Overview of Ayurveda
Ancient Indian physicians were on the cusp of something great when Ayurvedic medicine came into use around 5000 years ago.
Ayurveda is a body of practices concerned with yoga, nutrition, herbs and lifestyle. It can be considered the foundation of natural medicines and is widely practiced and accepted in its country of origin India.
For a long time, everywhere except the Eastern world perceived it as alternative medicine. Today, with new research and a boost in spiritual practices, it continues to gain recognition from the Western scientific community.
Who Invented Ayurveda?
In cultural belief, Ayurveda was not something born out of the sole direction of men; it was a divine gift from Brahma. Brahma is the name given to a Hindu god celebrated as the Creator of the Universe. The commonly held belief is that Brahma transferred this knowledge of good health onto sages to the disciples and from the disciples onto people.
Ayurveda resulted from different ancient Hindu philosophies coming together and integrating certain principles as per research by Jaiswal and Williams 2017. Hindu teachings of Vaisheshika and Nyaya are what primarily built Ayurveda. These teachings, combined with the manifestation framework, Samkhya, guided the principles of this traditional medicine.
History and Origins
Ayurvedic Medicine has been around for thousands of years. This framework of medicinal practices came about as a guideline to treating disease. The methods are, for the majority, based on the human being and the human form.
According to professor V. Narayanaswamy of the College of Indian Medicine, the Ayurvedic principles remain the same irrespective of time passing. The disease and its appearance can evolve with the environment, but the human body retains its likeness throughout the ages. With this in mind, there is not much adjustment needed in the approach to the disease.
Evolution of Ayurveda
In ancient times several written texts recorded the appearance of disease, the signs, the symptoms, and the cure. Even today, practitioners and students still use this text to learn traditional medicine.
Ayurveda is a branch of medicine that developed through the writings of varying physicians. It is not one specific ancient text or link that forms the basis of Ayurveda, but instead several physicians work that covered various topics through the ages. At the time of its origins, did not confine itself to local knowledge and allowed for the incorporation of methods, treatments and medicines from other countries.
The patient’s health was prioritised over conflict, allowing health knowledge to “be taken even from an enemy for the good of the patient” according to Caraka as cited by Narayanaswamy. There were few limitations to expanding Ayurvedic medicine as practitioners sought to use an open-minded approach that only served the patient.
Books on Ayurveda
Two books, written at similar times, detail the main surgical and non-surgical methods of Ayurveda around 1000 BCE. The authors of which individually created ‘Charaka’ and ‘Susruta’, which became guides to Ayurvedic medicine.
These texts were challenged and adapted in successive years. Vagbhatt later merged both texts into the book ‘Astanga Hridaya’. Subsequently, 16 other books recorded novel applications and drugs while eliminating anything deemed irrelevant.
Why Ayurveda is Scientific
As with any science, the decisions to achieve good health in this school of medicine were made by observing, testing, and adjusting the ideas and theories for an improved result. Reverse pharmacology is the method used to observe the traditional usage of drugs and evaluate their effectiveness through clinical trials.
Interestingly, as early as 1500 BCE, the study of Ayurvedic medicine split into Atreya, The School of Physicians and Dhanwantari, the School of Surgeons. Surgery methods recorded contained information on prosthetic surgery, cosmetic surgery like rhinoplasty, how to perform a caesarean birth and quite surprisingly, brain surgery.
This information comes from the journal of Natural Product communications in the 2014 article called Modernization of Ayurveda: A Brief Overview of Indian Initiatives.
Classification and Efficacy
Ayurveda, classified as natural or alternative medicine, is becoming more accepted and valued in recent years. Currently, there is an increasing awareness of the side effects of conventional allopathic medicine.
Additionally, a somewhat affordable prices of Ayurveda remedies makes it more accessible and encourages usage. Cross-cultural understanding has also circulated the idea that plants are highly beneficial to health.
The WHO (World Health Organisation), as cited by authors of the Modernization of Ayurveda article, says that 3.5 billion people from developing countries turn to natural, plant medicines as the main health care.
Further, about half of all drugs in current clinical use are products based on plant and other natural ingredients.
How does Ayurveda Work?
Ayurvedic medicine aims to find the primary cause of the health problem and bring awareness to the self.
Practitioners of this set of Eastern traditional medicinal practices build their analysis on the principles of Doshas. Doshas are combinations of various defined qualities like heavy versus light, rough versus smooth, etcetera.
The three doshas are named Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Briefly, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are various combinations of the energies of space, fire, water, earth, and air. Each Dosha has two primary elements though it is composed of all five elements.
Vata is air and space, Pitta is fire and water, while Kapha is water and earth. Practitioners look at a person’s constitution which is a unique Ayurvedic identity composed of Vata, Pitta and Kapha energies. Constitutions are stagnant and specific to each person. As such, Ayurvedic medicine is not a copy and paste system, it’s quite the opposite. Treatment is individual and determined after an extensive analysis of the patient including daily habits.
Sanskrit has it that the word ‘Ayurveda’ translates to ‘science of life’. ‘Science of life’ is fitting as the goal of Ayurvedic practitioners is to achieve a balance between the body, mind, spirit and the environment. Patients may be advised to change their lifestyles to achieve balance, thereby reducing stress, symptoms and increasing health. Lifestyle changes may include a proper diet and exercise routine.
More about Vata, Pitta, and Kapha
According to the Ayurvedic Institute, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are different types of energy which everything is composed of. Energy is essential to the body’s function and permits movement to distribute nutrients throughout the body and perform cellular biological processes. Ayurveda medicine views Vata as movement, Pitta as metabolising or digestion and Kapha as structuring and lubricating.
A constitution is composed of all three, with one being dominant. Imbalanced doshas and toxins can be the root of disease. Balancing these three doshas so none are overpowering or deficient can improve health.
Ayurvedic medicine versus modern medicine
Ayurvedic practices use mostly plants in its purest form as opposed to modern medicine which extracts properties and even manufactures synthetic versions to add to medicines. These naturally occurring benefits aren’t duplicated through pharmaceuticals that don’t have the healthful combination of hundreds of natural phytochemicals.
