The Panacea of Bumps and Bruises. Arnica montana, the emblematic yellow flower of the mountains of Central Europe, is a perennial plant that thrives in elevated meadows and wild prairies. Its intrepid and hardy rhizomes can withstand the harshness of winter at high altitudes.
The use of arnica in phytotherapy has long been documented. The famed Pedanius Dioscorides nicknamed it alcimos, i.e. “healthy.” In the 14th century, in his Commentarii on the works of the Greek physician and botanist, Matthioli mentioned it under its current name, arnich. In 1625, arnica was cited in Jakob von Bergzabern’s botany treatise for the same properties that we attribute to it today: caring for bruises after minor bumps and falls. Its sylvan and fantastical German name, Bergwohlverleih (“wolf-killer”), is testament to the danger that plant poses to certain animals. According to popular belief, arnica was associated with the demonic eyes of that beast, which it was reputed to control. The Kornwolf, or grain wolf, was said to roam through the cornfields. It symbolized the field’s vitality as well as the spirit of the grain. To prevent this wolf from straying off, and the crop from withering away, farmers would plant arnica seedlings along the fields’ edges on the summer solstice. Arnica was also reputed to protect against the damage wrought by storms and lightening.
Goats, on the other hand, are reported to graze instinctively on arnica after a fall: this habit is said to have brought the plant’s properties to their shepherds’ attention. In the Vorges Mountains, it was customary to smoke dried arnica leaves and flowers in lieu of tobacco. In the Alps, its leaves, cooked in wine, used to be applied as poultices. Arnica is one of the plants that are most emblematic of phytotherapy’s expansion: it proved highly inspirational to Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, and today it is one of the most commonly used plants in alternative medicine.
The flower is plucked shortly after blooming in May and June. The flavonoids it contains help fortify blood vessels and stimulate blood circulation. Antiseptic thymol, draining coumarin, soothing carotenoids, and anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactones help damaged and irrated skin recover its peace and vitality.
REÅLEA Product(s) with Arnica: Tenebris.
Beeswax is obtained from the honeycomb of the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Beeswax has been used for thousands of years as medicine and especially in the fine arts. Before the nineteenth century, any references to a wax was exclusively a reference to beeswax. To obtain beeswax, honeycombs of the beehive are removed and honey extracted. Then the wax comb is melted in boiling water, filtered, and made into cakes or cast into forms.
Beeswax comes in both white and yellow forms, which are interchangeable in cosmetics. The type of flower the hive visited determines the color of the wax. Yellow beeswax can also be bleached with oxidizing agents to form a white wax for the cosmetic industry, which often prefers a wax without color or scent. The wax is used as a thickener and in the emulsion process for making creams. Beeswax added to oils creates salves, solid lipid combinations that can be aromatic perfumes or herbal medicines. By using different proportions of wax to oil, salves can be hard and stand alone, or soft and contained in a jar. The melting point of beeswax is 143.6-149 F.
REÅLEA Product(s) with Beeswax: Aurora; Meridiem.
Black Cumin Seed / Nigella
The charming, fresh, pale blue flowers of the nigella bear a fruit whose pod is filled with tiny black seeds. Acrid and prickly, they are nicknamed “black cumin” or “black caraway,” and are highly prized in Indian, Egyptian, and Turkish cuisine. However, this edible nigella, Nigella sativa, must not be confused with Nigella damascena, which is purely ornamental, or Nigella arvensis, whose seeds are toxic.
Nigella is an ingredient in ancient remedies, and its essential oil is still used in phytotherapy. Known as habbat al baraka, or “blessed seed” in Egypt, nigella’s presence in the pharmacopeia has been documented for thousands of years: clay tablets from as far back as the Sumerian civilization bear its name. The Sumerians settled in Mesopotamia on both sides of the Tigris and the Euphrates, a region that was verdant and agricultural at the time. These tablets, dating back five thousand years, made up a vast repository of some two hundred and fifty plants, including the nigella. Later, on the ancient papyrus discovered at the Luxor archaeological site, which dates back to the 16th century BC, the Book on the Preparation of Medicine for All Parts of the Human Body recommended nigella as a cure for pulmonary infections. A vial containing nigella oil was found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. Pedanius Dioscorides recommended it alleviate headaches. In the 11th century, Avicenna, in his Book of Healing, devotes an entire chapter to it, praising the seed and its purifying effect. Notably, he encourages crushing it and placing the powder in a purse: inhaling its contents was supposed to help fight the common cold. Islam keeps a special place for it in the pharmacopeia, and upholds it as a panacea.
