Skin Polish is the next of the series of skincare products that I am going to research. I use this at home and have noticed that my skin is not EVEN as red as it used to be. I really like this product and use it 2-3 times per week. I use it in the shower, I wash first then apply the mask then wash my hair and my body then I rinse off the mask. My skin feels awesome after I get out of the shower then I immediately do my moisture routine.
Skin polish has the smell of lemon chiffon, subtle and fresh but not at all strong or lasting so I don’t see how it would interact with any other scent you might want to use. So, Let us dive into the ingredients from the website:
Water/aqua/eau, Prunus Armenia-ca (apricot) kernel oil, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) wax beads, glycerin, yeast extract, arachidyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, arachidyl glucoside, galactoarabinan, phospholipids, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, ascorbyl palmitate, Butyrospermu m parkii (shea) nut butter, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower water, squalane, Citrus limon (lemon) peel oil, Cupressus sempervirens (cypress) leaf oil, Litsea cubeba fruit oil, Calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, Tilia cordata (linden) flower/leaf extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, hydrogenated lecithin, xanthan gum, dehydroacetic acid, benzyl alcohol.
Ingredients in bold are Certified Organic
2.176% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming
pH = 5.1-5.8
Water, is water it is an agent that makes the oils fluffy and not heavy on the skin. When a water-oil emulsion is used it has a dryer finish and has a greater absorption into the skin. An emulsion is drops of oil suspended in water with an agent that keeps them from separating. Like water and oil…
Apricot Kernal Oil- This is one of my favorites. It goes into the skin and is not oily on top of the skin. This is from my book:”Color is pale yellow, pressed from the kernel, contains mostly Omega 3, 9. Used for all skins especially aged, sensitive, dehydrated, inflamed and dry skin. Apricot kernel oil is very penetrating. High in linoleic and linolenic acids. Apricot Kernel oil has a shelf life 6 months to 1 year.” (2018, Herbs and How to Use them with recipes by Donna Bass)
Ceteryl alcohol: is used as an emulsification stabilizer(keeps the water and oil mixed together), is emollient (softening or soothing to the skin) and surfactant (makes water wetter to break down dirt and oils). On the EWG database this has a very low hazard rating
Ceteryl glucoside: is another emulsifier and surfactant. On the EWG database they give it a very low overall hazard rating
Aloe Vera Juice: Aloe juice has so many fabulous properties. It is organic and the company is very conscious of sustainable practices.
Aloe vera juice is under some controversy at this point. The culprit is a component called Aloin. Aloin is found in the outer skin and latex that has been linked to cancer when taken internally with rats. There has never been any research to show that using Aloe externally causes any disease. I did find that there had been many studies that showed the healing properties of Aloe (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27314762, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27084867, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4452276/ to name a very, very few). It has been found to be anti-inflammatory, soothing and healing for skin over and over again.
Jojoba Wax beads: This is the exfoliant for this product. There isn’t a lot in the formula, they are very lightly exfoliant and I would recommend it even for sensitive skin (I have sensitive skin and a bit of rosacea, YAY Irish skin!) My first thought was microbeads; these are not microbeads, they will degrade in the environment. EWG has it as a very low overall hazard. Jojoba beads are used often because they are gentler than seeds or husks.
Glycerine: emollient, usually from a vegetable source, hydrating by pulling moisture from the air and keeping it close to the skin for a dewy finish
Yeast Extract: This has a low overall hazard on EWG, it is a skin conditioner. L’Oreal says that yeast extract can “induce a calming effect that can soothe problem skin.” It is also antioxidant.
Arachidyl alcohol: Very low overall risk according to EWG. Arachidyl alcohol is used as an emollient, and emulsion stabilizer and controls viscosity (thickness).
Behenyl alcohol: is emollient, emulsifier, and thickener, according to EWG also a very low overall hazard.
