PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea purpurea)
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.
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.
Allergy to the plant. Occasionally allergic reactions (hypersensitivity) may occur owing to allergy to plants in the Asteraceae (Compositae) family.
PINE (Pinus nigra (Pine), Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine), Pseudotsaga menziesii (Douglas Fir))
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.
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.
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.
It is ingredient in some soaps and ointments. It is also used as a fixative in perfumes.
Essential oil applied directly to the skin can cause skin irritation.
Turpentine has contact allergenic activity.
PANSY (Viola tricolor)
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.
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.
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel, but no is hazard reported.
PINEAPPLE (Ananas sativus (Ananas comosus))
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.
Pineapple Fruit Extract is an extract of the fruit of the pineapple, Ananas sativus.
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.
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.
PASSION FRUIT (Passiflora edulis)
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.
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).
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.
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by the industry panel.
PATCHOULY, also patchouli or pachouli (PATCHOULY OIL) (Pogostemon cablin)
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.
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).
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.
PEACH (Prunus persica L.)
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.
(1) Peach kernel oil
(2) Peach fruit
(3) Peach leaf extract
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.
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.