Efficacy of a Mixture of Beeswax, Olive Oil, and Alkanet for Burn Injuries

Severe burns have high rates of morbidity and mortality and require long-term hospitalization. Such burns cause intense pain and can lead to significant changes in physical appearance. In folk medicine, beeswax (cera alba), olive (Olea europaea, Oleaceae) fruit oil, and alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria, ‎Boraginaceae) root are used to treat burns. Beeswax and olive oil have reported antioxidant and antibacterial activity, while alkanet has reported antimicrobial activity. According to the authors, no studies with scientific rigor have been conducted that evaluate these treatments. The purpose of this controlled study was to evaluate the effect of a mixture of beeswax, olive oil, and alkanet on burn healing, pain during dressing changes, and duration of hospital stay. The study was not conducted as a randomized, controlled study “because the hospital stays of the patients were not the same, patient rooms in the clinic could not be separated and the wound dressing room could be seen by all patients.”

Patients (n = 73; mean age, 6.68 years in the experimental group and 5.52 years in the control group) with second-degree burns on the extremities participated in the study conducted between May 2014 and August 2015 at the burn unit of Atatürk University Hospital; Erzurum, Turkey. Patients were sequentially enrolled upon admission to the burn unit. Included patients were > 3 years old and < 65 years old, had noninfected burns, had no chronic diseases, had burns other than chemical and electrical burns with certain borders, and had not undergone a surgical procedure that could affect healing.

The experimental group was treated with a sterilized mixture of 1000 mL medical olive oil, 30 g beeswax, and 50 g alkanet, which was mixed especially for the study. The quantity of mixture used was in proportion to the size of the injury. The control group was treated with a standard therapy of nitrofurazone, rifamycin, and irrigation.

After cleaning the surface of all injuries with 0.09 NaCl and 0.010 Savlon®, the injuries were photographed before the wounds were dressed. In the burn unit, the dressing was changed daily (as done in folk medicine) in the experimental group and every 2 days in the control group (in accordance with hospital policy and routine clinical practice). A wound culture was taken the third day after the burn occurred. When the size of the burn was less than 1 mm, treatment was terminated and the patient was discharged. A visual analogue scale and facial expression scale were used to evaluate the intensity of pain. Visualization and evaluation are standard methods of evaluation of burn injuries; accordingly, the injuries were photographed for evaluation. The starting time of epithelialization, hospitalization duration, and mean pain scores during dressing changes were recorded.

Baseline characteristics were similar between groups (P > 0.05 for all). Most of the injuries were caused by boiling liquids, and the patients were admitted to the hospital within the first 24 h after injury. No infections occurred in the experimental group, while 6.1% of the control group got an infection. Epithelialization started significantly earlier in the experimental group than in the control group (3.0 vs. 6.9 days, respectively; P < 0.001). Mean pain scores were significantly lower in the experimental group than in the control group (8.12 vs. 9.39, respectively; P < 0.001). Mean hospitalization duration was significantly shorter in the experimental group than in the control group (8.22 vs. 14.42 days, respectively; P < 0.001).

The authors conclude that epithelialization in the experimental group started very quickly, which corresponds to the shorter hospitalization duration. This finding supports previous in vivo studies. A limitation of the study was that a decrease in narcotic use was not evaluated. So, it is unknown whether the improvement in pain would be enough to decrease the use of pharmaceutical painkillers. Other limitations were that the study was not blinded, and the control and experimental groups had different times of dressing changes (i.e., daily vs. every 2 days). Therefore, it is unknown whether the effect of daily dressing improved wound healing independent of the therapy applied. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that the experimental treatment “accelerated the process of epithelialization, reduced hospitalization durations, reduced the levels of pain experienced by the patients during dressing and completely prevented wound site infections in the experimental group.” These results suggest that this mixture may be an effective burn treatment. However, future studies should include a larger population, an older population, other burn types, and have both groups’ wounds handled similarly.

The authors declare that they have legally equal ownership rights (right ownership of 50%) of the product (patent pending).

Resource:

Gümüş K, Özlü ZK. The effect of a beeswax, olive oil and Alkanna tinctoria (L.) Tausch mixture on burn injuries: An experimental study with a control group. Complement Ther Med. 2017;34:66-73.

Consumer Survey Assesses Use of Cosmetic Products Containing Tea Tree Oil in Five European Countries

In response to an ongoing discussion about the safety of using tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia, Myrtaceae) oil (TTO) in cosmetic products, mainly focused on the lack of accurate data on consumer exposure to TTO in those products, this author used a web survey to provide reliable exposure data based on consumption levels to support a reliable safety assessment of TTO in consumer cosmetic products. The author is affiliated with Ri*QUESTA GmbH (Teningen, Germany), which was commissioned by the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA) to conduct this study.

Collected from 2535 qualified users of validated TTO-containing cosmetics in five European countries, the data included the frequency of use of the products, the amount used per product application, and the percentage of TTO present (TTO-inclusion) in the products. Data on the frequency and amount used were collected using a single-source consumer survey completed by every respondent. TTO-inclusion data were provided by manufacturers.

During October 2015 and November 2015, the author identified 1326 individual TTO-containing products under 360 brands that were available to consumers in Europe. The author documented each product by brand name, product name, package size(s), product image, supplier address, and manufacturer address, and assigned them to one of 42 categories. The inventory was updated as new TTO-containing cosmetics were identified during the consumer and manufacturer surveys. In total, 1429 individual TTO-containing products representing 370 brands or suppliers were identified.

In January 2016, Research Now GmbH, the German subsidiary of Research Now Group, Inc. (Plano, Texas), conducted a web survey of 17,595-panel members in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Spain, who were required to participate in and compensated for a set number of surveys yearly. The investigators aimed to gather data on the use of TTO-containing cosmetics from at least 2400 respondents in total and from at least 400 in each country for up to four products per respondent.

The author reports that 12.7% of the 2903 total respondents reported using TTO-containing products (mostly hand and face creams, deodorant sprays, and hair sprays) that did not actually contain TTO; data from those respondents were deleted from the database.

Among the 7957 product use-reports for validated TTO-containing cosmetics, the total average number of product use-reports identified from the 2535 respondents was 3.14. The numbers for the individual countries were 3.37 for Italy, 3.35 for France, 3.33 for Spain, 2.95 for Germany, and 2.90 for Great Britain.

Beginning in early December 2015, the manufacturer survey was mailed to 156 brand owners, suppliers, and manufacturers who offered three or more TTO-containing cosmetics in the European market. Several companies provided product data before the end of 2015. For the 43 brand owners, suppliers, and manufacturers who represent 80% of the products but had not responded, a follow-up survey was mailed in February and March 2016, resulting in receipt of data from 32 respondents by July 1, 2016. Their data cover 321 individual TTO-containing products and 3264 product use-reports from consumers, which equated to an overall 41% coverage rate of the 7957 valid product use-reports received.

TTO-inclusion data from manufacturers were available for 321 of the 855 product use-reports on body lotion, with the mean amount of TTO exposure being 47.023 mg daily. The use of 119 individual face-cream products was mentioned in 531 product use-reports. Data on TTO-inclusion were linked to 247 of those reports, with the mean TTO exposure being 5.992 mg daily. For hand cream, 214 product use-reports referred to one of 39 individual products. Data on TTO-inclusion were linked to 170 of those reports. The mean daily TTO exposure was 17.367 mg.

Among the consumers, 170 reported the use of one of 70 blemish-spot-gel or lip-balm products; 90 could be linked to manufacturer data on product-specific TTO-inclusion. The mean TTO exposure was 0.385 mg daily. The number of foot deodorant spray use-reports was 434, with 152 linked to TTO-inclusion. Fifty-nine of 331 product use-reports for body deodorant sprays were used to assess TTO exposure. The mean TTO exposures were 6.319 mg daily for foot deodorant sprays and 0.706 mg daily for body deodorant sprays. For face cleansers, 513 reports could be linked to product-specific data on TTO-inclusion. The mean TTO exposure was 0.646 mg daily. Other product use-reports included 445 use-reports of shower and body wash gels and 82 use-reports of body scrub products. The mean daily TTO exposure for shower and body wash gels was 0.714 mg.

Results from this study indicate a significant positive correlation between TTO focus and frequency of product use daily for body lotion (P<0.0001), hand cream (P<0.0001), face cleanser (P=0.0006), shampoo (P=0.0054), and shower and body wash (P=0.0064). In other words, the more consumers look for TTO when buying these products, the more often they are likely to use the products and vice versa.

A significant negative correlation was seen between frequency of daily use and amount of product applied per application for body lotion (P=0.0017), hand cream (P=0.0001), face cleanser (P<0.0001), shampoo (P<0.0001), shower and body wash (P=0.0023), and blemish-spot treatment (P=0.0006). As a consumer uses these products more often, he or she uses a smaller amount each time.

The frequency of TTO-containing product use daily was higher than that of respective general product categories, and the distribution curve characteristics for the amount of product used per application were lower than personal care products (PCPs) in general, as reported in earlier studies.

These results show that consumption patterns of TTO-containing PCPs can be very different from those of PCPs in general. “From this, it does not seem to be appropriate to evaluate the toxicological safety of TTO as [an] ingredient of PCPs from exposure data on ‘generic’ types of PCPs,” writes the author.

The author acknowledges that the lack of consumption data on TTO-containing cosmetics for more European countries prevents extending the results beyond the five surveyed countries. This study presented other challenges, such as dealing with the off-label use and the possibility that multiperson use of the products could have inflated the amounts used.

“This is, to our knowledge, the first single source study to enable the calculation of consumer exposure to a particular ingredient of cosmetic products across several countries as a contribution to the safety assessment of TTO in consumer cosmetic products,” writes the author. Results of the study could help guide future research on consumers’ exposure to certain ingredients in cosmetics and other types of products.

This study was financed by ATTIA Ltd, with financial support from the Australian Commonwealth through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Resource:

Rieder BO. Consumer exposure to certain ingredients of cosmetic products: The case for tea tree oil. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017;108(Part A):326-338.

Vetiver Essential Oil

Vetiveria zizanioides

Also, Known As:

  • Cuscus
  • Khas Khas
  • Vetiver
  • Vetivert

Vetiver (botanical name Vetiveria zizanioides) belongs to the grass family, which also includes sorghum, maize, sugarcane as well as lemongrass. This plant has had an irregular history, as it was given no less than 11 names in four dissimilar genera at one time. The generic name ‘Vitiveria’ is derived from the Tamil expression ‘vetiver’ denoting a ‘dug up root’, while the Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus gave the plant its specific name ‘zizanioides’, which is occasionally spelled wrongly, in 1771. The word ‘zizanioides’ refers to ‘beside the river’ and mirrors the fact that this plant is generally found growing the length of the water bodies, especially in India.

Belonging to the Poaceae family, vetiver is a perennially growing grass that is indigenous to India. It is also known as ‘khus’ in the northern and western regions of India. This grass has tall stems while the leaves are elongated, slender and somewhat firm. Vetiver produces brownish-purple hue flowers. Dissimilar to most other varieties of grasses that grow horizontally and have matted roots, the roots of vetiver grow downwards up to 2 meters to 4 meters in depth. Although this grass species is closely related to sorghum, the morphological characteristics of vetiver match with those of other aromatic grasses, for instance, lemongrass (botanical name Cymbopogon citratus), palmarosa (botanical name Cymbopogon martini) and citronella (botanical name Cymbopogon nardus, Cymbopogon winterianus).

While vetiver has its origin in India, currently this grass species is extensively cultivated in other areas of the world having tropical climatic conditions. Presently, countries like India, Haiti, and Réunion are the largest producer of vetiver worldwide. It may be noted that the vetiver genotypes that are used most extensively basically do not produce fertile seeds and since this grass species has the aptitude to self-propagate by giving rise to small offsets rather than underground stolons, such genotypes usually are not invasive and are easier to control by nurturing the soil at the periphery of the hedges. Nevertheless, it is also essential to upkeep the plants, as the fertile vetiver genotypes have turned out to be invasive.

Plant Parts Used:

Roots and essential oil.