As Ayurveda utilises herbs and fruit in their purest form, it can be considered as a safer alternative to allopathic medicines with less likelihood of damaging side effects.
Can this practice regrow hair?
Dermatologist, Dr Akanksha Sanghvi listed multiple natural herbal remedies to treat hair loss and promote hair growth. Ashwagandha, Brahmi and kumari (aloe vera) are among the Ayurvedic plants mentioned. Dr Sanghvi states that products that contain these ingredients may encourage hair growth.
Ayurvedic mixtures and medications as well as topical applications of oils could also help hair growth. Some oils that may help according to Ayurvedic doctor Zeel Ghandi is, palandu (onion), neem, liquorice, camphor and Brahmi. Additionally, all oils won’t work for all people as the correct oil is based on a person’s balance of the doshas.
Can Ayurveda Treat Dandruff?
Dandruff, a common condition that causes dry flakes to fall from the head like snow, can be treated with Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Doctor, Deepak Jaju believes many options exist to minimise and clear dandruff. Combinations like coconut oil and camphor or lemon and neem, with hot oil scalp massages all aid in clearing up and reducing dandruff.
Jaju mentions that these herbal remedies should be used often to see results. Two to three weeks of continuous usage seems to be the best time frame. As a bonus, they can promote health of the hair and make it soft, strong, and smooth.
Plants of Ayurveda
Many plants in Ayurvedic medicine are well-known and used in common-households. Turmeric does double duty as a herbal remedy and a spice that is equally renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to enhance the flavour of food. This powerful spice has benefits that are too many to list though it has been used to treat skin cancer, urinary tract infections, abdominal and menstrual aches as well as increase appetite according to sources cited for Chapter 13 of Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2nd edition.
Another familiar spice is cinnamon which is frequently used in Garam masala as the foundation for curries or in Western treats like Melk tart or apple pie. In ancient India, health practices used it for nausea and vomiting, lowering blood sugar levels, and to aid in indigestion, according to Dr Sharma from the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences. Note, cinnamon can trigger allergic reactions.
Other herbal remedies are ashwagandha, Boswellia, Triphala, Brahmi, cumin, liquorice root, cardamom, pineapple, garlic, amla, aloe, sandalwood, basil, peppermint, and shatavari. Altogether there are 7000 plants and 8000 remedies recorded and codified as part of Ayurveda health practices.
Ayurveda in Food
Many well-known Ayurvedic herbal medicines have frequent use in the kitchen. The Journal of Ethnic Foods in 2015 included an article that is titled Traditional and Ayurvedic Foods of Indian Origin. The authors believe that Ayurvedic herbs have such a presence in this cuisine that many traditional Indian foods can be considered ‘Ayurvedic foods’.
A lot of recipes from India aim to incorporate antioxidants, probiotics, and a range of other nutritional benefits. Diet is intrinsically linked back to Ayurveda as it views the body as a product of what people consume. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is treated as a philosophy.
Ayurveda in Modern Practices
In recent years, Ayurveda is getting more attention from the scientific community as it is found that multiple practices can be linked back to modern-day science.
One rather fascinating article, ‘Building bridges between Ayurveda and Modern Science’ was done by Sanjeev Rastogi for the International Journal of Ayurveda Research in 2010’. He found that the Ayurvedic practice of ‘Bhasma’ preparation was found to create nanoparticles. ‘Bhasma’ is the ash resulting from carefully burning varying minerals, metals, and herbs. Interestingly, the more the particles are burnt, the smaller the nanoparticle becomes.
Rastogi also mentioned a study exploring the medical applications of gold nanoparticles, here is an excerpt: “Another study found gold nano-particles (4 nm size) helped in increased apoptosis in B-Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Incidentally, CLL is an otherwise incurable disease predominantly characterized by resistance to apoptosis.” In short, the gold nanoparticles were healing Leukaemia by helping to trigger the natural death and removal of the cancer cells, even though the disease is normally unaffected by this function.
What this means is that there is some scientific evidence and a future possibility that ‘Bhasma’ preparations could merge more with the medical sphere and thus give more credit to Ayurveda. With increasing experimentation, it is seen that Ayurveda does not have to exist in isolation from modern medicine but can be used in conjunction with it.
Where can you get Ayurvedic Treatment?
Ayurvedic Practitioners are common in India and there is a growing number of practitioners all over the world including South Africa. Professionals had to have gone through formal educational training to achieve the title of Ayurvedic Practitioner.
Training for Ayurveda
Outside of the medical world, signs are all around that Ayurveda is becoming a more accepted and recognised practice. Ayurveda is gaining popularity due in part to the yoga boom as well as increasing interest in spiritual practices and of course globalisation. Education in this ancient medicine is becoming widespread as schools are currently operating in many countries besides India including Japan, Nepal, The Netherlands, Italy, Australia, and parts of the USA according to The Association of Ayurvedic Professionals UK.
Additionally, there is the option of distance learning for those who can’t attend in-person classes. Multiple institutions, like the California College of Ayurveda, offer online courses for international students.
Ayurveda in South Africa
Unfortunately, education is not facilitated in South Africa and interested parties would either have to study overseas or take an online course.
SAHPRA, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, categorises Ayurveda herbal medicines under Complementary Medicines as per the 2013 amendments to Act 101 of 1965. Other medicines in this category are from aromatherapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy.
Related Information: What is Rasashaastra?
Rasa shastra medicines come from Ayurveda. ‘Rasa dravyaas’ are substances that originate from animal products, minerals and metals. Ayurveda holds that any substance can be used so long as the physician is mindful and judges the ingredient accordingly.
Compared to animal and herbal based remedies, minerals must be more processed to be safe for consumption as well as effective in treating disease. These medicines can be somewhat controversial as even highly poisonous lead is processed into powder for its therapeutic properties.
Other metals used are gold, silver, copper, and iron. Bhasma preparation falls under Rasashaastra as well. The highly toxic mercury is also used in this area of Ayurveda, the idea is that mercury exhibits unique properties that can enhance the therapeutic value of other substances that it is combined with.
