Organic cotton, organic clothing and organic baby clothes

The cotton industry and the effect on the environment and health

Cotton textile has grown in popularity in the apparel industry and a high demand in cotton means the use of chemicals and pesticides to speed up the harvest, sustain this demand and disinfect it. Cotton crops amount for 25% of the total use of pesticides, by far the largest responsible in devastating the environment, water supplies, the farmers health and our health. Let’s reflect on this when we wear our super kewl T-shirt that in fact requires the use of a 1/3rd of a pound in pesticides, without including the amount of chemicals used to bleach it or dye it. Pesticides used on cotton include devastating chemicals such as cyanide and are known to cause cancer. More than 220,000 people each year are reported to die because of the use of pesticides by the WHO (World Health Organization). When wearing regular cotton clothing, our skin comes in contact with those chemicals and for the weakest can create allergies and more devastating health concerns. This is especially true for babies who always bite their clothes and who, at the same time, ingest unhealthy substances.

Organic cotton clothing sales are increasing

This is why the recrudescence in the growth of organic cotton has seen a huge increase in the past few years as much as 20% from 2007 to 2008 globally (India, Turkey, Syrica, China, the USA). Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, fertilizers and allows the soils to replenish and stay fertile and leave the water supplies free of chemicals. The organic cotton sales have increased drastically to reach $521 million in the USA in 2009 and the fashion industry is catching the train with big designers such as Victoria’s Secret, Esprit, Timberland or Levi Strauss offering a wide range of organic cotton clothing to their end consumers. The famous band U2 have also launched a brand EDUN, offering a wide range of organic cotton clothing that is not only environment and health-friendly but also looks great. With consumers becoming more aware of environmental and health issues, this is only the beginning of an industry that is steadily growing for the good of everyone.

Why organic cotton clothing is better?

Organic cotton clothing uses organic cotton which means that the cotton is free of chemicals much like any other organic products. Organic cotton clothing come in a wide range of products for men, women, children and babies alike and can be fashionable as well. Other organic cotton products include organic personal care products such as ear swabs, pads, make-up removal pads, diapers or organic house furnishing products like sheets, towels, bathrobes and more.

When going a shopping spree, we can now combine fashion and good deed by favoring organic clothing. However, shopping organic is also becoming a marketing tactic for companies who want to target environment and health conscious consumers so we need to make sure that the clothes we buy are indeed 100% organic. Reading the label of our picked item is a good start to see which material is used and know the origin of the product.

The super fruits and a close-up on organic tart cherry juice

What are super fruits?

Super fruits are fruits that are promoted through the evidence of the health benefits they provide. Super fruits are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and can be included in the daily diet for general wellness. Super fruits include rare fruits that are attractive for their novelty and that are sold as raw materials to the neutraceuticals, functional food and beverages companies to produce healthy fruit juices, smoothies or fruit blends.

The effectiveness of super fruits for their health benefits is determined via the ORAC scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) that calculates their antioxidant power (to fight aging and degenerative diseases). The higher a fruit ranks, the higher its antioxidant capacities are. Super fruits include blueberry, acai berry, pomegranate, blackberry, goji berries (wolfberry) or noni to name a few. However, other fruits commonly known from the general public can also fall under this category for their high content of antioxidants even though they are not bringing novelty to the market. Such fruits include grape, mango, cranberry, tart cherry and much more.

Tart cherry juice health benefits

The tart cherry also known as Montmorency cherry or the “healing cherry”, a cherry commonly grown in Michigan, USA.
Tart cherry has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to soothe inflammatory conditions (it works like ibuprofen without side-effects) and pain associated with arthritis, muscle pain, back pain, gout (by lowering the uric acid) and diseases from the nervous system.
Tart cherry has high antioxidant effect (they contain 6 times the amount of melatonin than other cherries; melatonin is a derivative of seratonin that promotes good sleeping cycles) and therefore, tart cherry is said to be used to combat insomnia. On the ORAC scale mentioned earlier, tart cherry juice rates very high with 12,800 ORAC units per 100g. Tart cherry is also rich in in the following: potassium, calcium, vitamins A, C, B6, E and folic acid.

How to use organic tart cherry juice and where to find it

certified organic tart cherry juiceOrganic tart cherry juice is said to be more effective that any other form (such as dry fruits for example or capsules) because the beneficial nutrients are conserved and therefore, the ORAC values remain. To benefit fully from this healthy tart cherry juice however, it is preferable to choose a 100% natural pure juice free of artificial preservatives, fillers, additives, refined sugar and GE (genetically engineered) cherries and if possible, even favor a certified organic tart berry juice. It is also good to eat fresh tart cherries as much as a hand full a day if available at the grocery store. Like for any other organic products, always check the label to ensure it is truly organic and pure juice.