Therapeutic Properties:

The root of vetiver possesses a number of therapeutic properties – it is soothing, helps to reduce body heat or fever, is invigorating, diuretic and tonic. The roots contain a chemical known as benzoin, which is useful in treating headaches. In addition, vetiver is also extremely effective in curing skin complaints as well as assists in diminishing anxiety and tension. The oil contained by this grass species works as an excellent insect repellent. On the other hand, the oil extracted from vetiver is widely used in making perfumes owing to its aroma as well as fixative effects. The roots of this grass are employed to make brushes for cleansing the body in a natural way, applying aromatic oils as well as cleaning utensils. In addition, the fragrant roots are also used as ingredients in potpourri. The leaves of vetiver are used to treat a number of health conditions, including lumbago, rheumatism, and sprains.

While vetiver has several utilities, this grass is primarily cultivated for its aromatic essential oil, which is distilled from the roots. Even to this day, the perfumery industry frequently uses the previous French spelling ‘vetyver’. It is estimated that about 250 tons of vetiver are produced throughout the world every year. As vetiver possesses wonderful fixative attributes, it is extensively employed in perfumes. In fact, 90 percent of all perfumes made in the West make use of vetiver. Precisely speaking, it forms the main ingredient in perfumes meant for men’s use, such as Vetiver by L’Occitane, Dior Eau Sauvage, Zizan by Ormonde Jayne and Guerlain Vetiver.

Apart from India, countries like Haiti, China, and Indonesia produce the bulk of the vetiver worldwide. A French national named Lucien Ganot had introduced the processing of vetiver in Haiti way back in the 1940s. Later, in 1958, Franck Léger set up a plant on the land where an alcohol distillery was established by his father Demetrius Léger. In 1984, this plant was acquired by Franck’s son Pierre Léger, who increased the capacity of the plant to 44 atmospheric stills, each having the capacity to process vetiver roots worth one metric ton. During the last one decade, the production of vetiver at this plant went up from 20 tons to 60 tons per annum, making it the largest producer of vetiver worldwide. This plant employs the steam distillation process to extract vetiver essential oil from the plant’s roots. In addition to Pierre Léger’ plant, another owned by the Bouchard family is also a major producer of vetiver essential oil. On the other hand, the best quality of vetiver oil is produced by Réunion, which is followed by Haiti and Java respectively.

The major consumers of vetiver essential oil comprise the United States, Europe, India, and Japan respectively.

Vetiver also possesses antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in relieving the swelling, pain, and tenderness in the circulatory system as well as the nervous system. It is also very helpful for people suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, muscle aches, gout, parchedness and fissures on the skin.

The essential oil extracted from vetiver roots possesses tranquilizing properties and helps in treating emotional flare-ups, for instance, anxiety, anger, bouts of epilepsy and hysteria, nervousness, restiveness and so on.

In addition, vetiver is also employed to prepare a tonic bath and this is the primary reason why the essential oil extracted from the roots of this grass forms an important ingredient in superior quality soaps. Interestingly enough, vetiver is also used to eliminate lice.

People in the Indian subcontinent often substitute khus (the roots of vetiver) for straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers used during summers. When wood shavings are used in evaporative coolers to cool water for a prolonged period, there is a possibility of building colonies of bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms. This not only results in the cooler giving off a smell akin to those of fish or seaweed in the house but also becomes the breeding ground for mosquitoes. However, when vetiver roots are used, it helps to neutralize the bad smell. You may also use a comparatively inexpensive method by adding vetiver cooler perfume or even genuine khus attar to the water tank of the evaporative cooler. Using vetiver roots also has an added advantage – they are not as inflammable as the dried out wood shavings.

People in India also weave mats using vetiver roots and fasten them with cords or ropes to cool their rooms during the scorching summers. Usually, such mats are hung at the doors and windows and moistened by sprinkling water on them from time to time. While they make the passing air cooler, the rooms are also refreshed owing to the aromatic vetiver roots.

The summer months are extremely hot in some places in India and people in these areas occasionally fill a muslin sachet with vetiver roots and drop it into an earthen pot to cool the household drinking water. Much like a bouquet garni, the bunch of vetiver roots helps to provide a typical essence and fragrance to the drinking water. In addition, syrups scented with khus are also sold in India.

Farmers in places having warmer climates consider khus to be a boon because it helps to avoid soil erosion. Since the roots of this grass grow downwards, it facilitates in blocking the erosion of the surface water and preserves the soil. Therefore, farmers use khus (vetiver) to develop boundaries in their paddy fields.

vetiver

Habitat Of Vetiver:

Vetiver is a grass species that has a very rapid growth. Unlike many other grass species, vetiver grows vertically and in dense clusters. This plant has an extended fibrous root system that penetrates the ground and grows downwards to a depth of about three meters and horizontally about 0.5 meters. The fibrous roots are interwoven firmly together to form a net in the soil. These roots work excellently as an underground barricade and hold the soil together, preventing its erosion. In addition, they also help in holding back water and filtering as well as soaking up nourishments and eliminating all harmful chemical substances, which helps to provide an environment that is free from pollution.

Planting vetiver on the contours of slopes and the length of the road gradients helps in preventing silts from escaping and, at the same time, filter the remnants of the crops and just allowing some of the water to pass through. When vetiver is planted in this manner it is very effective in preventing soil erosion and also avoids the surface soil from running off with water. Alternately, people in the plains, as well as arid and declining areas, also plant vetiver circling the base of fruit as well as perennial trees with a view to retaining the rainwater in the soil. In addition, the long leaves of vetiver are also utilized for mulching to preserve the moistness of the soil. In a number of instances, vetiver is also planted in the region of ponds and reservoirs as well as ditches and the length of the irrigation canals so as to prevent the silting of these sources of water. Most importantly, the netted roots of vetiver also help to obstruct any toxic chemical that may be present in the rain receptacle areas from polluting the water sources.

Although vetiver is a self-propagating and non-invasive grass species, it is important to nurture the plants properly with a view to attaining the benefits discussed above.

Being a plant that grows excellently on the gradient of highlands, the natural habitat of vetiver may appear to be somewhat bizarre. It also grows in the wild in lowlands and damp locations, for instance, marshlands and swamps.

It is worth mentioning that the precise location of the plant’s origin is not certain. The majority of the botanists assume that vetiver is indigenous to the northern regions of India; according to some of them, the plant is native to Mumbai, erstwhile Bombay in India. Nevertheless, practically speaking, this plant grows in the wild in the tropical as well as sub-tropical plains all over north India, Burma, and Bangladesh.

Vetiver grows best in fertile swamp soil that is present all over the plains and the lower highlands in India, particularly along the banks of rivers. Vetiver is familiar with the essential oil extracted from its roots. This oil is used in preparing medications as well as to make perfumes.

Components:

Vetiver’s main chemical components are:

  • benzoic acid
  • a and b-vetivone
  • furfurol
  • vetivene
  • vetiverol
  • vetivenyl vetivenate

Study Evaluates Seven Helichrysum Species for Volatile Profile and Essential Oil Composition

The genus Helichrysum (Asteraceae) contains an estimated 600 species, many of which are aromatic herbs or dwarf perennial shrubs indigenous to South Africa. Sixteen species are native to Europe and the Mediterranean, where they are used in herbal medicine to treat a range of conditions, including respiratory infections, digestive disorders, fever, inflammation, and pain. These healing properties have been attributed to active compounds found in the aerial plant parts. Essential oil (EO) obtained from helichrysum (curry plant; Helichrysum italicum) is commonly used for its health benefits, and its profile has been well researched. This study aimed to determine the volatile profile and EO composition of seven Helichrysum species for potential ornamental and medicinal use. Four are native to South Africa (gold carpet [H. cymosum ssp. cymosum], fragrant helichrysum [H. odoratissimum], silver bush everlasting [H. petiolare], and sticky everlasting [H. tenax]) and the remainder (strawflower [H. fontanesii], red everlasting [H. sanguineum], and H. saxatile) are from the Mediterranean Basin.

The plants used for analysis were grown in the botanical collection of CREA (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics), an Italian government research station in Liguria, Italy. All of the specimens were propagated and grown under the same conditions at CREA and collected in 2014.

The volatile compound analysis was conducted on fresh flower heads using the headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) technique under identical conditions and testing procedures. For the EO analysis, dried aerial parts (flowers, leaves, branches) were hydrodistilled separately, and the EO for each was dehydrated then analyzed using gas chromatography–electron impact mass spectrometry (GC/EI-MS). Compounds were identified by comparing their retention time against a known standard. Data were analyzed using cluster analysis and nonmetric multidimensional scaling. An analysis was done using R 2.14.0 software.

The results of the HS-SPME volatile composition analysis found 80 compounds present among the seven species. Monoterpenes were the most prevalent class in all species, with H. tenax containing the most at 95.1%. Helichrysum sanguineum and H. fontanesii contained the highest percentage of sesquiterpenes at 68.0% and 66.3%, respectively. Cluster analysis divided the species into three groups, as follows: group I comprised of H. tenaxH. odoratissimumH. saxatile, and H. petiolare; group II was solely H. fontanesii; and group III included H. sanguineum and H. cymosum. The predominant compounds found in group I were β-pinene and 1,8-cineole. Groups II and III contained more camphene, β-caryophyllene, and carvacrol.

There were 199 EO compounds identified through the GC/EI-MS analysis. Besides constituent differences found between species, the major class of terpenes present varied within species, depending on the source of the EO sample (i.e., flowers, leaves, or branches). Sesquiterpenes predominated in all parts of H. petiolare and H. fontanesii. Helichrysum odoratissimum had a high percentage of sesquiterpenes in the leaves, but equal amounts of sesquiterpenes and monoterpenes in the flowers. Helichrysum cymosum and H. tenax contained a high percentage of monoterpenes. Helichrysum saxatile was high in sesquiterpenes and non-terpenic compounds. Finally, H. sanguineum was high in sesquiterpene hydrocarbons in the flowers, monoterpene hydrocarbons in the leaves, and some non-terpenic compounds as well.

Cluster analysis of the EO results divided the species into four groups, as follows: group I with H. saxatile and H. petiolare; group II with H. fontanesii; group III with H. cymosum flowers and leaves; and group IV with H. tenax and H. odoratissimum flowers and leaves. The predominant compounds found in group I were β-hydroagarofuran, α-calacorene, and caryophyllene alcohol. Group II contained humulene epoxide II; group III contained the highest amounts of (Z)-β-ocimene and β-caryophyllene, and group IV was marked by α-pinene and β-caryophyllene.

The results of this evaluation indicate that the primary class of volatile compounds in the four South African species (H. cymosumH. odoratissimumH. petiolare, and H. tenax) was the monoterpenes. The Mediterranean species were characterized by a higher sesquiterpene content. Helichrysum saxatile, an Italian species, was high in both monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. The authors conclude that these species have both commercial EO and ornamental applications.

When comparing their results to those in published literature, the authors encountered some differences in the EO compositions between species in the CREA collection and species grown in their native habitats. This could be due to the difference in environmental and growing conditions in Liguria, Italy, as compared to the native habitats for each species. This study represents the first aromatic-compound and EO evaluation for H. fontanesiiH. sanguineum, and H. tenax, as well as the first complete EO evaluation of H. saxatile.

The authors did not provide any funding information or a conflict-of-interest statement.

Resource:

Giovanelli S, De Leo M, Cervelli C, Ruffoni B, Ciccarelli D, Pistelli L. Essential oil composition and volatile profile of seven Helichrysum species grown in Italy. Chem Biodivers. March 6, 2018; [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201700545.

HOW MASSAGE CAN RELIEVE PAIN

Pain that afflicts the body not only affects the individual physically but also can cause distractingly unbearable discomfort mentally and emotionally. Those experiencing chronic pain might find that it interferes with everyday activities and events, whether social or professional, and it can take a toll on psychological welfare as well as the general quality of life. Over time, the widespread and extensive use of an addiction to prescription medication for pain relief has developed into the abuse of these drugs, overdoses of which have often led to fatal consequences. It is recommended that those suffering from pain take a holistic approach to treating it, beginning with trying drug-free approaches before arriving at the option of prescription medication.

One of the oldest, safest, most effective and natural methods for various types of pain relief is aromatherapy massage. It can be used for pain in muscles, joints, or the spine, for headaches, or for internal pain. Studies have also revealed the superiority of massage therapy over acupuncture and physical therapy in terms of benefits and a reduced number of side effects.

Massage is thought to work by reducing local inflammation, diminishing levels of depression, anxiety, and cortisol, and lowering the heart rate, which leads to feelings of relaxation; however, optimal massage effectiveness for certain types of pain is achieved through frequency and consistent dosage. Significant improvements are more likely to be noticeable with a steady schedule of multiple massage treatments per week as well as steady lengths of time for each massage session.

