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BERGAMOT ORANGE (BERGAMOT OIL) (Citrus aurantium bergamia)

 

DESCRIPTION: 
Botany: The Bergamot orange is a fragrant fruit of the Citrus a. bergamia, a small tree of the genus Citrus (family Rutaceae). It is a native hybrid, most likely of Citrus limetta ann C. Aurantium. It is native to tropical Asia (South East Asia), and is also found in the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria  It is now extensively cultivated in the Calabrian coast in southern Italy. The tree can grow up to four meters high, with star-shaped flowers and smooth leaves, bearing a fruit resembling a cross between an orange and a grapefruit, but with a pear-shape.  The fruit ripens from green to yellow.
 
History and/or folklore: The name is derived from the city Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where the oil was first sold.  The juice of the fruit was used in Calabrian indigenous medicine to treat malaria.
 
Biochemistry: The essential oil contains limonene, a-bergaptene, a-pinene, psoralen, myrcene, β bisabolene, linalool, nerol, geraniol, linalyl acetate, neryl acetate, geraniol acetate and α terpineol.
 
Products:
Citrus aurantium bergamia essential oil - Bergamot oil is a brownish-yellow or greenish oil with an aromatic bitter flavour and fragrant odour, obtained by cold expression of the peel from the fresh, nearly ripe fruit. It is also known as expressed bergamot oil from which rectified or terpeneless bergamot oil is produced by vacuum distillation or by selective solvent extraction, or by chromatography.
 
USES: 
Citrus aurantium bergamia essential oil 
The oil is one of the most widely used in the perfumery (used extensively in high-quality perfumes, especially eau de cologne) and the toiletry industry; creams and lotions, sun tanning preparations to stimulate melanin production (due to psoralen), and in soaps. This fresh smelling essential oil is a favourite in aromatherapy (it is good for creating a relaxed and happy feeling, relieving urinary tract infections, and boosting the liver, spleen and stomach). The oil is used for oily skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema, seborrhoea of the scalp, herpes, cold sores and wounds. The therapeutic properties of bergamot oil include analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibiotic, stomachic, anti-spasmodic, calmative, cicatrisant, deodorant, digestive, febrifuge, vermifuge and vulnerary activities.
 
It is also used to flavour Earl Grey tea.
 
TOXICOLOGY: 
The use of oil in food is restricted to those with coumarins removed, otherwise is the use of bergamot oil is banned or restricted in many countries owing to phototoxic effects.
 
Topical use of preparations containing bergamot oil has caused photosensitivity reactions owing to the presence of certain furocoumarins (bergaptene and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral) in the expressed oil. Due to the photosensitizing activity of these constituents, the use of bergamot oil in cosmetics has caused hyperpigmentation of the face and neck.  Recent cases of phototoxic reactions to the oil have been reported from its use in aromatherapy.  When used with long-wave ultraviolet light, however, the same furocoumarins have been effectively used in the treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo, and mycosis fungoides. These substances (bergaptene and psoralenes) are known photocarcinogenics. Psoralenes penetrate the skin, where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for increased melanin production. It can also lead to phytophotodermatitis. Even when the ingredient bergaptene (furocoumarin) is removed from the oil and phototoxicity is minimized, it is still advisable to keep treated skin out of the sun, and to use it in concentrations of less than 1 %. 
GINGKO (Ginkgo biloba)

OPIS:

Botany: Ginkgo biloba, also known as Maidenhair tree, is a member of the Ginkgoaceae family.  It is a monotypic deciduous tree growing up to 40 m.  Leaves alternate or are borne on spurs in clusters of 3 5.  They are parallel veined, broad fan-shaped, and up to 12 cm, with notch at apex, forming two distinct lobes.  Ginkgos are dioecious (some trees being female and others being male).  Male flowers grow on pendulous catkins with numerous, loosely arranged anthers in stalked pairs on a slender axis.  Female flowers are in pairs on long foot-stalks.  The drupe-like fruits have an acrid, foul-smelling pulp surrounding a single smooth, oval, thin-shelled, semi-edible nut (seed).
 
History and/or folklore: Ginkgo is known only from cultivation; it is a widely planted ornamental tree worldwide.  The leaves are used in Western pharmaceutical products, while seeds and leaves are traditionally used in China.  Leaves are grown on a commercial scale in China, South Carolina and Maryland in USA, and in the Bordeaux region in France.  
 
Biochemistry: Folium Ginkgo consists of the dried whole leaf of Ginkgo biloba. It contains a wide variety of phytochemicals, including alkanes, lipids, sterols, benzenoids, carotenoids, phenylpropanoids, carbohydrates, flavonoids, and terpenoids. The major constituents are flavonoids of which mono-, di-, and tri-glycosides and coumaric acid esters that are based on the dominant flavonols, kaempferol and quercetin. Characteristic constituents of this plant material are the unique diterpene lactones, ginkgolides A, B, C, J, and M, and the sesquiterpene lactone, bilobalide.
 
USES
Ginkgo biloba botanical extract
Traditional use: Long revered in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, ginkgo is now known to have important effects in the treatment of age-related disorders and circulatory problems (healthy circulation is important for the prevention and reduction of cellulite).
 
Leaf extracts are used in cosmetics including shampoos, creams, and lotions.
 
TOXICOLOG
Allergic skin reactions are possible adverse effects.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel.
 
SWEET ALMOND (Prunus amygdalus dulcis)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Almonds belong to the family of roses (Rosaceae) and is relative to cherries, peaches, apricots and roses. It grows to a height of about 7 m and has several varieties – two of them yield sweet and bitter almonds.  The tree is native to western Asia and is now extensively cultivated in the Mediterranean countries and in California. 
 
The fruit is botanically classified as a drupe (the same as peach or plum), but its outer portion is leathery, dry, green, bitter and inedible.  The almond is its seed.
 
History and/or Folklore: Almond is one of the oldest cultivated fruits in our civilization.  Almonds were known in the Stone Age, and their cultivation dates back to the Bronze Age.  References to the almond are found in Greek mythology, the Bible, and in Shakespeare.  In the Middle Ages, almonds were commercially important.  In traditional Chinese medicine, sweet almond oil (Prunus amygdalinas dulcis oleum) is recommended for strengthening the lungs (which are associated with the skin).  Sweet almond oil has been used as a folk cancer remedy for bladder, breast, mouth, spleen, and uterine cancers, amongst others.
 
Commercial products: Two major types of products are derived from the almond, namely a fixed (non-volatile) oil and a volatile oil.  Sweet almond does not yield a volatile oil.  The fixed oil is commonly called almond oil, expressed almond oil, or sweet almond oil.  It is made from both sweet and bitter almonds by pressing the kernels.  It does not contain benzaldehyde or hydrocyanic acid.  The volatile oil is called bitter almond oil.  It is obtained by water maceration and subsequent steam distillation of the expressed and partially deoleated bitter almonds, or kernels of other species that contain amygdalin.  
 
Sweet almonds are also used as a food (bitter almonds cannot be used in food).
 
USES:

 

Sweet almond oil 
In cosmetics, expressed almond oil is used as an emollient, moisturizer, demulcent, emulsifier for chapped hands, in lotions (both moisturizing and night skin care preparations), suntan gels, blushers, makeup bases, skin cleansing preparations, and creams, and as an ointment base. The oil makes a film on the skin and slowly absorbs through the skin (for that reason it is widely used for massage oils).  It has also an anti-wrinkle effect.  It is used in cosmetic formulations in concentrations up to 50% and in lipstick formulations at 25%.
 
Almond blossom extract and sweet almond oil has demulcent and nutrient properties and is used as a skin cleanser and nutrient in face scrubs and masks to eliminate blemishes and blackheads and to enlarge pores from a neglected complexion. 
 
Almond emulsions have, to a certain degree, the emollient qualities of the oil and have the advantage over the pure oil that they may be used with acute or inflammatory disorders.
 
Almond meal (made from ground sweet almonds); almond meal can be made both with whole or blanched (no skin) almonds) and sweet almond oil and is used as a skin cleanser and nutrient in face scrubs and also in medical soaps.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Almond oil and almond meal are non-irritating and non-sensitising to the skin and are considered safe for cosmetic use.  
 
Sweet almond can be eaten safely, contrary to bitter almond oil, which is toxic since it contains amygdalin (amygdalin is hydrolysed to yield glucose, benzaldehyde (ingestion of 50-60 ml can be fatal due to central nervous depression with respiratory failure) and hydrocyanic acid (poisonous; and fatal to an adult after taking 7.5 ml orally). 
 
Contraindications: allergy to almonds or its products.

 

ALOE (AND ALOE VERA) (Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera))

DESCRIPTION:


Botany:  Aloe species are perennial succulents native to Africa that later spread to other parts of world.  Aloe vera is not a cactus and should not be confused with the American aloe or century plant (Agave).  Aloe vera also called Curaçao aloe or Barbados aloe, is produced in the West Indies (Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire).  Aloe feroxis and its hybrids yield Cape aloe that is produced in South Africa. 
 
History and/or Folklore: The Indians call the aloes “wand of heaven” because of their wonderful medicinal powers.  According to legend it was the only plant that came directly from the Garden of Eden.  Socotrine Aloe was said to be known to the Greeks as early as the 4th century B.C.  Greek colonists were sent to the island Socotra by Alexandra the Great solely to preserve and cultivate the aloe plant.
 
Commercial products: Two major products are derived from aloe: 
(1) the drug aloe comes from yellow bitter juice present in special cells beneath the thick epidermis.  This is obtained by cutting the leaves at their base and letting the yellow bitter juice drain out.  The water is evaporated from the juice by heat and the resulting light to dark mass is the drug of aloe. 
(2) aloe gel comes from a mucilaginous gel in the parenchymatous tissue in the centre of the leaf.  Aloe vera gel is prepared from the leaves by numerous methods, which essentially involve expression and/or solvent extraction often with harsh chemical and physical treatment.  The resulting gel products vary considerably in properties and are not generally representative of the fresh gel.
 

USES:


Aloe vera extract
Anthraquinones present in aloe vera extract inhibit the activity of the tyrosinase enzyme, thereby preventing the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine via dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) into melanin and consequently reducing the production of age spots that appear on the skin as a result of aging.  So aloe vera is not only of therapeutic value but also has an effect of anti-aging on skin as it delivers moisture, eliminates wrinkles, increases collagen and elastin and reduces the formation of pigments. 
 
Aloe vera gel
Contains a lot of mucilage but does not contain anthraquinones.  Vitamins present in aloe vera gel are A, C, E, B (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B2 (riboflavine), which act as antioxidants, and choline, folic acid, and traces of vitamin B12.
 
The gel also contains many different types of biochemical catalysts, enzymes, such as amylase and lipase, which hydrolyse sugars and fats; and carboxypeptidase, which is an important enzyme that hydrolyses bradykinin, a peptide that is associated with the vasodilation blood vessels and the perception of pain; carboxypeptidase is responsible for a valuable soothing and anti-inflammatory effect.
 
Magnesium lactate inhibits histamine decarboxylase and thus prevents the formation of histamine from the amino acid histidine.  Histamine is released in many allergic reactions and causes intense itching and pain.  Aloe vera counteracts and soothes itching.  Due to lignin the aloe vera gel extract can penetrate deeper into the skin. Aloe vera gel contains also saponins; soapy substances form a 3% gel and act as cleaners.  The steroids found in aloe vera gel such as cholesterol, campesterol, ß-sitosterol and lupeol have an anti-inflammatory effect. Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and has also a keratolytic effect which increases the rate of removal of dead tissue from wounds.
 
Aloe vera gel is as moisturizer, emollient, wound-healing agent (treatment of cuts, burns, ulcers, inflammatory skin diseases, radiation dermatitis, and roentgen dermatitis),  
 
The gel can also be a good protection against the sun, since it blocks UV and initiates the process of skin renewal.  
 
The gel possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungi and anaesthetic effects.  It is anti-inflammatory because it inhibits production of blood clotting agents, thromboxane and prostaglandin.  The gel also stimulates the replication of fibroblast cells in the wound, resulting in more secreted collagen and fibrin, which helps the wound heal faster and the skin on the wound site to be more flexible and less scarred.
 
The fatty fractions of the aloe leaf is used in the cosmetic industry as pigment carrier.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
In humans, aloe vera gel preparations containing anthraquinones (aloin) may cause allergic contact dermatitis, mild itching, and burning sensations. These effects have been mild, of rare occurrence and reversible when use was stopped.

AVOCADO (Persea Americana, Persea gratissima)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: The avocado is a dense, large evergreen tree that can grow up to 20 m high; fruit is large (5-20 cm long) and fleshy, pyriform, ovate or spherical, with a thin to thick sometimes woody skin.  Avocado is native to tropical America (Mexico, Central America), where is widely cultivated.  Several commercial varieties are also cultivated in the USA. 
Parts used are fruit and seed. 
 
History and/or Folklore: The name 'Avocado' originates from the Aztec name ahuacacuauhitl meaning “testicle tree”. Avocado trees produce thousands of flowers and only about one in 5000 sets fruit.  In traditional medicine, pulp of American avocado was used by Guatemalan Indians as hair pomade to stimulate hair growth, to hasten suppuration of wounds, as an aphrodisiac and an emmenagogue; seeds were used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery; powdered seeds were used by American Indians to treat pyorrhoea, and infusions were used to treat toothache. 
 
The seed yields a milky fluid with the odour and taste of almond.  Because of its tannin content, it turns red on exposure to air, providing an indelible red-brown or blackish ink which was used to write many documents in the days of the Spanish Conquest.  The ink has also been used to mark cotton and linen textiles.
 
Commercial products: 
(1) Avocado oil: Avocado oil is produced by expressing the dried pulp of the fruit.  It is cold-pressed and refined to give a stable shelf life.
(2) Avocado butter: hydrogenated avocado oil.
 

USES:


Avocado oil (avocado fixed oil), Avocado butter (solid)
Traditional use: a light, fast penetrating oil that was reported to be absorbed faster by the skin that corn, soybean, almond and olive oils.  A complex blend of vitamins A and E (antioxidants, which are both fat-soluble and easily penetrate the lipid bilayer) and other active materials, which increase skin elasticity and encourages healthy skin.
 
This highly therapeutic oil is rich also in vitamins B1, B2 (lack of B2 leads to chapped lips and skin, skin peeling, sores in the mouth corners, dermatitis), B5 (panthothenic acid), and D, minerals (K, P, Mg, S, Ca, Na, Cu), proteins, lecithin (a mixture of phospholipids and other similar substances and is a major component of the phospholipid bilayer of cell membranes) and fatty acids.  Avocado oil is more oily and viscous oil which passes through the epidermis better than some other oils. It also helps in the reconstruction of the hydrolipid layer and thus improves the skin's protective barrier, and this gives it a more pleasant, softer look and even more flexibility.  It is a useful, penetrating nutrient for dry, mature skin and eczema. 
 
Contains sterols: β-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol, δ5-Avenastenol, tocopherols (vitamin E) and others.
 
The phytosterols in the human digestive tract cannot be absorbed into the body and are mostly eliminated from the body.  However they are distributed in the so-called mixed micelles faster than cholesterol.  Fatty acids and fat-soluble substances like cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins pass through mixed micelles with the help of bile acids in plasma. Since in this process phytosterols are faster than cholesterol, the cholesterol is practically displaced from the micelles, thus preventing the cholesterol passing from the food into the body and increasing the amount of free LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood.
 
Avocado oil is believed to have healing and soothing properties to the skin and the pulp oil is used in massage creams, muscle oils, hair products, and others.  The fruit pulp is used in face creams.  A pharmaceutical preparation containing the seed oil (unsaponifiable fraction) has been patented for use in the treatment of sclerosis of the skin, pyorrhoea, arthritis and others.  The unsaponifiable fraction is combined with those of soy beans for use in the treatment of osteoarthritis.  Clinical studies have shown that avocado oil can reduce blood cholesterol.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Avocado is a known cross-reactant in individuals with latex allergy.  Severe allergic reactions can occur in these patients after eating avocado.  

CORN or MAIZE (cornsilk, corn oil) (Zea mays)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Coarse erect annual with prop roots near the ground and long sword-shaped leaves, one at each node.  The plant belongs to genus Zea of Poaceae family.  It grows up to 4 m high and is generally thought to be a native of tropical America, where it is said to have been cultivated for 7000 years before Christopher Columbus took it to Spain.  Parts used are the long styles and stigmata of the pistils called corn silk and corn oil (maize oil) extracted from the germ of corn (maize).
 
History and/or Folklore: Indians living in what is now Mexico about 10,000 years ago, first used corn gathered from wild plants as a food source.  Near 5000 BC, they learned how to grow corn and its use as an herbal medicine is almost as old.  Corn is grown as source of food and food products for people, livestock feed, in herbal medicine, in cosmetics, and industrial products including ceramics, explosives, construction materials, metal moulds, paints, paper goods, textiles, industrial alcohols, and ethanol.
 
Commercial products: 
(1) Cornsilk:  normally used are the dried long styles and stigmata of the pistils.
 
(2) Corn oil: It is obtained with expeller pressing (also called oil pressing) of the germ of corn, then the solvent is evaporated from the corn oil, recovered, and re-used.  After extraction, the corn oil is then refined by degumming and/or alkali treatment.  Final steps in refining include winterization (the removal of waxes), and deodorization by steam distillation of the oil under a high vacuum.

USES:


Cornsilk
Traditional use: externally the fresh (or the soaked dried) cornsilk can be applied as a poultice (also called cataplasm; a soft moist mass).  It is good for drawing the pus from boils and old or infected wounds.
 
Cornsilk contains vitamins C and K.  It also contains cryptoxanthin, which acts like vitamin A. These vitamins are good for skin nutrition; vitamins C and A are antioxidants (protect DNA from free radicals, inhibit angiogenesis, proliferation and cell apoptosis), vitamin K mostly affects blood coagulation (reduces post-operative bruising in cosmetic surgery or injections, in broken capillaries (net veins), in the treatment of Rosacea, to help reduce dark under-eye circles). Cornsilk also contains β-sitosterol (a plant sterol; like its synthetic analogues hydrocortisone and corticosterone, it has powerful properties including the reduction in skin redness, inflammation and reduction of pruritis).  It also contains tannins, which act as drying agents.
 
Corn oil
Corn oil is also known as a maize oil, maydol, or mazola.  The crude oil may contain up to 2% phospholipids (vegetable lecithin, inositol esters).  It is used as a hair dressing.
 
Corn oil also contains estrone (phytohormone); the effects have been shown to include protection of the skin, the reduction of wrinkles, reduction in inflammation and a decrease in pruritis.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids) can interact with corn silk. Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body.  Corn silk might also decrease potassium in the body, so that taking corn silk together with some medications for inflammation might decrease potassium in the body too much.

CORNFLOWER/CENTAURY (Centaurea cyanus)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Cornflower is a small annual flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe, where it often grew as a weed in crop fields.  It grows to 30–90 cm tall, with grey-green branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 1–4 cm long.  The flowers are most commonly an intense blue colour, produced in flower heads (capitula) 1.5–3 cm diameter, with a ring of a few large, spreading ray florets surrounding a central cluster of disc florets.  It blooms in summer.  The flowers are then ripped and dried in the shade.  The blue pigment is protocyanin.  Several cultivars have been selected with varying pastel colours, including pink and purple. 
 
It is now endangered in its native habitat. It is, however, through introduction as an ornamental plant in gardens and a seed contaminant in crop seeds, now naturalised in many other parts of the world, including North America and parts of Australia.
 
History and/or Folklore: Cornflower has been known since the ancient Greeks.  Their harvest goddess Ceres stuck cornflower in her hair.  In the past, the flowers were used to extract ink to dye fabrics.  Cornflower has always been a prized plant for the eyes.  It was said to be a remedy for weak eyes and it claimed to improve the eyesight (Eau de Casselunette appeared in the Parisian Codex many years ago).  A decoction has also been used as a mouthwash in mild cases of inflammation of the gums.
 
USES:
For irritation of the eyelid and mild cases of conjunctivitis, cornflower is given in the form of a compress.  It also can be used against a scab on the scalp and dandruff.  Powder prepared from the dried flowers sprinkled on a wound is believed to heal them faster and without festering.
 
Cornflower has an astringent effect and a skin conditioning effect and has therefore refreshing and softening effects.  It can be used daily for cleaning and toning skin, particularly sensitive areas around eyes to reduce puffiness and swelling around the eyes.
 
In foods, cornflower is used in herbal teas to provide colour.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Cornflower seems to be safe when used to colour herbal teas.
 
Cornflower as food supplement may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others.
EVENING PRIMROSE (Evening Primrose oil) (Oenothera biennis)

DESCRIPTION:


Other Common Names: Evening Star, Moth-blossom, Night-opener, Tree Primrose, King's Cure-all, Evening Plant, Night Willow Herb, Scurvish, Scabish, Sun Drop, Field Primrose, German Rampion, Fever Plant
 
Botany: Annual or biennial, 1-3 m. leaves in basal rosette before anthesis, lanceolate, 10-22 cm long, 1 cm wide. Flowers are four-merous, and yellow. Fruit is a dry pod of 4 cm, with numerous minute seeds. It originates from North American pastures, old fields and roadsides. It is cultivated in Europe and North America and in other places for seed oil. 
 
History/Folklore: It is called Evening Star because the petals emit phosphorescent light at night. The generic name comes from the Greek oinos for “wine” and thera meaning “a hunt”, and is an old Greek name given by Theophrastus to the plant.  Also known as Moth-blossom and Night-opener.  As the old country names show, this wild plant really only opens at night. The fleshy roots, dug up in the autumn, are eaten in some countries, where they are cooked in oil and vinegar to make a kind of broth.
 
Commercial products: Oleum Oenotherae Biennis is the fixed (non-volatile) oil obtained from the seeds of Oenothera biennis L. (Onagraceae). The seed contains about 14% fixed oil.  The major constituents are linoleic acid (cis-linoleic acid) (65-80%), γ-linolenic acid (cis-γ-linolenic acid) (8-14%), oleic acid (6-11%), palmitic acid (7-10%) and stearic acid (1.5-3.5%).  Other constituents include sterols and triterpene alcohols.
 