Once the plant has blossomed, the seeds ripen for a month. From the moment the leaves yellow, the harvest can begin. The green oil obtained by cold-pressing the seeds has a delectable, spicy scent. The essential oil is extracted by hydro-distillation of this vegetable oil.
The precious seed contains more than a hundred different constituents, some of which can’t be found anywhere else. Most of the therapeutic benefits of nigella oil can be attributed to thymoquinone, a potent antioxidant, which has been studied for its anticancer properties. Nigelline is the bitter active that stimulates digestion. Nigellone is an anti-allergic substance. Nigella oil is anti-inflammatory and rich in linoleic acid (omega-6), which protects the skin from outside stree and prevents it from drying out. The presence of oleic acid (omega-9) nourishes the skin and helps with the healing of minor scratches and irritations. Vitamin E protects cells from oxidation and carotenoids absorb ultraviolet light.
REÅLEA Product(s) with Arnica: Tenebris.
Carrot Seed Oil
Daucus carota, is cold-pressed from the seed as a fixed oil and should not be confused with the essential oil distilled from the seeds. The same seed source can create two very different products. Carrot seeds have sufficient fatty acids for pressing as a fixed oil and enough volatile aromatic compounds to make an essential oil. Both products are beneficial for use on the skin to nourish and repair skin tissues.
Carrot seed fixed oil is dark green with a green scent and extremely bitter taste. Exceptionally rich in beta carotene provitamin A, it also provides UV protection. In addition, its vitamin E and natural mineral content make the oil highly nutrient-dense. Healing for dry, chapped, and cracked skin, carrot seed oil helps to balance moisture in the tissues. High in the phytosterols, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, and beta carotene, the oil is protective and healing. It is also used as a conditioner for hair.
REÅLEA Product(s) with carrot seed oil: Astrum.
Egg Yolk Oil
Oil of Hen Egg Yolk has a long and storied history in alchemical and early medical literature. To the West, the oil was known as an exceptional anti-bacterial wound salve; to the East it was a panacea, with application ranging from skin sores, ringworm, grey hair, and hair loss, to assisting with digestive issues, ulcers, gingivitis, joint pain, and more.
Oil of Egg Yolk is a rich source of fats, proteins, and micronutrients, each with close resemblance to the human cell membrane. The oil packs a plethora of phytochemicals, more commonly found in the vegetable kingdom but in forms more bioavailable and accessible to the human body. It’s nutrients and close resemblance to human skin have made it a formidable medicine for its demonstrated emollient, wound healing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
REÅLEA Product(s) with egg yolk oil: Aurora, Meridiem, Astrum.
The starry petals of this flower, centered around a fragrant chalice, are the emblem of Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Its Arab name, yasamin, derives from the Persian yasaman, meaning “white flower.” The slender creeping plant originated in the open valley at the foot of the Himalayas. Florets bloom in bunches at the tip of its stems, like so many umbrellas. There are about two hundred varieties of jasmine, two of which are particularly prized by perfumers and harvesters of “simple” flowers: Arabian jasmine (eight-petaled Jasminum sambac) and five-petaled Jasminum grandiflorum. As a legendary constituent of high-end perfumes, jasmine had greatly contributed to the fortune of the town of Grasse--the birthplace of the cold enfleurage technique, which made it possible to capture its precious scent.
The immediately seductive (not to mention sensual) fragrance is reputed to arouse love and pleasure. Legend has it that Cleopatra joined the Roman general Marc Anthony aboard a ship whose sails had been soaked in jasmine essence, producing an irresistible breeze…”the poop was beaten gold / Purple the sails, and so perfumed that / The winds were love-sick with them,” Shakespeare mused. It is said that Kama, the Indian god of love, shot arrows perfumed with jasmine...or with blue lotus, mango tree leaf, champak, or shirisha, using his sugarcane bow. As early as the 10th century, in China, jasmine flowers were mixed with green or black tea to dry together. This calming, fragrant tea is reputed to soothe difficult digestion; it also helps with flatulence. Jasmine has been present in Europe wince the late 16th century. In Versailles, the plant (imported from Provence) perfumed the court’s summer evening promenades and lent its aroma to snuff. Jasmine oil perfumed the “Fargeon-style” ointment which Queen Marie-Antoinette used to care for her hair, stimulate its growth, and prevent it from falling out.