Specific massage techniques and the strength of the massage will also be factors in the benefits of the massage, which include the release of tension, knots, and stiffness in muscles and joints. This can restore or advance an individual’s agility and flexibility. This form of pain relief has also been reported to increase the activity of the vagus cranial nerve, which controls the absorption of food, the heart rate, and respiration. Through massage, endorphins are produced and blood circulation is stimulated, which increases the nutrient and oxygen supply to the body tissues, allowing toxins to be eliminated through the lymphatic system.

Many of the side effects that some people experience with over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs are not triggered by the use of essential oils meant to treat pain. This is because the hormonal and immune systems of plants and their constituents continue to work in harmony in their essential oils, and our bodies recognize these holistic systems as supportive of our health, which is why herbs have been used medicinally for thousands of years.

Over 60 Essential Oils have constituents with analgesic properties that reduce pain. For example, Wintergreen is mostly methyl salicylate, the main ingredient in aspirin. Aboriginal peoples were more familiar with the plants in their locale that eased the pain, and this knowledge was passed on to newcomers in their communities. These days, modern city dwellers know little about herbal remedies and the use of Essential Oils.

These therapeutic Essential Oils that have traditionally been used for pain relief will be used in our recipes, though of course if the pain persists, you must see your medical practitioner.

When preparing your massage blend, use one or two of the oils below (adding no more than 7 drops of the oil to 1 T. / 15 ml of oil or cream per treatment.

 

For the bones and joints, try these essential oils:

Balsam Fir Needle Helichrysum
Nutmeg Palo Santo Peppermint
Roman Chamomile Spruce Wintergreen

 

For anxiety and the pain that accompanies it, try these essential oils:

Basil Blue Tansy Clove Bud
Fir Needle Helichrysum Peppermint
Spruce Valerian Wintergreen

 

For muscle pain due to overuse or injury, try these essential oils:

Fir Balsam Copaiba Ginger Root
Helichrysum Lavender Lemongrass
Marjoram Palo Santo Peppermint
Roman Chamomile Rosemary Thyme
Vetiver Wintergreen

BLEND FOR ARTHRITIC JOINT PAINS

The pain due to the wear and tear of the joints can be eased by using this wonderful blend.

INGREDIENTS MEASURE
Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Smithii) 5 drops
Rosemary Essential Oil 3 drops
Juniper Berry Essential Oil 2 drops
Carrier Oil of your choice 20 mL / 4 t.

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. You can blend a larger quantity and keep in a dark amber bottle to use as needed.
  2. Gently massage the affected areas as needed.

TIP:

  • Use fractionated coconut as your carrier oil for a no-scent, no-stain option.

 


 

    • Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Smithii): This anti-inflammatory, analgesic oil is a popular choice for those suffering from a variety of aches and pains from sprains to stiffness.
    • Rosemary Essential Oil: This pain-relieving oil stimulates blood circulation, which makes it a popular remedy for arthritis, muscle and joint pains, and headaches. It promotes faster healing for wounds by facilitating the process of coagulation.
    • Juniper Berry Essential Oil: This warming, stimulating oil is known to be anti-inflammatory. As such, it is commonly used to relieve the uncomfortable pressure of fluid retention that is characteristic of arthritis and aching muscles, bones, and joints.
  • Carrier Oil of your choice: Carrier oils help to dilute essential oils before topical application, as their potency can be harmful when used in high concentrations without dilution. Carrier oils also help essential oils remain on the skin longer without quickly evaporating.

GINGER AND ROSEMARY MASSAGE BALM

Use the following recipe to relieve sore muscles:

INGREDIENTS MEASURE
Cocoa Butter 15 g
Apricot Kernel Oil 85 ml
Lavender Essential Oil 25 drops
Rosemary Essential Oil 20 drops
Ginger Essential Oil 15 drops

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter with the Apricot Kernel Oil.
  2. Let it cool, then add the essential oils and mix thoroughly.
  3. Store in a clean container out of sunlight.

PRECAUTIONS:

  1. Ginger is not suitable for sensitive skins.

  2. Do not use Lavender Oil during pregnancy.

  3. Rosemary Oil should not be used during pregnancy either. Avoid especially if you have a history of epilepsy.

 


 

    • Cocoa Butter: This natural, healing butter is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants that make this velvety moisturizer anti-inflammatory.
    • Apricot Kernel Oil: This fast-absorbing carrier oil softens skin without leaving an oily residue and has a pleasantly nutty aroma. The anti-inflammatory properties of this mild yet rejuvenating oil help relieve sore muscles.
    • Lavender Essential Oil: This anti-inflammatory and analgesic oil is a popular choice for those looking to relieve both emotional and physical stress ranging from sadness to headaches and aching muscles.
    • Rosemary Essential Oil: Blood circulation, which is vital to managing pain, is improved when this analgesic and anti-inflammatory oil is used in massage.
  • Ginger Essential Oil: The Zingibain compound in Ginger makes it anti-inflammatory, which promotes the relief of pain in muscles, bones, and joints. This oil is believed to lessen the number of pain-related compounds in the body called prostaglandin.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Aromatherapy massage is one of the oldest, safest, most effective and natural methods for various types of pain relief.
    • Massage reduces local inflammation, diminishes levels of depression, anxiety, and cortisol, and lowers the heart rate, which leads to feelings of relaxation.
    • Optimal massage effectiveness for certain types of pain is achieved through frequency and consistent dosage.
    • Over 60 Essential Oils have constituents with pain-reducing properties. These include Lavender, Chamomile, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Wintergreen.
  • Therapeutic essential oils that have traditionally been used for pain relief will be used in our recipes. If the pain persists, a visit to your medical practitioner is highly recommended.

Products are for external use only unless otherwise indicated. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or under the care of a medical practitioner.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP

Getting adequate and restful sleep is vital for the maintenance of overall health, as it helps to repair the body’s cells and tissues, to relieve the mind of daily stressors, to restore energy levels, to regulate hormones, and to boost the immune system. When the mind is unable to tune out occupying and stressful thoughts, this can result in an inability to remain asleep or the inability to fall asleep altogether – a condition that is commonly referred to as insomnia.

A total lack of sleep or the absence of restfulness during sleep can have upsetting consequences on mental and physical states, sometimes leading to anxiety or depression in severe cases. Other symptoms of insomnia include a persistent feeling of being tired, sudden feelings of being overwhelmed by daily routines, and brain fatigue. Traditional sleep medication can cause side-effects such as feelings of sluggishness, but aromatherapy massage treatments that use essential oils with relaxing properties can be excellent natural alternatives to promote the onset of sleep.

Throughout history, several popular essential oils have been known to address common causes of insomnia with their relaxing and sedative properties, which relieve stress and nervous tension, two factors that heighten sleeplessness. These essential oils include Lavender, Chamomile, Marjoram, Neroli, Sandalwood, Clary Sage, Rose, and Ylang Ylang. When some of these essential oils are combined in appropriate amounts to create synergistic blends according to personal scent preferences, their effectiveness is enhanced leading to improved sleep patterns and sleep quality.

Once the underlying basis for the sleep issue is identified and addressed, it is easier to select essential oils that respond to the cause and work to assist in recovering from the issue. For example, if profound sadness is the cause for sleeplessness, uplifting citrus oils such as Bergamot or Sweet Orange will help to boost the mood and relax the body, thus reducing the intensity of the negative emotion and promoting the achievement of a restful state.

USING MASSAGE BLENDS FOR SLEEP DISORDERS

Making aromatherapy massage part of a nightly bedtime routine with a partner can be helpful for preparing the mind and body to relax and for inducing sleep through a drug-free approach. The benefit of massage is that it positively influences the body’s chemistry in relation to sleep, as it increases serotonin levels. This chemical neurotransmitter maintains the sleep cycle, moods, appetite, digestion, memory, and libido. A deficiency of serotonin could thus lead to depression. Serotonin is required for the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that relaxes our bodies and encourages the feeling of drowsiness. Massage has, therefore, proven its usefulness in relieving stress and, by extension, sleep disorders.

SLEEP INDUCING MASSAGE BLEND

The following massage blend recipe is just one of the many combinations that may enhance the sleep mood:

INGREDIENTS MEASURE
Lavender Essential Oil 15 drops
Vetiver Essential Oil 10 drops
Frankincense Essential Oil 5 drops
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 5 drops
Orange Essential Oil 5 drops
Carrier Oil
(Fractionated Coconut Oil recommended)
1 Tbsp. carrier oil per 8 drops essential oil blend

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the essential oils.

  2. Dilute by adding the carrier oil.

  3. Store in a dark, clean, glass container out of sunlight when not in use.

 


 

    • Lavender Essential Oil: This relaxing oil improves sleep by reducing feelings of anxiety and emotional distress as well as reducing pulse rates. It also works by promoting a sense of inner peace by diminishing irritability.
    • Vetiver Essential Oil: The aroma of this warming, balancing oil has a grounding and sedative effect on the mind, which decreases obsessive, paranoid, phobic, and anger-induced tendencies. It is known for its ability to stimulate blood circulation and to alleviate aches, pains, and general physical exhaustion. By doing this, it reduces stress and pressure in body and mind.
    • Frankincense Essential Oil: This oil also has a grounding scent and promotes easy breathing. It induces feelings of tranquility, contentment, and relief from the physical and mental efforts of the day, thus proving to have properties that combat depression and anxiety, which are common factors in sleeplessness. It is known to reduce heart rate and blood pressure and to allow the body to reach an ideal body temperature that is conducive to sleep.
    • Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: This oil is thought to have a euphoric effect on the mood, which helps reduce nervous conditions such as anxiety, tension, and palpitations. It is known to reduce high blood pressure and, being beneficial for regulating rapid heartbeats and breathing, it reduces other negative emotions such as anger and frustration.
    • Orange Essential Oil: This oil positively influences the body by providing a sense of upliftment, peacefulness, and cheerfulness. Its ability to alleviate anxiety, anger, and depression makes it beneficial for relaxing muscles, which promotes restfulness, drowsiness, and thus increased sleep duration.
  • Carrier Oil (Fractionated Coconut Oil recommended): This refined, clarified, and deodorized carrier oil is highly stable and moisturizing. It is odorless and leaves a hydrating moisture barrier on the skin without clogging pores.

WINDING DOWN SLEEP MASSAGE BLEND

INGREDIENTS MEASURE
Pine Essential Oil 4 drops
Marjoram Essential Oil 4 drops
Melissa Essential Oil 4 drops
Cinnamon Essential Oil 1 drop
Carrier Oil of your choice 15 ml

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the essential oils.

  2. Dilute by adding the carrier oil.

  3. Store in a dark, clean, glass container out of sunlight when not in use.

 


 

    • Pine Essential Oil: The refreshing aroma of this relaxing oil is known to calm the nerves by boosting positive emotions and enhancing alertness and concentration. Used in massage, it soothes muscles and joints, which promotes better sleep.
    • Marjoram Essential Oil: This sedative oil promotes a sense of relief from nervous stress. By lowering blood pressure and easing the tension that comes with hyperactivity, loneliness, and grief, it eliminates several factors attributed to causing insomnia.
    • Melissa Essential Oil: The sweet citrus scent of this oil provides a soothing feeling of relaxation, which aids in relieving anxiety. It leaves the skin feeling rejuvenated and the mind feeling fresh.
    • Cinnamon Essential Oil: The warm, comforting aroma of this oil reduces the heavy feelings associated with negative emotions such as depression. It shows anti-inflammatory activities while helping to relax muscles and boost circulation.
  • Carrier Oil of your choice: Carrier oils help to dilute essential oils before topical application, as their potency can be harmful when used in high concentrations without dilution. Carrier oils also help essential oils remain on the skin longer without quickly evaporating.

Products are for external use only unless otherwise indicated. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or under the care of a medical practitioner.

IN ESSENCE…

    • A lack of restful sleep often has a negative impact on mental and physical states, sometimes leading to anxiety or depression in severe cases.
    • Due to their relaxing and sedative properties, Lavender, Sandalwood, Rose, and Ylang Ylang are some of the popular essential oils known to address common sleep issues.
    • To further enhance the effectiveness of essential oils meant to promote better sleep, the oils can be combined in synergistic blends according to personal scent preferences.
    • Massage increases the chemical neurotransmitter that maintains the sleep cycle, moods, appetite, digestion, memory, and libido.
  • Aromatherapy massage as part of a nightly bedtime routine with a partner is a drug-free approach to preparing the mind and body for sleep.