Arachidyl glucoside: very low overall health concern used as a surfactant and emulsifying agent
Galactoarabinan: very low overall hazard. This is a polysaccharide (carbohydrate consisting of a number of sugars) obtained from the Larix (Larch) tree. Used as a film former and fragrance ingredient. What in the world is a film former??? I was wondering too, here is what I found. A film forming agent is an ingredient that leaves a smooth feel on the skin, when applied they leave pliable cohesive and continuous coverage over the skin surface. (Paula’s Choice Skincare So it makes a dewy and even film over the skin. Im using the word dewy a lot aren’t I? ). Normally this agent is PVP, acrylate acrylamides and copolymers…I will take the tree extract thanks.
Phospholipids: Very low overall hazard. I know what a phospholipid is!!! Its what a cell wall is made of! Do I win? Wait. What? Why is this in my skincare? Interesting question. Phospholipids have an interesting property, the way they line up they attract and hold onto water. Phospholipids have a water loving head and a tail that repels water so water is attracted then trapped on your skin. According to one article it is called a “second skin” (truth in aging). Phospholipids are carriers so that other ingredients can penetrate the skin better. Phospholipids are also thought to be antioxidant, when combined with Vitamin E.
Tocopherol acetate: a combination of Vitamin E and Acetic acid. Overall hazard is low and a half. There are some small concerns with allergic reactions. The use of Tocopherol acetate is as an antioxidant and skin conditioning agent.
Retinyl Palmitate: I was surprised. This, according to EWG has a high overall hazard. It is composed of vitamin A and retinol. The problem is that it causes sun sensitivity and can speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Norwegian and German health agencies have warned that daily application may contribute to overdoses of vitamin A for sensitive and impaired populations. The reason for this warning is that retinyl palmitate converts to retinol in the skin and can cause some skin reactions. Retinol also should never be used without sunscreen or wash it off before going into the sun.
There are some sources outside of EWG that disagree with their rating. The argument is that the animals used do not reflect “real world” usage on humans and that the rats used were already predisposed to cancer in sunlight. True enough, naked rats are predisposed to skin cancers because that is what they are bred to study, and humans are not rats (mostly). So what to believe??? Its true that vitamin A causes photosensitivity which can lead to skin cancers over time…that is true. Retinyl palmitate is considered to be a gentler milder form of Vitamin A, is found to be an effective antioxidant, also true.
Research shows a connection between the sun, retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A) and skin cancers and lesions. This is definitely a controversial ingredient because while it does come with some negatives retinyl palmitate is used to exfoliate and create cell regeneration of the skin. Retinyl palmitate has also been shown to regenerate collagen and elastin to help with signs of aging, be an antioxidant and fight wrinkles. The best advice I found was if you use products with Vitamin A, Retinol or even Retinyl Palmitate daily use lots of sunscreen (check to be sure it is free from vitamin A ingredients)
So, my findings? The days you use this product use perfect sunscreen under your makeup and over your moisturizer.
Ascorbyl palmitate: Overall hazard is very low. It is used as an antioxidant and a fragrance ingredient; Masking
Shea Nut Butter: Shea Butter is all things delicious. It is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, antiaging, moisturizing, antioxidant, relieves dry itchy skin and reduces stretchmarks…how do you hate that? Rich in vitamin E and Vitamin A along with vitamins and minerals that nourish the skin and heal it. And its organic!
Lavender Flower Water (LFW): I make this for facials. Lavender flower water is useful for all skins and skin ages. LFW is a humectant, skin conditioning agent, its also anti inflammatory, and can be used as a fragrance. LFW also is antibacterial, antifungal and helps to treat acne. I have been using LFW for years and I love it just before bed. A spritz on my face to freshen and the scent sends me to dreamland in no time.
Squalane: is a naturally occurring oil that can be animal or vegetable. EWG rates it as a very low all over hazard. It is used for skin conditioning and is emollient.
Lemon Peel Oil: this is a low and a half overall hazard. This is the fragrance of this product, and also it has astringent and toning properties. Citrus oils can make the skin photosensitive in concentrations over 2% (http://info.achs.edu/blog/what-is-photosensitivity-with-essential-oils).
Cypress leaf oil: Cypress oil has decongestant properties to help diffuse discoloration and puffiness. It calms inflamed skin, is astringent and antibacterial
LItsea cubeba oil: is for oily skin, it helps to reduce the appearance of pores and has a citrus scent. It does not cause photosensitivity.