Organic tart cherry juice can be found in health food stores or online. It is recommended to drink 2 spoons to half a glass a day depending on what you wish to achieve (maintenance of good health or treat a condition).
Tart cherry growers were asked by the Health Authorities in the States to increase the demand in this super fruit and to promote its health benefits so it seems that we will hear more and more of this powerful fruit and hopefully, see more studies related to its health benefits.

Aromatherapy: alternative therapy through the use of essential oils

Aromatherapy consists of the use of essential oils to promote the general wellness of the mind, body and soul. Essential oils are derived from the essence of plants and
botanicals with effective therapeutic effects to soothe a wide range of disorders.

Essential oils are made of such small particles that these molecules can easily penetrate the skin, enter the blood stream and circulate throughout the body for their healing actions to take place.

Aromatherapy can help the body to regenerate, enhance body functions, release stress, balance nervous and hormonal pathways, boost the immune system and act also on a psychological level.

Aromatherapy has been practiced since centuries in many great civilizations and is nowadays a recognized and accredited alternative and complementary therapy.

Common methods to use essential oils include:

– inhalation
– bath
– massages
– compress

When choosing an essential oil, it is important that it is a certified organic essential oil to guarantee the expected results as too often, substitutes to essentials oils are sold (like fragrances) and not only they do not work but they can actually be a hazard to one’s health. Like for all organic products, always check the label or gather information about the manufacturing practices of the company.

Certified organic cosmetics versus ordinary cosmetics

The skin is made of the epidermis whose thickness varies from one person to the next. Epidermis comes from the Greek “over” and is divided into 5 sub-layers:

– Stratum Corneum (dead flat skin cells that shed every 2 to 4 weeks)
– Stratum Lucidum
– Stratum Granulosum
– Stratum Spinosum
– Basal Layer (the base – where new skin cells are produced and come to the surface at the stratum corneum level).

The dermis is the second major layer made of living cells, blood vessels, elastic fibres, collagen, lymphatic vessels, oil and sweat glands. The dermis is composed of 2 sub-layers:

– the papillary dermis made of collagen fibres (if weak, fine lines and wrinckles appear)
– the reticular dermis (regulates the body temperature, controls the sensations of pain, burns, inflammation). It determines the strenght and elasticity of the dermis. It is where lie the hair roots, oil glands, nails and blood vessels.

The third major layer is the sub-cutaneus layer with fat and connective tissues.

The skin is the largest and the most complicated organ of the body because the role of the skin is to protect the muscles, the organs, the body temperature and it serves an insulation. It prevents pathogens from entering the body but at the same time, it can absorb large amounts of substances (as much as 60% of the chemicals we come in contact with). This is why by using chemically-made creams, we contribute to poisoning our body.

Why non-organic products do not work?

As women, we all know that we can spend a fortune each month on creams, masks, beauty products, especially when the magic formula “anti-aging” or “anti-wrinkles” is advertised. Cosmetic companies know it and this is why we have 1000 of products to choose from. But do these products really work? Most of the time, the answer is NO because most of the time, the money is spent on marketing budget, magic formulations to attract customers and packaging instead of being spent on the product itself. Also, most beauty products contain ingredients that can actually produce the reversed effect and damage the skin instead of improving it. Few examples of these ingredients include mineral oil (aka petroleum) that actually clog the pores of the skin, preventing it from breathing and producing natural protective oils; dioxane, which is a coconut shell derivate (now produced also synthetically) that enters quickly into the blood stream and poisons it; parabens (preservatives) that can cause allergies, skin irritations and even wreck the endocrine system (hormones) that in turn lead to numerous health complications; alcohol, that actually dries out the skin, just to name a few.

Why choose certified organic cosmetics?

This is why when choosing a beauty care product, we should favor alternatives that are available to us such as certified organic skin care products or certified organic hair care products that are rich in only certified organic ingredients and natural oils. This helps not only reduce the amount of chemicals absorbed on a daily basis into the skin and into the bloodstream but it also provides the skin and hair with natural nourishing ingredients that will leave it hydrated, replenished, smooth, firm and healthy.

The rule of thumb is to apply topically only what we would ordinary intake internally. It is therefore important to read the list of ingredients before purchasing a beauty care product to ensure that it only contains certified organic ingredients because organic products are in fashion and labels such as “organic” or “natural” are not a guarantee that the product is a truly natural cosmetic.

At last, we are what we eat so the skin should not only nourish our skin and hair from the outside but also from the inside. A balanced diet rich in organic fruits, organic vegetables, nuts, essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9 such as the ones contained in organic evening primrose oil or organic borage oil), antioxidants and water galore will contribute to a healthy-looking skin and serve as an anti-aging in the long run.