This fragile flower, whose scent is as strong as it is hard to capture, is plucked by hand at dawn--or at night in the case of some varieties. Today, in perfumery, alcohol-based extraction (or using some other volatile solvent) is the most commonly used technique to harness the properties of jasmine--first and foremost its perfume. The solvent is then eliminated by evaporation, and a waxy material, the “concrete,” is thus isolated. It is then purified by removing the wax and plant residue, yielding the jasmine “absolute.”
Jasmine essential oil is relaxing and balancing. Benzyl benzoate, one its components, is known for its effect on nervous tension and stree; it also helps alleviate depression. Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, soothes the most sensitive skin types, all the while stimulating them in a positive fashion. It is said that a jasmine tea infusion will also efficiently decongest the area around the eyes.
REÅLEA Product(s) with jasmine essential oil: Astrum.
Jojoba Seed Oil
The Miracle Tree. The roots of the jojoba, Simmondsia chinensis, dig very deep into the desert floor to find the moisture they need to survive. With its green-colored, blue-haloed leaves, this shrub lives in extreme climactic conditions, enduring the heat of the high sun and the bite of intense nighttime cold. Its evergreen foliage protects the soil on which it grows. Only the female plants bear nuts, which are eaten by goats and sheep. In the Sonora desert, between Mexico and California, century-old jojoba plants still thrive. In the 1789 History de la Antigua o Baja California, Jesuit priest Clavijero reports that jojoba was used by the local population to help wounds scar over, and to heal skin and hair from the effects of the arid climate. Legend has it that the jojoba—or hohowi as the locals called it—was a special gift from their Creator, designed to care for humanity: it was part of a divinatory drink.
Seeds are harvested five months after the shrub blossoms and are rich in proteins. Tough and ribbed, they are highly resistant and can be pressed long after harvest. They are also generous, containing 45 to 60% oil, and when cold-pressed they yield a yellow wax with sweet hazelnut scent, whose composition is similar to that of sebum. It has the added merit of not going rancid, and contains few impurities, which enables it to be kept easily and last a long time.
This vegetable wax is composed of a variety of fatty acids (omega-9): gadoleic acid, erucic acid, nervonic acid, and oleic acid, all of which help protect and reinforce the top layer of the epidermis and reduce inflammation. They also contribute to the scarring-over process and help maintain the suppleness of the skin. Palmitic acid increases this softening effect.
REÅLEA Product(s) with jojoba seed oil: Tenebris.
Kukui Nut Oil
This evergreen tree, with its majestic wide bearing, thrives in the tropics, offering up the desirable shade of its pretty palmate leaves, which are home to numerous species of birds. Following a spectacular white inflorescence, Aleurites moluccana adorns itself with nuts. The candlenut tree grows throughout the Pacific region under a number of different names: ama in the Marquesas Islands, lama in Samoa, and ti’a’iri in Tahiti.
The handsome kukui is a providential tree for all Pacific Islanders, and seems possessed of limitless talents. A fresh leaf, perched atop one’s head, was said by the ancients to soothe headaches. Simply chewed, the seeds have a cleansing effect. The soot left over after burning the nuts and kernels makes a fine tattoo ink. Kukui kernels are also used to make hourglass candles: they are strung on a vegetable stem and burn one after the other. They are also ready made dredells—the children’s spinning game. In 1816, in his new dictionary of natural history, Jacques Eustache de Sève cited the candlenut tree and its uses: “The latter is cultivated for its nut, whose oil is widely traded.” In 1862, in a book about the resources of the island of Réunion, G. Imhaus asserted that “the leaves of this tree are potent sudorifics.” An oil factory has been in existence in Tahiti since the 19th century. In 1959, it became the offical tree of Hawaii. Lei kukui, i.e. necklaces made from kukui nuts, were the preferred adornment of local chiefs; nowadays they are still worn by dancers during rituals honoring Lono, the god of agriculture. Canoes and surfboards used to be carved from its trunk, and its oil was rubbed on to caulk them and make them waterproof.