Calendula Flower Extract: is anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing. It is a great wound healer. Often used for diaper rash, safe and gentle healer, antioxidant.
Linden flower: has toning properties due to tannins, antioxidant, astringent (also makes a great tea but that is another story)
Rosemary Leaf Extract: Antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory
Sunflower seed oil: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, emollient, will treat acne, hydrating. High in Oleic acid and vitamin E. Moisturizes sunburned skin.
Hydrogenated lecithin: very low on the scale of overall hazard (back to EWG). Hydrogenated lecithin is used as a skin conditioning agent, emulsifying agent,
Xanthan gum: is a thickener. If you have eaten gluten free products you have eaten xanthan gum. EWG has it as a very low overall hazard. It is also an emulsion stabilizer and skin conditioning agent and forms a gel. It is a poly saccharide which is a sugar based polymer that is produced by bacteria
Dehydroacetic acid: Very low overall hazard according to EWG, it is a preservative
Benzyl alcohol: Benzyl alcohol has a moderate overall hazard due to its connection with contact allergies. The function of benzyl alcohol is as a fragrance additive, solvent, preservative or masking agent.
My take on this product: I love it! I do! I would however, use sunscreen after my facial. I have found this really calms my skin and really has helped change my skin. The areas that were dry are not anymore and my skin glows, I wouldn’t stop using this I would only add sunscreen.
I used the EWG website of cosmetic ingredients. EWG is tough and will report any and all reports of negative and positive reports therefore sometimes giving a skewed view of an ingredient, in that case more research needs to be done. I used PubMed, Anna Marie and Truth in aging as alternative information and to get a deeper view of an ingredient.
I love quench cleanser…holy cats! I find it cooling for my reactive skin (I get red really easily and react to ingredients with warmth and redness, Im kind of a delicate flower.) it gets the job done and cools my firey skin. Lets find out how this puppy works. Here are the ingredients:
Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Rosa damascena (rose) flower water, leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate, glycerin, coco glucoside, coconut alcohol, lauryl glucoside, sucrose cocoate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, Calophyllum inophyllum (foraha) fruit/seed oil, sclerotium gum, Panax ginseng (ginseng) root extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, hydrogenated lecithin, glyceryl caprylate, sodium anisate, xanthan gum, citric acid.
Ingredients in bold are Certified Organic
89.15% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming pH = 4.8-5.5
Let’s look at each ingredient one at a time together.
Aloe barbadensis- Aloe is cooling to the skin, emollient, and healing. I wrote about this in my materia medica…here are some of the known mechanisms of healing for Aloe: Beta Carotine, Vitamin C, E and B12 along with folic acid and choline along with minerals like Calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc are among the MANY ingredients that cause Aloe to be such a great healer of the skin. Its also organic! Bonus!
Helianthus annuus is sunflower seed oil. Sunflower seed oil is really high in Vitamin E or tocopherol which is an awesome antioxidant, it is also anti-inflammatory. So, here I am going to talk about antioxidants and why they are so important. We always hear that this is an antioxidant or that is…wth does that really mean???
As we go through the day we encounter lots of free radicals…what in the world is a free radical? Its an incomplete and unbalanced molecule with a charge. Free radicals are large components of pollution. Smoke, ozone and the like. These molecules are missing one or two electrons which make them unstable and looking for an electron wherever they can find one to make themselves stable and have a neutral charge which all molecules strive for…neutrality and balance. Without antioxidants those electrons can come from our own bodies, our skin or if we inhale them, our organs making our own molecules unstable which causes them to become reactive, it’s really a huge cycle, everyone is looking for neutrality and balance. Antioxidants have extra electrons to share or donate freely to free radicals to make them balanced and neutral without having to wrestle them from our organs or skin.
Antioxidants like Vitamin E and C have extra electrons to donate like the Mother Theresas of the atomic world, preventing oxidation and instability of tissues and cells. So important to health.