USES
Botanical extract:
The plant is astringent and mucilaginous.  The leaf and stem may be infused to make an astringent facial steam bath.  Ingredients also have anti-inflammatory / antioxidant activity. Poultice is used to enhance wound healing and sooth pain.  The root is rubbed on muscles to give athletes strength.
 
Evening primrose oil fixed oil
Traditional use:  A favourite source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), this modern seed oil is well-known and much loved moisturizer and skin nutrient.
 
The oil has been used to treat nappy rash and psoriasis, skin eruptions, aging skin and general skin dryness. However, results from clinical trials do not support the use of Oleum Oenotherae Biennis for the treatment of psoriasis. 
 
The use of oil is increasing in cosmetic products, including hand lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc.  In hand creams it is used as a softening agent.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Evening primrose oil has not been reported as having toxic or severe side effects.  Reports of side effects from using evening primrose oil in topical preparations for sunburn and other skin problems are the same as with any essential fatty acid supplement. (http://www.minddisorders.com)
 
There is a concern that evening primrose oil might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding. That is why in case of a bleeding disorder, use is not recommended. (http://www.webmd.com)
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel.
 
ROSE GERANIUM (Perlargonium graveolens)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: The Rose Geranium is a name given to a species of Pelargonium, and is confusingly not part of the Geranium genus.  Pelargonium graveolens is a perennial erect shrubby, hairy, and glandular plant that grows up to 1 m high, becoming woody with age, with fragrant and deeply incised leaves.  Flowers are pinkish in umbel-like inflorescence.  It is native to South Africa, widely cultivated in Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, etc.) and Europe (Spain, Italy France, etc).  The most widely commercially cultivated is the P. graveolens species, but other varieties and hybrids of Pelargonium are also cultivated to produce so-called geranium oils (P. graveolens, P. capitatum, P. radula, P. roseum, and P. odoratissimum).
 
History and/or Folklore: Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil has been used as far back in history as ancient Egypt; the Egyptians used Geranium oil as a fragrance in perfumery and in medicine against cancerous tumours.  Geranium was brought to Europe in the late 17th century and became popular during the Victorian era; fresh leaves of geranium were placed at formal dining tables and used as finger bowls.  In the Victorian parlour, the potted Rose Geranium plant was placed on tables, where a fresh sprig could be obtained.
 
Commercial products: Geranium essential oil is obtained by steam distillation from fresh leaves and stems.  
 
The geranium essential oil has a sweet and rosy smell with a mint overtone and is mostly colourless, but can have a slight light green colour to it.  Other common names of the geranium oil are rose geranium oil, Bourbon geranium oil, or Moroccan geranium oil.  The three major types of geranium oil (Bourbon, Algerian and Moroccan) contain large amounts of alcohols – 60-70% (L-citronellol, geraniol, linalool, and menthol), esters 20 30% (geranyl formate and acetate, citronellyl formate and acetate), aldehydes and ketones (L-isomenthone), sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (bourbonene, humulene) and alcohols, and acids (formic, acetic, propionic, etc.).
 

USES:


The therapeutic properties of geranium oil are antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, diuretic, deodorant, haemostatic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary.
 
On the skin, rose geranium oil helps to balance the secretion of sebum and clears sluggish and oily skins, while the antiseptic and cicatrisant properties make this oil an effective aid to help with burns, wounds, ulcers and other skin problems.  Rose geranium oil can also be diluted in shampoo to help with head lice.
 
The oil is very common in massage oils, bath oils, vaporizers, because it has a balancing effect on the nervous system (adrenal cortex); helps to relieve depression and anxiety, while lifting the spirits. 
 
Rose geranium oil is also widely used as a fragrance component in all kind of cosmetic products (creams, lotions, soaps, detergents, and perfumes).  Rose geranium oils have antibacterial and antifungal (especially from P. roseum) attributes.  Recently, antioxidant free radical scavenging activity of geranium oil has been reported.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Geranium oil, used topically, is not indicated to cause any side effects, since it is non-toxic, non-irritant and generally non-sensitising, yet cases of contact dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals due to geraniol have been documented. 
 
Cross-reaction of geraniol with citronella has been reported (but not with lemon oil).
 
It is not advised to use essential geranium oil in pregnancy.  It is also inadvisable to use the oil for babies and young children.
GRAPE (Varieties of Vitis vinifera L.)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Vitis vinifera (common grape vine) is a species of Vitis. The wild grape is often classified as V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris (in some classifications considered Vitis sylvestris), with V. vinifera subsp. vinifera restricted to cultivated forms.  It is a liana growing to 35 m tall, with flaky bark. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, 5–20 cm long and broad. Domesticated vines have hermaphrodite flowers, but subsp. sylvestris is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) and pollination is required for fruit to develop. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and south-western Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran. 
 
The fruit is a berry, known as a grape that grows in clusters of 15 to 300 berries.  Grapes are typically an ellipsoid shape resembling a prolate spheroid.  In the wild species, the grape is 6 mm diameter and ripens dark purple to blackish with a pale wax bloom; in cultivated plants it is usually much larger, up to 3 cm long, and can be crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange, and pink. "White" grapes are actually green in colour, and are evolutionarily derived from the purple grape.  Mutations in two regulatory genes of white grapes turn off production of anthocyanins which are responsible for the colour of purple grapes.  Anthocyanins and other pigment chemicals of the larger family of polyphenols in purple grapes are responsible for the varying shades of purple in red wines.
 
Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, wine, raisins, vinegar, grape seed oil, grape seed extracts, and grape skin extract.
 
History and/or Folklore: Grapes appear to have originated in the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe and Middle East.  Going back thousands of years, the grape was a wild vine.  Species were created through natural selection, resulting in mutations of the vine.  Cultivation of the grape occurred in pre-historic or early historic times in southwest Asia or southern Transcaucasia (Armenia and Georgia), and cultivation of the domesticated grape, Vitis vinifera, spread to other parts of the Old World over the years.  Wine is the fermented juice of grapes, and it has been used in various cultures for at least 4,500 years, originating most likely in the Middle East.  Egyptian records, dating from 2500 BC, refer to wines, and there are frequent references to wine in the Old Testament.  Wine was also used by early Minoan, Greek and Etruscan civilizations, and we can thank the Roman army for introducing the rootstocks and winemaking throughout Europe as they created an expanding Roman Empire.  Centuries later, the role of wine for sacramental use in Christian churches helped to maintain the industry after the fall of the Roman Empire.
 
Commercial products: Grape skin extract (enocianina) is the colouring matter derived from the skin of certain varieties of the wine grape.  It is commonly obtained by acidic aqueous extraction of fermented grape skin after the juice has been expressed from it.  
 
Grape skin extract contains pigment-anthocyanins also called anthocyanidins (peonidin, malvidin, delphinidin, petunidin etc.), plant acids (mainly tartaric), tannins, polyphenols (resveratrol), sugars, amino acids, and minerals.
 

UPORABA:


Grape skin extract has detoxifying, strong antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, cardio-protective, neuro-protective, cell regenerating and anti-cancer effects. 
 
Polyphenols are antioxidants and free radical scavengers.  Resveratrol (cis and trans) is a natural antioxidant, polyphenol phytoalexin that some plants produce for protection against pathogenic bacteria and fungi.  Resveratrol may also have alexin-like activity for humans. The tannins act as astringents that firm micro-capillary vessels and have strong “vitamin P” activities. Vitamin P, usually called bioflavonoids, improves capillary strength, lowers blood pressure, includes anti-inflammatory properties and might induce mechanisms that affect cancer cells and inhibit tumour invasion.  Anthocyanins also have topically antiviral properties; they are used as pH indicators and natural pigments.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


The product should not be used on damaged skin (inflammation of the skin), around the eyes or on mucous membranes.
 
If there is inflammation of the skin, thrombophlebitis or subcutaneous induration, severe pain, ulcers, sudden swelling of one or both legs, cardiac or renal insufficiency, a doctor should be consulted.

 

GINGER (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: An erect perennial herb with thick tuberous rhizomes (underground stems) from which the aerial stem grows to about 1 m high, rarely flowers and produces seeds.  It is native to southern Asia (India, China and Java).  It is extensively cultivated in the tropics (e.g. India, China, Jamaica, Haiti, Philippines, Tahiti and Nigeria).  
 
The part used is the pungent rhizome, commonly called ‘root’, both in fresh and dried forms.  
 
History/Folklore: Ginger is one of the most highly esteemed spices/drugs from ancient times to the Middle Ages. The Greeks imported it from the East Coast centuries before Dioscorides described its medicinal use. Ginger was commercially important in ancient Athens and Rome.  The Spanish imported ginger from Jamaica before the 16th century. In the Middle Ages, the Spaniards took it to Central America.
 
Commercial products: Ginger oil is usually produced from freshly ground, unpeeled dried ginger by steam distillation. 
 
Rhizoma Zingiberis is the dried rhizome of Zingiber officinale Roscoe (Zingiberaceae).  The rhizome contains 1–4% essential oil and an oleoresin. The composition of the essential oil varies as a function of geographical origin, but the chief constituent, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (responsible for the aroma) seem to remain constant. These compounds include (-)-zingiberene, (+)-ar-curcumene, (-)-β-sesquiphellandrene, and β-bisabolene. Monoterpene aldehydes and alcohols are also present.
 
Ginger oleoresin contains mainly the pungent gingerols and shogaols as well as zingerone. Shogaols and zingerones are dehydration and degradation products, respectively, of gingerols.  Shogaols have recently been found to be twice as pungent as gingerols.
 

USES:


Zingiber officinale essential oil
Externally, it is a rubefacient (produces redness of the skin by causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation) and it is used for rheumatic pains and as a stimulant of peripheral circulation in cases of bad circulation, e.g. chilblains and cramps.  It is diaphoretic (promotes sweating). Ginger baths decrease muscle soreness and muscle stiffness. Ginger has been used for centuries as a cooking spice and medicinally demonstrates a diverse range of applications having biological properties such as the ability to modulate platelet aggregation, serve as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent, and as an antioxidant.
 
Ginger oil is used as a fragrance component in cosmetic products, including soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes (especially oriental and men's fragrances). Maximum use level is 0.4% reported in perfumes.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Zingiber officinale essential oil
Ginger oil is reported to be non-irritating and non-sensitizing in humans, and its low photo-toxicity is not considered significant.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
CARROT OILS (Daucus carota)

DESCRIPTION:


Names: Carrot oil, oil of carrot, wild carrot oil
 
Botany: Daucus carota (common names include wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace, and Queen Anne's lace) is an annual or biennial herb with erect, much branched stem, up to about 1.5 m high.  The common cultivated carrot has an edible, fleshy, orange-red taproot, while the wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace, has an inedible, tough whitish root.  Wild carrot is native to Europe, Asia and North America. 
 
The part used is the dried fruit, from which carrot seed oil is obtained, and the root from which carrot root oil is obtained. 
 
Biochemistry: Carrot root oil contains high concentrations of carotenes (α, β, etc.).
 
Carrot seed oil contains α-pinene, β-pinene, carotol, daucol, limonene, β-bisabolene, β elemene, cis-β-bergamotene, geraniol, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, asarone, α-terpineol, terpinen-4-ol, γ-decanol acetate, coumarin and β-selinene, palmitic acid, butyric acid, and others.
 
Products:
Daucus carota sativa botanical extract.
 
Daucus carota essential oil (Carrot seed oil) is obtained by steam distillation of the dried fruit: It is an essential oil with significant antioxidant, antiseptic and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A.
 
Daucus carota fixed oil (Carrot root oil) is obtained by solvent extraction of red carrot (root).
 

USES:


Daucus carota sativa botanical extract 
Traditional use: The grated root was applied to bad wounds, old sores, swellings, tumours, and is soothing. Carrot juice is a remedy for styes in eyelids, and twitching eyes.
 
Daucus carota essential oil (Carrot seed oil)
Carrot seed oil is used primarily as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes.  Yellow in colour, carrot seed oil carries scent notes of wood and earth.  The highest concentration level reported is 0.4% in perfumes. It is vitamin rich (β-carotene and provitamin A) and is moisturizing.  It is all-purpose skin reliever that helps wrinkles, rashes, dry skin and swelling.  That is why preparations containing carrot oil are also suited to the care of aging skin with its tendency to cornification (and incipient wrinkling).  In the case of dry and scaly skin, carrot oil stimulates the production of sebum, but not to excess. The skin become soft and supple as a result.  When applied topically to the skin in the form of a diluted carrier oil, carrot seed oil provides natural sun protection.  According to a study published in "Pharmacognosy Magazine" in 2009, products containing carrot seed oil have a natural SPF of 38 to 40.
 
Daucus carota fixed oil (Carrot root oil)
Carrot root carrier oil acts as a moisturizing base for dry skin in face and body products.  Like carrot seed essential oil, the carrier oil contains provitamin A and β-carotene.  It is used in certain sunscreen preparations.  It is a natural colour and skin nutrient.  It accelerates the formation of tissue and contributes to a flawless skin epithelium. Carrot oil clears the complexion, as it gradually dissolves the hardened (cornified) cores of blackheads.  Because of its deep red colour and heavy scent, it is necessary to blend this carrier oil with milder products like olive or sunflower oil when using it for skin care and massage oil.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Data indicate carrot seed oil to be non-toxic. However, the chloroform/methanol fraction and petroleum ether extracts of the seeds have shown anti-fertility activity in female rats.

CASTOR OIL (Ricinus communis)

DESCRIPTION:


Names: Ricinus communis seed oil, castor seed oil; Ricinus communis oil, castor oil; vegetable oil; aromatic castor oil.
 
Botany: The castor oil plant is an annual herb that grows up to 5 m high in temperate zones and a perennial shrub or tree up to 15 m high in warmer climates. It is generally believed to be a native of Africa or India and is extensively cultivated worldwide. 
 
The parts used are the ripe seeds. 
 
History and/or folklore: In traditional medicine, castor oil has been used for centuries in India, Egypt and China as a cathartic, and externally for sores and abscesses, amongst others.  Uses include bone deformities, limb paralysis, bedsores, bronchial catarrh, flatulence in children, mastitis during breastfeeding, tinea or seborrhoea of the scalp, scabies, warts, ulcerated feet, scalds, burns, eczema, conjuctivitis, sties, and reddening and irritation of the eyes. The oil has also been instilled into the ear to treat otitis and earache.
 
Biochemistry: Castor oil contains fatty acid glycerides of linoleic, oleic, dihydrostearic, and stearic acids, with ricinoleic acid comprising 80-90% of the total fatty acid glyceride content. Ricinoleic acid is hydroxyl acid, and as a result of hydrogen bonding of its hydroxyl groups, castor oil has a characteristically high viscosity.
 
Castor bean (seed) contains a highly poisonous protein (ricin), which remains in the seed cake (pomace) after the expression of castor oil. Ricin is reported to contain 18 different amino acids and to have a molecular weight of 53,000-54,000.  Steam or moist cooking of the pomace destroy the ricin. The seed also contains ricinine (an alkaloid), lecitins, and a very powerful heat-stable allergen.
 
Products: Ricinus communis fixed oil (castor oil) is extracted from the seeds of Ricinus communis. Cold pressing yields a colourless to pale oil while hot pressing and solvent extraction yield darker grades of oil, which are of lower quality. Castor oil is very stable and does not easily turn rancid
 

USES:


Fragrance Ingredient; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive; emollient; masking; moisturising; skin conditioning; smoothing; solvent. 
 
Ricinus communis fixed oil is a very glossy oil on the skin.  It is used as an ingredient in lipstick, lip balms, lip salves, hair-grooming products, ointments, creams, lotions, transparent soaps, suppository bases, and others.  It also cleans and softens the hair and is used as a hair wash for dandruff, to prevent falling hair and to grow new hair (where follicles are not totally withered).  It has emollient properties on the skin and is soothing to the eyes.  The oil is an effective rub for inflamed skin and bruises, and is used externally for ringworm, itches, piles, sores, and abscesses. 
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Castor oil facilitates the absorption of oil soluble anthelmintics and should not be used with them. 
 
Castor seed is extremely toxic due to its content of ricin.  The allergen present in the seeds can cause eye irritation, skin rashes, etc.  However, ricin is not present in castor oil.
 
CINNAMON (Cinnamomum verum (Cinnamomum zeylanicum))

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Cinnamon (C. verum) is a medium-size evergreen tree that grows to about 10-20 m high. The bark is thin, smooth, and pinkish-brown, the leaves opposite, elliptic or oval to lanceolate-oval. Flowers are pale yellowish-green.  All species are native to Southeast Asia.
 
Parts used are the dried bark, leaves and twigs. 
 
Biochemistry: Cinnamon bark oil contains as its major component cinnamaldehyde (usually 60-75%). It contains also eugenol, eugenol acetate, cinnamyl alcohol, methyl eugenol, benzaldehyde, cuminaldehyde, benzyl benzoate, linalool, monoterpene hydrocarbons, carophyllene, safrole, and others.
 
Cinnamon leaf oil contains high concentrations of eugenol (Ceylon type 80-88%; Seychelles type 87-96%). It also contains cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol acetate, benzaldehyde, and others.  A cinnamon leaf oil of Chinese origin is reported to contain only about 3% eugenol but has a high content of safrole.
 
Products: Cinnamon bark oil is steam distilled from inner bark of certain species of cinnamon tree.
 
Cinnamon leaf essential oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum essential oil, Cassia oil) is obtained by steam distillation of leaves and twigs of certain species of cinnamon tree.
 

USES:


Cassia, cinnamon, and their bark oils have been used either as flavours or tonic or counter-irritants in cosmetic preparations, including liniments, suntan lotions, nasal sprays, mouthwashes or gargles and toothpaste, among others. 
 
Cinnamomum zeylanicum essential oil
Cinnamon bark oil is mostly used for fragrance and flavouring.  The refreshing and cooling quality of the bark is due to the presence of methyl amyl ketone.  Cinnamon oil (presumably bark oil) has anti-fungal, anti-viral, bactericidal and larvicidal properties.  
 
Ceylon cinnamon leaf oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Cinnamomum zeylanicum oil essential is not to be used in aromatherapy, as it may be harmful on the skin.
 
Allergic reactions to C. verum are common. 
 
Cinnamaldehyde can cause dermatitis in humans and allergic reactions have occurred from contact with products containing either cinnamaldehyde or cinnamon oil. Cinnamon may cause allergic reactions in some people who are allergic to balsam of Peru. Cassia oil causes mucous membrane and dermal irritation, both effects being attributed to cinnamaldehyde. 
 
An alcoholic extract of cinnamon, cinnamon oil and cassia oil have shown in vitro mutagenic activity. However, a recent test of the essential of C. cassia found no mutagenic activity in the Ames test. 
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
 
COCOA (CACAO) (Theobroma cacao)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Theobroma cacao is a tree native to the Americas.  It is an evergreen tree with leathery oblong leaves, and grows to about 8 m high. Fruits are berries borne directly on trunk and branches, with seeds within a mucilaginous pulp. 
 
The parts used are the seeds, which are commonly called cacao or cocoa beans. Cacao is generally used to describe the crude materials, while cocoa is used to describe the processed products. 
 
There are three varieties of cacao: Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario.  Forastero accounts for more than 90% of the world’s usage and is produced primarily in West African countries (e.g. Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast), while the Criollo variety is produced in Venezuela and Central America, as well as Papua New Guinea, Java and Samoa.  Trinitario is believed to be a hybrid of the other two varieties and is produced in Venezuela, Trinidad, Sri Lanka and other countries. 
 
Biochemistry: Cocoa contains more than 300 volatile compounds, including hydrocarbons, monocarbonyls, pyrroles, pyrazines, esters, lactones, and others. 
 
The important flavour components are reported to be aliphatic esters, polyphenols, unsaturated aromatic carbonyls, pyrazines, diketopiperazines, and theobromine.  Cocoa also contains about 18% proteins, fats (cocoa butter), amines, alkaloids, including theobromine, caffeine, tyramine, dopamine, salsolinol, trigonelline, nicotinic acid, and free amino acids, tannins, phospholipids, starch and sugars, minerals, and others.
 
Theobromine, the major alkaloid in cocoa, has similar pharmacological activities to caffeine. However, its stimulant activities on skeletal muscles are much weaker than those of caffeine, but it is stronger muscle relaxant.
 
Cocoa Butter contains triglycerides consisting mainly of oleic, stearic and palmitic acids. About three quarters of the fats are present as mono-unsaturates. It has excellent emollient properties.
 
Products: Three main types of ingredients are produced from cacao seeds: cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and cocoa extracts.  Oil of Theobroma, or cacao butter, (incorrectly but commonly termed "cocoa butter") is extracted from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao and is a yellowish white solid, with an odour resembling that of cocoa.
 

USES:


Cocoa butter
Fragrance Ingredient; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive; skin protectant; emollient; masking; skin conditioning; skin protecting. 
 
Traditional use: A traditional African remedy for dry skin, suitable for the most delicate of skin types. Cocoa butter is used to treat neck wrinkles on neck (turkey neck), around the eyes and at the corners of the mouth.
 
Cocoa butter is used extensively as an ointment base.  It has excellent emollient properties and is used to soften and protect chapped hands and lips.  It is used in preparations for rough or chafed skin, chapped lips, sore nipples, various cosmetics, pomatums, and fancy soaps. 
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Cocoa butter has been reported to have skin allergenic and comedogenic (forming blackheads) properties in animals. 
 
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.
 
Not suspected to be an environmental toxin
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel. 
 
FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Foeniculum vulgare is a perennial herb with erect stem growing up to 1.5 m high.  It is generally considered to be native of the Mediterranean region, but cultivated as an annual or perennial worldwide (Argentina, Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, China, India, etc.).
 
The part used is the dried ripe fruit (seed) from which an essential oil is obtained by steam distillation.  There are two commonly used varieties of fennel, bitter and sweet fennel.  The two forms of fennel are very similar and not always distinguished. Bitter fennel oil is used only to limited extend, mainly in cosmetics.  
 
Biochemistry: Foeniculum vulgare contains volatile oil and fixed oil composed primarily of petroselinic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid with a relatively high concentration of tocopherols, and flavonoids.  It contains proteins, vitamins and mineral (relatively high in calcium and potassium).  The volatile oil contains mostly trans-anetol, with lesser amounts of fenchone, estragole, limonene, camphene, α-pinene, among others.
 