Kukui nuts are harvested once they have fallen from the tree. Extracting the oil is hard work: heating the nuts to 203 F and plunging them in a bath of cold water is necessary to break their shell. The kernels are cold-pressed and the oil is purified mechanically. This delicate oil, with its yellow tint, low viscosity, and dry feel, absorbs very easily.
Kukui nut oil is rich in linoleic acid (omega-6 and omega-3), which protects the skin from external aggressions and efficiently prevents it from drying out. Its high oleic acid content (omega-9), nourishes the skin, helps with scarification, reduces minor lesions, and soothes itching.
REÅLEA Product(s) with kukui nut oil: Astrum.
Helichrysum essential oil, also known as Immortelle, comes from the Helichrysum italicum plant, which is generally found in the Mediterranean and southern Europe. The oil can be found in all green parts of the plant, including stems and leaves. Dried flowers from the plant can also be used for medicinal purposes topically and in aromatherapy.
Helichrysum italicum is also called curry plant because its leaves has a strong curry-like smell. It is a common, traditionally used medicine in the region in which it grows. It reportedly has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
REÅLEA Product(s) with helichrysum essential oil: Astrum.
Peppermint oil is the essence of peppermint extracted into an oil. Some peppermint oils are stronger than others. The strongest types are made using modern distillation techniques and are called essential oils. Peppermint essential oil is the most common type of peppermint oil available for purchase. It can be used for health, beauty, and cleaning purposes. Peppermint contains a compound called menthol. Menthol is responsible for many of the benefits of peppermint oils. Menthol also gives peppermint its taste, smell, and cooling sensation. The benefits of peppermint essential oil can be described as: analgesic, vasodilating, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial.
REÅLEA Product(s) with menthol: Tenebris.
Native to South America and acclimatized in the wake of Christopher Columbus, Opuntia ficus indica is an arborescent cactus. Its stem is made up of fleshy, thorny paddles whose extremities sprout orange flowers followed by ovoid fruits covered in tiny, stubborn barbs: the prickly pears. Once peeled (carefully, because of the spines), the yellow- to coral-tinted pulp is edible and delicious. It is shot through with tiny dark pips that hold the plant’s oil. Ficus indica has been grown for more than five thousand years by Amerindian peoples, especially in Mexico. Nicknamed “the Christain’s fig” by the Arabs, its generous and providential fruit, rich in fibers and vitamins, contributes to the nutritional balance of numerous populations to this day.
This delicious fruit-bearing cactus was unknown in Europe and Africa before the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Ficus indica gained a foothold thanks to trade and the Spanish conquest, and slowly colonized the whole Mediterranean basin until it became an essential part of the landscape, from Morocco to Southern Italy and Greece. In the Americas during the pre-Columbian era, nopal--the Aztec name for the cactus--was primarily grown to enable the farming of female cochineals. This tiny insect, which has a particular taste for this type of cactus, was prized for its high concentration in bright red pigment, which made it possible to color textile fibers a deep, radiant, and highly durable red. In traditional Aztec medicine, prickly pear poultices were used to cure rheumatism and broken bones, and its juice was used to soothe burns. In Morocco, where this cactus thrives splendidly, its fruit pulp soothes the skin after a long day spent working in the fierce, havoc-wreaking sun.
Patience is the name of the game when extracting the oil because the tiny seeds that dot the pulp of the fruit are only 5% oil. Harvesting and seeding 1,765 pounds of prickly pears, followed by rinsing, drying, and cold-pressing their pips, only yields one humble quart of oil. Precious and expensive, this pale yellow oil has a very discreet spicy scent. Prickly pear flower macerate is full of benefits, but less effective than the plant’s natural oil.
The myth that presents prickly pear oil, not unreasonably, as an elixir of youth is due to its high concentration of sterols, tocopherols, and tocotrienols--vitamin E--which help protect against free radicals and improve microcirculation within the skin. Linoleic acid--omega-6--increases cell turnover. All thes virtues combine to make prickly pear oil a natural anti-aging and skin-tightening treatment.
REÅLEA Product(s) with pricky pear cactus seed oil: Astrum.