Rosa damascene flower water- this ingredient is the queen of skincare ingredients (no really, rose is considered the queen of skincare). Rose flower water is so soothing, so emollient, so supportive for mature and fragile skin. I have used this ingredient in so many of my own formulations for skincare, especially for people with health issues. This one is organic too! Wow! I would love to be at that distillery…wouldn’t you? Yummmm
leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate- this is a bacteria that is the by-product of fermentation. It has been found to have preservative properties. EWG has this listed as super low overall hazard.
Glycerin- Glycerin is also known as glycerol, is sweet and non-toxic. In cosmetics is used as a humectant (draws water from the air to skin) and emollient (soothing and smoothing).
Coco glucoside- this is a surfactant (a surfactant reduces the surface tension of water making it “wetter” to better dissolve oil and dirt easier) and is super low on the EWG hazard list.
Coconut alcohol- Did you just cringe seeing alcohol in skin cleanser? I did. But this isn’t that kind of alcohol. It’s the chemical kind of alcohol, which is just a chemical formulation and positions of atoms, not necessarily the stuff that burns and dries your skin. This alcohol is a fatty alcohol that is also an emollient emulsion stabilizer (keeps emulsions emulsified), foam boosting viscosity (thickness) controller.
lauryl glucoside- is a sugar and lipid (fat) based surfactant. Super low on the EWG scale of hazards.
sucrose cocoate- overall hazard is super low, and is a skin conditioning agent, emollient and surfactant, antistatic and skin conditioning.
sodium lauroyl lactylate- the overall hazard is low and it is used as a surfactant and emulsifying agent.
Calophyllum inophyllum (foraha) fruit/seed oil- this is tamanu seed oil. I was just talking to another herbalist the other day about this amazing oil. They said that this is all you would need in your tool kit for skin repair. This really is an amazing oil! Scientific studies include: uses for sunburn, wound healing, scar healing. Anti acne, anti inflammatory, anti tumor , moisturinzing, increasing micro circulation, hypoallergenic all these studies are cited here: http://www.volcanicearth.com/tamanu-oil-botanical-profile.html and this paper from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science is really interesting also: http://www.dweckdata.co.uk/Published_papers/Tamanu.pdf tradition and science really speak to the quality and healing properties of this ingredient.
sclerotium gum- this is a skin conditioning agent, emulsion stabilizer and low on overall hazard on the EWG rating scale.
Panax Ginseng Root Extract-this is an organic ingredient that is very low on the EWG ingredient list. Panax Ginseng Root extract is used in skincare according to Paula’s Choice panax ginseng is used to boost hydration, as an antioxidant and fades uneven skin tone and reduces wrinkles topically and even boosts the natural firmness of skin. (https://www.paulaschoice.com/ingredient-dictionary/antioxidants/panax-ginseng-root-extract.html)
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract- firstly, this is not rosemary essential oil, this is rosemary extract which is going to have much less oil in it, so those of us who are familiar with essential oils know that this can be a really robust EO; This isn’t that. This is an extract which is water infused (like a tea) extract. This has an antioxidant effect and extends the shelf life of the product. This is more of an antioxidant for the product itself more than for our skin.
Hydrogenated Lecithin- this has a low overall hazard according to EWG. It acts as a skin conditioning and emulsifying agent that is non-surfactant. It is derived from egg yolks (which is why aioli emulsifies so well with olive oil…emulsification of lecithin from the yolk of the egg 😉 …science…who said I would never use those 3 years of chemistry in college?)
glyceryl caprylate-an overall super low overall hazard. This ingredient is used as a skin conditioning agent, emollient, surfactant and emulsifier,
sodium anisate- very low overall hazard (one source said harmless) , derived from fennel and is an antimicrobial agent to preserve the product.
Xanthan Gum- is a thickener used in foods and in cosmetics for texture. Harmless.
Citric Acid- citiric acid is used as a buffer to maintain the acidity of the product. Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons etc)
This product is 89.15% organic…I love the transparency of this statistic. Life is about balance. There are some things that can be used organically and some things that cannot. There are a number of reasons that things cannot be organic. Sustainability and feasibility being two of them. We cannot continue to sustain some of the organic products that we use…coconut and palm being two that jump out at me, and also shortages of Santal album (sandalwood) and real high-altitude lavender being a couple more that I have seen become unsustainable in my years of practice. I like balance. Also some of the non-organic ingredients don’t come in organic form with the organic standards.