Products:
Foeniculum vulgare botanical extract
Foeniculum vulgare var. vulgare. Fennel, Bitter.
Foeniculum vulgare dulce. Fennel, Sweet.
 

USES:


Foeniculum vulgare botanical extract
Traditional use: Topically, fennel is good for conjunctivitis, and blepharitis (eyewash).  An infusion placed over the eyes for 20 minutes will soothe and strengthen tired eyes.  The leaves pounded with vinegar are very good against boils and other inflammations.  Externally, a decoction can help those suffering from headache or migraine.
 
Foeniculum vulgare var. vulgare. Fennel, Bitter.
Fennel has been used as a flavouring and a scent. 
 
Foeniculum vulgare dulce. Fennel, Sweet.
Topically, fennel is good for conjunctivitis, and blepharitis (as eyewash). Useful as an oil when rubbed onto affected parts to relieve rheumatic pains. 
 
Bitter (common) fennel and sweet fennel oils are used as fragrance components in cosmetics, including soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes, with highest average maximum use level of 0.4% reported for both oils and perfumes.
 
A cream containing 2% of the ethanolic extracts of fennel was effective in reducing excessive hair growth in women diagnosed with idiopathic hirsutism.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Xi - Irritant
 
The principal hazards with fennel itself are photo-dermatitis and contact dermatitis.  A serious hazard associated with fennel is that poison hemlock can easily be mistaken for the herb.
 
Estragole has been reported to cause tumours in animals.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
 
LAVENDER (Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia), Lavandin (hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia))

DESCRIPTION:

Names: True lavender, garden lavender, or narrow-leaved lavender (L. angustifolia), broad-leaved lavender, Portuguese lavender and aspic lavender (L. latifolia)
 
Botany: Lavenders are aromatic evergreen sub-shrubs with linear or lance-shaped leaves.  It grows up to 0.9 m high.  They are native to the Mediterranean region, but are cultivated elsewhere (France is the major producer).  The parts used are the fresh flowering tops from which the essential oils are obtained by steam distillation and extracts by solvent extraction.  
 
Biochemistry: Lavender contains 0.5-1.5% volatile oil, tannin, coumarins, flavonoids (e.g. luteolin), triterpenoids (e.g. ursolic acid), and others.
 
Lavender oil has been reported to contain more than 100 components, including linalool, linalyl acetate, lavandulyl acetate, and others.  It contains high concentrations of linalyl acetate but only traces of 1.8-cineole and camphor, while spike lavender oil contains large amounts of 1.8-cineole and camphor with only small amounts of linalyl acetate. The linalool concentration is usually higher in spike lavender oil than in lavender oil.
 
Lavandin is reported to have a higher volatile oil content than lavender and spike lavender. Due to its hybrid nature, the composition of its essential oil is much more variable than either of its parents.
 
Ursolic acid, also known as urson, prunol, micromerol and malol, is a pentacyclic triterpenoid compound that naturally occurs in lavender and many other plants. Ursolic acid and its alkali salts (potassium or sodium ursolates) were formerly used as emulsifying agents in cosmetic preparations. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour (skin cancer), and antimicrobial properties make it useful in cosmetic applications. Ursolic acid may be of relevance in hair tonics to encourage hair growth.
 
Products:
Lavandula angustifolia essential oil, Lavender
 
Lavandula latifolia essential oil. Lavender, Spike
 
Lavandula hybrids:
  1. Lavandin, abrialis - is a lavender oil derived from a hybrid plant that combines the properties of Aspic and true lavender. 
  2. Lavandulin, grosso - is a hybrid between L. Officinalis and L. Latifolia and has a more herbaceous smell (some would say harsher) than some lavenders.
  3. Lavandulin, sumian - is hybrid lavender which is camphoraceous with a stimulating woodiness.  It is more rounded and smoother than some lavandins. 
Lavender oil has been reported to have anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal) and anti-parasitic activities.
 

USES:

Lavandula angustifolia essential oil, Lavender oil
A few drops in a foot bath can relieve fatigue.  Applied to the body it will act as a strong stimulant and may relieve various neuralgic pains, sprains and rheumatism, while in France it is used to treat painful bruises. 
 
Lavandula latifolia essential oil, Spike lavender oil
It yields a higher quality of the oil but is perhaps inferior in odour.  The oil has all properties associated with lavenders. 
 
Lavandula hybrids:
  1. Lavandin, abrialis - is said to be more effective than any of the other lavender types in reducing skin redness. Good for muscle aches and sprains and said to improve skin circulation.
  2. Lavandulin, grosso - has the same skin calming properties as all lavenders.
  3. Lavandulin, sumian - the soft oil has the same calming properties associated with lavenders.
 
All types of lavender products (especially essential oils) are used as a fragrance ingredients (some extensively) in cosmetic products, including soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes (e.g., lavender waters and other colognes), spike lavender oil being more extensively used in soaps and detergents.  The maximum use levels in perfumes are respectively 1.2, 1.0, and 0.8% reported for lavandin oil, lavender absolute, and spike lavender oil.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Lavender is irritating to skin and eyes. May cause sensitisation by skin contact. 
 
Available data from one source indicate spike lavender oil, lavandin oil, and lavender absolute to be non-irritating and non-sensitizing to human skin, though lavender absolute has been reported elsewhere as a sensitizer. No human phototoxicity data were reported.
 
One source reports that the oil cause dermatitis and that more toxicological studies are needed. 
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
 

 

 

MISTLETOE (Viscum album)

DESCRIPTION

Botany: Parasitic shrub, with yellow-green stems up to 100 cm long; flowers in cymes, unisexual, four-merous; berry white; occurring on woody angiosperms and gymnosperms; native to most of Europe; in America the genus Viscum does not grow wild but the Eastern Mistletoe (in the genus Phoradendron) is similar.

 
The part used is the herb or the fruit.
 
Biochemistry: All plant parts contain β-phenylethylamine, tyramine, and related compounds; polypeptides, including viscotoxins: glycoprotein lecitins, including viscumin; phenylpropanoids, including syringin, syringenin-apiosylglucoside, and 4,4`-diglucoside (eleutheroside E); caffeic and gentisic acids, polysaccharides; and others.
 
Products: 
Viscum album extract is an extract of the whole mistletoe plant.
Viscum album fruit extract is an extract of the berries of the mistletoe.
Viscum album leaf extract is an extract of the leaves of the mistletoe.
 

USES

 

Viscum album Extract
Viscum album extract is classified as nail conditioning, skin conditioning and soothing.
 
It can be usefully employed in creams to soothe sensitive, or sore skin.  Such creams are disinfecting and soothing and reduce abnormal cell production, which could be useful in psoriasis lotions and anti-dandruff shampoos.
 
Viscum album Fruit Extract
It is used as a soothing agent.
 
Viscum album Leaf Extract
It is used as a soothing agent.
 

TOXICOLOGY


Viscum album is a poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems including stomach pain, and diarrhoea along with low pulse.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
GINSENG (Panax ginseng)

DESCRIPTION

Panax ginseng is native to China, Eastern Asia and parts of Russia. This plant is also cultivated in temperate regions. Alternate names are oriental ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Asian ginseng, Asiatic ginseng, Chinese Red ginseng, Ginseng, Ginseng Asiatique, Ginseng Radix Alba, Ginseng Root, Guigai, Hong Shen, Japanese ginseng, Jen-Shen, Jinsao, Jintsam, Insam, Korean ginseng, Korean Panax, Korean Panax ginseng, Korean Red ginseng, Korean White ginseng, Ninjin, Radix ginseng Rubra, Red Chinese ginseng, Red ginseng, Red Kirin ginseng, Red Korean ginseng, Red Panax ginseng, Renshen, Renxian, Sheng Shai Shen, White ginseng, and White Panax ginseng.
 
Botany: Panax ginseng is perennial herb with simple single stems bearing at flowering a whorl of three to six long-petioled compound leaves at the top.
 
Parts used are dried, often specially treated (cured) roots; normally roots of plants about 6 years old are used. 
 
History and/or folklore: Panax is derived from the Greek word panakos, a “panacea”, in reference to the miraculous virtues ascribed to it by Chinese who consider it a remedy for almost all diseases.
 
Biochemistry: Several classes of compounds have been isolated from ginseng root. These include triterpene saponins, essential oil-containing polyacetylenes and sesquiterpenes, polysaccharides, peptidoglycans, nitrogen-containing compounds, and various ubiquitous compounds such as fatty acids, carbohydrates, and phenolic compounds.
 
The chemical constituents of ginseng believed to contribute to its pharmacological effects are the triterpene saponins.  These compounds are named ginsenosides Rx according to their mobility on thin-layer chromatography plates, with polarity decreasing from index "a" to "h".  So far, 31 ginsenosides have been isolated from the roots of white and red ginseng.  They can be categorised into three groups depending on their aglycons: protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides, protopanaxatriol-type ginsenosides, and oleanolic acid-type.
 
Products:
Panax ginseng Root is a plant material derived from the dried roots of ginseng, Panax ginseng.
 
Panax ginseng root extract is extract of the root of the ginseng plant.
 
Panax ginseng root powder and Panax ginseng root water are also ingredients made from the root of the ginseng plant.
 
Panax ginseng Root, Panax ginseng Root Extract, Panax ginseng Root Powder and Panax ginseng Root Water belong to a large and diverse class of materials that are not defined chemically.
 
 
USES
Panax ginseng Root 
It is used as emollient, tonic, hair conditioning agent and skin protection agent.
 
Panax ginseng root extract
It is used as emollient, tonic, hair conditioning agent, skin protecting agent and skin conditioning agent – miscellaneous.
 
Panax ginseng Root Water
It is used as a fragrance ingredient.
 
Panax ginseng Root Powder  
It is used as a skin conditioning agent– miscellaneous.
 
In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients are used in the formulation of many types of products including bath products, body and hand lotions, skin care products, perfumes, and eye makeup.
 
TOXICOLOGY
Panax ginseng root, Panax ginseng root extract, Panax ginseng root powder and Panax ginseng root water may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.
 
Panax ginseng seems to be safe when used for less than 3 months when used topically, short-term as part of a multi-ingredient preparation (SS Cream). Further evaluation is needed to determine its safety after prolonged, repetitive topical use. 
 
(Topically, Panax ginseng is also used as part of a multi-ingredient preparation for treating premature ejaculation. This preparation seems to be safe when applied and left on the glans penis for one hour.)

 

 
ALCOHOL DENAT.

 

DESCRIPTION
The production of alcohol from sugar by yeast is an industry in its own right.  A wine that is carefully produced using sterile equipment and fermented to 13% by volume will just about resist further infection from external organisms once that ferment has completed.  The time during the fermentation of the must is when the must is most vulnerable to infection. The naturally produced fermentation-grade alcohol may be concentrated by distillation. 
 
Denatured alcohol is a mixture of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) with a denaturing agent.  To prevent alcohol intended to be used for purposes other than oral ingestion, many countries, require that denaturants be added to alcohol.  The denaturant makes the alcohol taste bad.  When a denaturant is added to alcohol it is called denatured alcohol or Alcohol Denat (Alcohol Denat. is the general name used for denatured alcohol).  The denaturant present in the alcohol is not natural and there is need to return to quassin, the bitter substance present in Quassia (Picrasma excelsa), which used to be acceptable as a denaturant (brucine and brucine sulphate are also bitter alkaloid compounds obtained from plants).
 
USES
The naturally produced fermentation-grade alcohol concentrated by distillation is used as a natural preservative in toners, aftershaves and colognes.  Alcohol at a level of 15% is effective, but 20% is more assured.  It is used also in other product types including makeup, fragrance, oral care, skin care, and hair care products.  Besides antimicrobial activity, it also has antifoaming, astringent, masking and viscosity controlling activities. It is also used as a solvent.
 
TOXICOLOGY
The safety of Alcohol Denat., Alcohol 3-A, SD Alcohol 30, SD Alcohol 39, SD Alcohol 39-B, SD Alcohol 39-C, SD Alcohol 40, SD Alcohol 40-B, SD Alcohol 40-C, as well as the denaturants Denatonium Benzoate, Quassin, Brucine and Brucine Sulphate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.  The safety of other denaturants such as t-Butyl Alcohol, Diethyl Phthalate and Methyl Alcohol were reviewed by the CIR Expert Panel in other reports and found safe for use. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Alcohol Denat., SD Alcohol 3-A, SD Alcohol 30, SD Alcohol 39-B, SD Alcohol 39-C, SD Alcohol 40-B, and SD Alcohol 40-C denatured with t-Butyl Alcohol, Denatonium Benzoate, Diethyl Phthalate, or Methyl Alcohol were safe for use in cosmetic products.  The data were also considered sufficient to support the safety of Denatonium Benzoate when used as a denaturant.  The CIR Expert Panel also concluded that the data were insufficient to support the safety Quassin, Brucine and Brucine Sulphate as denaturants, and Alcohol denatured with these denaturants.
 
Ethanol is considered broadly toxic and linked to birth defects following excessive oral ingestion. Potential risks from ethanol in personal care products are significantly smaller than the health risks posed by the consumption of alcohol.
PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea purpurea)

DESCRIPTION:

Names: Coneflower, purple coneflower herb, purpurfarbener Igelkopf, purpurfarbene Kegelblume, purpurfarbener Sonnenhut, red sunflower, roter Sonnenhut.
 
Botany: A hardy, herbaceous perennial. Stems erect, stout, branched, hirsute or glabrous, 60–180 cm high; basal leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, acute, coarsely or sharply serrate, petioles up to 25 cm long, blades to 20 cm long and 15cm wide, blade abruptly narrowing to base, often cordate, decurrent on petiole, 3–5 veined.
 
Echinacea purpurea is native to the Atlantic drainage area of the United States of America and Canada, but not Mexico. It has been introduced as a cultivated medicinal plant in parts of north and eastern Africa and in Europe.
 
Products: Echinacea purpurea products are taken internally for a number of different ailments, including the common cold, but this review deals only with external use.
 
The volatile oil contains, among other compounds, borneol, bornyl acetate, pentadeca-8-(Z)-en-2-one, germacrene D, caryophyllene, and caryophyllene epoxide.
 
USES 
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bacteriostatic, demulcent, immunostimulant, interferon-like activity, peripheral vasodilator, skin alterative etc.  External uses include promotion of wound healing and treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.
 
TOXICOLOGY 
Allergy to the plant. Occasionally allergic reactions (hypersensitivity) may occur owing to allergy to plants in the Asteraceae (Compositae) family.
NUTMEG (Myristica fragrans)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: The nutmeg tree is an evergreen tree with spreading branches and dense foliage.  It grows up to 20 m high.  Leaves are coriaceous, elliptic-oblong and at times oblanceolate, cordate at tip, and acute at base. Flowers are bracteolate, fruits ovoid, subglobose or pyriform.  The dried brown seed, after the shell is broken and discarded is the nutmeg.
 
The nutmeg tree originated in the East Indian archipelago.  It is now cultivated widely throughout tropical areas.  Indonesia is the main supplier of East Indian nutmeg, but it is also produced in Sri Lanka.  The Federation of the West Indies are the main suppliers of West Indian nutmeg. 
 
History and/or folklore: It is said that the scent of the Nutmeg Islands is so powerful that birds of paradise become intoxicated.
 
Products: Myristica fragrans essential oil (Myristicae aetheroleum; Nutmeg oil): Nutmeg oil is a volatile oil obtained by steam distillation or steam and water distillation of freshly comminuted, dried nutmegs. The nutmegs should preferably be free from most of their fixed oil before distillation. The fixed oil can be alcohol extracted to yield a small amount of essential oil which has been dissolved in the fixed oil during the expression.
 
Nutmeg oil is a strong antioxidant with antimicrobial and analgesic properties.
 
Myristica fragrans botanical extract (Nutmeg extract): Nutmeg extract is prepared from the dried, ripe seed of the fruit from Myristica fragrans.  It is usually a dark orange, somewhat grainy, viscous mass of very warm, spicy balsamic and strongly aromatic odour.  The flavour is slightly burning, warm and spicy, reminiscent of nutmeg. 
 
Biochemistry: Nutmeg contains 2-16% (usually ca. 10%) volatile oil; 25-40% fixed (non-volatile) oils consisting of free myristic acid and triglycerides of lauric, tridecanoic, palmitic, stearic, and myristic acids as well as branched isomers of myristic and stearic acids; starch (ca. 30%); protein (ca. 6%); an oleanolic acid glycoside (saponin); sclareol; diarylpropanoides (dimeric phenylpropanoids) such as macelignan, meso-di-hydroguaiaretic acid, otobaphenol; catechins, proanthocyanidins and others
 

USES


Myristica fragrans essential oil (Myristicae aetheroleum; Nutmeg oil):
Traditional use: Nutmeg oil is used for liniments, hair preparations, soaps and scented powders. It is one of the components used in liniments and analgesic rubs.
 
Nutmeg oil is widely used as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes at concentrations from 0.005% to 0.8%. Maximum use level reported is 0.3% for East Indian oil in perfumes (West Indian nutmegs yield slightly more monoterpenes by distillation than do the East Indian nutmegs).
 
Myristica fragrans botanical extract (Nutmeg extract):
The extract is now and then used in old fashioned types of oriental perfume where it produces pleasing effects in combination with sandalwood, vetiver, clary sage, oakmoss, lavender absolute, tonka absolute, labdanum extracts, bergamot oil, patchouli oil and geranium oil. Minute additions of nutmeg extract can have very interesting effects in rose bases.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Myristica fragrans essential oil
 
Xi - irritant:
  • Irritating to skin and eyes.
  • May cause sensitisation by skin contact.
  • Avoid contact with skin.
 
Nutmeg oil is toxic if used in large quantities, and can be stupefying. Use with caution on the skin. No information on the long term toxicity of nutmeg oil is provided.
 
NETTLE LEAF (Urtica dioica)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Herbaceous perennial up to 30-150 cm. It is monoecious or dioecious.  Stems are four angled and have stinging hairs similar to the leaves.  Leaves are opposite, ovate to cordate oblong-lanceolate, and serrate. Flowers are green in axillary panicles; flowering from June to September.
 
History and/or folklore: Dried leaves are used as snuff to stop nose bleeds.  Inhalation of the fumes of burning dried nettle leaves is used to clear a chesty cold.  Nettle yields a grey-green dye. It is called the herb of Mars.
 
Products: A large number of compounds of different polarity and belonging to various chemical classes, including fatty acids, terpenes, phenylpropanes, lignans, coumarins, triterpenes, ceramides, sterols and lectins, have been isolated from Radix Urticae. Among these are oxalic acid, linoleic acid, 14-octacosanol, 13-hydroxy-9-cis,11-trans-octadecadienoic acid, α-dimorphecolic acid (9-hydroxy-10-trans,12-cis-octadecadienoic acid), scopoletin, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, homovanillyl alcohol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, 24-R-ethyl-5α-cholestan-3β,6α-diol, campesterol, daucosterol (and related glycosides), secoisolariciresinol-9-O-β-D-glucoside, neo-olivil, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, Urtica dioica agglutinin and polysaccharides RP1-RP5.
 
The parts used are the herb, leaves and root. These have antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

USES


Urtica dioica botanical extract:
Traditional use: Nettles are commonly included in footbaths to draw out impurities and ease tiredness. Extract of leaves has been used topically for the treatment of rheumatic disorders. Externally, it is used as a hair conditioner, and reputedly removes dandruff.
 
Nettle extract is reported to be used as a biological additive in shampoos, permanent wave treatment; hair conditioners; skin fresheners, and miscellaneous skin care products.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Radix Urticae is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants of the Urticaceae family.

MINT (Mentha aquatica. Watermint; Mentha arvensis. Cornmint/Peppermint; Mentha piperita. Peppermint; Mentha spicata. Spearmint)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Closely related perennial aromatic herbs with runners or stolons by which they are propagated.  Leaves of spearmint are sessile (no petioles) while those of peppermint and cornmint are petioled and short petioled.  They grow up to 1 m high, and are cultivated worldwide.  There are 20 true species of Mentha, represented as 2300 named variations.  
 
Products: Parts used are the dried leaves and the fresh or partially dried whole, above-ground flowering plant.  The former furnishes the herb, while the latter is used for the production of the essential oil.  USA is the major producer of peppermint and spearmint.  Major producers of cornmint are Japan, Taiwan and Brazil. 
 
 
Mentha piperita botanical extract, essential oil
Typical minty fragrance with mentholic undertones.
 
Mentha spicata botanical extract, essential oil
The aroma of spearmint is not as sharp and intense or vital as peppermint, as it contains no menthol. It is often described a slightly fruity aroma.
 
The mint oil has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.
 

USES:


Mentha piperita botanical extract, essential oil
Traditional use: Peppermint has a clean, clearing, penetrating odour. It is used as a breath freshener.  It is invigorating and is used to bathe tired and sweaty feet.  It has a cooling effect on the body. 
 
The mint oils (especially spearmint oil) are commonly used as fragrance components in toothpaste, mouthwashes, gargles, soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Eye contact with unwashed hands after the application of peppermint oil may potentially cause irritation.
 
Peppermint oil should not be applied on broken or irritated skin.
 
Hypersensitivity reactions such as skin rash, contact dermatitis, and eye irritation have been reported. These reactions are mostly mild and transient. The frequency is not known. Irritation of the skin and mucosa of the nose is possible, after local application. The frequency is not known.
 
No case of overdose has been reported.
MACADAMIA (Macadamia ternifolia)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, with a disjunct distribution native to eastern Australia (seven species), New Caledonia (one species, M. neurophylla) and Sulawesi in Indonesia (one species, M. hildebrandii).
 
Macadamia are small to large evergreen trees growing to 2–12 m tall. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptical in shape, 6–30 cm long and 2–13 cm broad, with an entire or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced on a long, slender, simple stem 5–30 cm long, the individual flowers are 10–15 mm long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a very hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds (nuts).
 
History and/or folklore: An oil from the “king of nuts”, a Hawaiian emollient is reported to have properties akin to those of sebum, and helps to recapture the skin of childhood. 
 