It is said that mercury was the inspiration for the Bhasma preparation as scientists of Ayurveda watched the fluidity of mercury and attributed its effectiveness as a treatment to this property. It should be noted that mercury goes through intensive processes to be deemed safer by Ayurvedic practitioners.
Ayurvedic Products Available in Store
Organic Choice stocks a range of natural medicines some of which stem from Ayurveda. There are ashwagandha products, turmeric and amla which are well known and sought after.
Organic Choice Ayurveda products are available in powder or capsule form, as an essential oil, or enrobed in a raw-honey-sweetened chocolate for a decadent, healthy snack.
The store stocks triphala powder and boswellia herbal extract among many other products essential for maintaining good health.
Ashwagandha, haritaki, amla, gokshura, shatavari, neem and mucuna each have their unique benefits:
This is a herb renowned for its adaptogenic properties, including stress-relieving, reproductive health and memory-enhancing, as well as enhancing the immune and nervous system.
It is useful for wound healing, as a laxative and to treat fungal infections as well as heart and skin diseases.
Often used in hair products, Amla is a great source of vitamin C that can work as an antibacterial, antidiabetic and antioxidant; it can also treat jaundice.
A product renowned for boosting male fertility and libido, that helps stimulate the immune system, reduce the formation of kidney stones, control muscle spasms, prevent liver damage, and can aid in stopping tumour growth.
This the traditional female herb for balancing hormones in women and alleviating menstrual cycle pain and spasms, as well as assisting with PCOS and menopausal symptoms. It is also useful for treating disorders of the nervous system, help heal ulcers and it may even suppress AIDS symptoms.
Neem has antioxidant capabilities, can help inhibit cancerous tumours forming, is an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, may help the metabolic system, can soften skin and detox the immune system.
A herb that is often recommended for anxiety & depression, and can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. This plant poses anti-inflammatory and aphrodisiac properties and has the potential to help with treating cancer, preventing seizures and treating arthritis. Though there are a multitude of benefits for each herb, this is not a complete list and there are still many other functions.
Ayurveda is gaining recognition through globalisation, medical research, and an increase in educational opportunities surrounding this practice. Practitioners recognise the person as an individual and tailor-make their diagnoses and prescriptions. Ayurveda uses natural resources to balance a person to promote and maintain health.
Please note that everything described in this article is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. Seek professional advice from an Ayurvedic practitioner or consult your healthcare provider. Though Ayurveda products do not typically cause side effects, you should still exercise caution and discontinue usage of any product that causes discomfort. Some products could potentially trigger allergic reactions.
Organic Choice- 10/01/2022
What is Amla
Amla (Amalaki) (Phyllanthus emblica) is one of the most revered and powerful superfruits, used in Ayurveda for many generations. Amla trees grow wildly in India and their berries are filled with an abundance of nutrients, making them common ingredients for cooking recipes and medicinal potions. Amla is also known as Indian Gooseberry. The word ‘Amla’ means ‘sour’, which describes the predominant taste of the fruit, however, the actual taste of the berry is a mix of five of the six tastes (sour, bitter, pungent, astringent, and sweet). The fruit of the Amla tree is a small, yellow-green berry with a ball-like shape. Although it is called Indian Gooseberry, it is quite different than regular yellow gooseberry.
In India, the Amla tree is regarded as sacred. It is worshipped as Mother Earth or the ‘Mother’, and due to its very nourishing effect on the body, is believed to nurture humankind. It has been valued as a highly nutritious, blood purifying, and restorative fruit. And Ayurveda practitioners promote Amla as a means of balancing all three doshas – Kapha, Pitta, and Vista.
Nutritional value and health benefits of Amla
Amla is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals. It is said that Amla has 20 times more vitamin C than an orange. In fact, some sources even suggest that it may have one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C in the plant kingdom! Amla also has a significant amount of Iron, Calcium, Chromium, vitamin E, tannins, Phosphorus, and antioxidants. Its high vitamin C content helps to work wonders for hair and skin health which is reliant on vitamin C intake for the absorption and function of collagen. Good heart health is also dependent upon vitamin C as this vitamin helps to thicken and strengthen the arteries, prevent heart disease, and may even help with keeping normal cholesterol levels. There is an abundance of phytochemicals present in Amla. These nutrients, namely gallic acid, furosin, corilagin, and quercetin, assist the body in removing harmful free radicals from the body and prevent oxidative stress on a cellular level.
Amla is also rich in Chromium which is great for those with diabetes type 2. Chromium helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and improves the insulin sensitivity of the cells. This miraculous superfruit is also known for supporting healthy metabolism and digestion and aiding with elimination. Amla can improve appetite and help cleanse and protect the liver. It is important to note, however, that amla has anti-platelet properties, meaning that it can thin your blood and prevent normal blood clotting from occurring. Therefore, it is important to not take amla before surgery. If you are already on blood-thinning medication, you should discuss it with your doctor before using Amla. Amalaki is considered to be a highly esteemed rasayana (rejuvinative) for the body as a whole. This tiny but powerful fruit can help promote youthfulness, increases immunity, tonifies the whole body’s tissues, and boosts overall health.
Benefits for hair and skin
Not only is amla great for general health, but it is also perfect for improving hair and skin appearance and vitality.
If you have been struggling with hair loss, massaging your hair and scalp with amla oil (made with Amla powder and organic virgin coconut oil, or any other carrier oil) is one of the best things that you can do for your hair. Amla is literally considered a superfood for hair. Amla oil is thought to strengthen and condition follicles down to the roots. The vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients help to increase circulation in the scalp. These nutrients are also absorbed into the hair follicle which helps to provide enough oxygen and nourishment for the hair, making it stronger and decreasing hair fall. Using Amla Oil as a hair treatment acts as a conditioning agent for the hair, stimulates hair growth, combats dandruff and itchy scalp, and is even believed to prevent grey hair. Due to the high vitamin C content and prominent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Amla works wonders for reducing dandruff. Moreover, it helps in the clearing of impurities that can accumulate on the scalp and restoring optimum pH levels which aid in decreasing the itchiness of the scalp.
