Au Natural Factual: Lemongrass

Au Natural Factual is back for 2014! Today, we’re talking about Lemongrass, an ingredient I have been loving lately in my hair and body products. It has also always been a favorite scent of mine.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Citratus) is a perennial plant known for it’s many medicinal and therapeutic benefits and is indigenous to many areas of South Asia. Reported medicinal benefits of lemongrass are used in treating digestive problems, high blood pressure, fever, body pain, the common cold, cough and exhaustion. Lemongrass is also known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant and astringent properties.

Used when dry, lemongrass can be steeped to make tea, used as medicine as well as flavoring for food. The plant is commonly used as an ingredient in popular South Asian cuisine and is commonly found in soaps and cosmetics as a fragrance. With it’s lemony, citrus scent, lemongrass can also be extracted as an essential oil and applied topically or when used in aromatherapy, often inhaled for muscle pain relief. It is also said that lemongrass has rubefacient properties which may improve blood circulation.

The chemical composition of lemongrass is also interesting in understanding the basis for its many health benefits and natural characteristics:

The main chemical component found in lemongrass is citral, an aromatic compound, also known as lemonal. The compounds myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol and geraniol are found in varying quantities in Citral. Myrcene, geraniol and nerol contribute to lemongrass’ strong fragrance, citronella acts as an insecticide and geranyl acetate is another flavoring agent. –Healthers.org

The presence of Vitamin A in lemongrass can also have benefits for skin. Lemongrass helps to treat acne, brighten dark spots and prevent oily skin. The herb’s astringent and antibacterial properties are also good at reducing skin bacteria and infection. Lemongrass has also been thought to improve poor body odor by controlling excessive sweating.

Some popular, natural products containing lemongrass: 

Have you used lemongrass in any products or in food? What are your favorite products or methods using lemongrass?

Sources: HealthlineHealthers,WebMD 

Image sources: 1, 2

Au Natural Factual Friday: Grapeseed Extract

Sorry, lots of time/blog posts to make up for but I have a few exciting things planned that have been keeping me busy! (Blog related too!)

For today’s Au Natural Factual Friday we’ll be looking at Grapeseed Extract.

It’s pretty simple, this is exactly what it sounds like: grapeseed extract is derived from the seeds of grapes (Vitis vinifera) and is produced by pressing the grapes, therefore an abundant byproduct of wine-making. Yum! For thousands of years, grapes have been acclaimed for their nutritional and medicinal value. It’s been documented that the Egyptians snacked on grapes, that the Greeks believed in the healing power of grapes in the form of wine, while Europeans folk healers used grapevine sap as an ointment to treat skin and eye diseases. Ahem, was this a precursor to that grape-lovin’, French craze we now know as Caudalie?

Grapeseed extract is considered to be a powerful, natural antioxidant for the many beneficial compounds it contains such as flavonoids, (specifically, oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes or OPCs), Omega-6 fatty acids, Vitamin E and linoleic acid. Grapeseed extract can be found in a liquid/oil form and also in tablet or capsule form used as dietary supplements. Not to be confused with grapefruit seed oil or other similar sounding ingredients.

Though there is a lack of “high quality” scientific evidence, there are many claims that grapeseed extract can help treat or prevent numerous diseases and ailments such as cancer, heart conditions and aging skin. Grapeseed extract is an excellent moisturizer, can heal skin wounds and reduce swelling. We do know that using grapeseed extract increases the amount of antioxidants in the bloodstream and more antioxidants in our body is always a great thing! Antioxidants protect against and destroy free radicals in the body which may cause cellular and genetic damage. Free radicals are also known to result in not so pretty things like, premature aging, cancer and heart disease.

In addition to being a great source of antioxidants for the skin, grapeseed extract is now commonly used in hair, beauty and skincare products due to it’s moisturizing properties and the soft, non-greasy, satin finish the extract commonly gives off as an oil. As always when using products with certain natural ingredients, do your research on the company, how they process the grapeseed extract and if there are any other additives or chemicals mixed in with the product you are using.

Have you used any products contain grapeseed extract? 

Popular organic or natural products using grapeseed extract:

Yes To Cucumbers Calming Night Cream

“…perfect for those looking for a dermatologist-tested formula to wear overnight that delivers a gentle, hypoallergenic moisture…. Grapeseed Oil is an anti-oxidant rich emollient to help repair and moisturize skin while you sleep. ”

Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner 

“Protect your ends with this nutritious, leave-in conditioner spray, packed with vitamins, minerals and essential oils that nourish hair prior to blow drying or heat styling.”

Heritage Products Grapeseed Oil

“Known as one of nature’s lightest oils, this mild and odorless emollient is perfect for massage. Grapeseed oil is also one of the healthiest ways to help your heart! This mild-tasting, odorless oil is perfect for baking. It’s great for sauteing as it has a high smoke point. Studies show that one ounce of grapeseed oil a day in place of other fats can help lower cholesterol…”

LA Fresh Eco-Beauty Instant Body Soother Wipes

“All-over body wipes that sooth away stress and fatigue….Massage them over stressed-out temples, shoulders, neck and legs for mood-lifting, body-calming goodness, courtesy of a natural blend that also includes olive, jojoba, sesame, grapeseed and vitamin E oil”

 

 

Yarok Feed Your Do Styling Whip

“A sculpting paste that adds texture and shape to any hairstyle…This creamy styling balm is made with pure and organic botanicals that improve the health of your hair: shea butter hydrates, rosemary tones the scalp and Vitamin C-packed bilberry wards off sun damage.  The vegan formula employs plant-sourced emulsifying wax and organic rice syrup to sculpt and smooth”

Sources: 

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/grape-seed

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-472-Grape%20Seed%20Extract%20(GRAPE).aspx?activeIngredientId=472&activeIngredientName=Grape%20Seed%20Extract%20(GRAPE)

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263332.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grape_seed_oil