The pH of the product: 4.8-5.5…love this. The acid mantle of the skin is our very first line of protection from outside invaders. The acid mantle of the skin’s pH is 4.5-6.2. This product will not strip the acid mantle by being too alkaline. Good call.
Overall: I really like quench. I find it to be cooling and soothing to my skin, and cleans great! Now that I know the thought that went into it I love it even more!!!
© 2018 Donna Bass and Mamma Moon Herbals
Professional Skincare: LimeLight by Alcone:
I am going to go through the ingredients in the skincare line of LimeLight by Alcone and we will discover why and what they do, I am going to start with my first and favorite product…makeup remover wipes. Let’s get to know this line together!
Holy guacamole you guys!!! The first thing I do when I get home is take off my makeup. I just want it off and to get on with my day. My eyes are super itchy this time of year and therefore really sensitive to anything on them. I grab a wipe (I have NEVER needed more than one) and I am done. It gets all the mascara off AND the eyeliner and my skin feels awesome after. What makes them so powerful, gentle and fabulous!!!??? Let’s look:
Water, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprylate/Caprate, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Sebacate, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Linalool, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Hydroxycitronellal. Let’s find out what all of that stuff is, one at a time then together.
I am using the EWG database of cosmetics ingredients. They are really tough on ingredients which is good, but also sometimes we need to put that into a perspective, let’s look…
Water: Water…the stuff that makes it wet
Glycerine: Glycerine also known as glycerol is a humectant that draws moisture from the air to your skin, it is also used as a sweetener. Glycerine is nontoxic.
Polyclyceryl-4 laurate/Sebacate: the origins of this is Coconut fruit and Palm fruit, the role is an emulsifying (an agent that helps two things mix completely) agent or a solubizing (something that makes fats more soluble or dissolvable) agent and is considered a low hazard ingredient on a scale of low moderate and high hazards.
Sodium Benzoate: is a preservative. It is antifungal. The overall hazard is low. The reason this is important to me as an herbalist is this: mold. When you mix water with oils you are going to get mold. That is the long and short of it. I have NEVER been able to mix the two and not get mold eventually. Here is where the balance comes in, sometimes we need things that are not organic to get the job done safely; even though mold is natural it also will cause a world of hurt on your skin. This is one of those times. EWG is ok with it and calls it a low hazard…Im going with that recommendation
Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate: Overall hazard super low, this is a Chelating Agent. Chelating agents make sure no minerals adhere to the skin from any source (especially water) and help with the preservative effects
Ethylhexyl Stearate: is another superlow hazard ingredient and looks like a long chain saturated fat of some kind…or a wax, in fact it is an emollient derived from plant oil and is a solvent for some substances in cosmetics…which makes total sense, because it’s a makeup wipe.
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer: super low health concern score…good so far right? This is a thickening agent or binder and helps to stabilize emulsions. Both good things, this is not a natural ingredient but it is also not an ingredient that is likely to cause an issue either.
Xanthan Gum: polysaccharide (a type of sugar) and thickener, its probably in your ice cream and is used in gluten free baked goods.
Tocopheryl Acetate: is a mixture of vitamin E oil and acetic acid (vinegar). This is used as an antioxidant and skin conditioning agent. This has a low to moderate rating because it has been identified as a possible skin irritant because it may be contaminated depending upon how it is sourced. High doses had sketchy results with rats.
Phenoxyethanol: fragrance ingredient and preservative. Low to moderate concern for hazard.
Dimethicone: skin conditioning agent, emollient, skin protecting, lubricating: silicone-based oil. Low to moderate overall hazard.
Isohexadecane: super low health concerns, it is a petroleum byproduct, it is used as a skin conditioning agent.
Butylene Glycol: super low health concerns, a small organic alcohol that is used as a solvent and conditioning agent which makes sense as it is used to break down makeup which is usually oil based.
