Tag Archives: chemistry

INCI revealed

I have a cream in my hand; “regenerating night cream, all skin types“.The cost of it is ca €20 for 50ml. It is ecologically certified by eco cert. The label states:” 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin / 28% of the total ingredients are from organic farming.” Here is the inci-list: (I will break it down for you)

Aqua (water), Simmondsia chinensis oil* (jojoba oil), Alcohol, Glycerin* (moisturizer), Persea gratissima oil *(avocado oil), Rosa damascena distillate* (rose-water), Cetearyl alcohol (emulsifier), Theobroma cacao seed* (cocoa butter), Hippophae rhamnoides extract* (seabuckthorn), Lycopersicum esculentum extract* (tomato), Glycine soja oil and Tocopherol (soy bean oil and vitamin E), Hordeum vulgare extract* (barley germ), Algae extract (seaweed), Humulus lupulus extract* (hops), Cetearyl glucoside (emulsifier), Plantago major extract* (plantain), Calendula officinalis extract* (marigold), Chamomilla recutita extract* (chamomile), Stearic acid (emulsifier, stabilizer), Sodium hyaluronate (skin conditioning agent), Xanthan gum (stabilizer, emulsifier), Potassium hydroxide*** (pH-regulator), Aroma**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Geranio**l, Limonene**, Linalool**  (there is no indication if the whole essential oil is used or just isolated chemicals)

*ingredients from organic farming. **natural essential oils. ***inorganic substances.

Remember, water is about 50-60%, and all the other ingredients will make up the rest; 40-50% of the cream. They are listed in percentual order; highest first. I have put the questionable ingredients in bold, these are the ones we are going to look at first. Let’s start at the top:

  • Alcohol: Moisturizers that contain a low molecular weight of alcohol fail to be effective because they quickly evaporate from the skin surface. In a cream alcohol speeds up absorption rate (how fast it goes into the skin.) Considering that this ingredient is in 3rd place, indicates a rather high %.
  • Stearic acid: This ingredient may be derived from animals. From PETA’s Caring Consumer: Fat from cows and sheep and from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters, etc. Most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs. Can be harsh, irritating. Used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, candles, hairspray, conditioners, deodorants, creams, chewing gum, food flavoring.   Stearic acid can be found in many vegetable fats, coconut. (Skin deep)
  • Sodium hyaluronate: Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in connective tissues such as cartilage. This ingredient is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as derived from animal sources. (Skin deep)
  • Potassium hydroxide: Potassium Hydroxide is a caustic inorganic base. Classified as medium human health priority. Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful. Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel. (Skin deep)
  • Cetearyl alcohol & Cetearyl glucoside are commonly used emulsifiers. Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that can come from vegetable or synthetic sources. Cetearyl glucoside is a surfactant and emulsifier produced from natural or synthetic ingredients. (Skin deep)

Now, let’s do the math: 28% of the ingredients come from organic farming; that’s the oils, fats, moisturizer and herbal extracts. Leaves 72% of other stuff; 50-60 % is water which leaves us with ca 10-20% for vitamins, some herbals and emulsifiers. 99% of the ingredients come from natural sources; animal or vegetable? And the last 1% is the Potassium hydroxide which is more or less the same thing as caustic soda – a highly corrosive agent. It is even higher in percentage than the perfume.

Another concern I have are the many different herbal extracts; how do they react with each-other? See my earlier post on blending too many ingredients together here. “All natural substances are alive, they react with each-other; sometimes they create a synergy that will do great things. Other times they enhance more negative aspects.

Source: Skin Deep

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ESSENTIAL OIL & SCENT HISTORY part 4

During the 16:th to 18:th centuries the art of distilling plants had grown to become an every-day matter. Every mansion had its own distillery and the pharmacies of the time distilled essential oils for medicinal purposes. The doctor would make out a recipe, and the pharmacies would blend the medicines.

In this time herbal medicine grew immensely with the founding of the Royal Society in Britain, the plant classifications by Linnaeus and the great herbals by, amongst others, Culpeper, Gerard and Parkinson. By the end of the 18:th century, essential oils were widely used in medicine alongside herbs, essential oils being the strongest form of medicine in existence.

The late 19:th and early 20:th century saw the flourishing of chemistry as a discipline. As plant cures and essential oils could be synthesized in a laboratory – the cures both stronger and faster in action, essential oils began to lose their place in the pharmacopoeiae.

In the early 1900’s a French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé – the father of aromatherapy, rediscovered the effectiveness of essential oils when he after a severe burn dipped his hand in pure lavender-oil and noted the speed of recovery; the pain was instantly subdued, there was no infection nor scarring. This made him devote himself to the study of esssential oils. He discovered that the oils could penetrate the skin to access the blood-stream and chemically interact with the chemistry of the body. In 1937 he published the book “L’aromathérapie” that became the first textbook on essential oils.