Red Raspberry Seed Oil
The raspberry bush, a wild shrub that has acclimatized everywhere from the Arctic polar circle to the tropics, produces abundant fruit that is as virtuous as it is tasty. The Rubus genus seems to originate from Asia Minor, a region which roughly corresponds to present-day Turkey. Pliny the Elder was the first to describe this bush, with its delicious berries and creeping branches covered in defensive thorns and to give it a name: “Mount Ida bramble.” Grown in Europe since Roman times, the species was domesticated to improve the size and flavor of its berries, which we usually picture as red but which can also be white, black, or even yellow.
It is said that a young Zeus was having a crying fit when the nymph Ida gave him a delicious berry--a raspberry--to calm him down. But as she was picking it, the fair nymph pricked her bosom, tinting the white berry with her ruby-colored blood. Its benefits are recognized by all the far-flung people that make it part of their diet. In Europe, it is alleged that the branches of wild raspberry bushes, when hung outside a house, will protect its inhabitants. In North America, raspberries were preserved in fat by Amerindians and used to fight infections and as well as the flu. In the 18th century, the Irish herbalist K’Eogh wrote about the raspberry: “An application of honey and crushed flowers will treat the eye’s inflammations...the fruit is good for the heart.”
The highly fragile and delicate berries are harvested between June and September. A raspberry bush will bear fruit for a decade. The seeds are separated from the pulp, dried, crushed, and cold-pressed to obtain a blond-colored oil with fruity, fresh, and light smell.
Raspberry seed oil takes care of skin that has been damaged by the sun and the cold. It is made up of about 50% linoleic acid--omega-6--which fosters cell regeneration, prevents the skin from drying out, and helps reconstitute epidermal lipids. Its high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid--an omega-3--vitamin E, gallic acid, and carotenoid help prevent cellular decay.
REÅLEA Product(s) with red raspberry seed oil: Astrum.
A Flower From The Dawn of Time. Originating in Central Asia, the Rosacea family has spawned countless species that either hybridized naturally or were multiplied by man. Its prolific bushes all descended from an original wild rosebush, Rosa canina, whose diminutive flowers number five petals, much like the elegant sweet briar dotting the countryside. Among its offspring, Rosa damascena, Rosa gallica, and Rosa rubiginosa are the three variations whose flowers are most commonly used in beauty treatments.
The Greeks dedicated the rose to Aphrodite, while for the Christains it was Mary. According to myth, the goddess of love stained a white rosebush with her blood, thus giving birth to red roses. From the gardens of Midas to the baths of Roman thermae, from Cleopatra’s bed to Marie-Antoinette’s Trianon, through their beauty and their fragrance, roses have bewitched women, men, heroes, and the gods alike.
Before it became ornamental, the rose was first and foremost medicinal and sacred: temples are washed with its water; Charlemagne encouraged its cultivation near religious buildings so that its properties could be studied and spread. Evidence has shown that rose water was widely traded in the Middle East in the 9th century: it has been attested that thirty thousand bottles of this elixir were delivered from the Faristan Province in Iran to Baghdad in Iraq. In the 13th century, the Provins Rose, or Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis,’ was nicknamed the “apothecary’s rose.” It was an efficient addition to the ingredients of skin ointments and remedies. Highly sought after; it has become a symbol for the ephemeral quality of beauty in most the cultures in which it grows. Ronsard, Shakespeare, Apollinaire: all the poets have celebrated its beauty, which stands as a metaphor for love and of time’s flight. Today, the rose is still a revered beauty secret.
The flower which comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and fragrances, can be distilled to obtain rose water or essential oil. The buds and petals are harvested to be simply dried or crushed to a powder, while the seeds of Rose rubiginosa are cold-pressed to extract rose hip seed oil, a precious, highly fragrant vegetable oil with potent properties. Roses must be plucked by hand at dawn when the fragrance of the flower, replete with the morning dew, is at its finest. Once harvested in this manner, the flowers are distilled on the same day to ensure that wilting does not allow their properties to spoil. The steam, laden with aromatic compounds, naturally separates from the essential oil at the mouth of the alembic’s exit spout, before condensing into rose water.
Before they are crushed to a powder, the petals are left to dry in the open air for several days. The seeds of the Chilean “musk rose” are harvested at the foot of the Andes, and its fruits are dried in the sun--or in low-temperature ovens--using a gentle heat. The seeds are crushed, sieved, and gently cold-pressed.
