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CHOLLEY Techniques: Phytocosmetics part 3

Phytocosmetics are cosmetic products whose principal active ingredients are derived from plants as opposed to being produced synthetically.  Phytocosmetics owe a great debt to popular and empirical medicine that over thousands of years through the crude technique of trial and error has identified the beneficial properties of innumerable plants.  Today equipped with our knowledge of chemistry and biology we can understand the scientific foundation of these properties.  However, there are still many natural mysteries that are beyond our current state of knowledge.

Chemistry of Phytocosmetics

To understand and appreciate phytocosmetics a basic knowledge of chemistry is indispensable.  The following is the second part of our overview of the basic concepts for better comprehension of the active ingredients used in CHOLLEY products. In the previous post we explored Essential oils, Steroids, Phospholipids and Waxes. In the following post we will talk about Minerals, Silicic and Alpha-Hydroxy Acid, Mucilages and Glycosides.

Minerals

Calcium and potassium salts are very important for living organisms.  Potassium salts have diuretic properties.  They are found in most plants and are highly water soluble.

Calcium salts are important for growth and maintenance of bones, and functioning of the nervous system.  They also increase resistance towards infections.  However, they are not very soluble and as the result penetrate the organism with difficulty.

Silicic Acid

This acid is found in many plants but some such as horse-tail contain a substantial quantity.  It acts on the connective tissues to reinforce them and to increase their resistance.  Silicic acid is especially noted for its impact on the connective tissue of the lungs and is used to increase the resistance of tuberculosis patients.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (Fruit Acids)

Fruit acids such as Glycolic, Lactic , Malic, Tartaric, and Citric are common among plants.  They are called alpha-hydroxy acids since their molecules contain an hydroxylic (OH) group on the carbon atom adjacent to their carboxylic (COOH) group (their acid function.)

Due to their small molecular size fruit acids can be highly penetrative,  In small doses they have a moisturizing effect on the skin.  In larger doses they tend to overcome the binding forces between the dead cells of stratum corneum.  Thus, they speed the natural peeling process and stimulate formation of a new and better moisturized skin layer.

Mucilages

Mucilages or mucopolysaccharides are  complex sugars.  They are colloidal substances found in many plants which tend to swell in water and form a plastic mass or a viscous solution.  They hold a large amount of water which gives them emolient and lubricating properties.  In addition, they can form a protective barrier against bacteria and other irritating substances.  For these reasons they are often used to protect inflamed and irritated skin or mucus membrane.  Among plants mallow and linden are known for their mucilage content.  When a mucilage is heated for too long it breaks down into simpler sugars and loses it property.

Salicin, a glycoside related to aspirin

Glycosides

Glycosides are a group of organic substances that under enzymatic action break down into one or more sugars and a non-sugar compound.  Their action is generally due to this non-sugar compound which may belong to various classes of organic compounds such as alcohols, acids, etc.

A special group of glycosides are the derivatives of salicylic acid which have febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and calming properties.  They are often used in treatment of reumatism.  Another group of glycosides with a clear-yellowish administered to living organisms.  Steroids are considered as hormones and among them the most important are:

  • Cholesterols
  • Estrogens (female sex hormone)
  • Androgens (male sex hormones)
  • Progestines (pregnancy hormones)
  • Vitamin D

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