Products: Macadamia nut oil is the non-volatile oil expressed from the nut meat of the macadamia tree. Macadamia oil is high in palmitoleic acid, found in the sebum of our skins, and oleic acid.
 
Biochemistry:
Macadamias have the highest amount of beneficial mono-unsaturated fats of any known nut, but also contain approximately 22% of omega-7palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to saturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fibre, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
 
This relatively high content of "cushiony" palmitoleic acid plus macadamia's high oxidative stability make it a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially for skin care.
 

USES:


Macadamia nut fixed oil
Traditional use: The oil effectively hydrates dry and rough skin and reduces the appearance of the fine lines including those around the eyes. It is ideal for use where penetration and lubrication are essential. The oil therefore makes a pleasant massage oil and it has a long shelf life. It shows excellent absorbency with a protective barrier that does not clog the pores of the skin.  It is easily removed by soapy water. The oil is used in products that afford protection from the aging effects of the sun. In hair care it is utilised in brilliantine and hot oil conditioning treatments. It is a highly nourishing and emollient oil recommended for dry and mature skin. Studies have shown that the level of palmitoleic acid in the skin of people suffering from psoriasis is about half that of healthy individual. This would seem to indicate that the replenishment of the palmitoleic acid may be of benefit.  Similarly, Macadamia oil has often been recommended for older skin which starts to dry as the sebum production diminishes.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Macadamia nut fixed oil is non toxic, non allergenic and non-staining.

LEMON OIL (AND LEMON PETITGRAIN OIL) (Citrus limon)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Citrus limon is a small evergreen tree with very fragrant flowers and stiff thorns, which can grow up to 6 m high. 
 
Parts used are the peel as well as the leaves and twigs together with undeveloped fruits.  
 
Products: Lemon oil is produced from the leaves and twigs, sometimes including undeveloped small fruits by steam distillation. Lemon oil contains about 90% monoterpene hydrocarbons, composed mainly of limonene (ca. 70%), with lesser amounts of γ-terpinene, β-pinene, sabinene, α-pinene, and myrcene; 2-6% aldehydes (mainly citral, neral and geranial); alcohols and esters (linalool, geraniol, etc.); small amounts of sequiterpene; waxes; and 0.41%-0.87% coumarin.
 
Some components in the waxes have been reported to have antioxidant properties.
 

USES


Used as a fragrance ingredient in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes. Lemon petitgrain oil is used in creams, lotions, and perfumes. 
 
Citrus medica limonum essential oil
Refreshing, revitalizing and stimulating. This oil is used wherever a fresh and invigorating property is needed in foam baths, shower gels or massage oils. Lemon oil is stimulating, calming, carminative, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, sleep inducing and has antifungal properties.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Lemon oil has been reported to have phototoxic effects, most likely due to its coumarins. 
 
Lemon petitgrain oil is non-irritating, non-sensitising and non-phototoxic to human skin.
 
LEMON GRASS (Cymbopogon citratus and C. flexuosus)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Cymbopogon citratus and C. flexuosus are perennial grasses both native to tropical Asia.  C. Citrates is known as West Indian lemongrass and is cultivated in the tropics worldwide (major producers are Guatemala, Madagascar, Brazil, Malaysia, the Comoro Islands and Vietnam.  C. flexuosus is known as cochin, East Indian, or British Indian lemongrass and has similar properties to C. Citrates.  C. Flexuosus is cultivated mainly in western India and nearby countries.  Leaf blades are linear, long, attenuated toward the base tapering upward to a long setaceous point ca. 90 x 0.6 cm, glaceous green more or less smooth, less rough upward.  Parts used are the freshly cut and partially dried leaves of cultivated plants.  
 
Products: Volatile (essential) oil is obtained by steam distillation of freshly cut and partially dried leaves.  It has anti-microbial properties, especially against Gram-positive bacteria and fungi.  It has analgesic, antinociceptive, and antioxidant properties. The antioxidant activity is displayed by some components such as citral and phenolic constituents.
 
C. citrates usually contains 0.2-0.4% volatile oil and C. Flexuosus about 0.5%.  The oils contain citral as the major component (C. citrates contains about 65-85% and C. Flexuosus about 70-85%).
 

USES:


Cymbopogon citratus essential oil
Lemongrass oil is an excellent general skin tonic and antiseptic, with a lemony aroma. It is also believed to soothe fevers, and to help relieve migraine.  It is said to normalise overactive oil glands, and is therefore good for acne and open pores. 
 
Lemongrass oil (especially C. citratus) is used extensively as a fragrance component in soaps and detergents.  It is also used in creams, lotions, and perfumes, with maximum use level of 0.7% reported for both types of oil in perfumes.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Available data from one source indicate the oil to be mildly to moderately irritating to the skin of experimental animals but non-irritating and non-sensitising to human skin. Its phototoxicity on human skin has not been determined.
 
Citral has been reported to produce sensitization reactions in humans when applied alone but to produce no such reactions when applied as a mixture with other compounds.
LEMON BALM (MELISSA) (Melissa officinalis)

DESCRIPTION:

Names: Balm, Lemon Balm, Melissa, Balm mint, Bee Balm, Blue Balm, Cure-All, Dropsy Plant, Garden Balm, and Sweet Balm.
 
Botany: An aromatic perennial herb with yellowish or white flowers, growing up to approximately 1 m in height, mostly in the Mediterranean region, western Asia, SW Siberia and northern Africa.  It is widely cultivated. Parts used are the dried leaves often with flowering tops.
 
History and/or folklore: The lemon scent attracts the bees, hence the Greek name Melissa for “bee.” This was the favoured herb of the great medicinal herbalist Paracelsus, who sold the remedy to kings as an elixir of life. The plant is said to safeguard against early senility and impotency.  The Arabs loved this plant and extracted a pungent oil, from which they made a perfume. It is a well-known monastery herb, and monks and nuns use it to prepare a fragrant cologne and healing salves.
 
Products:
Melissa officinalis botanical extract:
 
Melissa officinalis Leaf Extract is an extract of the leaves and tops of the balm mint, Melissa officinalis.
 
Melissa officinalis essential oil:
An essential oil is obtained from dried leaves and flowering tops by steam distillation. It is probably one of the most frequently adulterated essential oil.
 
Biochemistry: The major characteristic constituents are hydroxycinnamic acids (rosmarinic [up to 6%], p coumaric, caffeic and chlorogenic acids), and an essential oil (0.02-0.37%) composed of more than 40% monoterpenes and more than 35% sesquiterpenes. The most significant terpenoid components are citral (a mixture of the isomers neral and geranial), citronellal, geraniol, nerol, linalool, farnesyl acetate, humulene (α-caryophyllene), β-caryophyllene and eremophilene. Other constituents include flavonoids, tannins and acidic triterpenes (e.g. ursolic and oleanolic acids).
 

USES:

Melissa officinalis botanical extract
Traditional use: Historically Melissa was used for sores, insect bites and to aid soothing in creams and lotions. Melissa is used externally for the treatment of wounds, rheumatism, headaches and abscesses.
 
It is classified as Skin Conditioning Agent – Occlusive.  Melissa officinalis leaf extract offers soothing, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.   It is used in skin care.
 
It is used as a component in perfumes, and is commonly used in lip balms.  Leaf extract is useful for bath preparations and for skin care applications for blemished and sensitive skin.
 
Melissa officinalis essential oil
It can be used in creams or lotions as it is useful to fight fungal infections, and to check blood flow from wounds.  In some quarters it is used to counteract baldness and hair loss.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
N.A.
 

TOXICOLOGY:

 

N.A.
 
Melissa officinalis essential oil
Xi - Irritant 
  • Irritating to skin and eyes
  • May cause sensitisation by skin contact.
  • Avoid contact with skin and eyes.
 
Melissa is extremely potent and should be used with caution.  Melissa oil is non-toxic but could cause sensitization and irritation and should always be used in low dilutions.  Melissa oil may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, because of the high aldehyde content.
 
There is a concentration restriction in the fragrance compound.  This applies to the supply of fragrance compounds (formulas) only, not to the finished products in the market place.
 

 

 

ZINC SALT (ZINC PCA) (Cadmiae sal)

DESCRIPTION:
Product: Zinc is a metallic chemical element. Zinc PCA is the zinc salt of L-pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. It inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that catalyses the production of dihydroxy testosterone, a hormone that controls sebaceous gland activity. Zinc PCA is also a natural moisturizing factor (NMF) of the amino acid type.  Zinc salts have a strong antibacterial activity.

USES:


Zinc PCA is a natural humectant associated with NMF of the skin that helps to reduce the appearance of excess sebum on the skin and scalp, leaving a clean, refreshed sensation. It cleans dirt, oil and product build-up, stimulates capillary circulation and helps to eliminates dandruff.  The zinc salt is therefore used in treating skin disorders and improving skin conditions.
 
The active ingredient Zinc PCA is anti-bacterial and anti-seborrheic which means that the scalp will be less oily and it will help to eliminate bacteria build up on hair roots and it will reduce scalp irritation, flakiness and itchiness.
 
Zinc salts are effective also in reducing body odour because of their action in inhibiting the development of bacterial enzymes that cause malodour.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
There was no evidence of irritation, phototoxicity, sensitization, or comedogenicity found. Zinc PCA was found to be non-irritating and non-sensitising (with and without UV exposure). It was concluded that zinc PCA is safe as presently used in cosmetic formulations. This ingredient, however, should not be used in cosmetic products containing nitrosating agents.

FIELD HORSETAIL (Equisetum arvense)

 

DESCRIPTION
Names: Oblivion Horsetail, common Horsetail, Bottle Brush, Paddock-Pipes, Dutch Rushes
 
Botany: Equisetum arvense is a herbaceous perennial rhizomatous plant of the Equisetaceae family.  Early in the spring, it grows from a deep, articulated root straight-chained fertile brownish stems.   The fertile stems grow 10-20 cm and 3-5 cm diameter.  On the top of the stems spores develop and as soon as spores are mature, the fertile shoots die. In the early summer, green hollow infertile stems grow from the root with up to 20 segments. Sterile stems are 10-90 cm tall and 3-5 cm diameter.  From the stem joints grow long, needle-like leaves that are smaller at the end and facing up.  It is native throughout the arctic and temperate regions of northern hemisphere.  It grows in the swamps, trenches, on moist and sandy meadows, and fields.  Field horsetail is primarily known as a persistent weed.
 
History and/or folklore: The 30 or so species of horsetail that survive today are relics of species that formed the great forests of 300 million years ago. 
 
Culpepper and Dioscorides extol the virtues of it for staunching bleeding. Galen recommended horsetail for healing sinews and to strengthen the lungs and give strength generally.
 
Biochemistry: Botanical extract contains acids (silicilic - 10%, ferulic, ascorbic, malic, caffeic, gallic, pectic, tannic, oxalic, aconitinic), campesterol, equisetrin, equisetonin, alkaloids (nicotine, palustrine), amino acids (niacin), fibre, minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, silicon, selenium, and zinc), flavonoids and bitter substances.
 
Products:
Equisetum arvense botanical extract
 
USES
Equisetum arvense botanical extract 
Traditional use: Historically, a decoction applied externally was said to stop bleeding of wounds, heal wounds and reduce the swelling of eyelids.  An infusion of the whole plant (above ground) was used for rinsing hair (the high content of silica prevents dry hair, baldness, seborrhoea, and dandruff) and strengthening nails.
 
In cosmetics it is mainly used in preparations against wrinkles, bruising and cellulitis. 
 
For medicinal purposes only the green barren stems are used, gathered over the summer.  The botanical extract is used to promote secretion of water from the body and eliminate kidney sand and stones. It is also used to prevent haemorrhage and it is a remedy for pulmonary disease, bronchitis, and tuberculosis.  It is recommended in diets to enhance metabolism and kidney function.  Herbalists also recommend it for rheumatism and gout. 
 
Horsetail tea is gargled in case of inflammation of oral mucosa and gums. It lowers blood pressure and reduces and relieves problems associated with varicose veins and broken capillaries.
 
TOXICOLOGY
Contraindication: Horsetail is a plant with strong diuretic properties; its internal use can produce problems in blood pressure; before use, a doctor should be consulted. It should not be administered during pregnancy or nursing.
 
Many professionals consider horsetail too dangerous to use as a medicinal plant (as it contains silicates, alkaloids, and enzymes such as thiaminase).
 
GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus x paradise)

DESCRIPTION
Botany: A tropical or subtropical cultivated evergreen rutaceous tree of the genus Citrus, which often grows to more than 10 m high; it is considered to be a relatively recent hybrid of C. Maxima and C. Sinensis.  It has leathery evergreen leaves and large, juicy edible fruits having leathery aromatic rinds.
 
It is cultivated in USA (California, Florida and Texas), the West Indies (Jamaica and Dominican Republic), Nigeria, Brazil, Israel and the Mediterranean (e.g. Portugal).  The part used is the fresh peel of the fruit from which grapefruit oil is produced by cold expression. 
 
Products: expressed grapefruit oil, cold-pressed grapefruit oil, and shaddock oil.
 
USES
Like all citrus oils, grapefruit oil is a source of alpha hydroxy acids (citric acid), antioxidants, fragrant essential oils (grapefruit essential oil contains a-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, limonene, geraniol, linalool, citronellal, decyl acetate, neryl acetate and terpinen-4-ol) and useful astringents.  It belongs to oils with the most significant scents and it is widely used in cosmetics and aromatherapy.  It is also used in air freshener preparations.
 
It is astringent with important vitamin properties that improve superficial microcirculation, tones the venous and lymphatic systems, and ensures better tissue drainage.  Traditionally said to balance cellular exchanges.  Grapefruit oil is a good facial toner; it has cooling, refreshing and stimulating effect on lifeless skin.  It is an emollient; it hydrates the skin and gives velvety feel.  It has antibacterial and antibiotic effects.  It is a great help in the care of oily skin and skin with acne, mostly due to α-hydroxy acids (AHA) used as chemical peels.  AHAs have a profound effect on keratinization; formation of a new stratum corneum. It appears that AHAs modulate this formation through diminished cellular cohesion between corneocytes at the lowest levels of the stratum corneum.  AHAs with greater bioavailability appear to have deeper dermal effects.  Citric acid, on topical application to photo-damaged skin, has been shown to produce increased amounts of mucopolysaccharides and collagen and increased skin thickness without detectable inflammation.
 
Grapefruit oil can handle swelling and rheumatic pain.  When inhaled, grapefruit oil is an antidepressant and helps relieve anxiety.  It can be effective treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause.   
 
The seeds have been used to produce a natural preservative (naringin).
 
TOXICOLOGY
Dermatological studies have indicated grapefruit oil to be non-irritating, non-sensitising and non-phototoxic to humans.  However, certain bergaptens present in grapefruit oils are known to be phototoxic and allergenic to some individuals.
 
Precaution: do not use during individual intolerance to Ylang-ylang; use diluted, prevent eye contact, and keep out of reach of children. During pregnancy use with caution.
JOJOBA (Simmondsia chinensis)

DESCRIPTION
Names: goat nut, pignut, deer nut
 
Botany: Jojoba is a desert evergreen, much branched shrub, 1-2 m high with leaves opposite, entire, oblong-ovate, 2-4 cm long, dull green, subsessile, and erect. Flowers are unisexual, small in peduncles.  The fruit is nut-like, ovoid, leathery, three-angled, and 2.5 cm long.  The seed contains waxy liquid. It is indigenous to southern Arizona, southern California, northern Mexico, Sonora and Baja California.  The largest grower is Catamaraca in Argentina. 
 
History and/or folklore: The Indians and Mexicans have used jojoba oil for long time as a hair conditioner and restorer and also as folk cancer remedy.
 
Products: The colourless and odourless oil is obtained from the seed by expression or solvent extraction and its “liquid wax” is treated as jojoba oil. Essentially the oil is triglyceride. It is a unique liquid mixture of long chain linear monoesters, fatty acids, proteins (albumin, globulin), polysaccharides, and small quantities of sterols.
 
USES
Jojoba fixed oil, Jojoba butter
The oil is considered an excellent emollient, skin and hair conditioning agent and occlusive in shampoos, lipsticks, make-up products, cleansing products, face, body and hand creams and lotions, moisturizing creams and lotions. 
The wax is used in the management of acne outbreaks and psoriasis. 
 
Jojoba is readily absorbed by the skin and is miscible with sebum. As a result, it leaves no greasy after feeling.
It appears to be very effective in controlling transpiration water loss, having the water vapour porosity necessary to permit the skin to function normally while still providing an emollient effect. Jojoba effectively controls skin sloughing without the greasiness associated with occlusion such as petrolatum. As an added benefit, jojoba oil has been shown to significantly soften the skin as measured by viscoelastic dynamometry. 
 
The oil has also been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. Jojoba oil has been used medicinally for the treatment of burns (sunburns), sores and chapped skin.
 
Jojoba wax beads are used as an exfoliating agent in facial scrubs, and body polishing.
 
TOXICOLOGY
Jojoba oil has been shown to be non-comedogenic (does not block pores), and non-antigenic.
 
Appetite-depressant, teratogenic activity has been reported
 
NEEM (Azadiatrichta indica or Melia azadirachta)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany:  Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres, rarely to 35–40 metres.  It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide spread.  The fairly dense crown is roundish or oval and may reach a diameter of 15–20 metres in old, free-standing specimens.
 
History and/or folklore: The medicinal and antimicrobial activity of plant extract has been known for generations.  The earliest use of a plant being used as human medication is found on an Egyptian papyrus dated about 1550 BC (the Ebers Papyrus-ACD).  Almost every part of the neem tree is used in traditional medicine in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Indochina, Java and Thailand.  The stem, root bark, and young fruits are used to treat malaria and cutaneous diseases.  The tender leaves have been used in the treatment of worm infections, ulcers, cardiovascular diseases and for their pesticide and insect-repellent activity.  Neem oil has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years, practically as a panacea for all ailments.  It is one of Indian’s most reverential treatments for problem skin.
 
Products:
Neem oil (Melia azadirachta fixed oil)
Melia azadirachta botanical extract
Melia azadirachta essential oil
 
USES:
Neem fixed oil
A very aromatic oil (neem also known as margosa or nimba).  There are many oils but few have as many therapeutic properties as neem oil.  Neem oil is known for its medicinal and cosmetic properties.  The oil has moisturizing, regenerating and restricting properties.  As an ointment neem oil can be used to treat wounds, boils and eczema. It can be used in massage to combat muscle pain, oedema of the joints and fever. It is an antifungal and antiviral agent and also combats lice and other parasites.  Applied to the scalp, it has the reputation of retarding baldness and the appearance of white hair.  In the form of soap, it can protect humans against pain, illness and the effects of aging. 
 
Melia azadirachta botanical extract
It is used to prevent pyorrhoea and skin diseases.  It acts as a vermicide, softens hard and rough skin, and is used as an antiseptic and in hair care as it checks hair loss, stimulates hair growth and darkens hair.  Neem also inhibits allergic reactions when applied to the skin. Neem compounds inhibit the stimulus produced by histamine and may be helpful in skin rashes and bronchial allergy.  Application of a neem-based cream or lotion will stop the itching and inflammation of rashes.
 
Melia azadirachta essential oil
It is used to reduce dental caries and inflammation of the mouth when used an ingredient in dental preparations. Naturally occurring oil (from seed of A. indica) has pronounced antimicrobial properties.
 
Neem bark and leaves
Traditional use: Neem is commonly used for toothbrushes for cleaning the teeth, mouth and hands.  Neem is one of the trees that are used in India for toothbrushes.  Chewing neem sticks is still common in India, although most modern Indian use neem toothpaste instead.  In the toothpaste neem leaf powders and extracts are mainly used.  The neem leaf is not the most effective neem product for dental care purposes, but manufacturers do not want to use the more effective bark in a toothpaste, because that would make it brown.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Azadiatrichta indica essential oil
No important hazards found. However, advised to keep out of the reach of children, and avoid contact with eyes (Skin sensitization – Guinea Pig, Eye Irritation – Rabbit).
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel.
 
Melia azadirachta botanical extract
Dermal toxicity is not determined.
 
Neem fixed oil 
The oil is non-toxic to bees, mammals, birds and earthworms.  It generally affects only plant sap-sucking insects.  It is also said that Neem oil is not entirely harmless for certain beneficial insects.  Spraying neem oil in the sun can cause leaves to burn.  Neem oil is biodegradable.

 

GREEN TEA (Camelia, Camellia sinensis)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Camelia sinensis is an evergreen shrub or occasionally a tree, much branched; young leaves hairy; up to about 9 m high if free growing, but usually maintained at 1-1.5 m high by regular pruning. Native to the mountainous regions of southern China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and other tropical and subtropical countries; cultivated in United States in the Carolinas. Parts used are dried, cured leaf bud and two adjacent young leaves together with the stem, broken between the second and third leaf bud together which are called "tea flush" and are collected from spring to autumn.
 
History and/or folklore: Archaeological evidence indicates that tea leaves steeped in boiling water were consumed by Homo erectus pekinensis more than 500,000 years ago.  Chinese legend described in the Cha Ching (tea book) around AD 780, attributes tea drinking to one of earliest Chinese herbalists, King Shen Nong, ca. 2700 BC. Indian legend claims that tea was brought to China by Siddhardtha Guatama Buddha during his travels in that country.
 
Biochemistry: The chemistry of tea is extremely complicated. It contains caffeine, with small amount of other xanthine alkaloids (theobromin, theophyline, dirnethylxanthine, xanthine, adenine, etc.).  Part of the caffeine is in bound form. Tea also contains large amounts of tannins or phenolic substances consisting of both catechin (flavanol) and gallic acid units. Other components present in tea include fats; flavonoids (quercetin, quercitrin, rutin, etc.); anthocyanins; amino acids; triterpenoid saponin glycosides (theasaponin, isotheasaponins, and assamsaponins); sterols; vitamin C; flavour and aroma chemicals including theaflavin, thearubigin, l-epicathechingallate, theogallin, theaspirone, dihydroactinidiolide, dimethyl sulphide, ionones, damasconones, jasmine, furfuryl alcohol, geranial, trans-hexen-2-al, and others, totalling over 300 compounds; proteins; polysaccharides; pigments (carotenoids); and others
 
Products: Camellia sinensis botanical extract and fixed (non-volatile) oil
 
USES:
The common tea bag is used as a wash for sunburn, as a poultice for baggy eyes, and as a compress for headache or tired eyes. In India the leaf juice is used as a topical haemostatic agent for cuts and injuries.
 