Linalool: moderate hazard. I was super surprised about that as linalool is a major component of lavender essential oil and a number of other essential oils in the EWG database. The International fragrance association codes and standards recommends restricted use in cosmetics. I did a deep dive on linalool and found that the problem with linalool is when it becomes oxidized which in this application is not a factor. Actually Linalool has been looked at to treat tumors of various types. (http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/qa/2011/3/9/linalool.html) check for yourself.
Rosa Centifolia Flower Water: Super low overall hazard. The queen of the rosewaters. Rosa centifolia rose water is the most expensive and is for mature and fragile skin…sooooooo healing and emollient and luxurious…yumz! Times 10! I use that sh*& on everything…skin protectant and conditioning.
Hydroxycitronellal: this has a moderate+ health concern. According to EWG “…a common scent ingredient produced synthetically from naturally occurring scent chemical citronellal.” The scent is lily or sweet melon, and is used as a masking scent.
Overall: I am impressed that they have gone out of the way to obtain sensible and effective ingredients for this product. Overall the ingredients are very low hazard making it a great product especially for people with a current chemical/disease load (everyone). It really does work and only uses one fluffy towel that you can use both sides of which is crazy! The towel is really pretty thick as makeup remover towels go. The ingredients are low impact on the body…the only one that raised an eyebrow was the last one. I might change that one, but that is just me and I didn’t ask them their reasoning for using that instead of citronellal or another scent. That is my report on this product…I love it!!! ~ ©2018 Donna Bass B.S., MH, Cos.
Fat cells…what are they?
There is a LOT of information out there about fat and fat cells and how to manage them. There is so much advice out there one’s head veritably swims with wondering what is the best way to manage your weight. This article is the first of a series on a new way to treat fat and fat cells. This first one we are going to get our arms around what a fat cell is, what it contains and how it behaves.
Fat cells are called adipocytes. They are signet shaped. The signet is the nucleus. They carry a drop of triglyceride (fat) in the largest part of them. Fat cells are forever. When we lose weight, we don’t lose fat cells we lose the triglyceride in the cell in order to shrink it.
So why do we have fat cells? What do they do for us? Fat cells are hoarders of vitamins and triglycerides that the body can’t make itself. Fat cells store energy (kind of), protect vital organs, insulate us from cold and heat. Fat cells acts as messengers, start chemical reactions that help control growth, immune function, reproduction and basic metabolism. Fat cells also store fat soluble vitamins along with organophosphates and other environmental poisons to sequester them away from the greater body system. Estrogen is also stored in fat cells.
The blue ball on the left represents the nucleus, and crowded around it are the other structures of pretty much any nucleated cell. There is the Golgi apparatus to get rid of waste, the endoplasmic reticulum to regulate protein and lipid synthesis and cell receptors and transporters on the outside of the cell, and the big drop of triglycerides in the cell that is what makes it a fat cell. Triglycerides are fats.
So, how do the triglycerides get there in the first place? “Excess carbohydrate or protein in the diet is converted to triglyceride and stored in the lipid droplets of adipocytes.” https://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7257 If you are struggling to understand how weight and fat cells the link takes you to a fascinating article of how we may have some misconceptions about fat.
Adipocytes are very dynamic and incredibly important in the body. The receptors on the outside of the cell speak to its complexity and importance. As you can see this cell interacts with insulin, growth hormone, leptin, estrogen, vitamin D, glucagon, Thyroid stimulating hormone among other hormones. This is one dynamic cell! This cell is all about how we store “fat”. Do some of the terms listed seem familiar to you? They should. Insulin, Thyroid Stimulating hormone, androgen and estrogen hint that fat cells interact with many of the systems that are associated with weight loss and weight gain. The process is daunting in its complexity. Let’s suffice it to say the process is not just calories in and calories out.