Fine rose water is colorless. Its fragrance is that of the flower, but remains very mild and ephemeral. Its scent should be light and fresh. Rose water must be stored in an airtight container in a cabinet, away from direct sunlight. A good rose powder or dried rose petals should be chosen based on the intensity of their color and on their fragrance. The more vivid the tint and scent, the higher concentration in active ingredients. Rose hip seed oil naturally boasts a very bright orange hue. Its vegetable oil fragrance, gently oily, should be discreet.
Rose water and rose oil are the most ancient remedies to ward off the signs of aging and boost skin tone, as they are notably highly concentrated in vitamins C and E. Dull, tired skin as well as mature and lifeless skin will savor their high concentration of essential fatty acids, which protect against free radicals. They help fight skin aging, smooth out even the most fragile skin or the finest areas, and tone it up. Damask rose petal powder is a great classic of Ayurvedic medicine, which prescribes it for the care of sensitive, weakened, and mature skin. High in astringent tannins, it gently refines the skin’s grain and tightens its pores. Highly concentrated in rose oil, gallic acid is a well-documented antioxidant, and linoleic acid (omega-6) protects the skin from exposure, nourishing it and preventing it from drying out. Alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and pro-vitamin A foster the process of skin cell regeneration.
REÅLEA Product(s) with rose: Aurora; Meridiem.
The Siberian pineapple. Hippophae rhamnoides, a diminutive shrub with silver-green foliage, thrives on rocky terrain, whether mountainous or coastal. This heliophilous variety colonizes stony ground and dunes, basking in the sun and thus preventing the terrible erosion of very dry soil. In summer, the shrub’s spiny branches adorn themselves with small yellow and orange fruits. The sea buckthorn has only been intensively cultivated for its fruit since the 1950s. China has the world’s largest sea buckthorn orchards.
Legend has it that the branches and fruit of the sea buckthorn were the favorite food of Pegasus, the divine winged horse of Greek mythology. Pliny the Elder described the sea buckthorn and a related species in his Natural History: “These two plants have great properties for horses, which is why they were named hippophae.” The branches and fruit of the plant, which is often used for horse feed, were reputed to impart shine to the steeds’ coats, hence its pleasant Latin name, which means “glossy horse.” In Mongolia, the shrub grows in the wild and nomads used to turn it into soups and juice. The Mongol emperor Genghis Khan himself ate it as a fortifier. The Russians were among the first to take an interest in its properties and its unbelievable vitamin C content, which is thirty times that of an orange. They included it in the diet of the first Russian astronauts, who also applied its oil to shield themselves from cosmic radiation. In present-day China, more than two hundred different foodstuffs are based on sea buckthorn.
The spines of the sea buckthorn complicate the harvest, and the fruit is picked after the onset of the first nighttime frosts, which cause the branches to shed their leaves. Its berries are highly sensitive to oxidation and must be either frozen or pressed immediately. The red-tinted oil, with its fruity and peppery scent, can be extracted from the seeds when the fruit is first pressed, or from the pomace that is left following this first pressing. The oil derived from the first pressing is more precious than that which is obtained by pressing the pomace.
Sea buckthorn oil has a remarkable concentration of fatty acids and vitamins. Its vitamin E content is astonishing: it neutralizes the action of free radicals and helps the skin fight external aggressions. The oil is very rich in carotenoids (or pro-vitamin A); it minimizes the devastating effects of exposure to the sun’s rays and soothes irritated skin.
REÅLEA Product(s) with sea buckthorn oil: Aurora.
Squalene, a natural thirty-carbon organic lipid compound, a triterpene, is produced by all plants and animals, including humans. Functioning in the synthesis of of sterols, squalene is one of the most common lipids produced by human skin. Compatible with skin cells and absorbing quickly, squalene performs as an antioxidant, preventing age spots while protecting against sun damage. ts emollience helps the skin retain moisture, and antibacterial properties protect the skin while promoting healthy cellular growth. Studies on the nature of squalene have indicated that it may also fight the formation of cancerous cells. Squalene is often added to cosmetics and applied directly to the skin.
First found in shark liver oil, the most abundant source, squalene is also found in botanical sources, primarily olives, rice bran, and wheat germ, with lessor amounts in many other oils. Squalane, with an a, is the saturated form of squalene, and therefore more stable than the highly unsaturated squalene. Squalane is achieved by hydrogenation, and often found on ingredient labels. A new source of the compound, extracted from sugar cane, is commercially available as squalene. Both forms, squalene and squalane, are common additions to supplements, cosmetics, and skin care products.