Organic arnica cream: the must-have remedy for bruises, sprains and traumas

Arnica montana is a mountain plant that grows in Europe up to 3000 meter-high. The plant measures from 20 to 60 cm and has one yellow flower head of 5 cm diameter that blooms between May and August. It belongs to the Asteraceae (sunflower family) and its smell resembles of the pine. As a matter of fact, arnica often grows where pine trees grow. Arnica has been used since centuries and was discovered by mountain people who used it to heal bruises, bumps, contusions and trauma in case of falls. Stems and leaves are often hairy (depending on the species) and this is why arnica comes from the Greek word “Arni” which means lamb to remind the soft and hairy texture.

weleda-arnicaArnica is typically used in arnica oil, arnica ointment or arnica balm (liniment) as a remedy for traumatic injuries such as bruises, strains, sprains and even broken bones. It acts by dilating blood capillaries to increase the blood flow to and from the injury and helps reduce swelling, activates blood circulation, decreases the pain associated with the trauma and speeds up healing. However, arnica should not be used on an open wound. Arnica is often used by athletes to soothe muscle pain when they have been overworked.

As a cream, arnica can be used in case of psoriasis and eczema for its anti-inflammatory properties and can complement organic evening primrose oil or organic borage oil for this purpose.

Arnica is not to be taken internally as it contains helenalin, a substance that can be toxic and can induce internal bleeding. However, it is commonly used in homeopathic remedies (like cures like) in small dosage as an anti-inflammatory and facilitates wounds healing after surgery.

Organic arnica cream, arnica oil or arnica ointment is a must-have remedy in one’s home in case of a trauma occuring as it helps re-balance quickly physical, mental, emotional or spiritual disturbances. Favor organic arnica that is 100% natural and has not been treated with chemicals just like other organic products.

Buy Weleda arnica now! Weleda have been providing natural products since 75 years. Weleda stands for the Celtic goddess of wisdom and healing.

Organic argan oil, the new miracle skin care product or “liquid gold”

Argan oil is derived from the argania spinosa tree fruit. The argania spinosa tree grows in the South-West of Morocco in very dry soils and measures between 8 to 10 meters. It always stays green which makes it interesting considering the harsh climate it grows under and can live up to 200 years. The argan fruit is green, reminding an olive but bigger and rounder. A hard shell nut is found in the fruit and the same nut contains 2 or 3 kernels, the shape of an almond.

argan treeThe argania spinosa tree is a heaven for goats that feed from its fruits. The argan oil production is taken care of by Berber women using traditional methods to crush the kernels and extract the oil. The oil is a cold-pressed oil so the nutrients remain intact. The remaining part of the kernel is used to make a chocolate-like paste with peanut butter taste.

Argan oil benefits

Argan oil is darker than olive oil and has a nutty flavour. organic argan oilThe oil is rich in omega 6 and 9 and contributes to the reduction of bad cholesterol levels, to the relief of inflammation and to the promotion of healthy looking hair and breaking nails while improving skin conditions and skin irritation. It is also rich in Vitamin E, a powerful anti-oxidant. Unfortunately, argan oil is deprived of omega 3 so a combination intake of complementary oils is suggested such as organic borage oil or organic evening primerose oil.

Organic argan oil or the “liquid gold” is an amazing treat for the skin when used topically as it is a natural hydrating agent that keeps the skin naturally moisturized and helps prevent aging and wrinkles. It promotes skin elasticity by renewing the skin structure and therefore, it can be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It can improve skin conditions in case of acne, psoriasis or eczema. It is also an amazing oil to strengthen breaking nails, to make hair shine and avoid split ends. You can try the organic shampoo for dry hair with borage oil and evening primrose oil.

buy organic argan oilOrganic argan oil can be used internally or directly on the skin. Internally, we recommend to use the oil in salads dressings as the oil cannot be heated. Topically, argan oil can be used on clean face and body to hydrate the skin and fight the aging process. One can also apply argan oil and then soak in a bath for a better absorption into the skin. As a hair product, we recommend to apply organic argan oil from scalp to end and leave in for 30 minutes before the shampoo. This is will promote hair growth, shiny hair and stimulates the scalp micro-circulation. As a remedy for splinting nails, soak your fingers in organic argan oil mixed with lemon juice and repeat one or twice a week.This will guarantee strong looking nails. Argan oil can also be used on your baby skin to smoothe and reduce skin redness.

For best results, organic argan oil must be used on a daily basis over a period of a few months. Not only organic argan oil is an amazing natural remedy but it also provides women in Morocco with jobs, a steady income and access to education as they are the ones perfecting the oil extraction since centuries. The governement of Morocco has funded Women Cooperatives to promote argan oil production. These cooperatives support women in their jobs but also promote responsible harvesting practices to protect the environment and encourage reforestation and fair trade.