Traditional use: in the traditional medicine of India, green tea is recorded as a mild excitant, stimulant, diuretic and astringent, and the leaf-infusion (tea) was formerly used to remedy fungal infections caused by insects. It has antioxidant properties.
 
Camellia sinensis botanical extract: 
A 100% natural, standardised, high purity green tea extract with excellent antioxidant efficacy supported by high total polyphenol (> 72%) and high epigallocatechin gallate and no added caffeine.  A potent anti-oxidant (scavenger of harmful free radicals).  Anti-aging skin benefits through collagenase inhibition and anti-inflammatory activity.
 
Camellia sinensis leaf oil
Antioxidant; Skin-conditioning agent.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Recommended restricted use and concentration in cosmetics.  Fragrance safe only within recommended use or concentration limits.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel.
 

 

ROYAL JELLY (Pharyngeal glands of the worker bee)

DESCRIPTION 
Names: Queen bee jelly, apilak, Weiselfuttersaft, Gelee royale, feng
 
Zoology: It is a milky white viscous substance secreted by the pharyngeal glands of the worker bee.  It is the food of all bee larvae for the first three days of life.  It is reserved as food for queen bees for the rest of their lives, hence the name ‘royal jelly’.  It is produced in tiny quantities by worker bees to feed the queen.
 
Biochemistry:  Chemical constituents reported to be present: hydroxyl fatty acids, including 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid (royal jelly acid; 10-HDA), 10-hydroxidecanoic acid, and others (sterols, acetylcholine, free amino acids, peptides, glycol-proteins, etc.).  The peptides, jelleine I-III have recently been shown to be active against gram-positive and gram negative bacteria and yeast.
 
Products: Royal jelly (in liquid, powder, or extract form).
 
USES
Antimicrobial, antioxidant, alleged anti-wrinkle, skin-nourishing and whitening properties.
 
Royal jelly is used in various types of skin care product (creams, lotions, soap, etc.).  It is also used in hair care and oral products (e.g. toothpaste).
 
TOXICOLOGY
Although rare, royal jelly can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, ranging from asthma to anaphylaxis.
PINE (Pinus nigra (Pine), Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine), Pseudotsaga menziesii (Douglas Fir))

DESCRIPTION
Botany: Pines are evergreen, resinous trees (or rarely shrubs) growing 3–80 m tall, with the majority of species reaching 15–45 m tall. The bark of most pines is thick and scaly, but some species have thin, flaking bark. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.  The European black pine, P. Nigra, is a variable species of pine, occurring across southern Europe from Spain to the Crimea, and also in Asia Minor, Cyprus, and locally in the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa.  Douglas Fir (Pseudotsaga menziesii) is native to N America, but is also naturalised throughout Europe.
 
Products: 
Pinus nigra (Pine) essential oil, Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) essential oil
Distillation of the pine wood or needles under steam pressure gives pine oil, which has a scent like that of juniper oil.  An inferior essential oil is also produced by dry distillation from the wood chippings, etc.).
 
Gum turpentine is produced by steam distillation from the oleoresin. 
 
Pine oil contains essence of turpentine (pinene, camphene, terpenes, etc.), and mallol. Essential oil contains pinene, sylvestrine, bornyl acetate, cadinene, and pumilone. The buds contain more than 200g of resin or rosin per kg. It is used to impart its refreshing scent to bath essences.
 
Pseudotsaga menziesii (Douglas Fir) essential oil
Distilled from the needles. 
 
USES
Pinus nigra (Pine) essential oil
The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and a vermifuge and is used as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc., and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.
 
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) essential oil
Pine baths are used for nervous diseases as well as neuralgic and rheumatic conditions. Oil of turpentine is used medicinally in veterinary practice as a rubefacient and visicant, and is valuable as an antiseptic, for rheumatic swellings and for sprains and bruises, and to kill parasites.
 
Pseudotsaga menziesii (Douglas Fir) essential oil
Traditional use: Clearing and deodorizing. It is excellent air freshener and has antiseptic properties. It is stimulating and good for circulation. High quality oils do not smell as basic as toilet cleaners and have a lighter more delicate aroma.
 
Rosin
It is ingredient in some soaps and ointments. It is also used as a fixative in perfumes.
 
TOXICOLOGY
Essential oil applied directly to the skin can cause skin irritation.
 
Turpentine has contact allergenic activity.
HOPS (Humulus lupulus)

OPIS:

Alternate name: hop powder
 
Botany: Hops derive from the dried strobiles of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus.  This is a twinning perennial herb with male and female flowers on separate plants, which grows up to 8 m high.  It is native to Eurasia and North America, and is extensively cultivated world-wide.
 
History and/or folklore: Hops were used by the ancients as a tonic. Hops were introduced to England by the Dutch in the 16th century. The common name is said to originate in Old English hopen or hoppan, meaning "to climb". Its most well-known use is in beer brewing.
 
Product and Biochemistry: The hop contains β-sitosterol, estradiol, stigmasterol and oestrone. In addition, it contains many other materials that are known for their sedative and relaxing attributes.  The hop contains plant hormones, particularly when very fresh, and these are similar to oestrogens.
 
Humulus lupulus botanical extract
Hop extracts have been reported to have various biological activities, including antimicrobial activities, which are due to the bitter acids (especially lupulone and humulone), the more hydrophobic ones being the more active.
 

USES:


Antimicrobial; astringent; emollient; skin conditioning; soothing; and tonic 
 
 
Humulus lupulus botanical extract
Traditional use: It is antiseptic and healing. Some extracts are used as emollients in skin preparations (especially in Europe for their alleged skin-softening properties).
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Skin irritant and allergen (allergenic activity in humans, causing contact dermatitis due to the pollen).
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel. 

 

SHEA BUTTER (Vitellaria paradoxa (previously Butyrospermum parkii))

DESCRIPTION:


Alternate names are butter, butyrospermum parkii butter, karite butter, shea butter fruit; beurre de karate.
 
Botany: Shea butter is a vegetable fat (rich buttery oil) obtained from the nut of a tree native to Africa (central Africa), Vitellaria paradoxa (previously Butyrospermum parkii, and also known as shea tree, shi tree, or vitellaria). Shea trees grow naturally on the lateral slopes of the savannah zones of West Africa and throughout that continent`s equatorial region (where rainfall is not too high) and also in parts of southern Sudan.
 
History and/or folklore: In Africa, the fat (shea butter) is used as an ointment for rheumatic pains and boils. A decoction from the bark is used to facilitate child birth and ease labour pains.  The leaf extract is dispensed for headaches and as an eye bath.
 
Product: Shea butter is a complex fat that contains many unsaponifiable components and fatty acids (oleic, stearic, linoleic, palmitic, linolenic and arachidic acid).  It has natural antioxidant properties and is said to contain a small quantity of allantoin that is renowned for its healing qualities. It has good skin absorption properties, is skin moisturizing and improves skin suppleness.  The literature describes shea butter as having a slight UV-protective effect.
 

USES:


Skin-Conditioning Agent; occlusive; viscosity increasing agent.
 
Shea butter
It is an effective skin emollient and skin smoother.  It is used for the protection and care of skin cracked and dehydrated by the elements.  It is said to protect the skin against the sun rays (the pure material has an SPF value of 3).
Shea butter is a suitable base for topical medicines. Its application relieves rheumatic and joint pains and heals wounds, swellings, dermatitis, bruises and other skin problems.  It is used traditionally to relieve inflammation of the nostrils. 
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.
 
Not suspected to be an environmental toxin.
PANSY (Viola tricolor)

DESCRIPTION:


Names: viola tricolor extract; pansy extract.
 
Botany: Viola Tricolor Extract is an extract of the pansy, Viola tricolor, known as Heartsease, Heart's Ease or Love-in-idleness.  The pansy flower is two to three inches in diameter and has two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal with a slight beard emanating from the flower's centre. The flower has been produced in a wide range of colours and bicolours. The plant may grow to nine inches in height, and prefers sun to varying degrees and well-draining soils.
 
History and/or folklore: Fable has it that the flowers, originally white, were turned purple by one of Cupid’s arrows. The wild pansy has been used as a love charm, and its three colours of purple, white and yellow that mark each petal, connected it with the Trinity, so that the name Herb Trinity is the name under which it is often found in old books.
 

USES:


Emollient; skin protecting; soothing 
 
Viola tricolor botanical extract
Traditional use: It was formerly official in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and is still employed in America for eczema and other skin problems. In the Medical Journal it was quoted as a valuable remedy for cutaneous disorder.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel, but no is hazard reported.

OLIVE (Olea europaea)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 metres in height. The silvery green leaves are oblong in shape. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.  The fruit is a small drupe, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars.
 
History and/or folklore: An oil that is mentioned in the Bible and was known to the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians, who introduced it into Spain.  Homer called it "liquid gold." In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their bodies.  The oil is legendary for its safe, gentle care and treatment of the skin.
 
Products:
Extra virgin olive oil - Olea europaea fixed oil
Extra virgin olive oil is obtained by physical pressure from a whole fruit.  It contains mainly the mixed triglyceride esters of fatty acids, and is also rich in phenolic components with strong anti-oxidative properties that are responsible for the particular stability of the oil.
 
Olive butter - Olea europaea butter
Olive butter does not occur naturally, and products called olive butter are usually blends, either olive oil mixed with beeswax or olive oil mixed with hydrogenated olive oil or another higher melting oil or wax, e.g. beeswax, glyceryl monostearate, etc. In cosmetic preparations, the feel and behaviour of olive butter is very similar to that of shea butter.  It protects, softens and maintains the skin's natural moisture. Olive butter is well absorbed.
 

USES:


Olea europaea fixed oil
Traditional use in ointments for wounds, burns, dermatosis, stretch marks, and breast firming.  It is anti-inflammatory. Healing agent on wounds and burns (Oil).
 
Externally, olive oil is emollient and soothing to inflamed surfaces, and is employed to soften the skin and crusts in eczema and psoriasis, and as a lubricant for massage. It is used to soften ear wax.  It has also low SPF levels (around SPF4).
 
Olive oil is an ingredient of liniments, ointments, skin and hair preparations, and soap.
 
Olive butter
Olive butter demonstrates excellent spreadability on the skin, making it ideal as a massage butter or as a carrier for other products. It adds moisturizing attributes to creams and lotions and bar soaps.  It can be used in cosmetics, toiletries, soaps, massage oils and balms, hair care and sun care preparations. It is particularly suitable for inflamed, aging and sagging skin.  In cosmetics olive butter is also used as part of exclusive recovery creams.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Olea europaea fixed oil is generally accept as safe.
 
Classified as a low human health priority, and not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.
 
Not suspected to be an environmental toxin or to be bioaccumulative.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
OAT (Avena sativa)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Avena sativa (cultivated oats) developed from wild oats.  A. sativa is commonly grown in northern temperate regions, as it needs more water and humidity than wheat and dislikes dry weather in early summer.  A. sativa is both a food and a herb, known to medical herbalists as a “trophorestorative”.  Plants are cut in summer before fully ripe and threshed to separate the grains, which are then dehusked and rolled for use as cereals, and liquid extracts, and tinctures. Dried stalks are sometimes included in tonics.  The useful part of oat is the endosperm. 
 
Biochemistry: Oats are a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid and vitamin E. They also contain zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium.  Oats also contain alkaloids such as gramine, and glycosides. Oats are the cereal with the highest lipid content (about 7-8%), most of which is located in the endosperm.  Endosperm also contains xanthophylls, phytosterols, terpene alcohol, hydrocarbons, and tocopherols.
 
Products:
Avena sativa fixed oil 
Oat oil is extracted from whole oat kernels by a gentle process that retains all of the important biologically active components. It contains a very high level of important natural antioxidants, including several forms of vitamin E (tocopherols).  It is rich in essential fatty acids and natural emollients.  It has a good skin affinity and has a moisturizing action that is particularly visible in skin dehydrated by excessive exposure to solar radiation and sea water
 

USES:


Traditional use: oats are good for sores, inflammations and rough skin (helps to soften the skin, and a good healing poultice for the skin (drawing out splinters and foreign bodies).
 
Clinical studies have proven that oats heal dry and itchy skin, reduce inflammation and alleviate redness.
 
Avena sativa Oil fixed oil 
Oat oil has excellent softening, smoothing and hydrating properties for both skin, cosmetics and hair products.  This ingredient is used in children`s protective preparations and emulsions and pastes for problem skin conditions, especially in cases of dryness and itching (for sensitive skin or skin prone to inflammation/redness).  It can be generally used in skin creams, lotions and oils.  It is also used as scalp care.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Few data suggest oat-based cosmetics may cause allergic reactions in atopic subjects, especially when sensitized to cereals.  One study showed that sensitization to cereals does not increase the risk of allergic reactions to oat-containing cosmetics.  
 
Another study showed that oat sensitization in children with atopic dermatitis seen for allergy testing is higher than expected. It may be the result of repeated applications of cosmetics with oats on a predisposed impaired epidermal barrier. They suggest avoiding topical-containing oat proteins in infants with atopic dermatitis.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
PINEAPPLE (Ananas sativus (Ananas comosus))

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Ananas sativus is evergreen perennial with a rosette of stiff, slightly recurved, spine-edged leaves, growing to 1m long, consisting of pink-flushed bracts and violet-pink flowers, followed by a golden-yellow, often red-flushed, compound fruit, topped by a tuft of sterile bracts. Native to Brazil.
 
History and/or folklore: The pineapple was cultivated by native S Americans long before European explorers reached the New World. Pineapple plants are ornamental and are commonly sold as houseplants, through they need higher temperatures and humidity to fruit well, and spiny foliage is hazardous in confined areas. 
 
Charles II was painted holding the first pineapple said to be grown by his gardener Rose.  On the Hawaiian Islands, in the Philippines and in South American folk medicine, pineapple is used against inflammation, feverish diseases, oedema etc.
 
Biochemistry: The main medicinal constituent of pineapple is bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein, thus aiding digestion.  Bromelain is strongly anti-bacterial.
 
Product:
Pineapple Fruit Extract is an extract of the fruit of the pineapple, Ananas sativus.
 

USES:


Skin conditioning (Refreshing, tonic, and moisturizing).
 
Traditional use: Externally it is of great value in dissolving painful corns and in the cure of distressing skin complaints.  Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which is similar in action to papain (for poorly healing wounds and ulceration), an anti-inflammatory enzyme, used in cosmetic treatment creams.  It is also used as a texturizer.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Contains the enzyme bromelain, which can break down the connecting layers between skin cells to exfoliate skin. However, bromelain used alone is a more effective source of exfoliation, and does not have the irritating properties of the pineapple.
 
Skin irritation minor, but lasting only for a few minutes.  Mild skin irritation from contact with juice; irritation to the eyes from splashed juice; irritation of mouth, lips, and tongue.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
MANDARIN (MANDARIN OIL) (Citrus reticulate L.)

 

DESCRIPTION: 
Names:  Mandarin, mandarine, European mandarin, true mandarin, tangerine (in America)
 
Botany: Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) is a citrus tree and fruit of the genus Citrus (family Rutaceae) and one of the three original species of the citrus genus, including citron (Citrus medica) and pomelo (Citrus maxima or C. grandis).  The generally accepted theory is that all other types of citrus fruits are only hybrids that have developed over the centuries from these three species.  The mandarin citrus became the most prominent and distinguished, since it is the only sweet of the three ancestors.  The original type of mandarin (C. nobilis) came from Japan and China, but in the Mediterranean an earlier species came that was native to Indonesia and India (C. reticulata).  Today there are dozens of species but they are cultivars that were made by man using selection and various production methodologies.  
 
Mandarin is larger shrub, about 2 meters tall, although some species reach 4 meters. The leaves are small and very fragrant.  The fruits are slightly flattened at the stem and can be easily removed from the branches. The peel is thin and fragrant.  Peeled fruit has slices that can be easily detached from each other, are pale orange, very juicy and sweet. Adult trees yield 400 to 600 fruits.
 
The fruit is used fresh or for processing into jams and candied fruits. The peel is used to obtain the essential oil.
 
The essential oil is cold-pressed or expressed from the peel. It is 
 
History and/or folklore:
The origin of the name mandarin dates back to early 19th century.  The fruit was named mandarin because of its Chinese origin.  It was well known that the Mandarins were important Chinese aristocrats.  The fruit of the Mandarin tree was a traditional gift offered to the Mandarins, and it was natural that these new Chinese fruit should bear the same name, since these new breed of fruit was noble and relatively pale in colour.
 
In traditional Chinese medicine, the dried peel of the fruit is used in the regulation of ch'i, and to treat abdominal distension, enhance digestive and liver functions, and to reduce phlegm. Mandarins have also been used in Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India).  In France, Mandarin is used as a safe remedy for children for indigestion, hiccups and for problems of the elderly, such as digestive problems.
 
Biochemistry: The volatile oil contains limonene, which is the major constituent.  Other constituents include linalool, citral, citronellal, nerol, geraniol, α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, and methyl N methylanthranilate.
 
Products:
Citrus reticulata essential oil – Mandarin essential oil is a pleasant smelling liquid of bright yellow colour, slightly fluorescent.  It is obtained from the peel by cold-pressing/expressing.
 
USES:
Citrus reticulata essential oil 
The names mandarin and tangerine are both commonly used to describe the same essential oil; Mandarin is the common name used in Europe whereas tangerine is the name used in America. However, although they are the same species with the same botanical name, the fruit of the tree has very subtle differences in colour, shape and size.
 
The oil is described as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cytophylactic, depurative, stomachic and tonic.  It is also said to help with soothing the nervous system; calming, sedating (helping with anxiety, dizziness and nervousness).  In a lotion or cream, it is used to help prevent stretch marks when pregnant, while increasing circulation and reducing fluid retention.  Mandarin oil is also used in blended massage oils and baths and in burners and vaporizers. 
 
Several laboratory studies have shown that mandarin may have antioxidant properties (as mandarin oil also contains Vitamin C, folate, and β-carotene).
 
Mandarine peel has shown antineoplastic activity in vitro, however, more studies need to be made to support the use of mandarin for any medical indication.
 
TOXICOLOGY
Mandarin is considered to be a very gentle and safe essential oil, when used correctly.
 
However mandarin cold-pressed oil can be phototoxic and would be best not to expose the skin to sunlight after a treatment with mandarin essential oil.

 

MAYPOPS (Passiflora incarnata)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypop, purple passion flower, true passion flower, wild apricot, and wild passion vine, is a fast growing perennial vine with deep three-to five-lobed leaves and large showy flowers, climbing by axillary tendrils to about 9 m. It is native to the United States.  The part used is the dried flowering and fruiting top.
 
History and/or folklore:
For centuries the properties of passion flower have been valued in the East and by the Indian tribes of South America (for example, Incas, Aztecs and other tribes).  The fruits were cultivated or managed for fruit production before the arrival of Europeans in Algonquian settlements in Virginia.
 
Biochemistry: Contains small and highly variable amounts of indole alkaloids, consisting mainly of harman (1-methyl-9H-b-carboline).  Other constituents present include flavonoids (isovitexin 2”- β-D-glucoside, isoorientin 2”-β-D-glucoside, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, schaftoside, isoschaftoside, saponarin, vitexin, orientin, and rutin), a cyanogenic glucoside, gynocardin, sugars (predominantly raffinose and sucrose), sterols (stigmasterol and sitosterol), n nonacosane, and gum.
 
Maltol and ethyl maltol have been isolated from the plant. The coumarins, umbelliferone and scopoletin, have been detected in the root.
 
Passion flower has recently been identified as a rich source of lycopene.
 
Products:
Passiflora incarnata fixed oil
Passiflora incarnata botanical extract
Passiflora incarnata fruit extract is an extract of the fruit of the passion flower.
 
USES:
Passiflora incarnata fixed oil
Traditional use: A light, gentle oil with connotations of soothing and relaxing.  It leaves a natural soft feel to the skin without being over-occlusive. 
 
Passiflora incarnata botanical extract
Traditional use: Decoctions of Passiflora have been used externally in cases of burns and inflammation.  Also used in bath mixtures for its allegedly calming and soothing effects. 
 
Passiflora incarnata fruit extract is used for skin conditioning and skin protection.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
PASSION FRUIT (Passiflora edulis)

 

DESCRIPTION: 
Botany: Passion flowers (Passiflora spp.) are perennial woody vines, mostly from tropical America but with a few species originating in Asia, Australasia and the Polynesian Islands. They climb through the supporting vegetation by means of coiled tendrils. Many of them have showy fragrant flowers and several produce edible fruits.
 
More than 55 species of Passiflora are grown for their edible fruit but of these only two are cultivated widely: the passion fruit (P. edulis) and the giant granadilla (P. quadrangularis).  Common names include passion fruit, purple granadilla and maracuja.
 
Products:
Passion fruit fixed oil:
An edible oil is obtained from the Passiflora edulis seed.  It is a light non-sticky oil traditionally used to soothe, protect and moisturize the skin.  It contains approximately 70 % linoleic acid (unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and antioxidants (passion flower fruit (skin and pericarp) contains a large amount of lycopene (carotenoid antioxidant), whereas the content of other carotenoids is very low, and almost nonexistent).
 
USES: 
While the fruit is better known for eating, because of its delicious taste, it is also used in skin care products.  Crushed passion fruit seeds may be added to scrubs for their exfoliating effect which delivers smooth, soft skin.  In addition, studies have shown that the seeds may inhibit melanogenesis in melanoma cells.
 
Passiflora edulis – Passion fruit fixed oil
Traditional use: Passion fruit oil is widely used for dermal application for conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, and it is said to have healing properties.  It is used as a balm in cases of skin cancer where it is apparently effective in healing skin lesions.  It can be used to improve skin elasticity.  It can also be used in hair softening products and treating a dry flaky scalp.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
THOUSAND-LEAF (Achillea millefolium)

DESCRIPTION: 
Alternate names are milfoil, yarrow or common yarrow, sanguinary, nosebleed plant, staunchweed, and soldier’s woundwort. 
 