A GUIDE TO COCOA BUTTER

Most commonly identified as the ingredient that gives chocolate its substance, consistency, and melting property, Cocoa Butter is a rich natural fat derived from the cacao beans contained inside the pods of the Cacao Tree. This botanical is also recognized as the Cacao Tree and the Chocolate Tree, the latter name being derived from the Mayan term “Xocolatl” – their word for chocolate, which they derived from the Cacao tree. The difference between the words Cocoa and Cacao is that Cacao is the name given to the raw, unprocessed beans found in their fruit pods, whereas Cocoa is the name given to the beans after they have been harvested and processed.

Cocoa itself has been given several nicknames, the most common one being Theobroma, meaning Food of the Gods. The word ‘chocolate’ is derived from the Aztec word Cacahuatl, meaning “black nut,” “cacao fruit,” or “gods’ food.” Cacahuatl is the same name that was given to the human hearts that were offered as sacrifices to the gods or to the sun, in order to appease them. Chocolate was also used to sanctify the commencement of these sacrifices. For the Mayans, the Cacao tree was similarly believed to have a divine origin and to not only span the wide separation between Heaven and Earth in order to connect the two but to also preserve life while representing a portal to death.

In West Africa, where more than half of the world’s commercial cocoa is produced, and in parts of Central and South America as well as in the Caribbean – countries to which they are indigenous – Cacao beans have been harvested for centuries to create Cocoa Butter. This smooth emollient with a mild aroma has been used for centuries as a moisturizer that heals and protects skin and hair that is exposed to the harsh effects of the sun and the wind. For years, this pale-yellow, edible vegetable fat has been used in the manufacturing of toiletries and pharmaceuticals. Cocoa Butter has also been used traditionally for culinary purposes, such as in the production of chocolate, of which the butter is also a by-product. Aside from its culinary and medicinal applications, Cacao beans were used as currency and continue to be used as such in parts of South America.

As early as 1500-400 BC, the community of The Olmecs discovered that the Cacao tree’s fruits were not only edible but that the fruit could be processed for a multitude of purposes that all resulted in the creation of different flavors along the course of their development. One of the first discoveries made about the Cacao tree’s fruit was that crushing its beans and mixing them with water, spices, chilies, and herbs produced a drink that they referred to as Chocolate, a bitter beverage often reserved for priests, royalty, and other members of the elite classes. In 600 BC and in 400 AD, the Mayans and the Aztecs respectively established effective techniques for cultivating Cacao, which came to symbolize abundance. Cacao beans eventually began to be used as both a monetary unit and a measuring unit. Aztec religious rituals often involved offerings of Cacao beans to the god Quetzalcoatl, who was believed to have gifted humanity with the Cacao tree, which had previously been reserved for only the gods. The beans were also offered in rituals dedicated to the Mayan patron saint of Cacao as well as in funerals of noblemen.

Over time, the Cacao fruit came to be known for its medicinal properties, being used to address intestinal infections and diarrhea, to regulate the thyroid, to reduce secretions, and to work as a mild stimulant. The tree’s young leaves were found to be advantageous for disinfecting wounds, while the peels of the beans were applied in remedies for diabetes as well as ailments affecting the liver, bladder, and kidneys. Cacao beans and leaves were brewed into concoctions for addressing cough, asthma, colic, loss of appetite, weakness, malaria, fractures, parasites, pneumonia, and poisoning. Lastly, the butter made of the beans was used to soothe and relieve fatigue, split lip, uncomfortable skin conditions, and burns.

According to historical sources, in 1502 Columbus and his crew became the first Europeans to come in contact with Cacao beans. The story goes that in the Bay of Honduras during the fourth voyage, they first spotted what would eventually come to be known as “Brown Gold” at the bottom of a canoe, which belonged to the aboriginals of New Spain, who used the beans as currency – money that literally grew on trees. Having been mistaken for almonds, the potential value of the beans could not be predicted or appreciated, thus they went dismissed.

Despite Columbus and his crew being the first to find the beans, it was the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez, who introduced the Cacao tree to Europe. It is believed that while visiting the Aztec community, he shared a chocolate drink with their emperor, after which he introduced the drink and its brewing equipment to the Spanish court in 1528. At this time, chocolate was still not foreseen to be a potentially significant international trade commodity, but after winning the war against Native tribes and after the collapse of the Aztec civilization, Cortez increased his efforts to cultivate the Cacao tree in New Spain, intending to develop a profitable trade with Europe.

The cultivation of Cacao trees in Europe soon migrated East, eventually allowing them to become an international botanical. In 1828, a scientist named Conrad Von Houten invented the Cocoa press to extract a purer chocolate. It was during the Cacao bean pressing process that Cocoa Butter was discovered.

COCOA BUTTER BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Cocoa Butter are Oleic Acids, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Arachidic Acid, Palmitoleic Acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, alpha-Linolenic Acid, and Phytosterols (namely Stigmasterol).

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain
  • Impact the hardness or softness of the butter

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin
  • Provides the butter with a solid consistency

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

LINOLEIC ACID (OMEGA 6/Vitamin F) is known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
  • Soothe and promote the healing of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis
  • Slow the look of premature aging

ARACHIDIC ACID is known to:

  • Enhance and promote muscle gain/mass by boosting the body’s inflammatory responses
  • Boost immunity
  • Ease symptoms of depression
  • Soothe pain and discomfort associated with arthritis
  • Reduce weight

PALMITOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Delay the appearance of premature aging
  • Moisturize and tighten the skin
  • Promote the growth of shiny hair
  • Enhance the brightness of the complexion
  • Boost the growth of healthy-looking nails
  • Enhance skin elasticity to prevent symptoms of premature aging, such as wrinkles

VITAMIN E is known to:

  • Have antioxidant properties that slow the look of aging and boost circulation
  • Repair scarred and blemished skin
  • Prevent moisture loss from skin and hair
  • Offer soothing relief to skin that has been burned
  • Deeply cleanse pores and balance oil production

VITAMIN K is known to:

  • Boost the body’s ability to clot blood, thereby facilitating the healing of wounds and bruises
  • Reduce swelling and bruising
  • Helping prevent acne and reduce the appearance of scars caused by acne
  • Slow the look of aging by preventing wrinkles
  • Regenerate hair strands and promote regrowth

ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-3) is known to:

  • Lessen inflammation
  • Control blood clotting on the skin
  • Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility

PHYTOSTEROLS (STIGMASTEROL) is known to:

  • Have skin lightening properties
  • Effectively soften dry, brittle hair
  • Ease frizzy hair
  • Have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Exhibit anti-aging effects
  • Improve blood circulation

Used topically, Cocoa Butter melts at body temperature and works to naturally soothe dry, sensitive skin while reducing and preventing the appearance of scars and unwanted marks. Its richness in vitamins and anti-oxidants makes it ideal for use as a moisturizer that promotes skin health and relieves the itching, chapping, peeling, or burning discomfort associated with conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. By creating a protective barrier between skin and the harsh, weathering environmental elements, Cocoa Butter’s saturated fats allow the skin to retain its required moisture, thereby restoring the health of remaining on the skin for hours despite being easily absorbed. The polyphenols in Cocoa Butter are known to diminish the appearance of aging by enhancing skin’s moisture content, skin tone, elasticity, and collagen production. By virtue of these polyphenols, Cocoa Butter is reputed to avert skin sensitivities, damage, and degeneration. By deeply penetrating skin to offer intense hydration, Cocoa Butter boosts dermal circulation while facilitating the reparation of damaged skin as well as the growth of newer, healthier skin that looks and feels younger, softer, and smoother. Cocoa Butter is believed to have photoprotective properties that serve to protect the skin from harmful UV radiation. It can also be used to protect against frostbite or even indoor heat.

Used in hair, Cocoa Butter moisturizes to strengthen strands and make them more manageable, which in turn prevents breakage and subsequent hair loss. While repairing damaged strands, Cocoa Butter prevents further damage while also replenishing the naturally-occurring oils found in the hair and scalp. By offering intense moisture to the scalp, Cocoa Butter soothes the itchy, flaky, inflamed conditions characteristic of dandruff. For most types of hair, Cocoa Butter makes an effective conditioning hot-oil treatment and, when styling hair, it can be used as a nourishing pomade that reduces frizz, adds shine, intensifies resilience, boosts thickness, and adds volume and strength without weighing the hair down.

Used medicinally, Cocoa Butter works as an anti-inflammatory moisturizer that offers relief to skin afflicted with the swelling, irritation, and redness characteristic of conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and rashes. Cocoa Butter is reputed to naturally enhance the body’s immunity by promoting relaxation. This, in turn, facilitates stress relief by decreasing the feelings of fatigue that can often weaken immunity. Cocoa Butter is gentle enough to use for soothing burns and infections without causing further sensitivities.

Cocoa Butter is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC:  Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Stimulant, Nutritive, Detoxifying, Revivifying, Moisturizing, Anti-Aging, Rejuvenating.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Stimulant, Nutritive, Detoxifying, Revivifying, Moisturizing, Anti-Septic, Aphrodisiac, Bactericidal, Emmenagogue, Antispasmodic, Nervine, Uplifting.

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY COCOA BUTTER

The Theobroma cacao botanical, better known as the Cacao Tree, is indigenous to South America’s Amazon basin where it thrives in the hot, damp, still air characteristic of tropical climates. It can be found growing in the rainforest’s understory layer of vegetation among the shrubs, seedlings, young trees, palms, and vines. The Cacao tree is also often found along rivers. When manually planted and cultivated, it is often restricted to regions with steady rainfall year-round or is planted with other crops like Banana trees, Cassava (Tapioca) trees, or other trees with large leaves that will protect it much like it is protected in the forest by the upper layers of growth, such as the canopy layer. Conversely, Cacao trees are grown in full sun in Malaysia and Indonesia, although they are given shade in the process of establishment. Although the trees can live for up to 100 years, those that are cultivated are considered to be economically productive for approximately 60 years.

For optimal growth, Cacao trees require a minimum temperature of 18-21°C (64-70°F) and a maximum of 30-32°C (86-90°F). Cacao trees cultivated for commercial production are restricted to regions where the coldest months have an average minimum temperature of 13°C (55°F), as temperatures lower than this, especially on numerous consecutive nights, can potentially lead to reduced yields. It can also cause defoliation, which is the loss of leaves, or dieback, which is when a plant begins to die from the tips of its leaves going inward, due to the unfavorable environmental conditions. Cacao trees are able to grow on a wide range of soil types but prefer moist soils that are well-drained or that have free-draining mixes and that have a pH close to 6.5.

The Cacao tree can reach a height of up to 20 m. A mature tree grown from a seed has a root system that is comprised of surface lateral roots in the top 20 cm of the soil. As they spread outward horizontally, the roots can form a dense surface feeding “mat” as wide as 5-6 m. Below this layer, the tree has taproots that grow vertically downward to a length of 2 m. This deciduous tree loses its smooth, glossy, oblong, bright green leaves but experiences spurts of new leaf growth 2-4 times per year. When the leaves are still young, they hang vertically and are a flashy shade of red, which makes them less likely to be negatively impacted by damage caused by the intensity of the tropical sun. At the bases of the leaves, there are nodes that change their stiffness according to the temperatures. This allows Cacao leaves to rotate their leaves horizontally as required, in order to get better access to sunlight and to protect other young leaves.

When grown from seed, Cacao saplings form a single vertical main stem called a “Chupon,” which grows to 1.5 m before spreading into layers forming 3-5 branches that collectively comprise a “Jorquette.” These groups of branches grow outward on an angle, forming a fan shape. Upright Chupons or “Suckers” begin to develop below the Jorquettes, growing upward through the fan branches and forming more coiling arrangements of branches. As the tree develops several layers of Jorquettes, each one sequentially weakens and fades out.

When the tree is at least 2-3 years of age, thousands of white flowers develop from the “cushions” – small swellings in the wood – found on the main stem and the fan branches. The flowers are pollinated by insects, mainly midges, and occasionally by bats. The Cacao tree has unusual growth in that it has flowers and fruits at the same time. On Cacao plantations, out of 1000 flowers, only 3 are pollinated and fertilized to grow into fruit. Flowers that are not pollinated will die within 24 hours.