REÅLEA Product(s) with squalene: Astrum.
Calophyllum inophyllum is a large tree from the Clusiaceae family with opulently green foliage, native the coasts of East Africa, Southern India and Australia. After the hundreds of clusters of flowers it carries have bloomed, its branches are covered in round, smooth, pea-green fruit, or drupes. Inside each of these, a kernel contains all the benefits of the tamanu, a sacred tree in Polynesia. It is known as the Komani tree in Hawaii.
Also known as the “Alexandrian laurel,” the tamanu tree is planted within Polynesian places of worship, because of the traditional belief that gods like to come and rest in its cool shade. It is said that it’s branches bend low out of respect for the Hawaiian royalty. The tree’s ritual use was highly codified: its wood, for example, was used for the creation of tiki--anthropomorphic statues, statuettes or amulets. In the traditional pharmacopeia, it is considered a ra’au tahiti--a medicine and a panacea. The leaves help cure skin conditions, while the blossoms (along with the Tiaré flowers) and a constituent part of monoi. The juice from its fruit is prescribed as a cure for headaches, and Tahitian mothers have always cared for their babies by massaging them with tamanu oil. Western science is still investigating and uncovering the oil’s numerous and mysterious powers.
Once the ripe drupes have been harvested, the nuts are separated from the pulp and laid out to dry in the sun for several weeks. This drying treatment causes the oil concentration to rise. The nuts are then cold-pressed, releasing a yellow-green substance with an almost spicy scent. Those who have a taste for it find this aroma incomparably delicious.
Tamanu oil has a high concentration of linoleic acid--an omega-6--which acts as a protective agent for the skin, and vitamin E, which skillfully prevents cell oxidation. It’s exceptionally rich in oleic acid--omega-9--and in aminophylline, calaustraline, and inophyllolide, which help the scarring process of skin and heal small flesh wounds. As for the lauric acid, it fights inflammations and decongests the skin, while polyphenols enhance microcirculation.
REÅLEA Product(s) with tamanu oil: Aurora.
Watermelon seed oil
Watermelon seed oil, Citrullus vulgaris, known as ootanga oil, tsamma (a local name), or kalahari oil, may be a new oil in the West but has a long tradition in Africa as an indigenous traditional oil. The first recorded harvest is 5,000 years old and is represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs. The oil originates in the Kalahari desert from native and moisture-rich melons. The local women grow the fruit, carefully collecting the seeds and taking them to a mill for pressing to extract the oil. Used for cooking, dressings, skin, and hair care, the oil is a central part of native life.
High in linoleic acid (as much as 65%), watermelon seed oil is exceptionally light and highly nutritious. It absorbs well and is used for troubled skin, helping to dissolve excessive sebum in the pores and repairing damage to the cells. Anti-inflammatory, it helps relieve the pain associated with acne eruptions and conditions. Its very lightness is helpful for conditioning oily skin and helps to minimize pore size.
Watermelon oil is very high in the B vitamins, especially niacin, along with the minerals magnesium and zinc. It nourishes and repairs with clogging pores. The light oil can be used on babies and for mature skin care repair and rejuvenation. A highly stable oil with a long shelf life, it is added to recipes to help preserve products. Its light feel makes a good oil for combining with heavier oils, and its light texture makes it a recommended natural replacement for mineral oil.
REÅLEA Product(s) with watermelon seed oil: Astrum.
REÅLEA Product(s) with wormwood: Tenebris.
Above ingredients descriptions were adapted primarily from:
An Atlas of Natural Beauty: Botanical Ingredients for Retaining and Enhancing Beauty by Victorie De Taillac and Ramdane Touhami, published by Simon & Schuster (2017).
Power of the Seed: Your Guide to Oils for Health & Beauty by Susan M. Parker, published by Process Media (2014).
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made by REÅLEA Skincare as to the medicinal value of any products from REÅLEA Skincare. The information presented here is for educating our customers about the traditional uses of essential oils and other natural ingredients and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products. Specific results are not guaranteed. Actual results may vary. If you have any questions, please call or email us for further information.