Botany: A perennial herb with a simple stem bearing aromatic bipinnately parted and dissected leaves, giving a lacy appearance.  It grows up to about 1m high.  Flowering heads (capitula) grow in a flat-topped corymb (3–5 cm in diameter), small, pedunculate, varying in colour from white to pink, magenta and red.  It is native to Eurasia and naturalised in North America. 
 
The part used is the entire flowering aboveground herb.  ‘Herba Millefolii’ consists of the whole or cut, dried flowering tops or aerial parts collected during the flowering season of Achillea millefolium.
 
History and/or folklore: The generic name came from the legend that Achilles staunched the bleeding wounds of his soldiers with yarrow.  In less hygienic days, a cobweb was placed over a wound to arrest the flow of blood and to help it coagulate, and a fine network of yarrow leaves might well achieve the same effect.  In the language of flowers, the Victorians assigned the meaning “war” to yarrow.  It has been used for treating battle wounds for many generations.
 
Biochemistry: Yarrow contains about 0.1 – 1.4% volatile oil that is composed of azulene, α- and β-pinenes (mainly β-), caryophyllene, borneol, terpineol, cineole, bornyl acetate, camphor, sabinene, iso-artemisia ketone, and other compounds (including a trace of thujone).  Other constituents reported include lactones, flavonoids (e.g. rutin), tannins, resin, coumarins, saponins, sterols (e.g., β-sitosterol), alkenes, fatty acids (linoleic, palmitic, oleic acids, etc.), sugars, alkaloids or bases, and amino acids.
 
Products:
Achillea millefolium botanical extract
 
USES: 
Achillea millefolium botanical extract
Yarrow is useful as an external astringent for the treatment of the skin diseases, abscesses and wounds.  Externally, as an ointment it is soothing for cuts and abrasions.  It is a good cleanser for oily skin.  It can be used in a facial sauna on oily skin to remove blackheads, cleanse and stimulate the skin.  In a face pack it will help to minimize large pores and improve the texture of the skin.  It will also help to heal spots and pimples and generally improve the complexion.  It can be used as a hair rinse, where it helps to clear mild cases of dandruff.  An infusion can also be used to make an effective lotion for chapped hands and provides a soothing and relaxing bath soak. 
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Hypersensitivity to the plant: Yarrow may cause contact dermatitis in certain individuals (direct contact with the crude drug or its preparations may cause hypersensitivity reactions of the skin or mucosa, such as rash, and formation of vesicles and pruritus in sensitive individuals).
 
MAY CHANG (Litsea cubeba)

 

DESCRIPTION: 
Botany: Litsea cubeba is a small tree, 5-12 m high with a stem diameter of 6-20 cm. It is native to China, Indonesia and some other parts of Southeast Asia, where it occurs mainly in mountainous regions.  In the People's Republic of China it occurs naturally in the south of the country but it has been successfully domesticated and large cultivated areas are found in central and eastern China south of the Yangtze River.  In Indonesia the species grows wild in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan from 700 m to 2300 m above sea level.
 
Products:
Litsea cubeba essential oil:
Litsea cubeba oil is distilled from the small, pepper like fruits of the tree of Litsea cubeba. The oil of Chinese origin, the only source of internationally traded material, is rich in citral (about 70 percent) and has an intense lemon-like, fresh, sweet odour.
 
USES: 
Litsea cubeba essential oil
The essential oil of Litsea cubeba has antimicrobial activity (individual volatile components in the oil have an antimicrobial effect on pathogens or spoilage microorganisms.
 
The oil is used as a fragrance (especially in bar soap) and for flavouring in its own right.  It is recognised for its powerful effect in terms of promoting physical relaxation and mental calm.
 
TOXICOLOGY: 
Xi – Irritant:
  • Irritating to skin and eyes. 
  • May cause sensitisation by skin contact.
  • Avoid direct contact with skin and eyes.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.

 

SUGAR (CANE SUGAR, Saccharum officinarum)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Saccharum officinarum, cane sugar, is a perennial grass in the family Poaceae. It is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions for the sucrose that is found in its stems.  It requires a frost-free climate with sufficient rainfall during the growing season to make full use of the plant's great growth potential.
 
History and/or folklore: In Hawaii, young shoots of cane sugar were used for lacerations and cuts.  Along with other plants and salt, the shoots were wrapped in it leaves and baked over charcoal.  The juice was then squeezed and placed on a cut.  In the East Indies, the natives prepare a sort of sugar from the juice of various species of palm; the juice is called toddy and when fermented is used as an intoxicating liquor.  The sugar is called Jaggery and is supposed by the native practitioners to possess considerable medicinal virtues.  In Samoa, the leaf ash is used to treat sore eyes.
 
Products:
Saccharum officinarum, Cane sugar botanical extract:
The crop is harvested mechanically or by hand, chopped into lengths and conveyed rapidly to the processing plant.  Here it is either milled and the juice extracted with water or the sugar is extracted by diffusion.  The juice is then clarified with lime and heated to kill enzymes.  The resulting thin syrup is then concentrated in a series of evaporators and further water is removed by evaporation under vacuum.  The resulting supersaturated solution is seeded with sugar crystals and the sugar crystallizes out and is separated from the fluid and dried. Molasses is a by-product of the process and the fibre from the stems, known as bagasse, is burned to provide energy for the boiling of the syrup. The crystals of raw sugar have a sticky brown coating.
 
Sugar is the generalised name for a class of sweet-flavoured substances. They are carbohydrates.  There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. 
 
USES:
Sugar – as natural preservative
High levels of sugar can preserve against spoilage organisms.
 
Saccharum officinarum, Cane sugar botanical extract
Traditional use: moisturizing and regenerating products, body and hand products, and after-sun products.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
SUNFLOWER (Helianthus annuus)

DESCRIPTION:

Alternate names are common sunflower, Kansas sunflower, and mirasol. Helianthus comes from the Greek helios anthos, meaning “sun flower” (Kindscher 1987).
 
Botany: The sunflower is an erect, coarse, tap-rooted annual with rough-hairy stems 6-30 dm tall. The leaves are mostly alternate, egg-shaped to triangular, and entire or toothed.  The flower heads are 7.5 -15 cm wide and at the ends of branches.  Ray flowers are yellow and disk flowers are reddish-brown. 
 
History and/or folklore: Charles H. Lange, an anthropologist at the University of Texas, wrote that “among the Cochiti, a reliable “home remedy‟ for cuts and other wounds is the juice of freshly crushed sunflower stems.  The juice is smeared liberally over the wounds, bandaged, and invariably results in a speedy recovery, with never a case of infection” (Heiser 1976).
 
The Gros Ventres, Rees, and Mandan used sunflowers ceremonially; oil from the seeds was used to lubricate or paint the face and body.  The Hopi used the sunflower plant as a “spider medicine” and dermatological aid.  The Thompson Indians used powdered sunflower leaves alone or in an ointment on sores and swellings. 
 
Biochemistry: Sunflower oil is mainly triglycerides (fats), typically derived from the fatty acids linoleic acid (with is doubly unsaturated) and oleic acid.  It also contains lecithin, tocopherols, carotenoids and waxes.  Sunflower oil's properties are typical of a vegetable triglyceride oil.  Sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance and has a high Vitamin E content.
 
Products:
Helianthus annuus fixed oil.  Sunflower oil is produced from oil type sunflower seeds.
 
USES:
Helianthus annuus fixed oil
The oil is soothing protective emollient.
 
Traditional use:  A simple yet cost-effective emollient oil, well tried and tested for generations in a wide variety of emulsions formulated for face and body products.  Tocopherol, or Vitamin E, is an important vitamin and natural antioxidant.
 
The oil has a similar performance to olive oil and almond oil but is significantly cheaper.  It is used in salves, plasters and liniments for rheumatic pain.  It is used externally on cuts and bruises.  
 
The dried flower heads have anti-inflammatory properties.  Externally it may be used in the same way as tincture of arnica, on bruises and wounds.

TOXICOLOGY:
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) pollen sensitization has been reported as an occupational allergy. Helianthus pollen should be considered as an allergenic source to be investigated in the general population living in sunflower-growing regions suffering from seasonal summer allergy.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
VETIVER (Vetiveria zizanioides or Chrysopogon zizanioides)

DESCRIPTION:

Alternate names are khus, kus-kus, and cuscus.  The name Vetiveria is derived from vettiveri, the word for the plant in S India., which in turn came from the Dravidian word “root”.
 
Botany: Vetiveria zizanzinoides is extremely useful, large, coarse grass.  It is grown mainly in Haiti, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Reunion, and Vietnam for essential oil, and in many parts of the world to control erosion, as the roots grow straight down for 3m.  The culms or tillers arise from aromatic rhizomes, are erect, and up to eight feet tall. The tillers are strong and stiff.  The tops are evergreen and pale green. The leaves are narrow, erect, keeled, and the margins are rough to the touch.  The rhizomes are short and the roots are stout, strong, spongy, and aromatic.  The root system is massive, but quite compact and only grows out about 60 cm on each side of the plant.  The part of the plant used is the root to produce Vetiver root oil.
 
History and/or folklore: An essential oil of vetiver grass roots has been known in India since ancient times and considered a high-class perfume.  Copper plate inscriptions have been found that list the perfume as one of the articles used by royalty.  Vetiver oil is one of the ingredients in Chanel No. 5.  The famous French perfume was introduced in 1921 and is still in production. The annual world trade in vetiver oil is estimated to be approximately 250 tons with Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Japan, Java, and Reunion being the main producers.  Europe, India, Japan, and the United States are the main consumers.  Vetiver oil is contained in 90% of all western perfumes and its greatest use is in modern perfume creations.
 
Products:
Vetiveria zizanzinoides essential oil: Vetiver roots are rich in volatile oil, known as “oil of tranquillity” in India and Sri Lanka. It has a heavy and woody-earthy aroma.  It is a complex oil, containing over 100 identified components, including the sesquiterpene, α vetivone, β-vetivone and khusimol, the main fragrant components. 
 
USES:
Vetiveria zizanzinoides essential oil
Externally is used against lice and as a tonic bath.
 
Vetiver oil is an ingredient in oriental “woody” perfumes.  Extracts are used in hair care products.  The oil is used in soaps and cosmetics, and as a fragrance fixative.  It blends well with bases such as fougere, chypre, modern woody-aldehydic or amber-aldehydic bases, Oriental bases, moss and woody notes, and rose bases. Essential oil of vetiver is antioxidant. 
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
RAPESEED (RAPESEED OIL) (Brasicca spp.; Brassica rapa L. (syn. Brassica campestris L.), Brassica napus L.)

 

DESCRIPTION:
Botany: Rapeseed is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family).  Rapeseed is derived from two Brassica species, B. napus L. and B. rapa L. To distinguish between them, B. rapa is often called turnip rape and B. napus is called Swede rape. Spring and winter types exist of both species. The rapeseed oil of world commerce comes from these two species and to a minor extent also from the mustards, especially B. juncea Coss. (brown mustard) and Sinapis alba. L. (yellow mustard).  The largest producers are countries in the European Union, Canada, USA, Australia, China and India.
 
History and/or folklore: Brassica crops may be among the oldest cultivated plants known to man.  In India, B. rapa is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit literature from ca. 1500 BC and seed of B. juncea have been found in archaeological sites dating back to ca. 2300 BC (Prakash 1980).  Rapeseed production has a long history in China.  The Chinese word for rapeseed was first recorded ca. 2500 years ago, and the oldest archaeological discoveries may date back as far as to ca. 5000 BC (Yan 1990). 
 
Historically, B. rapa seems to have the widest distribution of Brassica oilseeds.  At least 2000 years ago, it was distributed from northern Europe to China and Korea, with a primary centre of diversity in the Himalayan region (Hedge 1976). 
 
Brassica napus has probably developed in the area where the wild forms of its ancestral species are sympatric, in the Mediterranean area.  Wild forms of B. napus are unknown, so it is possible it originated in cultivation.  Production of oilseed B. napus probably started in Europe during the middle-ages; B. napus was introduced to Asia during the 19th century. The present Chinese and Japanese germplasm was developed crossing European B. napus with different indigenous B. rapa cultivars (Shiga 1970). 
 
Products:
Rapeseed oil or canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the rapeseed plant.  The oil is a good source of unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, including α linolenic acid (ALA), which are essential for good health. 
 
USES:
Skin-Conditioning Agent - Occlusive
 
Rapeseed oil is used in cosmetic and skin care products because it is a non-fragrant oil that has emollient and potential antioxidant properties for skin.  However, it is reported as used in fragrance compounds in 2008 (IFRA Fragrance Ingredient List).
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.
 
Uncertain environmental toxin and uncertain persistent or bioaccumulative (not suspected to be bioaccumulative).
 

 

SOYA (Glycine max)

DESCRIPTION:

Names: soya bean, soybean
 
Botany: An erect bushy annual, clad in red-grey hairs, with trifoliate leaves, 4-10cm long. Small, white or mauve, pea flowers appear in clusters of 3-15 m the axils in summer, followed by yellow-brown to grey, brown, or almost black pods, 3-7 cm long, containing 1-5 yellow, green, brown, black, or mottled seeds according to cultivar. Native to E Asia.
 
The parts used are seeds (beans). 
 
History and/or folklore: This plant has been known and used by the Chinese for more than 4,000 years, though today most of the oil comes from the United States. 
 
Biochemistry: Soybean is listed as a major starting material for stigmasterol, once known as an anti-stiffness factor.  Stigmasterol is a plant sterol and has powerful skin properties including reduction in skin erythema (skin redness), reduction of pruritis (skin itching) and reduction in inflammation. 
 
Products:
Glycine max botanical extract
Glycine max fixed oil
 
USES:
Glycine max botanical extract
Traditional use: A decoction of the root is said to be astringent.
 
 
Glycine max. Soybean Fixed oil
Traditional use: This oil is a cost-effective base on which to prepare hair and body products where good moisturization is required at a budget price.  This oil is one of the lightest and silkiest when applied to the skin and lacks the greasiness of many vegetable oils.
 
It has a natural SPF of 10.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
WEST INDIAN ROSEWOOD (Amyris balsamifera)

 

DESCRIPTION:
Names: Balsam Torchwood, Candlewood, Poison-ash, West Indian Sandalwood.
 
Botany: Aromatic bush or small tree, 2-4 m high; branches of inflorescence and calyx hispid; leaves opposite, with 3-5 leaflets with petiolules, lanceolate to ovate or rhobic-ovate, 3-13 cm, pointed to acuminate at apex, brilliant on upper side; petals obovate to ovate, 3-3.5 mm; ovary ovoid or oblong-ellipsoid, hispid; stigma directly attached or stipitate; drupe oblong-ovoid, sometimes ellipsoid, usually elongated in the base forming a collar, 6-14 mm, black.
 
Products: Amyris Essential Oil (Balsamifera Bark Oil) is a volatile oil distilled from the bark of Amyris balsamifera.  It has sweet, warm, vanilla notes with a woody, cedar-like character, reminiscent of benzoin.
 
USES:
Fragrance Ingredient; Masking.
 
Amyris balsamifera essential oil (amyris oil):
Perfumery/Fragrancing. Acts as a fixative. Primarily, it is a raw material in perfumery.  On a paper scent strip, this scent may last for several months. Amyris oil helps anchor top and middle notes for the purpose of perfume making.  Also possesses antiseptic and sedative properties.  It is reported as used in fragrance compounds in 2008 (IFRA Fragrance Ingredient List).
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Tisserand and Lawless both indicate that Amyris Oil appears to be non-toxic. [Robert Tisserand, Essential Oil Safety (United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone, 1995), 212.] [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 82.] 
 
Not suspected to be an environmental toxin.
 
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
GERMAN CAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla recutita L., Chamomilla recutita)

DESCRIPTION:

Names: German chamomile, also spelled camomile, wild chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, pineapple weed.
 
Botany: Fragrant, low annual herb, with ligulate flower heads about 2 cm broad; the plant grows up to 0.6 m high. It is native to Europe and northern and western Asia, and is naturalised in North America. It is extensively cultivated, particularly in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Greece, Argentina and Egypt. 
The parts used are dried flower heads.
 
History and/or folklore: German camomile was used since ancient times in treating skin problems such as dermatitis, boils, acne, rashes, and eczema as well as hair care, burns, cuts, and inflammation (inflamed joints).  It was also used against cancer.  A compress containing the infusion was traditionally applied to treat eye strain and to clean the eyes and face of babies.
 
Biochemistry: German camomile contains variable amounts of volatile oil (0.24-1.9%), flavonoids (apigenin, apigetrin, quercetin, rutin, and luteolin, etc.), coumarins, proazulens (matricin, matricarin, etc.), triterpene alcohols, sterols, sesquiterpenes, plant acids, tannins, water-soluble polysaccharides, choline, amino acids, and others.
 
Products: 
Matricaria chamomilla botanical extract and essential oil.  Components of camomile oil have bactericidal, fungicidal, pain-relieving, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.  Azulene is a prime component of the essential oil of chamomile flowers. Products containing azulene generally also contain the other characteristics components of camomile’s essential oil.  Azulene extracts are used in skin creams for reducing skin puffiness and wrinkles, and are also known for anti-irritant and vulnerary properties. 
 
USES:
Matricaria chamomilla botanical extract and essential oil
Used in antiseptic ointments, creams and gels to treat cracked nipples, sore gums, inflammations, irritation of the skin and mucosa, and for healing wounds. 
 
Oils are used as fragrance components or active ingredients in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes. They are used in shampoo to lighten blond hair. 

TOXICOLOGY:
Allergic contact dermatitis in people sensitized to certain sesquiterpene lactones or who are already allergic to ragweed.  Allergenicity is due to low variable levels of the highly allergenic sequiterpene lactone, anthecotulid.  Bisabolol oxide chemo type B of chamomile plants has evident moderate allergenic potential.  Otherwise, the oil did not show irritating or sensitizing effects on human skin.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
 

 

ORANGE (BITTER AND SWEET) (Citrus aurantium/Citrus sinesis)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Bitter orange is an evergreen glabrous tree with long but not very sharp spines and very fragrant flowers.  It grows up to 10 m high.  It is native to southern China and north-eastern India.  It is cultivated in China, southern Europe and USA.  Membranes and pulp of the fruit are very bitter and sour.  Parts used are the peel of the fruit, freshly picked flowers and leaves and twigs.  
 
Sweet orange is a smaller tree than the bitter orange tree, less hardy, and with few or no spines.  The fruits are smaller, with sweet pulp and non-bitter membranes.  It is native to China, and is extensively cultivated worldwide, especially in USA (Florida and California) and Mediterranean countries.  Parts used are the peel of the partially or fully ripe fruit.  
 
Products: 
Best known products of the bitter orange tree are bitter orange oil, neroli (orange flower) oil and petitgrain oil (extracted from the green twigs by steam distillation).  
 
Best known products of the sweet orange tree are sweet orange oil and terpeneless orange oils.
 

USES:


Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal activities.
 
Bitter and sweet orange, neroli, and the petitgrain oils are extensively used as fragrance components in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and cosmetics.  The highest concentration used is 1.0% reported for bitter orange oil in perfumes.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Bitter orange oil is reported to have distinct phototoxic activity, while none is reported for expressed sweet orange oil even though both oils contain coumarins.
 
Expressed sweet orange oil, bitter orange oil, and neroli oil are generally reported to be non-irritating and non-sensitising to humans. However, limonene present in citrus oils has been known to cause contact dermatitis in humans.
PATCHOULY, also patchouli or pachouli (PATCHOULY OIL) (Pogostemon cablin)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: A perennial herb with a sturdy, hairy stem, much branched at the top.  Leaves are opposite, with a fragrant odour when rubbed. It grows up to 1 m high.  It is native to tropical Asia (especially Indonesia and the Philippines) and is extensively cultivated in the tropics (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, India, southern China; Seychelles, Brazil, etc.). 
 
Products: Patchouli oil is obtained from the dried leaves by steam distillation.  
 
The leaves contain 1.5-4% volatile oil that is composed mainly of patchouli alcohol (ca. 32-40%) and other sesquiterpenes.  Patchouli alcohol and the sesquiterpene, norpatchoulenol, are mostly responsible for the odour of patchouli oil.
 

USES:


Antimicrobial activity (fungi and bacteria).
 
 
Pogostemon cabin essential oil has a strong and characteristic oriental and musty odour.  It helps reduce skin oiliness, soothes skin problems and burns, reduces inflammation and is mildly antiseptic.  It is very beneficial for the skin and may help prevent wrinkles or chapped skin.  It is also said to regenerate tissue and helps relieve itching from hives and other pruritic conditions.
 
Patchouli oil is extensively used as a fragrance component in cosmetic preparations.  It is one of the most used ingredients in perfumes (especially Oriental types) and also widely used in soaps and in depilatory creams (to mask the undesirable odour of the active hair-removal ingredients).
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Pogostemon cabin essential oil may cause an allergic reaction.
 
It is important to mix patchouli oil with the carrier oil, such as almond oil or jojoba oil before applying to the skin.
HONEY (Mel, Sugar secretions collected in honeycomb by honey bees)

DESCRIPTION:


Product: Honey is extracted from bee hives as a thick, syrupy, transparent liquid, then strained through a sieve and allowed to sit in settling tanks for 24 hours to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface. Depending on the pastures visited by the bees, the colour of honey varies from amber to reddish brown to black.
 
Honey consists of dextrose and levulose, dextrin, wax, proteins, volatile oil, minerals, acids, vitamins B1, B2, and C, nicotinic acid and formic acid. 
 
History and/or folklore: Its use dates back to ancient times, with Egyptian medical texts (circa 2600 and 2200 BC) mentioning honey in at least 900 remedies.  Almost all early cultures hailed honey for its topical healing properties for sores, wounds and ulcers, as well as for its sweetening and nutritive qualities.  During wartime it was used on wounds as an antiseptic.  Sword cuts were treated and dressed with honey and cobwebs. It was used by the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese and even by the Germans as late as World War I.
 

USES:


In its undiluted form is a natural preservative and there are many learned papers citing honey as a viscous barrier to bacteria and infection.
 