The flowers that are successfully pollinated will form Cacao pods. Due to the high volume of fruit pods produced by the tree – a number so high that it prevents all of the fruits from being carried until maturity – the fruit’s natural thinning mechanism allows young fruits, the “Cherelles,” to stop growing. They begin to blacken and shrivel, a process called Cherelle Wilt; however, they do not fall off the tree. This often makes the tree appear to be diseased, although that may not necessarily be the case. The remaining pods ripen 6 months after pollination but do not fall off the tree either. During the ripening process, most pods change in color from green or deep red to yellow or orange. Some species’ mature pods retain their green color. Often spherical or oblong in shape and with 5-10 longitudinal ridges, the appearance of Cacao pods can be likened to an American football. Cacao beans are further propagated when small mammals such as monkeys break the Cacao pods to eat the fruit pulp, leaving the beans scattered on the ground.

Cacao pods are harvested manually, sometimes over the course of several months, with some growing regions potentially having pods available for harvest year-round. Pulling the Cacao pods off the trees can potentially result in damage to the flower cushion or the bark, thus the pods are typically cut from the trees with the aid of machetes or knives.

cocoaparts

HOW IS COCOA BUTTER EXTRACTED?

There are 2 stages at which Cocoa Butter can begin to be processed from the seeds/beans: Before Germination and After Germination. Cacao seeds that are processed before they have begun to germinate will produce ordinary Cocoa Butter, ranging in color from off-white or light beige to pale-yellow. It may retain the tempting scent of chocolate. On the other hand, Cacao beans that are processed after they are allowed to germinate will produce Black Cocoa Butter, which has the brown color of chocolate and the aroma of roasted cacao.

After the Cacao beans have been harvested, fermented, cleaned, dried, and shelled, they are roasted. Next, they are ground into small bits called “nibs” or into a fine powder, which is added to boiling water and stirred to ensure thorough blending. During the boiling process, the vegetable fat of the Cacao beans rises to the water’s surface and is collected into containers. As this oil cools, it solidifies.

Alternatively, the beans can be pressed or cold-pressed. This involves the groundmass of Cacao beans being placed inside a hydraulic press machine that extracts the liquid known as Cacao Oil, from which Cocoa Butter is produced. The solids that remain inside the press machine are referred to as the Cocoa Cake, which is processed to make Cocoa powder. Cocoa Butter that undergoes Degumming, Bleaching, and Deodorizing is known as Refined Cocoa Butter.

 

QUALITY  PROPERTIES 
Unrefined(Raw/Pure/Organic) This variety…

  • Is Cocoa Butter in its rawest form
  • Is not heated at high temperatures during manufacturing processes, thus it typically retains more of the protective fatty acids, antioxidants, and valuable nutrients found in Cacao beans
  • Is ideal for extra sensitive, dry skin and skin afflicted with conditions like eczema
  • Helps restore skin moisture and health
  • Does not contain alcohol, fragrances/perfumes, or other additives, thereby preventing further inflammation on irritated skin
  • Is gentle enough to be used as a natural remedy for dermatitis or rashes
  • Offers the greatest number of skin and health benefits
  • Is lighter in color (creamy yellow) compared to the deeper yellow of commercial cocoa butters
  • Has the strong distinct aroma of chocolate
  • Resembles margarine in appearance
Refined  This variety…

  • Is colorless and odorless, making it easier to integrate into natural cosmetic recipes
Ultra-Refined  This variety…

  • Is bright white in color
  • Does not have the scent of chocolate
  • Still retains the beneficial properties of Unrefined Cocoa Butter
  • Is stable and emollient
  • Can be added to formulas that are intended to be odorless
  • Blends well with cosmetics that have floral/“designer” fragrances
  • Can be applied in the same manner as Unrefined Cocoa Butter

USES OF COCOA BUTTER

The uses of Cocoa Butter are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils and balms, tanning oils, lotions, creams, soaps, lip balms, lipsticks, shampoos and other hair care products, and ointments or salves.

Used topically, Cocoa Butter can be applied directly to the skin to hydrate and prevent dryness and peeling. The hardness and brittleness of Cocoa Butter can be softened by warming its container in a bowl of hot water to make the butter more spreadable. Alternatively, for a more liquid texture, it can be combined with carrier oils like Coconut, Castor or Jojoba. These blends – specifically Cocoa Butter combined with Jojoba Oil – are reputed to be beneficial for removing dead skin cells and addressing stretch marks, scars, sunburns, and signs of maturing skin.

Cocoa Butter can be applied directly to the skin as a lip balm that heals chapping and protects against harmful UV radiation as well as harsh cold temperatures. To create a natural lip balm that has the additional benefits of essential oils, simply combine and melt 1 tsp. grated Cocoa Butter, ½ tsp. grated Beeswax, and ½ tsp. Unrefined Sunflower Carrier Oil (Walnut and Almond Carrier Oils can be substituted) over low heat in the microwave or on the stove. Once the blend has melted, pour it into lip balm tins, allowing them to set until they solidify. This lip balm can be applied as required.

A small amount of Cocoa Butter can be applied to skin afflicted with burns, rashes, or infections to soothe and replenish skin. Cocoa Butter can be applied to the skin as a soap replacement for a silky-smooth shave that prevents nicks, or it can be applied afterward to soften the skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Applied as a lotion after a shower, Cocoa Butter promotes skin health and elasticity while smoothing out rough patches of skin, especially on the elbows and knees. Used in a natural manicure procedure, it can moisturize and soften dry cuticles. For a bath that leaves skin feeling silky and soft, a small chunk of Cocoa Butter can be melted into hot bath water.

To incorporate Cocoa Butter into a natural exfoliating scrub, mix 1/8 cup melted Cocoa Butter with ½ cup Brown Sugar, 3 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder, and ¼ cup Sweet Almond Carrier Oil before rubbing it in gentle circular motions on the skin. This will remove dead skin cells and leave skin looking radiant.

For a creamy, whipped Body Butter that softens and soothes dry, itchy skin, combine and melt ½ cup Cocoa Butter, ½ cup Shea Butter, ½ cup Organic Coconut Carrier Oil, and ½ cup Almond Carrier Oil stirring constantly. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool before adding 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil. Allow the mixture to harden in the fridge for 1 hour, then use a hand mixer to whip it until the texture is fluffy. Return this whipped butter to the fridge for 15 minutes before transferring it to a glass jar for an easier topical application.

Used in hair, Cocoa Butter can reduce frizz if a dime-sized amount is smoothed directly onto the strands before styling. It makes an ideal pre-shower conditioning treatment if melted before being applied to the hair; however, this hot oil treatment should not be left on the hair for longer than 20 minutes, as it will solidify at room temperature. This means it can potentially harden in the hair and become difficult to wash out. To use Cocoa Butter as a hair conditioner in the shower, it can be melted and added to a regular conditioner, or a nickel-size amount can be applied directly to the ends of the hair and left in for up to 4 minutes before being washed out. To prevent hair from looking and feeling greasy and heavy, avoid applying plain Cocoa Butter directly to the scalp.

For a more liquid leave-in hair conditioner, 2 Tbsp. of Cocoa Butter can be combined with 1 Tbsp. of Coconut Carrier Oil and melted thoroughly together in a double-boiler. Add 1 Tbsp. of Jojoba Carrier Oil to this mix and allow the blend to cool until it begins to harden. Before it becomes completely solidified, whip the blend with a hand blender for up to 5 minutes before applying it to the hair. Strands will feel softer and more manageable, and wavy or curly hair will appear to be more defined. For an overnight Coca Butter hair conditioner, combine and melt ½ cup Cocoa Butter, 2 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Oil, and 2 Tsp. Vitamin E liquid, stirring constantly. Remove the blend from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before transferring it to an airtight container. Next, add 6 drops Vanilla Essential Oil to the container and freeze the blend for 15 minutes. After the container has been taken out and the mix has been allowed to soften, it can be applied to clean, dry hair before bed and rinsed out in the morning. As an overnight treatment, this blend will relieve and reduce dandruff, add shine, and strengthen hair follicles to prevent breakage and loss. Alternatively, it can be applied to hair as a styling product like mousse.

Used medicinally, Cocoa Butter soothes wounds, burns, and skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, rashes when applied directly to the affected areas. Applied in a therapeutic massage, it may even relieve the body of feelings of fatigue. To enhance the body’s natural immunity, blend 60 g (2 oz.) of Cocoa Butter with 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil, 5 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, 5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil, and 5 drops of Jojoba Carrier Oil before massaging it into the preferred area of skin. For a Cocoa Butter blend with medicinal and protective properties that also work to boost collagen retention for healthier skin, blend ½ cup of Cocoa Butter with ½ cup of Shea Butter, ½ cup of Coconut Oil, and ½ cup of Olive Carrier Oil. A few drops of any essential oil can be added for scent, but this step is optional. This blend can be gently massaged into the skin then washed off after 15 minutes.

A GUIDE TO COCOA BUTTER VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

COCOA BUTTER (POYA BRAND) 
Is known to…

  • Be off-white in color
  • Have a soft, velvety texture and a pleasant chocolatey aroma
  • Have emollient properties that make it an ideal ingredient for a moisturizer
  • Readily melt into skin and lock in moisture to keep it hydrated
  • Be rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols
  • Be rich in fatty acids such as Stearic, Palmitic, and Oleic acids
  • Help protect the skin’s moisture barrier
  • Protect the skin against the harsh effects of environmental elements
  • Reduce the appearance of scars, improve skin tone, and boost the overall feel of skin
  • Promote skin elasticity and suppleness
  • Have superior soothing properties
COCOA BUTTER – ULTRA REFINED – DEODORIZED 
Is known to…

  • Be processed and refined to obtain a white, scent-free butter
  • Be solid and hard at room temperature
  • Melts on contact with the skin
  • Reduce dryness
  • Improve skin elasticity
  • Make an ideal ointment base
  • Smooth the skin and prevent dehydration
  • Slow the look of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines
  • Address dry, chapping, peeling, burning skin
  • Nourish hair, boost its growth, and reduce hair fall
  • Be an ideal ingredient in natural lotions, creams, lip balms, bar soaps, hair conditioners, and body butters
COCOA BUTTER – PURE PRIME PRESSED – CRUDE 
 

Is known to…

  • Be carefully processed to maintain its purity and natural properties
  • Be one of the most stable fats
  • Soothe and moisturize skin that has been exposed to the elements to keep it supple
  • Be an excellent ingredient in recipes for lotion bars, lip balms, body butters, and soaps
  • Contain natural antioxidants that prevent rancidity
  • Have a hard consistency at room temperature
  • Melt at body temperature
  • Have a medium to strong scent like a strong, bitter chocolate
  • Be an organic virgin butter
  • Retain the characteristic soft, sweet scent of chocolate
  • Be widely used in the cosmetic and soap industries
  • Be beneficial for reducing the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles
  • Be ideal for manufacturing candles and skin products such as moisturizers and lip balms
COCOA ORGANIC BUTTER 
Is known to…

  • Be suitable for use in organic cosmetics and toiletries
  • Be from the organically grown fruit of the Theobroma cacao botanical
  • Be processed and refined to produce a white, odorless butter
  • Be solid at room temperature
  • Melt readily on contact with the skin

Cosmetic butters are for external use only. Cocoa Butter should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all butters, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or other generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime size amount of Cocoa Butter to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the butter is safe to use. Individuals with allergies to nuts are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to Cocoa Butter and should avoid its use.

Potential side effects of Cocoa Butter include skin irritation, hives, itching, red and bumpy skin rashes, swelling, adult acne, peeling, and blistering that feels like a burn. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent these side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Cocoa Butter is a rich natural fat derived from the cacao beans contained inside the pods of the Cocoa/Cacao Tree.
    • Cacao is the name given to the raw, unprocessed beans found in their fruit pods, whereas Cocoa is the name given to the beans after they have been harvested and processed.
    • Used topically, Cocoa Butter melts at body temperature and works to naturally soothe dry, sensitive skin while reducing and preventing the appearance of scars and unwanted marks. It is believed to have photoprotective properties that protect against harmful UV radiation.
    • Used in hair, Cocoa Butter moisturizes strands to make them more manageable. While repairing damage, Cocoa Butter replenishes naturally-occurring oils, adds volume and shine, boosts strength and resilience, increases thickness, and reduces frizz.
  • Used medicinally, Cocoa Butter works as an anti-inflammatory moisturizer that offers relief to skin afflicted with swelling, irritation, and redness. It is reputed to enhance the body’s immunity by promoting relaxation, and it is gentle enough to use for on burns and infections without causing further sensitivities.