Amla can also be mixed with henna as its acidic nature helps to release the henna dye. The gallic acid present in amla helps to push the henna dye molecules towards an ashier tone. So, if you are looking for less copper/orange tones and instead prefer more of a reddish/brown tone, then mixing amla with henna powder will help you to achieve this.
If amla is added to a combination of henna and indigo, it will help the indigo bind with the hair more effectively. It will result in darker and much deeper brunette shades. For people with curly hair, amla works well to keep the natural curl structure. The Amla and hair dye molecules combine with the outer keratin layers of the hair, which helps to smooth frizzy, damaged hair and strengthens weak, thin strands. The result is heavier, thicker locks with looser curls. This diverse superfruit is so beneficial for the skin as well! If you mix Amla, yogurt, and honey it makes for a great face mask. This combination helps to even out skin tone and will leave it feeling tighter, smoother, and more radiant. Another effective combination is Amla powder, sugar, and Rose Water which can be used as a scrub to keep acne at bay.
Amla is a true powerhouse with versatile applications and health benefits. It is indeed the nurturer of mankind.
Buying personal care products is a fun routine for most of us. Most of us select products based on how appealing the label is, or if the brand is well-known from an advertisement, or by loving the smell of a product. We don’t bother reading the small print on the labels of skin and hair products, because we don’t think it matters for our health if the ingredients are natural or synthetic. We follow beautiful photos and enticing labels like “Ultra moisturising”, “Shiny and Thick Hair” or “Contains Organic Argan Oil” without a second thought. Why would it be important to know the ingredients in our hair care products? Well, just like when we eat food and the nutrients are absorbed into our intestines, a similar process takes place when applying products on our skin and hair – about 60% gets absorbed and goes directly to our bloodstream. If you think the ingredients in our hair products do not matter, you are wrong! Every product we use contributes to the cocktail of chemicals we get daily. If we want to take control of our health and wellbeing, we cannot continue to be ignorant and trust advertisements. We need to get educated on which ingredients to avoid and start making informed decisions about which beauty products and ranges to use. To help you get there, we’ve put together a list of the most common synthetic ingredients in hair care products with known negative side effects:
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS):
This is a common detergent and surfactant which is used in hair and skin care products. This inexpensive ingredient’s main functions are cleansing and foaming. SLS can easily penetrate the skin, moreover, it can circulate in the body for up to five days and leave residue in the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs as was discovered by the American College of Toxicology. Our skin and hair do have a protective mechanism to prevent harmful things from entering into our bloodstream, however, SLS has been found to weaken this defence mechanism by stripping the natural protective layer on both skin and hair. This harsh industrial degreaser is a known skin irritant and linked to the weakening of the hair and contributing to dry, damaged hair and hair loss.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES):
SLES is a derivative of SLS. It is made using a process called ethoxylation and is considered milder and less irritating for the skin. The problem with SLES is that it is often contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane, a by-product and known carcinogen, which is suspected of causing harm to the kidneys. Note that 1,4 Dioxane compound will not be found on the ingredients list of your shampoo or soap, as it is a by-product.
Probably one of the most ignored ingredients is fragrances, after all, why would you question it, when it is just a nice smell? Unfortunately, fragrances are highly toxic ingredients and their full chemical composition is not even disclosed due to being a trade secret. Fragrances present in hair care products are made up of more than 3000 different chemicals and can have severe adverse effects on your health. They are linked to causing liver damage, allergies, brain fog, damage to the central nervous system, obesity, asthma, contact dermatitis, organ toxicity, and even cancer.
They are synthetic ingredients used as preservatives in cosmetics, food, and pharmaceutical products. They are a cheap and very effective agent to extend the product’s shelf life and prevent mould and bacteria growth. Parabens can be derived from a chemical that occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables, for example, carrots and blueberries. This chemical is known as para-hydroxybenzoic acid. Furthermore, the human body also produces it naturally to break down amino acids. So, why is it considered a hazardous ingredient? Parabens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, as they mimic hormones, more specifically oestrogen. They have been found in breast cancer cells, and have also been linked to organ failure and reproductive damage.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG):
This is a petroleum-based chemical that is used to create a smooth creamy texture in products. It has been listed as a developmental toxicant, meaning it could interfere with human development and lead to genotoxicity, a process where chemicals interfere on a cellular level and cause genetic mutations, which in turn, lead to cancer.
Let’s move on to the next big one, hair dyes!
When we visit the hairdresser for our regular monthly appointment, to either cover up the grey hairs or for a fashionable colour change, we are adding more poison into the pot of toxins our bodies are already trying to fight off. Many women dye their hair regularly but are not at all aware of the consequences of continuous use of synthetic hair dyes. How hair dye works: Synthetic hair dyes work on a three-step process to achieve permanent results. It includes the use of ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and p-phenylenediamine. Firstly Ammonia is used to open up the cuticles of the hair (layers of hair proteins) so the dye molecules will be able to get into the hair shaft. Secondly, hydrogen peroxide or similar agents remove the existing hair colour molecules, strips the hair of its current colour, and lustre. And lastly, the new synthetic colours molecules are deposited deep into the hair shaft.
Some of the most common chemicals found in hair dye are:
Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) is a chemical most commonly found in dark hair dyes. It is derived from petroleum and is a type of coal-tar. Various chemicals form this coal-tar, namely benzene, naphthalene, aniline, phenols, and other chemicals. Even though this has been found to have adverse health effects, it is exempt from needing approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Research has found that when PPD is combined with Hydrogen Peroxide, it can be very toxic which may lead to cancer.
This is a preservative often used as a means of killing off fungi, bacteria, and yeasts. It is most commonly used in herbicides, floor waxes, copying paper, inks, latex paints, shampoos, conditioners, and other beauty products. DMDM hydantoin releases small amounts of formaldehyde the longer that it sits on the shelf.