Traditional use: Honey is good for skin care because it attracts and maintains moisture and acts as a moisturizer.  Honey was used to treat boils, wounds, ulcers and burns. Locally it makes an ointment for sores, wounds and ulcers. It reduces irritation and is good to apply to chapped hands. It affords relief for frostbite and will help to reduce swellings.
 
Honey is used as a fragrance ingredient and humectant (in skin conditioners), also a biological additive in shampoos, face, body, and hand creams and lotions; and paste masks (mudpacks).
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Spores of Clostridium botulinum, responsible for infant botulism, are often contained in honey, which may germinate in adults without adverse effect, but may cause serious illness in infants.  In 1976, of 43 cases of infant botulism in California, 13 involved honey (C. botulinum found in 13% of 60 tested samples). It has been recommended that honey not be given to infants under 1 year old.

GLYCERINE

DESCRIPTION:


Products: Glycerine, also known as glycerol or glycerin, is a colourless and odourless moisturizing agent, typically supplied at 86% or 99% active level.  It is present in all natural lipids (fats).  Traditionally, glycerine is obtained by saponification of triglyceride oils (derived from animal or vegetable sources) in soap manufacturing. 
 
Whether natural or synthetic, glycerine is a humectant and extremely hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs water from other sources.  In part, glycerine works because of its ability to attract water from the environment and from the lower layers of skin (dermis) increasing the amount of water in the surface layers of skin.  Another aspect of the benefit of glycerine is that it is a skin-identical ingredient, meaning that it is a substance found naturally in skin.  In that respect it is one of the many substances in skin that help maintain the outer barrier and prevent dryness or scaling.
 
Dermosoft ® 1388 (containing aqua, glycerine, sodium levulinate, and sodium anisate) is a combination of fragrances of natural origin with a mild inherent odour and bio-stabilizing properties.  It is useful for stabilizing surfactant products as well as emulsions and can be used in cold processing.
 

USES:


Glycerine is a unique and versatile chemical with numerous applications.  After water, glycerine is the most common ingredient employed in the formulation of cosmetics, personal care products and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
 
Glycerine combined with other emollients and/or oils is a fundamental cornerstone of most moisturizers.  Glycerine is also a natural preservative.
 
When properly formulated, glycerine strengthens the skin’s natural protection by filling in the area known as the intercellular matrix and by attracting just the right amount of water to maintain the skin’s homeostasis.  There is also research indicating that the presence of glycerine in the intercellular layer helps other skin lipids do their jobs better (Sources: American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, September 2000, pages 165–169; and Acta Dermato-Venereologica, November 1999, pages 418–421). 
 
High levels of vegetable glycerine, up to 15-20%, will have a preservative effect, similar to that effect obtained by the use of high levels of sugar.  There is a downside to these high levels which is increased stickiness.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Glycerine’s long history of use and outstanding safety profile make it one of the most trusted chemicals in the industry.  In Europe, glycerine derived from natural sources is listed as exempt from the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) in Annex V, and in the USA, the FDA recognises glycerine as ‘Generally Regarded As Safe’ (GRAS).
 
Humectants such as glycerine have always raised the question as to whether or not they take too much water from skin.  Pure glycerine (100% concentration) on skin is not helpful and can actually dry the skin and cause blisters if left on too long. So a major drawback of any humectant (including glycerine) when used in pure form is that they can increase water loss by attracting water from the lower layers of skin (dermis) into the surface layers of skin (epidermis) where the water can easily be lost into the environment. For this reason, glycerine and humectants in general are always combined with other ingredients to soften the skin (Source: Skin Therapy Letter, February 2005, pages 1-8).
THYME (Thymus vulgaris)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: There are many species and varieties of thyme (100 to 400).  The most commonly used is Thymus vulgaris.  It is an erect evergreen sub-shrub with numerous white hairy stems and a woody fibrous root.  It grows up to about 45 cm high.  It is native to the Mediterranean region (Greece, Italy, and Spain), and is extensively cultivated in France, Spain, Portugal Greece and the USA.  
 
History and/or folklore: A sprig of thyme was said to give knights in the Middle Ages the gift of courage, and was given to them by their ladies. A term of endearment was telling someone that they smelled of thyme.  Greeks and Romans would burn quantities of thyme in their rooms to fumigate them.  It was grown in the bee gardens of the Greeks for flavouring the honey, used by the Romans in cheese making, and planted in medieval monastery gardens.
 
Product:   
Thyme oil is usually extracted from the plant variety Thymus vulgaris. It is produced from the dried or partially dried leaves and flowering tops by water and steam distillation.  Two commercial varieties of thyme oil are recognized from this plant, red and white.
 
Red Thyme essential oil
 
White Thyme essential oil
 
The red thyme oil is a crude distillate and has a high oil percentage. The white thyme oil is derived by re-distilling the red oil and yields a lower oil percentage. The value of thyme oil depends a lot upon the phenols it contains.  Red thyme oil has a higher amount of phenols and is therefore more expensive.
 
Biochemistry: Common thyme contains 0.8-2.6% volatile oil consisting of highly variable amounts of phenols, monoterpene, hydrocarbons, and alcohols (e.g. linalool, α-terpineol, and thujan-4-ol each of which can be the major component and constitute up to 80% or more of the volatile oil).  Thymol is normally the major phenolic component in common thyme with carvacrol being only a minor component. Other constituents present include tannins, flavonoids, hydroxyjasmone glucoside, acetophenone glycosides, polysaccharides, and caffeic, rosmarinic, labiatic, ursolic, and oleanolic acids.
 

USES:


Thyme oil (Thymus vulgaris essential oil)
Thyme oil is reported to have strongly fungicidal and antibacterial properties.  Antimicrobial activity is mainly due to thymol and carvacrol, with the former being more potent. It is also antiviral.  The most frequently studied activity of thyme is the antioxidant effect of the volatile oil, and its main constituents.  Free radical scavenging has a protective effect against DNA damage. Thyme oil and thymol have been demonstrated to have anti-oxidative activity on dehydrated pork.  The labiatic acid present in thyme also has anti-oxidative properties.
 
It is used for joint pain, backache and sciatica in a hot bath. Thyme baths are said to be helpful for rheumatic problems, bruises, swellings and sprains.  A salve made from thyme oil has been used for shingles. It is also employed as a deodorant and local anaesthetic. 
 
It is used in toothpastes, soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes (with a maximum concentration of 0.8% of the red type reported in perfumes).
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Red thyme oil has been reported to be non-irritating, non-sensitising, and non-phototoxic to human skin but severely irritating to mouse and rabbit skin when applied undiluted.
 
Thyme oil has mildly local irritant properties.
 
WITCH HAZEL (Hamamelis virginiana)

DESCRIPTION:


Common names: Hazel Nut, Pistachio, Snapping Hazel, Spotted Hazel, White Hazel, Striped Alder, Spotted Alder, Tobacco Wood, Winterbloom, Hamamelis, Long Boughs,  
 
Botany: A deciduous shrub or small tree flowering in the autumn.  It grows up to about 7.5 m high, and is native to North America.  Parts used are the dried leaves, bark, and partially dried dormant twigs. 
 
History and/or folklore: In folk medicine, the extract is used to treat eye inflammations, insect bites, minor burns and other skin irritations, usually as a decoction, poultice or ointment.  Americans learned to use this extraordinary herb from the Indians who made a decoction from the twigs for swellings, inflammations and tumours. 
 
Products: Witch hazel water (also known as hamamelis water and distilled witch hazel extract) is obtained from recently cut and partially dried dormant twigs.  
Which hazel bark extract 
Witch hazel leaf extract 
 
Biochemistry: Which hazel contains an astringent compound hamamelitannin, which is found in the leaves and the bark; also traces of a saponin and flavonoid.  Witch hazel water contains a trace of volatile oil consisting of eugenol, carvacrol, and probably similar compounds as the volatile oils of the leaf and bark. As it is steam distillate, it does not contain tannins.
 
Witch hazel water, which hazel bark extract, and which hazel leaf extract have all been reported to have astringent and haemostatic properties.  These properties can be attributed to the tannins contained in the leaves and bark, but it is not known what is responsible for these activities in witch hazel water.
 

USES:


Antioxidant, radiation-protective, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and haemostatic activity have been confirmed.
 
Witch hazel water, which hazel bark extract, and which hazel leaf extract are all used as an astringent and haemostatic in preparations (ointments, lotions, cloth wipes, etc.) for use in treating itching, irritations, and minor pains, with witch hazel water the most commonly used. They are also used in eye lotions, shaving lotions and other products.  Preparation can be used as a poultice for inflammation, a wash for bed sores, and a lotion for strings.  An ointment using witch hazel has been used for varicose veins, applied on a lint bandage and kept moist.     
 
Witch hazel, either as a fluid extract or as a tincture, stimulates the circulation of the blood without causing irritation and is widely used in cosmetics as a skin tonic.
 
Ethno-botanical uses
The medicinal qualities were understood by the American Indians.  The bark of this plant was used as a mouthwash to remedy gum soreness and inflamed throat areas. The aqueous extract of which hazel was used in shaving products.  A boiled solution of the plant is used as a massage to keep athletic legs toned and active.
 
The distilled extract of leaves and twigs is soothing when applied to a chapped or sunburn skin.  It can be used to eliminate pimples and blackheads. Hamamelis water is used as a cooling application and has been applied as a haemostatic.
 
Witch hazel has been used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Allergic contact dermatitis may occur in sensitive individuals.
 
The external application of preparations of Hamamelis virginiana L. can be regarded as safe. 
 
One test on carcinogenicity has been performed with an aqueous extract, where no carcinogenetic effect was identified.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

DESCRIPTION:


Names: Ylang-ylang, cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga (Indonesian), fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree.
 
Botany: Cananga odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae, which grows to an average height of 12 m.  It is native to tropical Asia (especially Indonesia and Philippines).  
 
Product: Ylang-ylang oil obtained by steam distillation or water and steam distillation of the flowers freshly picked early in the morning. 
 
Biochemistry: Ylang-ylang oil contains d-α-pinene, linalool, geraniol, sesquiterpenes, acids, and phenols (eugenol and isoeugenol). 
 

USES:


Ylang-ylang is extremely effective in calming and bringing about a sense of relaxation.  It is said to relax facial muscles, and a massage with ylang-ylang eases tension headaches.
 
Ylang ylang oil is extensively used as a fragrance components in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes (especially floral and heavy oriental types), with  maximum use level of 1% reported in perfumes, while the lower grades are used an scenting soaps and detergents.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Data from one source indicate ylang-ylang to be non-irritating to mouse skin, slightly irritating to rabbit skin, and non-irritating and non-sensitising to human skin; no phototoxic effects were reported. 

ROSE (Rosa alba/Rosa centifolia, Rosadamascena, Rosa gallica)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Small prickly shrubs up to about 1.2-2.4 m high. It is native to Europe and western Asia, and is widely cultivated. Parts used are the fresh flowers, from which rose oil is obtained.  
 
Rosa damascena, which is more commonly known as the Damask rose or simply as “Damask”, or the Damascus rose, or sometimes as Rose of Castile, is a rose hybrid derived from R. Gallica and R. Moschata.
 
History and/or folklore: Legend says that the rose was borne from a drop of sweat that fell from the brow of Mohammed.  It gave its name to the town of Damascus several thousand years ago, and to the silk made there in the colour of the flower.
 
For centuries, the Damascus rose (Rosa damascena) has been considered a symbol of beauty and love. The fragrance of the rose has been captured and preserved in the form of rose water by an ancient method that can be traced back to biblical times in the Middle East, and later to the Indian subcontinent. An Iranian doctor, Avicenna, is credited with the invention of the process for extracting rose water from rose petals in the early 11th century.
 
Products:
Rose oil – contains usually as its major components geraniol, citronellol, nerol, β-phenethyl alcohol, geranic acid and eugenol, which together make up 55-75% of the oil(with citronellol up to 60%). Other components present include terpene hydrocarbons, and esters.
 
Rose absolute – contains mainly phenethyl alcohol, with lesser amounts of citronellol, geraniol, and nerol. Other compounds present include eugenol esters.
 
Rosa damascena botanical extract (Rosa damascena flower water) - The Damask rose is commonly used to make rose water by distillation from flower petals.
 

USES:


Rose oil and rose absolute are extensively used as fragrance ingredients in perfumes, creams, lotions, soaps, and sometimes detergents. Maximum use level is 0.2 % reported for French rose absolute and Moroccan, Bulgarian, and Turkish rose oil in perfumes.
 
Rose extract and rose oil have a host of beneficial effects on the skin and are good for promoting a youthful complexion with good tone, elasticity and an even-coloured complexion.
 
Traditional use: rose water is a valuable astringent and relieves tired eyes. Rose water, itself a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume, is used as a component in some cosmetic preparations.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Available data from one source indicate rose oil (Moroccan, Bulgarian, and Turkish) to be non-irritating, non-phytotoxic to human skin, but slightly to moderately irritating to rabbit skin when applied undiluted.
 
Rose absolute (French) was non-irritating and non-phototoxic, but it produced one sensitization reaction in 25 subjects tested.
ROSEHIP (Rosa canina, Rosa rubiginosa)

DESCRIPTION:


The rose hip is the fruit of the rose plants Rosa canina or Rosa rubiginosa. Alternate names are: rose haw, brier hip, dogberry, eglantine gall, hip fruit, hip berries, hop fruit, hogseed.  The rose plants are also known by many names: dog rose, hep tree, hip rose, hip tree, brier rose, sweet brier, Eglantine rose, wild brier, and witches` brier.
 
Botany: Dog or brier roses are prickly bushes or shrubs. They are native to Europe and Asia, and are extensively cultivated. In Chile and Argentina, Rosa rubiginosa is also known as "Rosa Mosqueta". The part used is the ripe fruit (ellipsoid, globose or ovoid fruit), known as the hip.
 
Products: Rose hips contain high concentrations of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Other constituents present in rose hips include carotenoids, flavonoids, pectic substances, riboflavin, sugars, and plants acids. 
 
Rosa canina fixed oil
It is rich in vitamin F.
 
Rosa canina botanical extract
It is an extract from the fruit of the rosehip, Rosa canina.
 
Rosa rubiginosa seed fixed oil
This oil contains palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, α-linolenic, γ-linolenic, arachidic and eicosanic acids, epicatechin, flavonoids, gallocatechin, isoquercitrin, kaemferol-3-glucoside, leucoanthocyanins, lycopene, magnesium rubidium, rubixanthin, alpha-tocopherol, xanthophylls, tretinoin and zeaxanthin.
 

USES:


Antioxidant activity has been displayed by the different constituents of rose hip extracts, such as glycophenolics, and vitamin C. Anti-inflammatory activity has been displayed by a galactolipid isolated from R. Canina.
 
Rosa canina fixed oil
Traditional use: Tissue regeneration: it has an effect on skin cell membranes, defence mechanisms, and growth and other physiologic and biochemical processes related to tissue regeneration, which explain its good tissue-regenerating properties (maintaining tissue texture and skin freshness and attenuation of scars, skin burns, and early aging etc.).
 
Rosa canina botanical extract
Traditional use: Anti-wrinkle agent: it is used in body lotions to smooth skin. It is also used as a moisturizer, in the treatment of burns and scars, and in hair preparations, especially for dry and damaged hair.
 
Rosa rubiginosa seed fixed oil
Traditional use: Also known as rose of Mosqueta oil, which was once described as the “Fountain of Youth”. This oil is remarkable for its benefits to damaged and distressed skin.
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Rosa canina botanical extract can be applied directly on the skin.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: A small evergreen shrub with thick aromatic, linear leaves.  It grows up to 2 m high.  It is native to Mediterranean region, and is cultivated worldwide.  The part used is the leaf (fresh or dried), which is used as a herb.  
 
Products: Rosemary contains about 0.5% volatile oil, flavonoids (diosmetin, diosmin, genwanin, luteolin, hispidulin, apigenin, etc.), phenolic acids (rosmarinic, labiatic, chlorogenic, neochlorogenic, and caffeic acids), carnosic acid, rosmaricine, isorosmaricine, triterpenic acids (mainly ursolic, oleanolic, and betulinic acids, the diterpene rosmanol, and others.
 
Rosmarinic acid – is a natural polyphenol antioxidant carboxylic acid. It has significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It has been used as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Rosmarinic acid has good percutaneous absorption, tissue distribution, and bioavailability that make it an ingredient suitable for transdermal administration. 
 
Ursolic acid – is used as an emulsifying agent in cosmetic and other preparations. Its anti-inflammatory (oral and topical), antitumor (skin cancer), and antimicrobial properties make it useful in cosmetic applications. There is also evidence to show that ursolic acid may be of relevance in hair tonics to encourage hair growth.
 
Rosmarinus officinalis botanical extract - Rosemary is considered to be one of the most important of the natural antioxidant extracts.
 
Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil is prepared by steam distillation of the fresh flowering tops. It contains mainly monoterpene hydrocarbons (α- and β-pinenes, camphene, limonene, etc.), cineole (eucalyptol), and borneol, with camphor, linalool, verbenone, terpineol, 3-octanone, and isobornyl acetate.
 
History and/or folklore: Rosemary and distilled water were the constituents of ‘Hungary water’, a rejuvenating lotion named after Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, whose use of it kept her skin free from wrinkles.
 

USES:


Rosemary extracts have anti-oxidative properties. Rosemary oil and extracts have antimicrobial activities (bacteria and fungi).
 
Rosmarinus officinalis botanical extract
Traditional use: It is tonic and astringent used mainly for its action on hair and prevention of premature baldness.  It is often combined with borax to prevent scurf and dandruff. Stimulating for the skin. When added to the bath, it stimulates sluggish circulation.
 
Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil
The typical fragrance is sweetly herbal and slightly medicinal with a hint of camphor. It may be beneficial for problem skin conditions and dandruff. It is anti-catarrhal, anti-infectious, and anti-spasmodic and is a useful component in decongestant baths. The German Commission E has approved the external use as supportive therapy for rheumatic diseases and circulatory problems.
 
Rosemary oil is extensively used in cosmetics as a fragrance component and/or masking agent. Products in which it is used include soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes (especially colognes and toilet waters).
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Rosemary oil has been reported to be non-irritating and non-sensitising to human skin but moderately irritating to rabbit skin when applied undiluted. 

SALVIA LEAF (Sage (Salvia officinalis)/Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia))

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Salvia officinalis is a small, evergreen shrubby perennial with woody stems near the base and herbaceous ones above, much branched.  It grows up to about 0.8 m high.  It is native to Mediterranean region, and cultivated worldwide.  The part used is the leaf.
 
Salvia lavandulaefolia grows wild in Spain and south-western France.  The part used is the leaf.
 
The Latin name salvia comes from the Latin word salvare meaning “to save.”
 
Products: Sage (S. officinalis) contains 1,0-2,8% volatile oil, quinine- and abietane-type diterpenes, flavonoids, phenolic acid (rosmarinic, labiatic, caffeic, hydroxycinnamic) and phenolic glycosides of caffeic and benzoic acid, and trace amounts of chlorogenic acid, anthraquinones, salviatannin, and others.
 
Sitosterol
Sage is one of major plants that contain the plant sterol, β-sitosterol. It has powerful skin properties including the reduction in skin erythema (skin redness), the reduction of pruritis (skin itching) and the reduction in inflammation.
 
Stigmasterol
Stigmasterol is closely related phytosterol and is also found in sage.  It has similar properties to sitosterol.
 
Salvia officinalis botanical extract
Extract from the leaves of sage, Salvia officinalis. Sage was shown to possess a strong anti-oxidative efficiency comparable to rosemary.  Sage leaf extracts exhibit strong antioxidant activity, largely attributable to various phenolic constituents including phenolic diterpenes, such as carnosol and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, notably rosmarinic acid.
 
Sage oil and Spanish sage oil are obtained by steam distillation of dried leaves from Salvia officinalis and Salvia lavandulae folia respectively.  The oils contain α- and β-thujones as the main components. Other components present include cineole, borneole, viridiflorol, 1,8 cineole, camphor, limonene, and others.
 
USES:
Sage reportedly has antibacterial, fungistatic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, secretion-stimulating and perspiration-inhibiting effects.  Phenolic acids isolated from sage have antimicrobial activities. Spanish sage oil has also been reported to have antimicrobial properties.
 

 

Salvia officinalis botanical extract
Sage extract has strong antioxidant activities. It is used as a lotion or compress for wounds, dandruff and hair loss.  It is useful in baths to treat skin problems. It soothes the mucous membrane, and is good for inflammation of the mouth, or inflamed and bleeding gums.  It makes a good mouthwash.
 
Salvia officinalis essential oil
The oil has been used in Europe for skin conditions such as eczema, acne, dandruff, and hair loss. It has been recognised for its benefits in relieving mental fatigue. The aromatherapy benefits are said to be uplifting and relaxing.  There are many different sages and each have a unique aroma.
 
Both sage oil and Spanish sage oil are used (the former much more extensively) as fragrance components in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes. Spanish sage oil is generally more commonly used in soaps, detergents, and industrial fragrances.
 
TOXICOLOGY: 
Spanish sage oil was non-irritating and non-sensitising to human skin and skin of laboratory animals. It was also non phototoxic on mice and swine.
 
Dalmatian sage oil has been reported to be non-irritating and non-sensitising to human skin when tested in diluted form. When applied undiluted, it produced one irritation reaction in 20 subjects and was moderately irritating to rabbits.

 

STARFLOWER, BORAGE (Borago officinalis)

 

DESCRIPTION:
The derivation of the generic name, Borago, is unknown but it probably derives from the Medieval Latin, borra or burra, meaning “rough hair” and referring to the prickly stems and leaves. Linnaeus stated that the name was a corruption of corago (Latin cor, the heart, and ago, to act) from its use in medicine as a heart sedative.
 
Botany: Starflower is bristly annual herb with upright hollow stems and lanceolate leaves, growing to 15cm long. Blue, five-petalled flowers, 1 cm across, appear in summer, followed by tiny, brown-black seeds.  Plants may appear with variegated foliage. Starflower germinates quickly from direct-sown seed in spring and grows rapidly up to about 70cm. 
 
It originated in Syria but is naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America.
 