Rejuvenate with Mango Butter

Considered to be India’s “King of Fruits,” the Mangifera indica botanical – better known as the Mango Tree – yields a fruit containing the source of the emollient known as Mango Butter. Other names by which it is called include Mango Kernel Fat and Mango Oil. “Manna,” the Malayalam word for the fruit, was adopted as “Manga” by the Portuguese, who traveled to Kerala in 1498 for the spice trade. “Mango,” the English and Spanish name for the fruit, is most likely derived from this.

In Asia and South-East Asia, the Mango fruit has been used in traditional medicine for its healing, moisturizing, and rejuvenating properties. In the medicinal system of Ayurveda, the Mangifera indica herb has been used for over 4000 years with the belief that it had the ability to strengthen the heart, improve brain activity, and increase the body’s immunity. The natural fat derived from the fruit’s seeds is what is referred to as the butter, which shares the same reputation as its fruit source.

The national fruit of India, Mangoes are deeply intertwined with the country’s folklore and religious ceremonies. According to historical sources, Akbar the Great, the most well-known Mughal Emperor, planted around 100,000 mango trees in India’s Eastern parts. According to the Buddhist view, it is believed that a high-class courtesan donated her Mango grove to the Buddha and his companions so that they might have a place to rest. In this orchard, the Buddha continued to teach his monks lessons on the topics of concentration, morality, and wisdom.

Mango trees have been cultivated and harvested in India for thousands of years and were introduced to the Western Hemisphere around 1700, after initially being planted in Brazil. Around 1740, they were introduced to the West Indies, and eventually, they made their way to the Americas. In the 1930s, Mango Butter was one of the fats that were considered for use as an alternative to Cocoa Butter in the context of creating confectionary products; however, further studies showed that its significant amounts of tocopherol, phytosterols, and triterpenes also contributed to its potential as an effective ingredient for natural cosmetic formulations.

BENEFITS OF USING MANGO BUTTER

The main chemical constituents of Mango Butter are Oleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Arachidic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain
  • Impact the hardness or softness of the butter

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin
  • Provides the butter with a solid consistency

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

LINOLEIC ACID (OMEGA 6/Vitamin F) is known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
  • Soothe and promote the healing of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis
  • Slow the look of premature aging

ARACHIDIC ACID is known to:

  • Enhance and promote muscle gain/mass by boosting the body’s inflammatory responses
  • Boost immunity
  • Ease symptoms of depression
  • Soothe pain and discomfort associated with arthritis
  • Reduce weight

VITAMIN A is known to:

  • Protect skin against damage caused by UV radiation
  • Slow the appearance of aging by smoothing wrinkles and fine lines
  • Stimulate production of collagen
  • Stimulate cells regeneration to keep skin healthy, strong, and firm
  • Facilitate faster healing of wounds
  • Protect skin against toxins and bacteria and promotes cell production, thus boosting immunity
  • Lighten unwanted blemishes and dark spots, thus balancing skin tone to create an even glow
  • Slow the production of oil in the skin and clears pores, thereby preventing acne breakouts

VITAMIN C is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Promote collagen synthesis that gives skin a smoother appearance
  • Help reduce and soothe damage caused by ultraviolet radiation
  • Brighten and even out skin tone
  • Shield skin from the noticeable effects of pollution
  • Significantly improve skin’s moisture content, thus sustaining a youthful look for a longer period of time

VITAMIN E is known to:

  • Have antioxidant properties that slow the look of aging and boost circulation
  • Repair scarred and blemished skin
  • Prevent moisture loss from skin and hair
  • Offer soothing relief to skin that has been burned
  • Deeply cleanse pores and balance oil production

Used topically, Mango Butter’s creamy, long-lasting emollience nourishes skin and boosts its elasticity as well as its suppleness, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and tightening skin for a firmer appearance. Its high vitamin content protects skin against harsh environmental stressors and damage caused by overexposure to harmful UV radiation. Its ability to easily melt on skin contact and penetrate into the skin without leaving a greasy residue makes Mango Butter an ideal ingredient in sun care products, balms, and hair care products such as those intended to control frizz. Its gentle quality makes it an ideal ingredient in baby moisturizers and products for sensitive skin.

Mango Butter is known to boost skin’s luster and natural radiance while reducing the appearance of dark spots. Along with softening and soothing properties, it cleanses the skin’s surface of impurities and unblocks pores. The anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties of Mango Butter make it an effective soothing agent for skin afflicted by dryness, eczema, and dermatitis. By restoring and maintaining moisture levels and by boosting cell regeneration, Mango Butter leaves skin looking plump, thereby promoting a rejuvenated, revitalized appearance.

Used in hair, Mango Butter works as an effective scalp conditioner that seals in moisture and reduces breakage and hair loss by strengthening hair follicles. It protects hair from drying, thereby controlling frizz and boosting volume to keep it looking and feeling soft, lush, and lustrous. By sustaining moisture and promoting cell regeneration, Mango Butter encourages the growth of stronger, healthier hair. When applied to hair before sun exposure, Mango Butter is known to exhibit sun protectant properties to help guard the strands against the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Used medicinally, Mango Butter works as an agent that facilitates the process of eliminating toxins, dirt, pollution, and other impurities from the skin. Its soothing quality makes it ideal for use on skin afflicted by itching, stinging, burning, and stretch marks. When used in a therapeutic massage, Mango Butter penetrates gently yet deeply into the skin and applies its soothing power to tense and aching muscles. Due to its non-comedogenic property, Mango Butter can benefit acne-prone and oily skin, when used as a facial moisturizer.

 Mango Butter is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Regenerative, Protective, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Aging, Softening, Soothing, Moisturizing.
  • MEDICINAL: Regenerative, Protective, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Aging, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Microbial, Analgesic.

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY MANGO BUTTER

Native to India and has been around for the same approximate length as Ayurvedic medicine, Mango trees belong to the Anacardiaceae family along with cashews and pistachios. Mango trees grow in approximately 1000 varieties and have become a multi-national botanical that can be found throughout various sub-tropical and tropical lowlands around the world, including the Americas, Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa, Indonesia, and China.

Mango trees are typically propagated by chip budding, approach grafting, and veneer grafting found to be thriving in sandy loam soil types with adequate drainage. They may also be cultivated in landscapes ranging from coastal regions to midlands. They will not grow particularly well in heavy, wet soils. For optimal growth, they require a pH between 5.2 and 7.5.

Saplings of this evergreen tree produce leaves that are reddish brown. Once they mature, the leaves turn dark green and the trees can grow to a height of 130 feet. The inflorescence of approximately 3000 small, fragrant flowers – usually white-red or yellow-green in color – begins to grow in bunches at different times of the year, depending on the individual tree’s region of growth and its required climatic conditions. One tree produces both male and female flowers, which produce the succulent Mango fruit.

The matured fruit – considered to be a drupe – comes in a variety of color combinations, including the following: yellow, green, yellow and green, red and green, red and yellow, and orange. The shape of the fruit also varies and can include round, heart, oval, or kidney shapes. Pre- and post-harvest conditions such as grafting, fertilization, pruning, and pest control affect the final quality of Mangoes in terms of their size, taste, essential nutrients, vitamins, and mineral content. Factors that negatively impact Mango quality include pests, disease, inopportune harvesting time, ripening conditions, and a lack of appropriate storage facilities.

Depending on the variety of tree and the weather conditions, Mango fruits can begin to ripen 3-5 months after flowering. The fruit is made up of a thick outer Skin, known as the Epicarp or Exocarp. This protects the thick, yellow, fleshy Mesocarp or the Pulp layer inside. The single hard, flat inner Endocarp is commonly referred to as the Stone or the Pit. This contains a single inner Endosperm commonly referred to as the Seed, which is oblong or ovoid in shape and covered in a Seed Coat.

mango_parts

Generally, Mangoes are harvested while in a firm yet mature stage of greenness, often ripening further after being harvested and during the transport and storage phases of production. Some varieties of Mango fruits are considered mature when the fruit’s skin has a slight blush to its color and its pulp has changed in color from white to yellow. It is legitimately mature when the “nose” or the Beak – the pointy tip at the opposite end of the stem – has rounded out.

The ideal harvest practice that achieves optimal fruit quality is the method of removing fruits from the trees by hand-picking them rather than beating them with sticks to make them drop to the ground. If the fruits are harvested incorrectly, their stems may release a milky sap called Latex, which is produced by the tree and which begins to congeal when exposed to air. If latex is left on the fruit’s skin, the skin will turn black. In order to reduce the amount of latex, the fruits should be detached from their trees with small amounts of the stems remaining attached to the fruits. As an alternative to handpicking the fruits, harvesting machinery may also be used. One commonly used machine is made up of a pouch that has a divider and scissors or a knife at the front of the pouch. The pouch is placed directly below the fruit in order to catch it the moment its stem is placed between the divider and the scissors/knife cut through the stalk. The collected fruits travel through a nylon chute and into collection containers. To prevent the fruits from bruising from impact, they are stored in boxes or crates rather than sacks.

HOW IS MANGO BUTTER EXTRACTED?

Mango Butter is typically extracted by Expeller- or Cold-Pressing de-shelled Mango fruit seeds. The oil-bearing Mango seeds are placed inside a hydraulic press machine. They undergo high pressure and friction in order to release their oils, which seep through small openings at the bottom of the pressing barrel. These openings are small enough to prevent Mango fibers from leaving the barrel. The resultant butter is light in color with a faint scent that retains its nutritive value.

Mango Butter may also be obtained through Solvent Extraction: First, the seeds are collected and washed immediately with water. Next, they are dried under the sun to reduce their moisture content. After being roasted inside a drum roaster, they have their hulls removed mechanically. Alternatively, they are manually beaten with wooden clubs. The seed pieces are sent to a hammer mill where they are placed into a pellet-making machine and turned into pellets. These are placed inside a cooler, then they are transported to the plant for solvent extraction.

After the Mango Butter has been extracted from the fruit seeds, it is heated and boiled to a rich and creamy consistency. The final product is solid at room temperature with a consistency that resembles slightly firmer Jojoba esters. Melting easily with body heat, Mango Butter’s light yet protective moisturizing layer is easily absorbed by the skin, leaving it feeling satiny rather than greasy. The subtle, slightly sweet and fatty scent of Mango Butter is not like the fruit, as it is derived from the seed rather than the fruit’s flesh. Mango Butter that undergoes Bleaching and Deodorizing is known as Refined Mango Butter. Its color ranges from whitish or creamy to slightly yellowish.

USES OF MANGO BUTTER

The uses of Mango Butter are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils, massage creams, and massage balms, lotions, creams, gels, ointments or salves, soaps, lip balms, lipsticks, sun care, foot care, shampoos, conditioners, hot-oil treatments, and other hair care products.

Used topically, Mango Butter protects skin against the harsh effects of environmental elements, effectively reduces the formation and appearance of wrinkles, and helps repair dry, damaged skin. Mango Butter can be applied directly to matured, cracking, peeling, chapping, irritated, itchy, rough, or tough skin. Applied as is, it is ideal for skin conditions requiring deep hydration and conditioning to heal faster. It can be applied to skin that will be or has been exposed or overexposed to the sun. It can also be applied directly to insect bites, rashes, and eczema to soothe itching and to facilitate the healing of minor cuts or cracks caused by dryness. The light texture of Mango Butter and its non-comedogenic property makes it an ideal moisturizer for the face and neck.

Mango Butter can be used directly as a mild lotion or cream, even on sensitive skin. Furthermore, to enhance its ability to boost skin’s sebum secretion, which in turn promotes younger and softer skin, Mango Butter can be blended with a natural carrier oil such as Jojoba. For a moisturizing alternative to soap, skin can be washed with Mango Butter in the shower, or it can be used as an alternative to shaving cream. To prevent stretch marks with Mango Butter, combine it with equal parts of Coconut Carrier Oil and massage it onto the affected areas.

To reduce the appearance of blemishes and dark spots with Mango Butter, it can be added to a regular moisturizer. Alternatively, it can be made into a spot treatment balm: Combine 2 Tbsp. of Mango Butter, ½ tsp. of Rosehip Essential Oil, and ¼ tsp. Vitamin E liquid inside a 4 oz. jar, then mix the ingredients with a popsicle stick. To this mixture, add 3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil and 3 drops of Helichrysum Essential Oil to enhance the balm’s effectiveness in healing blemishes. Apply this balm to the affected areas of skin.

