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Guide to Nature’s Bounty

Since man first walked the earth, he relied on Nature to provide health and beauty care. Traditional remedies, now known as “folk law” were passed through the generations. Yet many of these ancient remedies have stood the test of time and are still in use today. They are the backbone of Chinese and Ayurveda folk medicine.  Continued studies into age-old remedies consistently verify their benefits.

PIC1 5Although it may seem that the introduction of readily available synthetic drugs with the scientific pharmacy have replaced the use of plants in our healthcare system, WHO estimate that approximately 80% of the world’s population are still totally reliant on plants as their primary healthcare provider. The necessity to seek new drugs for chronic and life-threatening diseases, and new antibiotics for multi-resistant organisms, has put the focus back on plants as scientists step back to Nature for inspiration.

In fact, the majority of pharmaceutical drugs on the market today were initially inspired by plants – either harvested, extracted and scientifically modified, or chemically synthesised. The recognition of the long-term harm we could be inflicting on our bodies by overuse of these synthetic chemicals has seen a resurgence in natural care as complimentary treatments as consumers consider their long-term health. 

PIC2 5Likewise, in the world of beauty, consumers are also once again turning back to nature to provide healthy alternatives to the chemically laden products. These toxic products are full of dangerous ingredients which can have an adverse long-term effect on our health, at worst case scenario causing cancer, disrupting the endocrine system, causing hormone disfunction, and organ toxicity, and more commonly causing allergies, respiratory difficulty and exacerbating skin and hair problems rather than fixing them.
Like our ancestors before us, we are returning to nature to provide prevention and healing for our internal and external ailments, and to meet all the needs of our hair and skin. 

So lets take a look at natural oils which are readily available to enhance our health, and replace our grooming products, naturally and healthily:

How are oils extracted?

Cold Pressing
Cold pressing involves the pressing of oil-bearing seeds, nuts and kernels using a modern steel press, without the use of heat or chemicals. The extracted oil is 100% natural and retains the potent nutrients, trace minerals and natural chemicals, and therapeutic properties. Essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 would significantly degrade during any heating procedure, even as low as 50°C.
Cold pressed oils have a plethra of benefits for the body when taken internally, as well as for use on the skin where they are commonly referred to as carrier oils.

Essential aroma oils

PIC3 5Generally extracted by steam distillation, these offer us the very essence of the plant part from which it was extracted – the volatile chemical compounds and its aroma. Used in aromatherapy by using the power of scent to stimulate the olfactory nerves, which are connected to the limbic system in the brain, and subsequently imparting therapeutic effects on the functions it controls such as blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, hormone levels, memory and stress levels. Alternatively essential oils may be applied applied to the skin (after dilution with a carrier oil), where they are absorbed into the bloodstream to travel through the body and impart benefits to the body’s organs and various systems. Benefits can also be found for the skin and hair.
For the purpose of health and beauty we may categorise oils as: Oils for Healthcare; Oils for Skincare; Oils for Haircare; Essential Aroma Oils.

Oils for Natural Healthcare

Plants, and thereby the oils extracted, contain a plethora of bioactive substances such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, sterols, phenols, tocopherols and tocotrienols, carotenoids, triterpene alcohols, lignans, squalene, and chlorophylls. These compounds provide benefits to our body beyond the basic nutritional needs, offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and boosting the immune system. Every oil is unique in its make-up and gives specific benefits.PIC4 5They can protect against the onset of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke or an autoimmune or neurological disease. They can further alleviate or regress symptoms of disease which we are already battling, and influence our health by lowering cholesterol or blood sugar levels, improving digestion, balancing hormones, plus so much more. 

These oils which we categorise for health are mostly cold-pressed oils which can be incorporated into the diet or taken as a tonic on a daily basis to increase our protection against disease, alleviate symptoms of existing ailments, and provide many benefits for our overall wellbeing. However, oils such as lemongrass and marjoram (obtained via steam distillation), and pain relief oil cannot be ingested, but have been included in this section due to their immense benefits on health.
Natural oils have the potential to provide many benefits for our overall health and wellbeing.
Oils in this category include: 

Black Seed Oil
Carrot Seed Oil
Castor oil
Fenugreek Oil
Flax seed oil
Lettuce Seed Oil
Olive oil
Pumpkin seed oil
Rucola Seed Oil
Sesame Seed Oil
Walnut oil
Wheat germ oil
Lemongrass oil (not for consumption and must be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied topically)
Marjoram oil – not for consumption and must be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied topically
Pain relief oil  – not for consumption

Oils for Natural Skincare

The body’s largest organ, the skin, has one main function – to form a protective barrier for the body. The skin already has a range of internal and external factors to contend with, so natural oils are the best way to care for our skin since they are a panacea for skin concerns, and can help protect, rejuvinate and restore our skin back to health. 