A colour additive that has been used for a long time in hair dyes. It is a key ingredient in what is known as progressive dyes. These types of dyes are more specifically used for men. They allow for a gradual darkening of the hair over some time, but it has to be applied continuously until the desired colour is achieved. Lead acetate is a dangerous neurotoxin. This substance is made by treating litharge with acetic acid. It works by combining with the protein in the hair, which leads to the dark, black colour that can be achieved.
Toulene is an industrial solvent, also known as methylbenzene. It is a clear colourless liquid that is found naturally in crude oil and the tolu tree (tolu balsam, found in South America). The resin was used for traditional healing. Even though this solvent is found naturally, toluene itself is toxic. It has been found to cause a variety of health problems as it is a known neurotoxin, linked to birth defects, allergic reactions, and miscarriage.
A water-soluble organic compound. This white crystalline substance turns pink when exposed to light. It is most commonly used in the rubber industry for the production of tyres, as a chemical fertilisers as well as for wood bonding. This ingredient, when used in hair dyes, can cause scalp irritation and disrupt the normal function of the endocrine system.
A typical conventional hair dye contains quite a long list of ingredients similar to the below:
Creme Colourant: Aqua/Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Deceth-3, Propylene Glycol, Laureth-12, Ethanolamine, Oleth-30, Lauric Acid, Polyquaternium-6, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Metasilicate, 4-Amino-2-Hydroxytoluene, Toluene-2,5-Diamine, Hexadimethrine Chloride, Silica Dimethyl Silylate [Nano]/Silica Dimethyl Silylate, CI 77491/Iron Oxides, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Ascorbic Acid, Mica, Thiolactic Acid, Thioglycerin, 2-Methyl-5-Hydroxyethylaminophenol, Pentasodium Pentetate, Carbomer, Resorcinol, Parfum/Fragrance. (F.I.L. C22441/4). Developer Creme: Aqua/Water, Hydrogen Peroxide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stannate, Trideceth-2 Carboxamide Mea, Pentasodium Pentetate, Phosphoric Acid, Ceteareth-25, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Glycerin. (F.I.L. C11321/9). Shine Enhancing Conditioner With Royal Jelly: Aqua/Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, PEG-180, Amodimethicone, Cetyl Esters, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Trideceth-6, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Amyl Cinnamal, Royal Jelly, Parfum/Fragrance. (F.I.L. C45510/1).
The ingredients above are difficult to read and pronounce. It feels like one needs to have a degree in Chemistry to understand what they are exactly. For comparison, natural hair colour will contain only one ingredient, such as pure Henna or pure Indigo powder or a combination of plant and herbal ingredients and perhaps an essential oil or vitamin extract. Here is an ingredients list for a 100% pure herbal hair colour product:
Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Leaf Powder, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) root powder, Juglans Regia (Walnut) shell powder, Indigofera Tinctoria (Indigo) leaf powder, Indigofera Argentea (Indigo) leaf powder, Algin, Hydrolized Wheat Protein, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Parfume (Essential oils)
Which one will you choose? The more information we have the easier and more educated our choice will be. It is not just about quick results and fashion, it is about our health and longevity. So, what can we do to hide grey hair without compromising our health?
Luckily, nature provides the answers once again. Herbs and other plants have been used for generations for dying hair and fabrics without causing negative side effects. Those safe, natural, and effective ingredients have some limitations, but they certainly won’t cause harm to our skin, hair, and overall health.
Pure Henna and Indigo powder:
Henna and Indigo have both been used for centuries for dying hair and body paint art. Indigo is also used for dying fabric blue, and henna can be used medicinally for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Henna a well-known herb used in India and has been used for body art for over 5000 years. Henna helps to seal the hair cuticle and make it stronger, which helps to prevent hair breakage and split ends. It protects the hair from environmental damage and balances the hair pH and oiliness of the hair. Henna will not lighten hair, for those with dark hair, it will add reddish highlights, brown hair will turn to a deep auburn, and blond/ light hair will go red or orange.
Indigo is of the oldest forms of hair dye. It made by squashing the leaves of the Indigofera plant. When it is used as a dye, it leaves the hair with a dark blue tinge. The powder is green in colour. If you wish to dye your hair black, henna has to be used first as a base and then rinsed, then indigo must be applied. Indigo used to be referred to as “blue gold” as it was an expensive and rare commodity. It helps to support hair growth and may add volume to your locks. Indigo may also help to reduce dandruff and add a beautiful natural shine to your hair. Henna and Indigo can be used separately or mixed.
Some other natural products that you can use for hair masks or just everyday hair care:
Almond oil has wonderful nourishing and moisturising properties. This nut oil is rich in vitamin E, Vitamin A, Zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. Massage almond oil into your hair and scalp, as this can help to reduce itchiness, dryness, breakage, and split ends. Due to its extremely hydrating nature, massaging almond oil into the scalp helps to loosen dead skin cells, which will then be washed out once you shower. You can apply the almond oil to your scalp an hour before you shower, or you can leave it in overnight for even better results. Just remember that if you keep it overnight, you may want to put your hair in a plastic covering to prevent your pillow from becoming oily.
We all know that cacao butter makes up one of the most delicious foods on the planet, i.e., chocolate! But did you know that you can also use this for your hair? Cacao butter has amazing properties that can help to heal and soften your hair. It is especially great for those with curly or frizzy hair, but it has a wide variety of benefits for hair health overall. It strengthens the hair shaft, gives volume and strength to fine hair, and may help prevent hair loss due to breakage just to name a few. When you use cacao butter, make sure to heat it before you use it as it solidifies at room temperature, which is also why you should not leave it in your hair for more than 10-15 minutes. You can also use it as a conditioner, however, it is recommended that you only apply it to the ends of your hair, because otherwise, it could give your hair a weighed-down appearance.
You have probably heard about the many uses for coconut oil a variety of times, but we can’t leave it out. It has a diverse number of benefits for the hair because it is rich in lauric acid, medium-chain fatty acids, and has antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil can help to moisturise hair, protect it against protein loss, support hair growth, and fight infections and fungus. Researchers found that due to the lauric acid content of coconut oil, applying it to your hair can help reduce protein loss due to its high affinity for hair proteins and low molecular weight, which helps it to penetrate the hair shaft. A hair mask with coconut oil and few drops of tee tree oil is considered one of the most efficient natural anti-dandruff treatments.