History and/or folklore: Common names include bugloss, common bugloss, and burrage.  It is said to derive its name from a Celtic word meaning “a man of courage”. Traditionally starflower is added to drinks and salads to provide a refreshing and invigorating tonic. The first century Roman Pliny called it Euphrosinum because it “made the man merry and joyful”.  He claimed that borage steeped in wine was the famous “Nepethe” of Homer, which brought absolute forgiveness when drunk. 
 
Products: 
Borago officinallis botanical extract is an extract of the borage herb.
 
Borago officinalis leaf extract is the extract of the leaves of Borago officinalis. Leaves of the starflower are gathered in spring and summer, as the plant starts to flower, and are used fresh, or dried for use in infusions and liquid extracts.
 
Borago officinalis fixed oil is extracted from the seeds of Borago officinalis.  Seeds are a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Seeds are harvested when ripe for oil extraction. 
 
Biochemistry: The foliage of starflower is rich in pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the range of 2 to 8 mg/kg. The principal alkaloids detected in the leaves include lycopsamine, supinine, amabiline, acetyl lycopsamine, 7-acetyl intermedine, intermedine, and cynaustine.  In addition, borage plants contain hydrocyanic acid (15mg HCN/kg of young non-flowering plants).  The flowers contain alkaloid thesinine.  The seeds contain thesinine (300 mg/kg in mature seeds), lycopsamine, 7-acetyl intermedine, and seneciphylline in addition to 13 to 33 percent oil with 34 to 39 % linoleic acid, 20 26 % GLA, 15-19 % oleic acid, and 9-12 % palmitic acid.
GLA is unusual fatty acid. It is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of prostaglandins, a class of metabolic regulators in mammals. 
 
USES:
It is cooling, saline, diuretic herb that soothes damaged or irritated tissues, increases perspiration and has mild sedative and antidepressant effects.
 
Borago officinalis extract
Skin-Conditioning Agent – Miscellaneous, Emollient
 
Traditional use: A hot poultice helps to relieve the pain of gout and inflamed swellings.  It can help to clear the skin of troublesome spots. Externally it makes an excellent eye lotion.
 
Borago officinalis leaf extract
Skin-Conditioning Agent
 
Borago officinalis fixed oil
Skin-Conditioning Agent - Emollient
 
Traditional use: Starflower fixed oil is another rich plant source of GLA. It can be used as an alternative to evening primrose oil for skin conditions, rheumatic complaints, and premenstrual syndrome.  It is excellent moisturizer in skin care.  It is used in eyewashes, gargles, mouthwashes, and poultices.
 
TOXICOLOGY
Warning: The herb is a skin irritant and possible allergen.  All parts of the herb, except the seed oil, are subject to legal restrictions in some countries. 
 
CIR Safety Review: Borago Officinalis Seed Oil was included in the CIR Expert Panel’s review of plant-derived fatty acids oils.  Based on a history of safe use in food and/or dietary supplements, the composition of the oils, and data indicating these ingredients were not dermal irritants or sensitizers, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that plant-derived fatty acid oils including Borago Officinalis Seed Oil were safe as used in cosmetic products.
 
Borago Officinalis Seed Oil may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.
 
The presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids now gives doubts about the safety of starflower as a culinary and medicinal herb where regular or large amounts of foliage are consumed.
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
SWEET BASIL (Ocimum basilicum)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Sweet Basil or Basil is an annual herb of the family Labiatae or Lamiaceae. It grows about 0.5 m high.  It is thought to be native to India, tropical Asia and Africa, and is cultivated worldwide. There are many varieties; some of them have different compositions and flavouring characteristics, depending on geographic location and different environmental factors.  The parts used are the dried leaves and flowering
tops. 
 
History and/or folklore: In traditional medicine, the herb was used to cure colds, warts and worms, and as an appetite stimulant, carminative, and diuretic, among other applications. It was widely used as a medicinal herb in the Far East, especially in China and India.  In traditional use in India it is called tulsi and it is used for Ayurvedic medicine.  An infusion of the leaves is applied locally on sunburn, and as a protection from the effects of the sun. In folklore, the plant is sacred to Krishna and Vishnu, and it is believed that when a basil leaf is laid on the breast of a dead Hindu, it acts as a passport to eternal paradise. In China, the dried leaves are especially recommended for use before and after parturition to promote blood circulation, and the whole herb is used to treat snakebite and insect bites.
 
Biochemistry: The volatile oil contains d-linalool and estragole (methyl chavicol, or p-allylanisole) as the major components.  The oil also includes methyl cinnamate, cineol, eugenol, and borneol.  Other constituents present in sweet basil include protein, carbohydrates, vitamins A and C in relative high concentrations, rosmarinic acid (a natural phenol antioxidant carboxylic acid), thymol and the flavone, xanthomicrol. 
 
Products:
Ocimum basilicum essential oil; an essential oil is obtained by steam distillation from the flowering herb.
 
Ocimum basilicum botanical extract; from dried leaves
 

USES:


Ocimum basilicum essential oil 
Because of the components it is recommended for sluggish and congested skin. The oil is also used as an insect repellent, and has shown antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-worm and insecticidal activities. 
 
It is used as a fragrance ingredient in perfumes, soaps, hair dressings, dental creams and mouth washes. 
 
The oil is said to affect the nervous system, “clearing the head” and is uplifting; as such it is useful in nervous conditions such as anxiety, and mild depression).
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Sweet basil is reported to be non-toxic. 
 
Estragole, a major component in some sweet basil oils, has been shown to produce tumours (hepatocellular carcinomas) in mice and genotoxicity. 
 
Overuse or improper use of Sweet Basil oil should be avoided (methyl chavicol one of the main constituents is moderately toxic, and can be irritating to the skin and may also be carcinogenic); it is best avoided during pregnancy.
BEESWAX (Honeycomb of the honeybee)

DESCRIPTION:


Zoology: Beeswax is a secretion from bees of the genus Apis, e.g. A mellifera, A. florae, A. dorsata, and A.indica. The wax is produced by worker bees from nectar and pollen, and made into the honeycomb where honey is stored.  After the honey is removed from the honeycombs, the combs are washed rapidly and thoroughly with water. They are then melted with hot water or steam, strained and run into moulds to cool and harden.
 
History and/or folklore:
In Chinese medicine, beeswax is used to treat diarrhoea and hiccups and to relieve pain, among others.  
 
Products:
There are three major beeswax products:
(1) yellow beeswax;
(2) white beeswax (bleached beeswax, derived from yellow beeswax by bleaching with the combined action of air, sunlight and moisture); (3) beeswax absolute (derived from yellow beeswax by extraction with alcohol). 
 

USES:


Ingredients of beeswax have shown antioxidant, antiperoxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, gastroprotective, and anti-colitis activities.
 
Both yellow and white beeswax are used as a thickener, binder, surfactant (emulsifiying agent), emulsion stabilizer, nonaqueous viscosity increasing agent, stiffening agent, epilating agent, fragrance ingredient, and skin-conditioning agent (emollient, film forming). Both beeswaxes are used in ointments, baby products, bath preparations, cold creams, emollient creams, eye and facial makeup, lotions, lipsticks, hair dressings, hair conditioners, shaving products, suntan products, suppositories and others.
 
Beeswax absolute is used as a fragrance ingredient in soaps, lotions, creams and perfumes. 
 

TOXICOLOGY:
It is generally regarded as inert and non-toxic, but some allergic reactions have been reported.

CALENDULA (MARIGOLD) (Calendula officinalis)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Calendula, or pot marigold, is a hairy annual to perennial (if freezing is absent) 20-50 cm high plant from the Asteraceae family.  Leaves are oblanceolate to oblong; flowers are yellow or orange 4-7 cm in diameter. It is widely cultivated in Europe and North America; it is naturalized in south and west Europe.  The parts used are the flower and leaves.
 
History and/or folklore: In traditional medicine the flower was historically considered vulnerary, antiseptic and styptic. It is used externally as a lotion or ointment for burns and scalds, bruises, cuts, rashes, sore nipples, abscesses, wounds, bleeding and eczema.  Internally it is used for stomach ailments, gastric and duodenal ulcers, and jaundice.  The plant and its preparations are used to stimulate circulation, promote healing, for gastric haemorrhage, ulcers, spasms, glandular swelling, jaundice, and anaemia.
 
Biochemistry: The flowers of Calendula officinalis contain flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, saponins, sesquiterpene glucosides, caffeic acid, and carotenoids. The major carotenoids are lycopene and lutein.
 
Products: Calendula officinalis botanical extract
 

USES:


Calendula officinalis botanical extract
Calendula preparations show anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating and wound-healing, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic activities. They stimulate granulation at wound site, increasing glycoprotein, nucleoprotein and collagen metabolism.
 
In vitro and animal tests have shown topical anti-inflammatory effects due to ψ-taraxasterol, isorhamnetic glycosides, and triterpenoidal fatty acid esters found in extracts of calendula flowers. Also reported was stimulation of phagocytosis in vitro, choleric activity. Isolated polysaccharides have shown in vitro and in vivo tumour-inhibiting activity and immunostimulating activity in the carbon clearance and granulocytes tests.  An ethanol extract of the flowers enhanced the in vitro proliferation of lymphocytes. 
 
The carotenoid lycopene is a strong antioxidant and free radical scavenger and the carotenoid lutein is strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties. The mechanism of lutein's anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic effects include inhibition of metalloproteinases (MMP) to tissue inhibitor of MMP (TIMP) ratio in dermal fibroblasts and melanoma cells, inhibition of cell loss, membrane damage and elastin expression in ultraviolet radiation exposed fibroblasts.  Caffeic acid, also a component of calendula, is a selective inhibitor for leucotriene biosynthesis and can inhibit arachidonate lipoxygenase activity.  Plants containing caffeic acid are used for drainage and reduction of swelling and for the strengthening of cell membranes in the skin.
 
Preparations of calendula flowers are used externally to treat dermal and mucous membrane inflammations, hard-to-heal wounds, leg ulcers, dermatitis, mild burns, sunburns, bruises, boils, and rashes.  Internally they are used to treat inflammatory lesions of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa. 
 
They are used in diverse body care products, including face, body, and hand creams, lotions, night creams, ointments, shampoos, suntan products, baby products, eye makeup, and others. 
 
A cream containing an extract of calendula was tested in a Phase III clinical trial and was found to provide good protection against acute dermatitis in women treated with radiation therapy for postoperative breast cancer.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


No dermal irritation was detected. 
 
No sensitizing effects were found in humans from occlusive patches supplying cosmetics containing 1% calendula extract, but further safety data to support the use of the flowers in cosmetic preparations should still be made. 
 
No genotoxic effects were found from a herbal tea of the flowers and none was found from six saponins isolated from the flowers. A fluid extract of the flowers was non-mutagenic in animal tests. 
 
However, in vitro genotoxic effects were found. In rat cell cultures, unscheduled DNA synthesis was inhibited by nanogram concentrations of various solvent extracts of the flowers. Genotoxic effects were only found with high concentrations. 
LIME (LIME OIL) (Citrus aurantifolia)

DESCRIPTION:


Botany: Lime is an evergreen tree of the genus Citrus (family Rutaceae) with stiff sharp spines. It grows up to about 4.5 m high. The leaves are medium sized, ovate, bluntly pointed, at tips, rounded to cuneate at base.  Flowers are large and fragrant.  Fruits are small, oval to round, with a thin rind.  If they ripen on the tree, the fruits are golden-brown to slightly orange colour, but normally the fruits are collected when they are green and are more tasty and juicy. Slices are very fragrant with a sour taste, as they contain up to 6% citric acid.  While all other citrus trees are subtropical crops, the lime tree is a real tropical tree, native to southern Asia (Malaysia and India).  Today it is cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia, south Florida, Central America (Mexico) and the West Indies (e.g. Cuba).
 
The parts used are the fresh peel of the green unripe fruit, or the whole crushed fruit.
 
History and/or folklore: The rind of immature fruit, beaten into a pulp, may be applied to the eyelids to cure sore eyes. The juice was used as an antiseptic by the Creoles of the Antilles.  Arexa (Waimiri Atroari), a drink made from fruits, is recognised as a cold cure.  The Wayapi Indians of French Guiana rub the mashed leaves on the forehead for headaches.
 
Lime (as with other citric fruits) is an antiscorbutic.  ‘Limey’, an old slang nickname for the British, originally referring to their sailors, is believed to derive from the practice of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy of supplying lime juice to British sailors to prevent scurvy.
 
Biochemistry: Distilled lime oil contains large amount of terpene hydrocarbons (e.g. δ-limonene), oxygenated compounds (citral, terpineol, cineol, and linalool), and germacrene B (and important fragrance component with a sweet, wood-spicy, geranium like note). 
 
Expressed (cold-pressed) lime oils contain similar constituents as the distilled oil, but also anthranilates and substituted coumarins (such as limettin and bergapten).  
 
Products:
Citrus aurantifolia essential oil – Lime oil
Lime oil is obtained by cold expression (expressed lime oil) of fresh peel of the green unripe fruit, or steam distillation of the whole crushed fruit, or juice of the crushed fruit (distilled lime oil).  Centrifuged lime oil is obtained by centrifuging the pulp and the mixture of the fruit in high speed centrifuge thus separating the oil from the pulp.
 

USES:


Lime oil acts like lemon and other citrus oils.  It has antiscorbutic activity and it is a refrigerant. Lime juice is a traditional source of vitamin C but limes are used more as a flavouring than medicinally. 
 
Citrus aurantifolia essential oil
Rich in essential fatty acids, lime oil gives emollient and protective properties to skin care products.  The aroma enhances and enlivens the mood, energizes and can help relieve fatigue and stimulate mental activity and memory.  Lime oil is extensively used in food flavouring.
 
The expressed oil is used as fragrance components and fixatives (coumarins).  It is used in creams, lotions, soaps, detergents, perfumes and massage oils at a maximum level of 1.5 %.
Lime oil has a mosquito repellent effect that lasts up to 5 hours; it also has insecticidal activity against mosquitoes, cockroaches and houseflies. 
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Do not use lime oil on the skin in direct sunlight; however, if essential oil of lime is distilled rather than expressed, then it does not have a phototoxic effect.

CARDAMOM (Elettaria cardamomum)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Cardamom or cardamon refers to several plants of the similar genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae.  Elettaria is commonly called cardamom, green cardamom, or true cardamom (Amomum is commonly known as black cardamom, brown cardamom, Kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white cardamom, or red cardamom). Cardamom is a perennial reed-like plant with lance-shaped leaves borne on long sheathing stems, growing up to about 4 m high. A large fleshy rhizome is similar to ginger. The flowers are small yellowy with a violet tip. Oblong gray fruits follow the flowers, each containing many seeds. The plant is native to tropical Asia, and is now cultivated extensively in tropical regions such as India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Guatemala, and El Salvador. 
 
The parts used are the dried, nearly ripe fruits with seeds.
 
History and/or folklore: Cardamom was well known in ancient times and the Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense and chewed it to whiten their teeth, while the Romans used it for their stomachs when they over-indulged.
 
Cardamom is broadly used in traditional medicine in India and in China as a stimulant, to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, to treat urinary problems, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders (carminative, stomachic, and laxative preparations).  It also is used to break up kidney stones and gall stones, and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom. 
 
The Arabs ground it to use in their coffee and it is an important ingredient in Asian cooking.
 
Biochemistry: The cardamom essential oil consists of a volatile component (containing mainly α-terpinyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, linalool, borneol; and acid constituents such as acetic, butyric, decanoic, citronellic, heptanoic, and nerylic acids), protein, and a non volatile component (containing sterols (β-sitostenone, stigmasterol, and β-sitosterol) and n-alkanes), and a high percentage of starch, manganese, and iron.
 
Products: Elettaria cardamomum essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of dried, nearly ripe fruits with seeds.
 

USES:


Cardamom oil has antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, aphrodisiac, and tonic properties.
 
Elettaria cardamomum essential oil
The cardamom seed oil is mainly used as a flavour ingredient to flavour pharmaceuticals; and as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, lipsticks, hair-sprays, powders and perfumes.  The oil is also used also as natural flavouring in liqueurs.  The oil is widely used in massage and bath oils to provide a refreshing and uplifting effect for those feeling weak and mentally fatigued.  
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Available data indicate cardamom oil generally to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. No mutagenic activity was found from cardamom in the Ames test. 
 
In vitro tests have shown antimicrobial activity due to various constituents of the essential oil.
 
Cardamom oil has shown in vitro antispasmodic activity on isolated mouse and rabbit intestine.  An aqueous extract of the seeds increases trypsin activity in a buffer solution.
 
Irritating to eyes. Sensitisation by skin contact has been reported by some individuals.

 

EYEBRIGHT (Euphrasia rostkoviana F. Hayne , Euphrasia officinalis L., Euphrasia spp.)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Euphrasia (Eyebright) is a genus of about 450 species of plants in the family Orobanchaceae (formerly included in the Scrophulariaceae). They are small, herbaceous, mostly annual herbs growing semi-parasitically on grasses and other plants to 4dm, simple or freely branched. Leaves are opposite sessile, ovate to rotund, palmately veined, coarsely toothed above. Bracteal leaves tend to alternate. Flowers are small, four lobed and deeply cleft above. They grow in cold temperature regions, like subarctic or alpine areas of tropical mountains of Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Most commercial supply comes from Europe and limited wild harvests in North America. 
 
The parts used include the whole herb, the leaf, the stem, and small pieces of the flowers. 
 
History and/or folklore: The common name refers to the plant's use in treating eye infections. The name Euphrasia is from the Greek Euphrosyne, who was one of the Three Graces and was known for her joy, mirth and gladness.  Although known by the ancient Greeks it was not until 14th century that it is mentioned for 'all evils of the eye'.  
 
In traditional medicine Eyebright has been used internally and externally as a folk remedy to treat eye infections, benefit the digestion, gastric disorders, colds, hay fever, headaches, mucous membrane conditions, jaundice, rhinitis, and allergies.
 
Biochemistry: Botanical extract contains oleic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic and stearitic acids, iridoid glycosides (aucubin, catapol, euphroside, eurostoside, geniposide, adoxosid, ixoroside, and mussaenoside), gallotannins, caffeic and ferulic acids, glucose, resins, and volatile oil.
 
Products: Euphrasia spp. botanical extract
 
USES: 
Eyebright has anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, astringent, tonic, antimicrobial, skin conditioning, and soothing properties, and is a stimulant to the liver to remove toxins from the body.
 
Euphrasia spp. botanical extract
In cosmetic, it is used as an antimicrobial agent and astringent for dry skin control, oily hair control, skin conditioning, and as a soothing agent and tonic in creams, lotions, shampoos, and hair conditioners. 
 
Eyebright water is used as a flavouring agent, masking agent, and perfuming agent.
 
Eyebright extract is mainly used in Europe as a rinse, compress or eye bath for eye irritations and eye-related inflammatory and vascular conditions, such as eye lid inflammation, conjunctivitis, secreting and inflamed eyes, catarrh of the eyes, and prevention of mucus secretion from eyes.  Typical preparations include a warm compress or tea.  Eyebright preparations are also available as a capsule.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Eyebright extract used externally is generally considered to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.  The safety of this herb during pregnancy and lactation is not proven. Eyebright should not be taken internally by persons with liver problems and should not be taken in large doses as it can cause dizziness, liver upset, and nausea.

 

PEACH (Prunus persica L.)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: The peach tree (Prunus persica) is a deciduous tree that belongs to the sub-family Prunoideae of the rose family (Rosaceae). It is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell. The tree is native to China, where it was first cultivated. The species name persica refers to its widespread cultivation in Persia, from where it was transplanted to Europe. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach; the edible part is the shell of the fruit. Peaches have a thin, velvety, slightly hairy skin. The fruit flesh is white to yellowish, and very juicy and sweet, depending on the species.
 
Peach kernel oil is expressed from the kernel.
 
History and/or folklore: Peaches were believed to have healing, cleansing and detoxifying effects.  Peach tea is said to be very healing and will often allay the pain of wounds.  Applied to the forehead it will relieve migraine and induce sleep.
 
Biochemistry: Peach kernel oil is a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin A (Provitamin A, beta-carotene, which the human body converts into Vitamin A), Vitamin E and Vitamin C which have therapeutic, antioxidant and preservative properties. The oil also contains Vitamin B (in the Vitamin B group there are more than 20 vitamins which regulate cellular metabolism, affect cellular respiration (O2 and CO2 exchange between cells and the body's internal environment), ensure the proper formation of blood cells in hematopoietic organs, metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids, regulate the nerve system, and DNA synthesis).  Peach kernel oil also contains plenty of calcium, phosphorus, potassium.
 
Products:
(1) Peach kernel oil 
(2) Peach fruit
(3) Peach leaf extract
 

USES:


Peach kernel oil 
The pale golden peach kernel oil has a similar composition to apricot kernel oil but is lighter and can also be used on skin that is prone to clogged pores.  Its regenerative and tonic effects help to cleanse and tighten the pores of the skin.  It is a skin conditioning agent that is rapidly absorbed into the skin and is an emollient (peaches soften and smooth the skin mucosa as well as contributing their own natural oils) and non greasy.  Peach kernel oil helps prevent dehydration and smoothes wrinkles and encourages elasticity and suppleness in all skin types, and is thus ideal for dry, tired and mature skin (due to carbohydrates that help hydrate the skin, and the antioxidant effects).  The oil helps to promote circulation and it is said to be good for sensitive, itchy or inflamed skin and skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis.  It is hypo-allergenic for those with sensitive skin.  It is especially beneficial for skin exposed to sun or wind, and also for delicate or mature complexions.  Peach kernel oil is also a good alternative for people who are allergic to nuts and cannot use, for example, almond oil, peanut oil or hazelnut oil.   
 
Peach oil is a popular ingredient in cosmetic products for adults, such as creams, lotions, lip balms and make-up remover, baby creams, lotions and massage oils (it is particularly useful for facial massage blends)  It is also used in the soap industry.
 
Peach fruit; a rub made from peaches is said to be very good when the skin feels tired and irritable.
 
Peach leaf extract is said to be refreshing and is used to make an extract that is anti-bacterial and antiphlogistic. Peach leaf is said to inhibit acute inflammation. 
 

TOXICOLOGY:
Peach oil is considered safe in all normal applications, good for all skin types and generally to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.