The synthetic potions that we apply to our skin, which we somehow refer to as “skin care” contain many harmful chemicals of which 60% are absorbed into the body, risking our internal health, in addition to possibly causing further problems to the health and condition of our skin, and rarely resolving the issue for which they were initially being applied.

PIC5 6Natural oils are gentle on the skin, and full of essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids to enhance our skin’s health. They can help to repair damaged skin, soothe or even alleviate skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, dispel and deter dryness or oiliness, fade blemishes, scars and hyperpigmentation, stimulate collagen and elastin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, protect against environmental influences, and much more. 

Oils are also extremely versatile and can take the place of a number of our essential everyday grooming products, including moisturisers, make-up removers, shaving and post-shaving creams, eye products, hand and nail care, and much more. Furthermore, they are extremely cost effective since a little goes a long way.
Oils in this category include: 

Almond oil
Anti-wrinkle oil
Argan oil
Black seed oil
Carrot seed oil
Coconut oil
Grapeseed oil
Jojoba oil
Lemongrass oil
Lupine oil
Sandalwood oil gel
Sesame oil
Wheat germ oil

Oils for Natural Haircare

PIC6 5Like skincare products, those for the hair are also full of harmful chemicals which can effect our internal health in addition to stripping our hair of its natural oils, or causing long-term damage. Whilst they may seem to give an instant fix, this effect is merely caused by the use of silicone to give gloss, and is merely camouflaging the problem without providing a cure and remedying our hair health. 

Natural oils furnish the hair with hair loving essential vitamins and minerals to deliver the perfect care regime to allow our hair to be at its very best. They offer protection against the elements, UV damage, styling, bleaching and colouring. Oils can restore and replenish dry, damaged or thinning hair, eliminate dandruff or a dry or oily scalp, and encourage growth, and fullness. They don’t just disguise a problem, they work to make the hair healthy inside and out. Likewise they are also multi-functional and, according to the oil used, have the potential to replace other products including pre-wash conditioner, leave-in conditioner, overnight conditioning treatment, styling agents, anti-frizz spray, split end reviver, volumiser, and heat protector.
PIC7 5Oils in this category include: 

Almond oil
Argan oil
Black seed oil
Castor oil
Coconut oil
Flax seed oil
Grapeseed oil
Hair food oil
Jojoba oil
Lupine oil
Rucola seed oil
Wheat germ oil

Essential aroma oils

PIC8 5Essential oils benefit our health by stimulating the limbic system, which controls emotions, memory, behaviour, motivation, and sense of smell, in addition to several unconscious physiological functions. This happens when esters, the volatile particles responsible for the odour and flavour, are absorbed by the olfactory receptor neurons in the nostrils. The information is relayed to olfactory bulbs at the back of the nose, and messages are sent to the brain, thus stimulating the limbic system structures which control stress, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, plus the neo-cortex which controls conscious thought. Responses are triggered by the body which can greatly benefit our health and wellbeing. Similarly, when applied to the skin, they are absorbed and carried around the body in the bloodstream, allowing their benefits to be delivered to the bodily systems and organs.

The benefits of essential oils for the body and mind are immense, offering relief against anxiety, depression and stress, and calming the nervous system. Depending on the oil, they can help to remedy hormonal imbalance, inflammation, muscle tension, respiratory congestion, nausea and vomiting, plus stimulate blood circulation, providing analgesic pain relief, boost immunity, enhance digestion, improve sleep quality, and fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. They have many benefits for the skin and hair, and can potentially improve damaged skin and hair, boost hair growth, or stimulate elastin and collagen for the skin. 

The most common way to utilise the power of essential oils is via inhalation or massage, but they may to be added to skin and hair care products, in a bath, etc. Used to scent a room, they are the masters at setting the right ambience, be that for relaxation, romance, spiritual enhancement, contemplation, to enhance concentration in an office or to invigorate.
Oils in this category include: 

Amber
Bergamot
Cinnamon 
Clove Bud
Frankincense
Gardenia
Geranium
Grapefruit
Iris
Jasmine
Lavender 
Lemon
Lilac
Lily of the valley
Lotus
Mango
Mimosa
Myrrh
Orange
Patchouli
Peach
Peppermint
Rose
Strawberry
Tea tree
Vanilla
Violet

PIC9 6Consider switching to 100% natural oils today. The choice you make now affects your long-term health and future wellbeing. We can also play our part in saving our planet, since oils extracted from natural plants are environmentally friendly. They are sustainable, and do not rely on animal testing, mining or releasing toxic chemicals into the environment, or damage our waterways and wildlife when washed down the drain. 

Let’s go back to basics and trust in the bounty that Mother Nature provides. 

 

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