Jojoba oil is a magnificent oil to use for hair and skin! The oil is a liquid plant wax, derived from the seed of the Jojoba plant (Simmondsia chinensis). It is most commonly used to treat psoriasis, sunburn, and chapped skin, but it is also popular for hair because of its ability to unclog hair follicles and encourage hair regrowth. Jojoba oil is very rich in vitamin E and vitamin B which are essential vitamins for healthy hair. The oil also helps to restore moisture to the hair, recover split ends, getting rid of dandruff, and improving hair texture. For those of us who struggle with frizzy hair, jojoba is great at calming the frizz naturally. Simply add a bit of oil to your brush and comb through your hair for soft shiny more-manageable hair.
There are a variety of essential oils that can be used for hair instead of conventional hair care products, which most often contain harmful chemicals. You have to combine them with a carrier oil or add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner.
Cedarwood essential oil is extracted from the wood of the cedarwood tree and is often used in hair products due to its ability to encourage hair growth. When mixed with a carrier the oil can be massaged into the scalp to help promote circulation which in turn stimulates hair follicles and increases hair growth. Cedarwood essential will also calm an itchy scalp and helps remove flaky skin, making it a perfect remedy for dandruff.
Most of us would know chamomile as a tea, but there is also a chamomile essential oil. The essential oil is great for adding softness and shine to your hair. To lighten your hair, combine about 5 drops of chamomile essential oil with one tablespoon of sea salt, 1/3 of a cup of baking soda, and warm water to create a paste. Apply the paste to your hair, massaging it into the scalp and base of the hair. Leave in for half an hour then rinse. No bleach needed! If you want the effect to be a bit stronger, you can also sit out in the sun.
This very well-known essential oil has got very prominent hair growth-promoting effects. A 2016 study found that lavender essential oil was able to significantly increase the number of hair follicles, as well as thicken the thermal layer. This fragrant oil can help to reduce dandruff, get rid of fungal or bacterial issues, and also restore dry skin and hair.
Just like lavender essential oil, clary sage contains an ester called linalyl acetate which helps to reduce skin inflammation and helps to promote hair growth and thickness. Clary sage combines well with jojoba oil to help regulate oil production from the skin, which can aid in reducing any flakiness that could potentially lead to dandruff.
Lemongrass essential oil works wonderfully for soothing an irritated scalp along with strengthening hair follicles. It may also be used as part of natural dandruff treatment.
The powerful antiseptic properties of peppermint essential oil make it ideal for helping to treat dandruff and lice. It may promote hair growth and decrease inflammation. Few drops of Peppermint can be added to your shampoo or conditioner for a refreshing morning experience.
Rosemary essential oil is another infamous oil for promoting and stimulating hair growth and thickness. It is said to help with slowing down the greying process, reducing dandruff, treating dry scalp, and preventing baldness. Rosemary oil can be mixed with olive oil or coconut oil and applied to hair then rinsed out with shampoo. The treatment should be done about twice a week for maximum results.
This essential oil is perfect for those who struggle with dry scalp. People with oily hair should avoid using it. The Ylang-Ylang essential oil has been found to revitalise sebum production. The lack of sebum production can lead to dry and brittle hair. By using ylang-ylang, you would be able to revive texture and diminish hair breakage.
Remember to be aware of what you are putting onto your body, and subsequently, into your body. The skin is our biggest organ, and 60% of what you put onto your skin and hair will be absorbed straight into your bloodstream. With so many natural options, it is easy to treat your hair with love and care, avoid the conventional products containing toxic, harsh chemicals and nourish it with natural and organic products. You will feel and see the difference!
In the modern world we are constantly exposed to various toxins – from consumption of highly-processed foods containing synthetic additives to environmental toxins, prescription medications and, cleaning and beauty products we use daily. The cocktail of chemicals we receive daily is causing an overload on our body’s detoxification systems and organs and leads to disruptions in proper functions and development of diseases.
Our bodies have amazing abilities to detoxify and our overall wellbeing depends on how well these detoxification processes work. The liver is one of the most important organs responsible for detoxification. It works tirelessly to remove toxins from our body, to detoxify the blood, to produce the bile that is needed to digest fat, to store essential vitamins, minerals, and iron as well as to break down hormones.
When the liver functions are compromised, we struggle to digest food correctly (specifically fats), don’t have energy, feel tired, and sleepy.
Factors such as:
- Heavy alcohol abuse
- Low potassium levels
- Intravenous drug usage
- Obesity, or a diet high in saturated fats/ processed foods
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Prescription medications
- Autoimmune diseases
- Viral infections
All of these listed above may cause severe stress on the liver and disruption of its normal functions.
There are also various signs and symptoms that can give an indication that your liver isn’t functioning optimally:
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Bloating and gas
- Inability to lose weight
- Moodiness, anxiety, or depression
- Chronic fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Skin or eyes that are yellowish
- Dark urine
- Bruise easily
- Excessive sweating
- Poor appetite
Cleansing your liver is extremely important.
Did you know that the average woman living in the Western world puts over 500 different chemicals into her body daily through the beauty products she uses and around 60% of those are absorbed through the skin, hair, and nails? Even though men use fewer products, they are still putting around 85 different chemicals into their bodies each day. That is separate from the chemicals and toxins that our body absorbs from the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the cleaning products that we use in our homes and offices, from paint, fire retardants, non-stock cooking ware, medicines, vaccines, etc. Our liver needs regular detox to be able to cope with the gigantic task of keeping our body clean of toxins. Luckily, for us, Nature provides plants and herbs that are very beneficial for boosting liver function as well as helping to detoxify this important organ. Some of those plants, such as Milk Thistle and Dandelion, we consider weeds. They grow in different climates and many countries, including in our back gardens.
Milk thistle (Onopordum acanthium), also known as Cotton thistle and Scotch thistle, is native to Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. The plant’s upper stem, leaves, flowers, and seeds have been used for over 2000 years for medicinal purposes such as improving libido, skin health, and weight loss. It has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is especially beneficial for improving liver health. This healing herb acts as a powerful liver cleanser, aids in removing toxins from the body that are not processed by the liver, assists in liver regeneration, and help to reduce liver damage.