Fat cells form from 14-23 weeks in a fetus. (https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Adipose_Tissue_Development). The number of fat cells in both fat and thin people are set by adolescence. During adulthood about 8% of fat cells die every year to be replaced resulting in a relatively constant number of fat cells in the body of the adult according to a new Swiss study by Kirsty Spaulding. (http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/05/04/fat-cell-number-is-set-in-childhood-and-stays-constant-in-ad/ ) What this shows is that losing and gaining weight is the filling and emptying of the adipocyte. This also is why there is such a high regain rate of weight. When the cell is emptied it sends out a hormone (leptin) to increase appetite to refill it. This is the reason diets don’t work, there needs to be a lifestyle change. In our next article we will discuss some less talked about lifestyle changes…and talk about some really empowering ways to understand our bodies and how to prevent dis-ease. Talk to you then!
Last week we talked about stress and what the physiological ramifications are of chronic stress. This week I am going to give you some different herbs and their classifications for stress, Next week some self care strategies!
Nerve tonics support nervous tissue. They tonify and nourish and keep the tissue healthy and balanced. Here are some nerve tonics:
Oats: would be moistening and soothing for the system, this would be great for dryness caused by stress (dry mouth vaginal dryness, chronic dryness), very nutritive, supportive of the whole nervous system. This is the ultimate severe “burnout” remedy for when there is sensitivity to everything gentle Oats will pave the road back to balance. Cold water infusion sip throughout the day. (Contains gluten)
Brahmi: enhances circulation to the brain increasing short and long-term memory. Brahmi enhances cognitive function, is a mild sedative and is anti-inflammatory. (also rumored to be aphrodisiac ;) which as we know now libido can be affected by chronic stress. Could take up to 4 weeks to take effect
Gotu Kola: peripheral vasodilator (causing the small blood vessels to expand for better micro blood flow to the brain and body which would also carry more O2 to the brain, anti-inflammatory
St. John’s Wort: Sunny! This beautiful yellow flower that blooms on the Summer Solstice (or St Johns Day) is a cheerful and powerful tonic for the brain. SJW is anti-inflammatory, great for SAD, minor to moderate depression. Do not use with MAO inhibitors, use with great caution with any other anti-depressant.
Blue Vervain: Blue vervain works on the liver as a hepatic stimulant, it increases bile secretion and increases intestinal motility (which is affected by cortisol). It tones and strengthens the whole nervous system and is relaxing and allows for destressing. Blue vervain can also ease depression and melancholia. As we learned before the liver is affected via the pancreas and anger and depression are often related to liver imbalances. Also, for liver balance dandelion greens, nettle, and milk thistle can help to gently rebalance the liver/gall bladder/pancreas triangle.
Relaxants are going to cause relaxation in differing degrees. Some will cause almost a stupor and should not be used while at work. Will often cause sleepiness and deep relaxation. Try it before using machinery.
Lavender: So soothing and fragrant. Just the smell of it can carry me off to a summer day. Lavender mint shortbread is the girliest and most delicious cookie ever baked. Yum. Lavender flowers mixed with mint, holy basil and rosemary will banish the blues and calm the spirit and likely get rid of any headache.
Lavender essential oil is a great anxiolytic and when applied neat will stop any bug bite from itching and heal even the worst cuts almost overnight as an interesting aside.
Hops: When I lived in a log cabin in the woods with friends we had beautiful hops growing on the outside of the outhouse. These hops made a beautiful yellow and bitter tincture. One day I was curious about the beautiful green flower so I picked a big ol’ warm flower and popped it in my mouth…it was like the sun exploded in my mouth…it was amazing. So I always relate hops with the sun and a sunny disposition. Valerianic acid is one of the active ingredients of hops (same as valerian and valium) Hops are sedative, bitter, can be used for restless leg syndrome and sleeplessness, hops should be used with care with sleeping pills and barbiturates could cause respiration depression in large doses.
Lemon Balm: The sour lemony taste is often used as a carminative and antidepressant. It is used to lessen anxiety, for its calming effect and its great in a salad. The carminative action is due to the lessening of anxiety and stress. This is the herb to use if anxiety has gotten to your tummy. Great for IBS, a vasodilator which will help with throbbing headaches.
