Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving

History

Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving. More imporatnly, they aren’t just frozen and in a sauce. We can thank Native Americans ingenuuity for developing the versatility of this sour berry as it was a mainstay in theire diet and life.

Cree boiled the fruit and used it to dye porcupine quills for clothing and jewelry. Chippewa used cranberries as bait to trap the snowshoe hare. The leaves were used in teas, the fresh fruit was eaten as well as dried.

However, the most interesting to me is the energy bar they created called pemmican. “So vital was pemmican to the survival of fur traders and early settlers in Canada,” writesfood historian and cookbook author Jennifer McLagan, “that its supply sparked unrest between the Native Americans and the Europeans.” Responding to a food shortage in 1814, the governor of the Red River colony, Miles Macdonell, attempted to prohibit the export of pemmican by the Métis.

Medicinal Uses

Cranberries were used as medicine by the Native Americans. It was used to fight scurvy and infections and it worked. They would grind the berries and use them as paste on top of the wounds for healing.

The plant

Native to North America, cranberries grow on a vine. They do not grow in the water bogs we see on tv. Cranberries will float in water thus making it easier to harvest. It also protects them from heat and cold. The largest producer of cranberries in the U.S. is Wisconsin.

For the skin

Fast forward to today and chemists have found that cranberries are loaded with polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are helpful in addressing skin stressors such as pollution, sun damage etc. etc  These polyphenols have an antioxidant effect on the skin, slowing down the process of our skin’s appearance of aging. Our eye balm is formulated with cranberry seed oil making it the perfect choice to diminish fine lines as well as hydrating the delicate eye area.

Pumpkins aren’t just for pies: pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkins aren’t just for pies: pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin History

Before we talk about pumpkin seed oil, let’s talk about the fruit. Yes, the countless varieties of pumpkins are in the same family as squash, cucumbers and melons. Its origin dates back to about 5000 B.C. in North America. Pumpkins are among the most versatile fruits that exist.

The shells were used to make bowls and mats by Native Americans. Medicinally, they have been used to treat acne, fever, parasites, and kidney problems etc. etc. Long a staple in diets, the flowers seeds and meat are considered delicacies in certain cultures. Pumpkin seeds have even been recommended by the World Health Organization for its abundance in zinc.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

We all know about the virtues of pumpkin pies and roasted seeds, but the pumpkin seed oil is the prize for me. Pumpkin seed oil is packed with everything you need for glowing skin. The seeds are cold pressed to obtain the oil that makes a dark green light oil with a slight nutty aroma. It is not a heavy oil like coconut oil and will therefore not clog your pores.

Benefits for the skin and hair

This powerhouse of an oil is packed with fatty acids, alpha hydroxyl acid, Vitamins A, C, E and zinc. These ingredients are all needed to boost collagen production, increase cell renewal that brighten and smooth the skin.

Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center has indicated that the oil is beneficial to hair and skin. Why? The omega 6 fatty acids are vital to help stimulate hair and skin growth. The vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids are essential for hair growth. The oil can decrease the production of the enzyme, 5 alpha reductase, that is responsible for slowing hair growth.

Vitamin K in pumpkin seed oil is known to reduce swelling, healing and bruising after surgery. It is also applied to the skin to help with rosacea, acne and spider veins according to WebMD.  We love pumpkin seed oil so much that you can find it our nourishing body oil and body oil.

So the next time you carve that pumpkin or make pumpkin pie, keeps the seeds. 

Grapeseed Oil – Benefits for your skin

What are the benefits of grapeseed oil? Grapes have been touted for over 6,000 years for their medicinal properties. However, grapeseed oil only surfaced in the 20th century.

Grape seed oil benefits

Grapeseed oil benefits are many. Light and non-greasy, it is non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores.  Quickly absorbed by the skin, it will leave skin hydrated and smooth.

Grapeseed oil is full of flavonoids, anti-oxidants, linoleic acid and Vitamin C and E that remove debris and free radicals. These components promote the rejuvenation of collagen increasing the skin’s elasticity. Scientists have found that the linoleic acid naturally present in the oil is beneficial for the treatment of dermatitis, allergic reactions, eczema, and dry and itchy skin. 

Grape seeds are cold pressed to produce the light oil. The same grapes that are used for wine are used for their seeds.  This makes the grape business double duty in some ways. The finished product has a 2 year shelf life but should be kept refrigerated to prevent rancidity. The color is light green with a slightly nutty aroma.

Our certified organic marigold bergamot dry oil is made with organic grapeseed oil and jojoba oil infused with calendula and bergamot. Our customers prone to break outs swear by it. They first cleanse with our marigold foaming cleanser, then apply the dry oil. Some follow up with a spritz of marigold toner.

Grape seed oil is a wonderful alternative to the harsh peels and/or chemicals for blemish prone skin.