Used in hair, Mango Butter locks in moisture nourishes the scalp and prevents hair loss. To create a conditioning Mango Butter blend that controls dandruff, dryness, and itchiness, mix 1 Tbsp. of Mango Butter with 5 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil. Gently massage the blend into the scalp, then wrap the hair with a warm towel for 1 hour to allow it to penetrate into the scalp. Rinse the hair with a mild shampoo. For a moisturizing leave-in conditioner that is especially beneficial for thick or curly hair, melt ¼ cup of Mango Butter in a double boiler. Next, stir in 1 tsp. Avocado Carrier Oil, 2 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel and 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil. Pour this mixture into a blender and, before turning it on, place the blending jar into the refrigerator for 15 minutes until the mixture has hardened. Next, blend the mixture until it reaches a creamy texture. This blend can be stored in a mason jar and applied to only the ends of damp hair, rather than the scalp.

Used medicinally, Mango Butter eases tension, fatigue, and muscle aches, especially when used in a massage. Applied directly to the skin, Mango Butter’s emollience helps promotes cell regeneration, which maintains the appearance of youthful skin. Mango Butter can be applied directly to the skin to soothe the symptoms of eczema, rashes, minor wounds, frostbite, and insect bites. To calm sunburned skin with Mango Butter, melt 2 Tbsp. Mango Butter in a double boiler, then thoroughly mix in 2 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel. Next, add 3 drops Sea Buckthorn Carrier Oil and 3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil. Refrigerate this blend for 15 minutes before whipping it with a hand mixer until it reaches a creamy texture. Gently massage this mix onto the sunburned or otherwise damaged skin. To properly store this balm, keep it in a cool, dark, dry place.

To reduce the appearance of scars with the aid of Mango Butter, a scar balm can be made by first thoroughly melting together 2 Tbsp. Mango Butter, 2 Tbsp. Shea Butter, and 2 Tbsp. Cocoa Butter in a double boiler. Next, stir in 7 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 7 drops Helichrysum Essential Oil, and 4 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil. Gently massage this mix onto areas of skin affected by scars. To properly store this balm, keep it in a lidded glass jar in a cool, dark, dry place.

To facilitate the healing of wounds with the aid of Mango Butter, it can be made into a soothing salve. First, melt 2 Tbsp. of Mango Butter with equal amounts of Beeswax and Coconut Carrier Oil, then add 5 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil. Pour this blend into a lidded glass jar and allow it to cool and harden before gently applying it to minor wounds. To properly store this balm, keep it in a cool, dark, dry place.

A GUIDE TO MANGO BUTTER VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

MANGO BUTTER (POYA BRAND) 
Is known to…

  • Be ultra-refined and deodorized
  • Be customizable to personal scent preferences
  • Be intensely hydrating without leaving a greasy residue
  • Soothe and soften rough, dry skin
  • Promote skin elasticity
  • Promote a healthy-looking scalp
  • Be ideal for use as a lip balm or in lotions and creams
MANGO BUTTER – ULTRA REFINED 
Is known to…

  • Be expeller-pressed from the Mango Seed
  • Be refined to remove any color or scent
  • Be soft but solid at room temperature and slightly grainy in texture
  • Melts on contact with the skin
  • Be rich in anti-oxidants and emollients as well as Vitamins A and E
  • Soften and moisturize rough and dry skin
  • Naturally, reducing the appearance of fine lines
  • Be ideal in formulations for lotions, body butters, balms, soaps, shaving creams, hair care products, and lip balms

Cosmetic butters are for external use only. Mango Butter should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all butters, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or another generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime size amount of Mango Butter to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the butter is safe to use.

Potential side effects of Mango Butter include nervousness, increased urination, sleeplessness, and rapid heartbeats. Mango Butter may potentially cause side effects that have not been listed here. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent these side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

  • Mango Butter is a rich natural fat derived from the seeds contained inside the pits of the Mango fruit.
  • Traditionally, Mango Butter was believed to have the ability to strengthen the heart, improve brain activity, and increase the body’s immunity.
  • Used topically, Mango Butter’s long-lasting emollience nourishes skin and boosts its elasticity as well as its suppleness, thereby making skin look smoother and firmer.
  • Used in hair, Mango Butter seals in moisture and reduces breakage and hair loss by strengthening hair follicles, thereby encouraging the growth of stronger, healthier hair.
  • Used medicinally, Mango Butter facilitates the process of eliminating toxins, dirt, pollution, and other impurities from the skin. Its soothing quality makes it ideal for use on skin afflicted by itching, stinging, burning, and stretch marks.

Skin Health: Benefits of Black Cumin Seed Oil

Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is derived from the seeds of the Nigella sativa botanical, better known as the Fennel Flower. It is also commonly known by various other names, including Black Oil, Baraka, Fitch Oil, Kalajira Oil, Kalonji Oil, and Love in a Mist, to name only a few.

For more than 3000 years, Cumin seeds and the oil that they yield have both been used in cosmetic, medicinal, and culinary applications. They were applied as herbal remedies, condiments, and treatments for aches and topical irritations, including bites, sores, inflammation, and rashes. According to historical sources, it is believed that Black Cumin Seed Oil was first used by the Assyrians of ancient Egypt, where it came to be used by renowned royal figures, such as Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who used it in their skincare routines, beautifying baths, and medicinal applications.

In India and the Middle East, Black Cumin seeds – which have a bitter and pungent flavor that can be likened to a blend of black pepper, onions, and oregano – have been dry-roasted and used as a spice and flavor agent in vegetables, pulses, bread, curries, and string cheese. In Ayurveda, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been used in a wide range of applications, mainly for its stimulating, warming, and tonic properties as well as for its uplifting effect on the mood. Traditionally, it was used to address health conditions such as anorexia, sexually-transmitted diseases, and gynecological ailments. It was also believed to be beneficial for stimulating the appetite and metabolism, easing neurological disorders, positively enhancing negative temperaments, and promoting harmony within the body and mind.

According to historical records of Greek physicians in the 1st century, they used Black Cumin Seeds to address toothaches, headaches, nasal congestion, and intestinal worms. Due to the strengthening property of Black Cumin Seed Oil, physicians like Hippocrates prescribed it to patients who experienced general illness and feebleness. Other ancient Greeks used it to stimulate the onset of menstruation and to increase milk production in women. In ‘The Book of Healing,’ author and physician Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna, accredited Black Cumin Seed with healing abilities, commending it for its invigorating, stimulating, and preventative properties. The book speaks of the seeds as agents for boosting energy and alleviating weakness, exhaustion, sadness, and feelings of discouragement. Furthermore, he endorsed the therapeutic application of Black Cumin seeds for addressing and soothing symptoms of common colds, fever, headaches, topical irritations, wounds, skin disorders, toothaches, and intestinal worms and parasites.

BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil are Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, and Linoleic Acid.

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-6) are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
  • Help slow the look of aging by sustaining skin elasticity and softness

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Used cosmetically or topically in general, Black Cumin Seed Oil is reputed to effectively address fungal infections, yeast, and mold with its anti-fungal properties. Its antioxidant activity is known to promote the skin’s elimination of harmful free radicals, thus diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and other blemishes, thereby exhibiting a rejuvenating and revitalizing effect.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, Black Cumin Seed Oil delivers gentle yet profoundly nourishing moisture that is easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling smooth, hydrated, and nourished with a radiant look. Its softening quality makes it beneficial for even the most sensitive skin and its firming and regenerative properties are known to lessen the chance of scars developing from wounds. When applied to hair, Black Cumin Seed Oil is known to exhibit the same supportive effects, thus promoting the growth of stronger and smoother strands.

Used medicinally, Black Cumin Seed Oil works as an antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent that eliminates harmful topical bacteria while preventing their future growth, thus proving to stimulate a strong immune response. With anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, it soothes skin and facilitates its healing process to effectively address conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Its analgesic properties make it ideal for reducing the discomforts of rheumatism.

Black Cumin Seed Oil can also be diffused in a vaporizer and, when diffused, it is reputed to enhance and support the health of the respiratory system. It is believed to have the potency to alleviate symptoms of asthma and bronchitis. Due to its carminative property, which enhances digestion and reduces discomforts such as stomach pain, bloating, and gas, it is believed to ease gastrointestinal disorders.

 Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-Oxidant, Hydrating, Aromatic, Deodorant, Stimulant.
  • MEDICINAL: Analgesic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal, Diuretic, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-viral, Bronchodilator, Hepato-Protective, Hypotensive, Galactagogue, Emmenagogue, Reno-Protective, Immune-Enhancer, Metabolism-Booster, Anti-Histamine, Anti-Coagulant, Thermogenic, Carminative, Appetizing, Digestive, Sudorific, Febrifuge, Stimulant, Expectorant.

BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Black Cumin Seed Oil can be applied directly to the preferred areas of skin to hydrate, to soothe acne, burns, and other unwanted blemishes, and to reduce the appearance of the signs of aging, such as fine lines. Alternatively, 2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil can be added to a regular, pre-made face cream of personal preference. Applying a moisturizer infused with this oil is also known to address fungus and skin infections.

For a moisturizer that offers the added benefits of several other nutrient-rich oils, combine the following ingredients in a dark, clean 105 ml (3.5 oz.) dropper bottle: 30 ml (1 oz.) Jojoba Carrier Oil, 30 ml (1 oz.) Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, 20 ml (0.7 oz.) Borage Carrier Oil, 15 ml (0.5 oz.) Rosehip Carrier Oil, 9 ml (0.3 oz.) Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil, and 6 ml (0.02 oz.) Vitamin E Liquid. Cap the bottle and shake it gently to ensure that all the oils have mixed together thoroughly. Before applying this blend, cleanse the face and pat it dry, leaving it slightly damp to the touch. Next, warm up 6-8 drops of this elixir by rubbing this amount between the palms, then gently massage it into the face and neck using light strokes in an upward motion. Avoid applying the blend around the eye area. Due to the absence of preservatives in this formulation, it should be used within 6 months of the day it is made.

For a nourishing, protective Black Cumin Seed Oil face mask that functions as an exfoliating scrub to buff away dead skin, begin by cleansing the face with a gentle face wash and ensure that all traces of makeup have been removed. Next, mix 1 Tbsp. Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil, 3 Tbsp. Raw Organic Honey, and 3 Tbsp. Finely-ground Apricot Shell exfoliant in a small dish or bowl. Use the fingertips to apply the mask, gently smoothing 1 Tbsp. of the blend (this recipe yields approximately 7 Tbsp.) into the face and neck in a circular motion. After the mask has soaked into the skin for 10 minutes, massage it deeper into the skin while rinsing it off with warm water. Pat the skin dry, then moisturize with 1-2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil. This mask is known to purify the skin, reduce the appearance of blemishes, and smooth the look of wrinkles to promote an even complexion with a healthy glow.

For a stimulating and conditioning hair mask that is reputed to nourish hair and enhance its growth while soothing the scalp, first pour 2 Tbsp. of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil onto the palms of the hands and rub them together to warm the oil. Next, massage the entire scalp with this amount of oil, focusing particularly on the areas that are experiencing the most hair loss. Once the oil has been massaged into the entire scalp, smooth the oil down over the strands all the way to the tips. Leave the hair mask in for 30-60 minutes, after which time it can be rinsed out with a regular shampoo. This mask is known to strengthen and support scalp health, reduce hair loss, eliminate dandruff, prevent dryness, balance the scalp’s oil production, reduce frizz, protect the strands against damage, and prevent hair from losing its pigmentation, thereby slowing the graying process. This regimen can be repeated 2-3 times a week.

Used in medicinal applications, Black Cumin Seed Oil is reputed to be beneficial for a wide range of ailments and conditions, but it is best known for its ability to ease joint pain, muscle aches, bruises, and symptoms of rheumatism. For a simple yet effectively restorative massage that works to repair skin damage and reduce skin discoloration caused by bruises, gently massage 60 ml (2 oz.) of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil into affected areas, focusing particularly on bruising and uneven skin tone. This can be repeated 2-3 times a day until the soreness and inflammation have been eliminated and the color returns to normal. This is also reputed to be beneficial for eczema and acne. Furthermore, it energizes tired muscles, strengthens immunity, reduces stiffness, eases digestive complaints, promotes the expulsion of bodily toxins, and regulates menstruation as well as related complaints.

For a diffuser recipe that is known to provide relief from nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, and other cold symptoms diffuse 2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil. Its comforting scent is known to ease nervous tension and lethargy. To enhance the effects of this steam inhalation regimen, 2 drops of the oil can also be massaged onto the affected areas, such as the neck and chest, to relieve aches, clear the respiratory tract, and soothe irritation.

