Your Skin Naturally.

 

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