8 Myths of Organic Debunked

USDA Organic Logo

There are more than 8 myths to be debunked about the term “organic” but let’s start with these.  Myths about organic skin care, organic produce and what defines an organic product are ongoing in social media conversations and pepper many a magazine.  Having been certified organic for over 10 years, I have heard a lot of the ongoing debate of organic vs “better than organic certified” etc. etc.

Myth #1 If it has “organic” on the label it is certified organic.

USDA Organic Logo Unfortunately, this is not the case. Unless it is has the USDA organic seal it is not organic.

Myth #2 All certifications are the same.

USDA Organic Certification is more stringent than ECOCERT. Example, Ecocert allows borax and other ingredients that USDA Organic Certification does not. And if you are Made in the U.S. it would appear you would want to be certified here unless you are unable to be certified in the U.S. and therefore opt for the lesser of the two: ECOCERT. “… approved ingredients list (including preservatives) authorized in small quantity.”

Myth #3 Anybody can be USDA Organic Certified.

If this were true then all U.S. based companies that are Ecocert or other certifications would be USDA certified. It is not an easy process. It is timely and costly for a small business like us. 

Myth #4 All certifying agents are the same.

Check the board of directors and/or the governing body. Are they comprised of the same companies that are being certified? This would clearly not be an objective certification. 

Myth #5 Once certified always certified.

We are audited every year. As the program changes so do the guidelines. This could result in spending money on new packaging to having a product no longer certified.

Myth #6 Skincare products need to have preservatives to be safe.

Preservatives are added to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and fungus when water is part of the ingredient list.  However, all of our products are water free. Therefore, we do not need preservatives.

Myth #7 Organic skincare is too expensive.

False! I keep going back to the ingredient list of any product.  This reminds me of what my mother always said, show me your friends and it shows volumes of who you are.  Organic certified products are like idyllic friends.  They are pure, consistent and steadfast. They impact our lives continually.  Due to their prolific nature, a little goes a long way and thus per use, the cost is more than palatable.

Organic Myth #8 Debunked If the label reads NATURAL it must be ORGANIC. 

Not True.  The process of becoming organic certified is an arduous process that takes many years and is greatly regulated.  Any farm that is certified organic has been scrutinized for a three year cycle ensuring it is chemical free and follows the stringent regulations of becoming recognized as certified. Unfortunately, the use of the word organic alone DOES NOT ensure that the product is certified organic.  When a product carries the USDA Certified logo that product.  A demanding process but well worth the assurance!  

 

 

Sea Buckthorn… A Super Berry

There are very few items in my house I’m addicted to. In fact, I really can only think of one at the moment. It’s the Face & Neck Elixir by HollyBeth Organics. I giddily anticipate using it every morning and night.

Always Choose 100% Organic

When you apply 100% organic ingredients to your skin, you never want to use anything else. It changes the game and I begin to weep for my 40 plus years where I’ve used products packed with chemicals and artificial fragrances. For my next 40, I’m redeeming myself, and my skin.

Face & Neck Elixir

This Face & Neck Elixir, a formula crafted by HollyBeth Anderson, is a serum, so it delivers nutrients into the deepest layers of your skin. So where your typical moisturizer stops, the serum keeps on going. Like the Energizer bunny.

To figure out why I love this serum so, I took a closer look. One of the main ingredients is a super berry called Sea Buckthorn which is also found in her Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer.

Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn, a deciduous shrub, is nutritionally dense and thrives in harsh climates like Mongolia and northwestern China. The orange berries of this hearty shrub are edible and nutritious and when pressed, contain a high amount of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Impressively, these small berries pack in 190 nutrients and phytonutrients. One berry contains 12x more vitamin C than your average orange. And, if that’s not enough, it is the only plant source that contains omega 3, 6, 7 and 9.

With such a nutritionally dense profile, Sea Buckthorn is a natural treatment for psoriasis, which I have. It helps regenerate skin tissue and maintain healthy skin. Which is why it is often used to treat acne, burns, wounds and Rosacea.

It also, I believe, promotes a feeling of well-being.  I swear to all you – every time I reach for this elixir, I smile wide in anticipation for how good it feels. Just two drops goes a long way…and it travels deep. Which is a good thing, I have some catching up to do.

 

7 reasons to use a toner

My appreciation for toners began early in life, on a plane. Before starting HollyBeth Organics, I lived on a plane and used a passport instead of a drivers license. Those long trips wreaked havoc on my skin so I started spritzing my face and hair when traveling. My fellow travelers were also misted with my concoction of the day which at that time was rose and lavender mist. Even the men loved the slight dousing of aroma for those long international flights. And yes… it is a great pick up line!! Would you like to be misted?    So why should we use a toner when not on a plane?  Because toners…
 
1.   Restore your skin’s ph balance to the appropriate 5.5
2.    Help tighten your pores
3.    Our marigold toner heals breakouts
4.    Our rose geranium toner  refreshes your skin, mist throughout the day
5.    Use as a make up setter
6.    Spritz through the day to keep your skin hydrated especially after a work out
7.    After cleansing, spritz to lock in moisture