Dr. Jean Valnet followed in Gattefossé’s footsteps. He was an army-doctor during WW2. As antibiotics were hard to come by in wartime, he used essential oils with great success. After the war he opened a clinic where he success-fully used essential oils for both physical and psychological healing. Much of his work was based on the antiseptic properties of essential oils. In 1964 Dr Valnet published a book; “Aromathérapie se soigner par les essences de plantes”.

At this stage aromatherapy began popping up all over Europe; Italian doctors Gatti and Cojola start researching the psychological effects of essential oils in the 20:s; In the 70:s their work was followed up by Professor Paolo Rovesti at the University of Milan.

Mme Maury, an Austrian cosmetologist, introduced the idea of massage combined with essential oils in the 50:s. Not being a doctor, she was looking for other ways of administering the essential oils. By blending – or diluting – them with vegetable oil, the resulting blend was milder and could be used directly on the skin without irritating it. Most of her clients were healthy women that wanted beauty-treatments and the results of the aromatherapy was astounding; not only did it make the skin look better, it also had other effects such as relief from rheumathic pain, stronger libido, better and deeper sleep and an overall mood-enhancing effect. In the early 60:s Mme Maury opened her first clinic in London where she also held workshops and training. Some well-known names trained for her in the late 70:s; Robert Tisserand, Shirley Price and Patricia Davis are some of them.

The final break-through for aromatherapy as a valued alternative health practice came in the late 80:s and early 90:s when it finally became a recognized profession in many countries. In Britain and Sweden the training is state-supported and sometimes subsidized.

AROMATHERAPY & ANIMALS

beautiful-black-horse

I get a lot of questions about animals and how I treat them. The first and main reason I even came to Luxembourg was because of horses and treating them; mainly one big very sad horse. Animals are individuals with very diverse personalities; some are pushy and some are shy – like the big sad horse; he is gorgeous with the step of an Olympic winner, but he is shy and insecure, and not very smart. He will never become the great competition horse he was meant to be. The pressure on him to succeed was so great that he became unreliable to handle, always ready to run away. He also had problems with the ligaments in one leg. With treatment (essential oils) and training à la Anna he became the nicest horse that even the smallest child could handle and his leg healed and stayed strong. But each time he went to competition he was a bundle of nerves. So in the end was acceptance from the very nice owners; they learned to just love their big wonderful horse and allow him to be part of the family.

Very often there is a communication-problem; things are expected and the animal can not deliver for different reasons. Sometimes the animal can be helped to develop the skills needed, sometimes it is just not there…it is the “wrong” individual. It is like asking an immensely shy person to speak to a large audience; they would rather die. Sometimes this skill can be trained, but not always.

Essential oils work with our emotions, memories, learning patterns and hormones, this makes them very powerful tools in any kind of healing or development. They transgress all existing barriers by going straight to the core of the individual.

With animals I usually work either with emotional imbalances or with obvious physical problems such as wounds, sprains etc. When there is an emotional imbalance or trauma I usually also do some ground-work and I train the owner and animal in communication so there is a lasting balance. For the owner this takes some work, thought, learning and energy. The ones who are prepared to do this end up with good results and lots of happiness with their animal.

Where there are physical problems I use the essential oils pharmaceutical; I check their chemistry and use them from that physical point of view. Essential oils used in this way is powerful medicine, and today research is being done on certain essential oils to see if they can be used on antibiotic-resistant bacteria-strains.

Thujone

ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY – Ravensara/Ravintsara

ravensaraI wrote in an earlier post about an essential oil I picked up: Ravintsara (cinnamomum camphora). I couldn’t really get this oil out of my head so I have been doing some research. As usual there is plenty of misunderstandings between different oils, popular names, botanical names and the chemical properties. What continues to confuse me are the different Latin names but this is what I have found:

Ravensara, (Ravensara aromatica / Ravensara anisataLauraceae family) Is a a leafy evergreen tree 18 to 20 meters high with a reddish-grey bark indigenous to the moist forests of Madagascar, in Malagasy called Havozo. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the stem-bark (Ravensara anisata) or the leaves & branches (Ravensara aromatica)

The main chemical constituents of R. aromatica are: 1,8 cinèole (up to 49%). The main chemical constituents in R. anisata are: anethole (approx. 85%) and methyl chavicol. This makes these two oils completely different.  Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora – Lauraceae family) is steam-distilled from the leaves. It is also high in 1,8 cinèole.

The problem is that I cannot find any information on the Ravintsara (c. camphora). All info I can find reverts back to Ravensara aromatica/anisata. So the question is; Is it really the same plant? Or is it a mixup of the names? One source states: “Cinnamomum camphora is also named Ravintsara in Madagascar; hence Ravensara camphora is seen on price lists mistakenly as ravensara but no true species exist; various qualities abound”.

So you see the confusion around essential oils; this is why it is so important to make sure that the oil you buy is good quality and has a Latin (botanical) name on the label. In the case with the Ravensara, I would go for the botanical name Ravensara aromatica.

to be continued…when I have more information.