Keeping our liver health is vital for staying healthy in general. The liver is the largest internal organ that is in charge of various detoxifying functions. It performs about 500 functions in the body, including hormone production, releasing sugar into the bloodstream, secreting bile into the small intestine for the absorption of fat, and more. Traditional medicinal practices have been prescribing Milk Thistle concoctions for treating alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver, toxin-induced liver diseases, and acute and chronic viral hepatitis. The active ingredient in the plant, Silymarin, has a strong antioxidant effect and is shown to help with reversing toxicity in the liver and body.
Additionally, milk thistle has also been found to help with a variety of other health issues:
- May help to reduce the risk of cancer development.
- May aid in lowering high cholesterol
- Could help to prevent or control diabetes
- May help to prevent gallstones
- May have anti-aging effects
The plant that most people know to be a horrible pesky weed, or as one that they can use to make wishes, actually has great medicinal properties. Dandelions, Taraxacum officinale, have a deep-rooted history in traditional medicine, which has been traced back to 659 B.C. in ancient China. Dandelion root was traditionally used to help heal the liver, as well as to promote better digestion. The plant is rich in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. The high amounts of antioxidants present in this plant are promoting proper liver functions including bile production and flow.
This common garden weed is also often recommended for various other health issues:
- help promote skin health
- stimulate digestive tract functions
- help strengthen bones, because of the high amount of vitamin K present
- prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria due to its powerful antimicrobial properties
- assist the body’s ability to lower cholesterol
- has anti-cancer properties
Both milk thistle and dandelion are plant powerhouses, with great antioxidant properties that are so beneficial for your liver as well as your overall health. Dandelion and milk thistle can come in the form of a tea, tincture, or capsule supplement. Keep in mind milk thistle and dandelion are very potent plants. To avoid any possible interaction with medications or supplements that you already take, make sure that you consult with your health care practitioner prior to using them. Taking these two plants or herbal supplements can help improve your liver function, but to see improvement in your health a dietary change is vital. Avoiding foods that are increasing the strain on your liver and including foods that are stimulating and nourishing for the liver and the body.
Foods that support liver function:
1.Raw vegetable juice
The easiest way to get in the nutrients that you need to cleanse the liver from veggies is by juicing them. Juicing the vegetables makes them easier to digest and also allows for better absorption. The best vegetables to use when doing a liver cleanse are cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. These veggies help to regulate the body’s pH level. You can also add your favourite green veggies, or you can add carrots, and beetroot to make it more enjoyable.
Did you know that carrots are great for detoxing the liver because the beta carotene that is present in carrots gets converted to vitamin A? This helps to get rid of toxins in the body as well as help reduce fat in the liver.
3. Foods rich in potassium
Getting your daily dose of potassium is important for reducing systolic blood pressure, supporting a healthy cardiovascular system, and cleansing the liver. Some foods that are rich in potassium are sweet potatoes, organic tomato sauces/ purees, spinach, white beans, lima beans, blackstrap molasses, and bananas.
Turmeric has a variety of health benefits; it is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. But it also helps aid in digestion and it supports healthy liver tissue and metabolism.
Foods to avoid when your liver is compromised or for better liver health:
- Excessive alcohol and caffeine.
- Fruits and vegetables that have been excessively sprayed with pesticides.
- Foods that are made with hydrogenated oils, refined vegetable oils, as well as artificial sweeteners or ingredients.
- Refined grains such as white bread, white rice, and white flour to name a few.
- Snacks, foods, and drinks that are filled with sugar
- Processed meats such as deli meats or cold cut meats which contain nitrates
- Dairy that has been pasteurised and homogenised, farm-factory meat and fish.
Your liver health is extremely important, so treat it with love and care and support it with good nutritious food!
Artemisia plant has been known for hundreds of years as a traditional medicine across the globe. In European cultures, it has been recommended for boosting appetite and improving digestive disorders, while in African countries it is used as a natural anti-malaria supplement. The plant has been researched quite well with many clinical trials verifying its beneficial properties, such as improving diversity of gut microbiome and helping combat Malaria.
This aromatic perennial herb is found in almost every part of the world, including Africa, Asia, and Europe. The plant has greyish-green feathery leaves and bears small cream-coloured flowers in summer. It forms part of the daisy family and has over 400 species. The most known types of Artemisia are Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood), Artemisia cina and Artemisia argyi (used in Tradititonal Chinese Medicine).
Artemisia varieties native to South Africa are Artemisia afro and Artemisia annua.
Artemisia is also known as Wormwood (English), Wilde Als (Afrikaans) and Lengana (Tswana and Southern Sotho) and mhlonyane (isiZulu).
The leaves, stems, and flowers of the wormwood plant all have very powerful medicinal properties and can be used fresh or dried, often made into teas to help with a variety of illnesses.
The sudden spike of interest about the medicinal properties of Artemisia happened after the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, promoted in April 2020 a new natural supplement as a possible treatment for the latest worldwide-spread viral outbreak. The news about this locally produced herbal supplement went viral and Artemisia became a star herb overnight.
For the average reader the information available on the web is confusing – some sources claim Artemisia is a cure for many infections including viral, others say it has no health benefits whatsoever. We’ve been following the heated arguments between those who promote natural means and the modern medicine practitioners in regards to the benefits of Artemisia and below is a short summary of possible health benefits this fascinating plant provides:
Recommended for treating cold, cough and fevers:
Artemisia has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine and for treating fever, cold and coughs. The plant is rich in polysaccharides, glycans and inulin, which are shown in laboratory trials to protect from enteric and systemic pathogens.
Effective treatment for Malaria:
Artemisinin, an active compound found in Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood), is known to be one of the strongest natural anti-malarial agent, recognised and recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO). This bioactive ingredient was first isolated by Chinese researchers is 1972 and even since it is considered the most effective drug in treating cerebral malaria and chloroquine resistant falciparum malaria.
Powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties:
Wormwood essential oil has been found to exhibit promising anti-microbial and ant-ifungal capabilities. The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has research that shows that wormwood essential oil has strong antimicrobial effects on various bacterial strains including E. coli and salmonella.
Moreover, along with its antimicrobial properties, it has also got powerful anti-fungal abilities. The oil that is extracted from Artemisia absinthium was found to hinder the growth of a wide variety of fungi.
Effective against SIBO and Crohn’s disease:
Wormwood tea and capsules are potentially very helpful in fighting against small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) symptoms.
A study that was conducted in Germany on 40 patients that were on steroids for Crohn’s disease, was given herbal blend containing 500 milligrams of wormwood. The steroids were maintained up until week two and then after that, they were slowly decreased until zero steroids were taken by the 10th week. Steady improvement was found in 18 of the patients with Crohn’s disease despite the decrease in steroids.
Wormwood was found to be effective in decreasing or removing the need for steroids in Crohn’s disease patients. It was also found that wormwood helped to improve mood and overall quality of life in the patients.
Anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties:
Artemisinin is thought to inhibit cytokines and prevent cytokines storm which in turn helps the immune system from overload.
Wormwood is said to be effective for removing intestinal worms such as pinworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. A study, done in 2018, found that Wormwood effectively caused worm paralysis, death, and ultrastructural alterations.
The anti-viral properties of Artemisia have been researched for the past few months and official results are pending.
Artemisia is a plant with versatile health benefits and can be taken as a tea, extract, tinctures, and even in skin ointments.
Please, note that Artemisia is a very potent plant and it must be used with caution. Consult your health practitioner if not sure or if you have an existing health condition.
Organic Choice stocks herbal powders, tinctures and extracts from locally grown Artemisia plant varieties by Proudly South African brands.
Neogenesis range includes capsules and tinctures in highly concentrated form. Their Lamaria capsules are full spectrum 100% yeald extracts of Artemisia annua, 4 times stronger than industry extracts; and are alkalized with 90 ionic trace minerals and Fulvic Acid. The tinctures are made with the freshest organically grown, wild-crafted herbs and are
Meridian Herbs uses their own organically grown herbs. Their capsules contain a pure powdered form of Lengana (Artemisia Afra).
Disclaimer: We make no claims to the effectiveness of Artemisia in the treatment of viral infections. Research is still underway to investigate its efficacy and there is currently no scientifically proven treatment. Artemisia is not a proven cure or treatment for COVID-19 and has not been evaluated as such by WHO.
Madagascar’s president promotes unproven herbal cure for COVID-19
Gigartina Red Marine Algae is a type of seaweed which has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine 300 B.C as a nutritious source of food and for treating medical conditions.
Algae comes in a wide range of colours, from blue-green, to brown, to red and is one the most ancient species of plant-like organisms, which can be traced back to the Jurassic period.
Algae plays a role in producing oxygen and provide the base for the oceanic food pyramid.
There are over 4000 species of red algae that have been classified by scientist to this date. Gigartina is one of the most beneficial and potent types available. It is said to have 20 times more mineral content than plants that grow on land.
Benefits of Red Algae
- Immune Boosting and Anti-Viral Properties.
The strain, Gigartina skottsbergii, is a rare type of red marine algae containing the highest number of sulphated polysaccharides found in sea plants. Sulfated polysaccharides are unique protein-bound carbohydrates (complex sugars that contain sulphur) that stimulate body’s immune response to bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins. Human clinical trials indicate the sulfated polysaccharides in Gigartina may help to improve immune function, help counter viruses such as herpes, shingles, HIV and influenza and may reduce the number of viral attacks and their severity. Scientific evidence suggests that Gigartina red algae may interfere with virus’s ability to attach to a host cell. A study conducted in 2009 in New Zealand had found that Gigartina marine algae was effective in preventing the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) from infecting the body. This was due to the presence of the sulphate polysaccharides. Gigartina also contains Carrageenan, another active component with strong anti-viral and immune boosting properties.
- Support healthy gut.
The sulphated polysaccharides can benefit the growth of good bacteria in your gut, which help improve your overall gut health, such as improving nutrient absorption, immune function, and inflammation just to name a few.
- Rich in essential trace minerals and Iodine
Red algae are a very good source of protein, minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium, vitamins such as A and B12, and fibres. Gigartina red algae has also been found to be high in natural form of Iodine, which is may help with thyroid-related issues.
- Support eye health and prevent eye degeneration
It is also one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants, which help to protect our bodies from damage from free radicals. The antioxidants Zeaxanthin and Lutein present in red algae also provide a natural support for eye health and help to prevent macular degeneration.
- Anti-inflammatory and pain relief
Omega 3 Fatty Acid and Chlorophil are compounds found in Gigartina and other algae, which provide anti-inflammatory, gastro-protective and analgesic properties. Studies suggest Gigartina may help with improving gastric ulcer conditions.
- Great for skin, hair and nails health
Red marine algae are believed to help with skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, herpes and promote healthy skin, hair and nails. The Astaxanthin content has been proven to have natural UV protection effect, neutralizes free radicals and have overall anti-aging effect on skin.
- Preventing anxiety and depression
Another great health benefit is that Gigartina is a very rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for helping to regulate mood, preventing anxiety and depression, and can aid in enhancing cognitive function.
- Good for heart support and cardio-vascular system
Gigartina is recommended for athletes and people who do lots of physical activities as it is a good source of Magnesium – a mineral essential for over 300 functions in the body including cardiovascular system and muscles performance and tone.
It is important to note that algae supplements can interact negatively with immunosuppressing medications as well as medications that slow blood clotting.
Vibrant Health offers a rare supplement with pure Red Algae extract, Gigartina. This potent natural product features 1000mg with Gigartina skottsbergii extract conveniently packed in a capsule form.
Another Vibrant Health product containing Red Marine Algae extract is their Immune Defense featuring 50ml with Red Algae extrac blended with few herbal and natural compounds for a intestinal immune function support and protection against harmful patogens.