Organic borage oil as a source of essential fatty acids for a beautiful skin

The borage plant, also known as Borago officinalis in Latin, originated in Syria but is present now in the Mediterranean region, in North-Africa and in South-America. The borage plant is also dubbed as starflower because of the flower being made of 5 blue perfect pointy petals, reminding the shape of a star. The borage plant can measure from 40 cm to 70 cm and is covered with a silky-like substance.

Borage herb can bloom throughout the year under mild climates but typically the plant blooms from May to September. The harvest is done from June through July although it is complicated as the grains do not all mature at the same time.

Borage oil benefits

The used part of the plant is the grain whose shape ressembles one of a pepper grain although the leaves and the flowers used to serve as a relief for inflammation of the respiratory tract or bronchitis. Borage flowers are also used to make an excellent honey.

The grain is used to produce borage oil and just like evening primrose oil, borage oil is one of the most valuable source of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the essential fatty acid with strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Organic borage oil can be used a therapeutic remedy for lipid metabolic disorders> and therefore can help solve dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, skin irritation and can also help prevent cardio-vascular diseases and arthritis. Taken in the form of borage oil capsules, borage oil makes dry skin softer, has anti-aging properties and is used as a treatment for fragile hair or breaking nails.

Organic borage oil can also be used topically and will have the same effects on the skin as taken internally. It moisturizes severely dry skins, helps with skin conditions such as inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and restores the skin tissues and skin elasticity. It is also efficient for dermatitis and can be applied on baby skin.

Using an organic borage oil will ensure that you can use it topically, but also internally on a daily basis as a therapeutic remedy just like most organic products. Borage oil is not a cooking oil but can be used on salads and dressings for the whole family as an excellent source of essential fatty acids that will make everyone’s skin look beautiful. Alternatively, organic evening primrose oil can be used as well for its similar properties.

Organic evening primrose oil for dry skin

Evening primrose is a plant originating from North- America that has been used by Amerindiens since centuries as a food (the root) and also as a traditional medicine remedy (leaves and seeds) to ease various conditions such as respiratory problems, skin conditions or to heal wounds or bruises thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

In the 18th century, the plant found its way to Europe and in the 20th century, evening primrose started to be widely used for its rich content of essential fatty acids (Omega 6).

Also known under the latin name Œnothera biennis, and the King’s cure-all plant, evening primrose grows from June to September up to 1000 meter high. It is around 1.50 meter and the yellow flowers are made of 4 petals. Evening primrose belongs to the family of Onagraceae. The flower has a very short life span of 24 hours. It opens around nineish in the evening in one minute or so and therefore is also called moon flower.

Roots, leaves and seeds are used in phytotherapy but the most widely used part is the seeds for their high content in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Gamma-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid scarcely found in nature, only in a few plants such as evening primrose, borage, blackcurrant seed oil or spirulina and has anti-inflammatory properties without the side effects of other anti-inflammatory drugs. Evening primrose oil is made from evening primerose seeds.

organic evening primroseOrganic evening primrose oil is recommended for cardiovascular health as it may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is used for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or rheumatism. It also said to alleviate premenstrual syndromes, to boost the immune-system, to have an hepato-protector activity in case of over-consumption of alcohol and even to help in case of hang-overs.

Evening primrose is mainly sold in capsules containing the yellowish thick oil of the seeds but also in bottles. Results are expected to be seen 6 weeks to 3 months after starting taking evening primrose.

As a topical application, evening primrose oil can help to get rid of eczema, acne, skin inflammation (such as rosacea) and even psoriasis. It is a powerful nourishing ingredient for very dry skin and is also used as an anti-aging remedy (internally and externally) thanks to its skin cell-regenerating properties. It smoothers fine lines and wrinkles and gives a better skin elasticity. Evening primrose oil capsules can be used directly on the skin to give it a better looking feel in general. Additionally, an internal treatment should complement the topical use but only under the supervision of a doctor or naturopath. It can be combined or used in alternance with organic borage oil.

Organic evening primrose oil should be favored for the way the plant is grown and processed. Organic farming uses natural fertilizers vs. chemicals to promote the growth of the soil and plant; insects and birds are used to prevent diseases vs. insecticides; crops are used in a rotating manner to avoid the growth of weed vs. the use of herbicides. Organic farming guarantees that the plant itself won’t be contaminated by chemicals that we would innavoidably intake or apply on our skin if it was not the case. However, like for any other organic products, always check the ingredients and the origin of the product to ensure it is truly organic.

Learn about organic products and herbal remedies and buy organic products online including organic cosmetics, organic food, organic essential oils and organic clothes to fit your organic lifestyle.