A GUIDE TO BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

BLACK CUMIN SEED CARRIER OIL – VIRGIN

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: Israel

Believed to:

  • Be light Amber in color
  • Exude an aroma that is characterized as slightly nutty, musty, mildly spicy, and woody
  • Be rich in Copper, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Blend well with citrus and herbaceous scents, especially when mixed into massage formulations

BLACK CUMIN SEED CARRIER OIL – REFINED

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be dark Amber in appearance
  • Exude a mild aroma that is woody, earthy, sweet, and slightly spicy
  • Be rich in Copper, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Be best suited for use in formulations that enhance skin and hair health

BLACK CUMIN SEED ORGANIC CARRIER OIL

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa L.

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: Israel

Believed to:

  • Range in color from pale Amber with a faintly greenish tinge to dark Amber
  • Exude a characteristic musty aroma with a mildly spicy nuance
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Be best suited for use in formulations requiring organic ingredients

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL

Black Cumin Seed Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, diabetes, bleeding disorders, low blood pressure, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Black Cumin Seed Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of this oil to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. No more than 10% of Black Cumin Seed Oil should be used in any blend, and it must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Black Cumin Seed Oil include contact dermatitis, irritation, itching, drowsiness, and fatigue.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this Carrier Oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the Fennel Flower.
    • Traditionally, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been used for its stimulating, warming, and tonic properties as well as for its harmonizing effect on the mood.
    • Used topically, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is reputed to hydrate, soothe, smooth, and nourish the skin, to address fungal infections and blemishes, and to promote the skin’s reparation and regeneration, thus facilitating a smoother, clearer, and brighter complexion. It is known to exhibit the same effects when applied to hair.
    • Used medicinally, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil eliminates harmful topical bacteria, stimulates a strong immune response, facilitates skin’s healing process, and eases muscular aches and joint pain.
  • When diffused, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil enhances and supports the health of the respiratory and digestive systems.

Cleansing With Anise Seed

Anise, a plant native to Greece and Egypt, has been used since the seventh century to address health ailments and may best be identifiable today for its licorice flavor. During biblical times, taxes could be paid in crops, anise was one of them. The Romans cultivated anise and greatly exploited (in a good way) its many health benefits. Today, many people use anise to support digestion, which is not much surprise since it is related to caraway, dill, and fennel- also often fingered as digestive support agents.

However, one advantage that anise has over its similar counterparts is that it’s much more powerful against and resistant to, harmful organisms. In lab and clinical trials, anise stands its ground when faced up against harmful organisms and it’s even more potent when combined with other, similarly beneficial herbs.

Anise Seed and Annoying Insects

Mosquitoes are known to carry diseases and present a very serious public health issue to many communities all over the world. Because of a laundry list of negative health effects associated with chemical pesticides, there is much focus and effort on developing effective pest control measures using natural compounds. Research has shown that anise seed oil is toxic to mosquito larvae and offers potential as an essential oil that may be effective at controlling vector-borne disease carrying agents.

The Plant Protection Department at Turkey’s Akdeniz University evaluated essential oils of several therapeutic herbs, including anise, eucalyptus, mint, and basil for efficacy against mosquitos. All the samples were deemed effective, although to different degrees, and anise was identified as the most effective.

Mosquitos aren’t the only flying pests anise seed has defeated. Sterling International, a company based in Washington, evaluated common essential oils against several species of wasps. Anise seed was one of several observed as effective and having potential as a natural, eco-friendly wasp control measure.

Anise Seed vs. Harmful Organisms, Candida, Yeast, and Fungus

With anise seed’s demonstrated efficacy against insects, it’s no surprise that the amount of research supporting the toxicity of anise seed to other harmful organisms is staggering and comes from all corners of the globe.

Research conducted at The University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy evaluated various plant extracts for their resistance to fungus and noted that anise seed was the best at inhibiting both fungal and microbial activity.

Croatia’s University of Zagreb conducted similar research and had similar conclusions. When anise extract was put to the test against seven strains of yeast and four strains of fungus, in vitro experiments showed anise to retard both fungus and yeast proliferation.

Additionally, Iraq’s University of Mosul also tested essential oils for activity against several harmful strains of bacteria, including staph, e. Coli, and salmonella. Essential oil of anise seed demonstrated the highest resistance to bacteria.

Supplementing With Anise Seed

Perhaps the best argument for anise seed came from the Immunology Research Institute and Clinic in Nagoya, Japan. For patients undergoing antibiotic or immune-system-suppressing therapies, chronic urinary infection of candida can be a constant problem. In 2010, the Institute conducted a study that involved 39 such patients and concluded that a natural, plant-based compound with demonstrated resistance to fungus could offer an effective approach.

Symptoms of a Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are not a problem that only affects women or the vagina. The fact is that yeast infections can affect many parts of the body of both men and women of all ages. Yeast infections can cause pain, swelling, and unpleasant discharge. When they infiltrate the mouth, they can make the mouth feel cottony and impair the sense of taste. When a yeast infection strikes the skin it can cause it to crack, swell, or bleed. Perhaps most surprising, according to new research, yeast infections may be related to IBD and neurological dysfunction.

What Cause a Yeast Infection?

The most common sources of yeast infections are from a yeast called Candida, particularly Candida albicansCandida kruseiCandida glabrata, and Candida parapsilosis are also high on the list. Candida is a fungal yeast that occurs naturally on the body. It’s present on everybody’s body, which is normal. However, Candida must be adequately balanced. If a Candida imbalance occurs, then dark, moist areas — especially the mouth and any region in which skin folds — may be subject to an overgrowth as a result of a systemic imbalance or inadequate cleanliness.

An even more serious problem, known as invasive Candidiasis, may occur when the fungus enters the bloodstream. this type of infection can quickly become a serious problem. Additionally, some people may be at higher risk for yeast infections. For instance, persons with psoriasis and eczema as likely to suffer from oral Candida infections.

Identifying a Yeast Infection

It’s important to identify a yeast infection early. Remember a yeast overgrowth literally means that yeast is reproducing on your body. The longer you wait the higher the count may be! Ignoring the problem can cause a simple overgrowth to become a serious issue. A yeast infection is like a noisy houseguest — it typically lets its presence be known. Experiencing any of the following? You may have a yeast infection…

1. Discharge

The creamy, cottage cheese-like discharge common with yeast infections comes from lesions. In the mouth, they can occur on the tongue, tonsils, roof of the mouth or inner cheeks. The tongue may appear white. On the skin, lesions appear as small blisters around the infected area. The discharge from lesions of a vaginal yeast infection can be watery and white to thick and chunky.

2. Redness

On the skin, a yeast infection presents as reddish or purplish spots, similar to eczema or psoriasis. The vulva of an infected woman may be more red than normal and be much more sensitive.

3. Itching

Frequent, and potentially painful irritation naturally occurs as a result of infected skin and tissue of the vagina, vulva, or even penis (primarily in uncircumcised men). This can create a burning sensation and the urge to itch. Avoid scratching as it will only make the infection worse. Ozonated olive oil may provide cooling relief.

4. Cracking Skin

The skin around the mouth, or localized around the dermal infection may crack and bleed. While this indication means that the body is fighting the yeast infection, cracking and bleeding creates a location for further infection. Keep it clean and use a soothing balm that encourages wound healing.

5. Swelling

The infected area will likely swell as the body fights off the Candida fungus. Swelling can occur in the mouth, sex organs, and skin, as well as in the intestines if a Candida infection occurs internally. Swelling usually accompanies tenderness…

6. Discomfort

When far enough advanced, Candidiasis can result in constant discomfort and tenderness. This stems from the swelling, itching and burning associated with infection. A vaginal yeast infection can cause uncomfortable urination and intercourse.

7. IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

Intestinal inflammation causes IBD. While bacterial infections have been linked as a cause, researchers have begun to understand the role of yeast, specifically Candida, in intestinal irritation. Studies have linked Candida to the development of some types of bowel disease.

8. Fatigue

Patients suffering from internal yeast infections frequently experience fatigue. In fact, individuals suffering from a Candida-related complex, or chronic candidiasis syndrome, share similar symptoms to those with chronic fatigue syndrome. The one difference is the chronic flu symptoms experienced by those with chronic fatigue.

9. Mood Disorders

There is a growing body of evidence that supports the use of micronutrients to combat depression. However, nutrition is only valuable when the body can use it. If absorption is hampered, then the micronutrients will not be effective. So what’s the problem? Well, Candida has been found to inhibit intestinal absorption. It has been shown that mood disorders can be worse during periods of Candida infection. When Candida clears up, mental status may improve.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Yeast Infections

It’s hard to live in a living world without some living organisms taking residence on or inside of your body. It might not be the most pleasant idea, but everyone is carrying bugs of some sort. Harmful organisms in the intestines and bacteria in the gut are among the most common. Another is Candida albicans. If you’ve ever experienced a yeast infection, then you probably know this one well. Although everyone has Candida, problems are unlikely to arise if it’s kept in balance. However, if an imbalance occurs, so may a yeast infection. Yeast infections can affect the mouth, skin, and genitals (and that includes women AND men) and range in severity from inconvenient and uncomfortable to life-threatening. Additionally, overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract may be a catalyst for serious problems if the fungus enters the bloodstream.

Let’s take a look at a few other must-know facts about yeast infections.

1. Yeast Infections May Occur Orally

Gross. Really? Yes, oral yeast infections are commonly called thrush. This infection is common in newborns but typically passes quickly. Babies are not the only ones affected, a recent study found that oral Candida overgrowth occurs in one out of every four adults. Poor oral hygiene is often a primary factor. Researchers identified the presence of plaque, tartar, and amalgam fillings as significantly related to the degree of Candida present. The best defense? Proper, and regular, oral hygiene.

2. Vaginal Yeast Infections Can Be Tricky

Practicing good hygiene is a very good deterrent for yeast infections. However, this isn’t always the case. Frequent douching has been associated with higher incidences of yeast infections. So has wearing tight nylon or synthetic underwear. Oddly enough, over-the-counter anti-fungal medications have also been associated with stubborn occurrences of vaginal candidiasis. The use of intrauterine contraceptive devices also shows a statistically significant increase in Candida infection.

3. Use of an Asthma Inhaler May Contribute to Candida

A Brazilian study of adults using inhalers for longer than 6 months identified oral candidiasis as one of several adverse effects. Anyone using an inhaler, or any other oral appliance (such as mouth guards, retainers, or dentures) should be aware of the possibility of Candida exposure.

4. Candida Naturally Occurs On and In Humans

Microbiota like Candida occur naturally on human skin and in the human gastrointestinal tract. In healthy individuals, the immune system and symbiotic bacteria help keep these fungal species in check. Not surprisingly, persons with compromised immune systems are among the most susceptible to Candida overgrowth.

5. The Connection Between Diabetes and Candida

Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop genital yeast infections, both women and men. The high blood glucose levels of diabetics encourage yeast growth. And, because it inhibits immune response, the risk of recurring infection is higher. Women are more likely to suffer infection from Candida alibicans and Candida glabrate. Uncircumcised men may experience infection from Candida balaritis.

6. Candida Often Accompanies HIV

Research has shown nearly 90% of HIV positive patients suffer from oral Candidiasis. In contrast, these patients do not experience an increase in genital yeast infection.

7. Candida Loves Carbohydrates

While Candida occurs naturally in the human digestive tract, how much is present depends quite a bit on diet. Studies have identified that persons whose diets are high in carbohydrates are more susceptible than persons whose diets are high in amino acids, proteins, and fatty acids. Candida levels increase most immediately following consumption of carbohydrates.

8. You Can Protect Yourself With Probiotics

Intestinal yeast infections, or Candida overgrowth, have been associated with the development of several Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s disease. Protecting intestinal health has become a major focus for research. One study identified a probiotic strain as successful for improving cellular defense against Candida.

9. Presents an Increased Risk of MS

This one is an unforeseen doozy to most — Candida infection has been associated with increased odds of multiple sclerosis (MS). A case-control study evaluated the relationship between MS and Candida infection and discovered that MS patients showed higher overall blood serum levels of Candida than the control group.

10. Potential Remedy for Warts?

Perhaps not all facts about Candida infections are bad. One study found positive benefits from using a purified C. albicans antigen solution for persistent warts. This has led researchers to suggest intralesional Candida immunotherapy may provide an effective treatment for warts resistant to other forms of destruction.