Skullcap: this herb has traditionally been used as a nerve tonic for pitta types, a relaxant of smooth and skeletal muscle calming without being sedative so great for daytime use. Great for spasmodic pain and mixed with other herbs. As a nervine skullcap can be used for chronic pain and as a constitutional tonic. Plays well with passionflower and blue vervain,
Passion Flower: Passion flower can be used for insomnia with no “hangover”. Passionflower is extremely safe and gentle. It does not force sleep it supports natural sleep. It is calming, it is the most defined sedative effect of all nervines. Passion flower can be paired with Hawthorne, motherwort, valerian, passionflower plays very well with others!
Wild Lettuce: One time this was sold as “lettuce opium” and has been sold as in opium substitute. The latex is used and is a sedative, hypnotic, antispasmodic, narcotic.
Do not use with opioids do not use in excess can cause depressed respiration and when used with other opiate type drugs could cause death.
First let’s define what an adaptogen is in herbal terms: Dr Israel Breckhman the man who coined the term adaptogen defined adaptogens in this manner:
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is anti-inflammatory, tonic, nervine sedative and promotes youth and longevity. Ashwagandha should be simmered in whole milk or ghee. This is an awesome convalescent herb for exhaustion. This will nourish you back to health and balance. Helps to clear brain fog, colds emaciation, lowers blood sugar and helps with male fertility Ashwagandha is a nourishing tonic, warming and helps support sleep and rest.
Astragalus: Astragalus is sweet antidiabetic (great to normalize glucose levels) immune stimulate antioxidant and hepatoprotectant with a mild diuretic action, also is helpful with high blood pressure and chronic fatigue.
Holy Basil or Tulsi: Holy Basil is anti-stress, anti-lipidemic, antidiabetic and lowers glycemic levels, protects from the effects of stress, improves resilience after stress, hepatoprotective.
Ginseng: Ginseng is of the Panax genus. This includes Korean ginseng, American ginseng, South China Ginseng…Siberian Ginseng is not a true ginseng but is Eluthero which we will discuss later.
Korean Ginseng: Ren Shen or Panax ginseng is safe, effective and one of the most studied herbs in the world. It is used to restore vitality, is a tonic and moistens dryness. Ren shen is an immune amphoteric or balancer, it has a great ability to stimulate or suppress an immune system out of control such as in allergies. This herb is awesome for adrenal depletion. The symptoms are dark circles under the eye a quivering tongue and fatigue and allergies responds well to ginseng.
Mild Type 2 diabetes has responded favorably to Panax ginseng
Studies have also show that Panax ginseng can reduce unhealthy blood lipid levels and enhance blood circulation which makes it great for erectile issues caused by chronic stress. There is also red and white ginseng red being warmer and white being more cool energetically.
American Ginseng: I am loath to discuss this ginseng as it is becoming more and more rare to find wild and as far as I know it is not able to be cultivated. This plant is to be used only as a last resort in my own practice. American ginseng is considered more cooling than Asian ginseng and is used to reduce heat in the respiratory and digestive systems. American ginseng aids sleep, fights fatigue, increases energy endurance strength and physical performance, supports adrenal function, helps to regulate the HPA axis and has a broad evet on the immune system pancreas circulation and nervous system. American ginseng also supports menopausal exhaustion.
Reishi: the longevity mushroom. It benefits every system of the body. When the body is healthy stress does not affect it as harshly
Eleuthro Root: Eleuthero is believed to support adrenal gland function when the body is challenged by stress. It enhances physical capability and stamina and stimulates mental work ability (quality of work). The leaf extract is more effective in mental and physical stimulation, while the root extract is more effective at sustaining performance over a long period of time. The leaf is also more effective for balancing blood insulin and glucose levels than the root. Using the leaf and root extract together appears to be more effective than either one used alone.
Schizandra Berry: is an herbal Nervous System balancer, also an Adaptogen. It helps as a 'harmonizer' with other herbs in nourishing formulas.
This is not by any stretch of the imagination an exhaustive list of herbs in each category. If you would like a deeper dive into stress I would be happy to direct you to my stress class coming soon to teachables. Or a workshop place near you!
See you next week!!! ~Mamma Moon
Welcome to the Mamma Moon Blog.
We discuss Herbs, the Science of Herbs and Aromatherapy. I also draw a Card of the Day.
Grab a cup of tea or wine and enjoy. Feel free to participate. ~Mamma Moon