RSL Ingredient Dictionary provides a comprehensive ingredient profile to help our customers understand some of the ingredients that are being used in their skin care products. RSL sources the highest quality ingredients for the integrity of our formulations. We are in relationship with our vendors and their particular growing methods, practices, and systems. We support sustainable practices whenever possible and we are proud to have over 160 of our certified organic active ingredients grown and harvested locally in Oregon. If there is an ingredient that you would like to know more about than what we have provided on these pages, using the search engine Google can provide endless information for you on specific ingredients that you are researching.
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer Salts or esters of acrylic acid used as thickening ingredients.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)- Nutritive tonic, restorative tonic, diuretic, anti anemic, anti hemorrhagic, anti rheumatic. In the Middle East, Alfalfa is known as the father of all herbs." The leaves of this herb contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, leading to its widespread therapeutic use concerning a variety of skin disorders. It is an ideal herb for treating inflammatory conditions, especially those associated with aging. Various arthritic and rheumatic conditions benefit from the use of Alfalfa, including lower back ache. Alfalfa is also a natural deodorizer, as well as an infection fighter due to its high content of vitamin A.
Algae Extract- Algae extract is a botanical extract of various species of algae. Algae extract is known to benefit the health of both the hair and skin. Its water-binding properties support moisture retention and it is brimming with essential nutrients and vital trace elements including Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Copper, Silicon, and Vitamin A amongst others. It also contains amino acids, which nourish the skin and hair, supporting structure and luster. Algae Extract is believed to inhibit the breakdown of collagen, which leads to an increased quantity of collagen in the skin and therefor diminished signs of aging. It is also used for hair to prevent hair loss, strengthen and thicken hair, restore shine and condition.
Allantoin- Allantoin is a healing, moisturizing, soothing and anti-irritating, keratolytic and non-toxic agent useful in dermatological, cosmetic and veterinary preparation. Allantoin is a valuable cell-proliferating healing agent which stimulates healthy tissue formation. Allantoin has a pronounced keratolytic and skin softening action, acts as chemical debrider of necrotic and scaling tissue, clearing up the areas where applied. Allantoin is effective at quite low concentrations, 0.1% up to 2%. As natural component, Allantoin is found in wheat germ, rice polishings, confrey roots, in the earth-worm and as organic component of many soils.
Almond Butter- Prunus Amygdalus- Derived from sweet almonds specifically from the Mediterranean area. Cold processed. Moisturizing, full of minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Almond meal-Prunus Amygdalus- Exfoliant; used as an abrasive for exfoliation. These are usually pulverized and blanched almonds.
Organic Aloe Vera-Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice- Botanical, moisturizer, skin protectant, humectant. A member of the South African aloe plant leaf, usually a juice, containing water, amino acids and carbohydrates, used as a moisturizer, stabilizer, and light tonic for the skin.
Alpha Hydroxy-Glycolic Acid- AHA Anti-aging, antioxidant; fruit based. Is sometimes combined with phospholipids and Acidophilus. Skin cell renewal and cell shedding. Glycolic Acid is found in simple sugars. Glycolic Acid works by dissolving the intercellular cement responsible for abnormal keratinization (discoloration of the skin), improving skin hydration by enhanced moisture uptake, binding water to the stratum corneum.
Alpha Lipoic Acid- antioxidant; Anti-aging applications have been noted due to its antioxidant nature. A popular new ingredient for skin crmes. Helps to smooth fine lines in mature skin. Accelerates the sloughing off of dead skin, diminishing the signs of actinic keratosis (discoloration of the skin). Skin cell renewal and cell shedding.
Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi Leaf Extract- Also known as Bearberry Extract, this natural skin lightener works by reducing melanin production. By inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for the formation of melanin in the skin, Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi Leaf Extract is effective for lightening age spots and evening skin tone for an uniform, bright complexion.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)- Adaptogen, alterative, aphrodisiac, cell proliferant, demulcent, rejuvenative. Ginsengs botanical name, Panax, is derived from the Greek word panacea, which means all healing. Ginseng is well known as a super cosmetic, and is especially popular in places like Hollywood. It is an absolutely wonderful skin conditioner, cleanser, and restorative. It also acts on free radicals in the body, thus slowing down the effects of aging. American Ginseng was valued by the Native Americans long before the Europeans discovered it. In the 1700s the Jesuits began exporting it to China, where it gained the universal acclaim it still has today.
Ammonium Laurel Sulfate- A naturally derived surfactant from coconut. It is primarily used as a cleansing agent and is considered gentle and effective.
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate- A naturally derived surfactant from coconut. It is primarily used as a cleansing agent and is considered gentle and effective.
Amodimethicone- This is being used more often by chemists as conditioning agents in hair product formulations. It is popular because of its ease of use in processing and manufacturing products as well as for their many benefits to the hair. Amodimethicone is an abbreviation of amine-functionalized silicone, which is a family of silicones modified to have specific properties. The simplest, and perhaps most well-known silicone, polydimethylsiloxane (dimethicone, by INCI naming standards), consists of methyl groups (-CH3) as the pendant group along the backbone of the polymer chain (Figure 1). Amine-functionalized silicones have been chemically modified so that some of the pendant groups along the backbone have been replaced with various alkylamine groups (-R-NH2). These amine groups become positively charged in aqueous solutions because of their electron-donating (basic) tendencies, yielding an inorganic, cationic polymer.[i] These inorganic cationic polymers deposit onto the hair because of the electrostatic attraction between the polymer and the negatively-charged protein surface of the cuticle. In this manner, they behave much like polyquaternium materials (organic cationic polymers), which are excellent conditioning agents as well. The charge density of the polymer can be varied by changing the placement and quantity of the amine groups. A polymer with greater charge density will be more substantive to the hair than one with lesser charge density. One interesting property of these polymers is that they provide selective conditioning to the areas most in need of it. The mechanism by which they accomplish this is, again, electrostatic attraction. Highly damaged areas of the hair cuticle possess higher negative charge density, which enhances the affinity of the cationic polymer to that specific area. These polymers can provide a targeted beneficial effect. Once the amine-functional silicone is deposited onto the surface of the hair, it spreads out and forms a cross linked film when it dries. This cross linked film can last through several washings, which is considered to be advantageous in most applications. A unique property of these polymers is that once in place on the surface of the hair, they repel further deposition of amine-functional polymers on top of the existing layer, preventing buildup. This cross-linked film seals moisture inside the hair shaft, holding the cuticle flat and providing excellent wet and dry comb-ability. An additional benefit of these silicones over other cationic polymers (such as polyquats) is their high refractive index, which gives the hair a high degree of gloss and shine. Silicones, including amodimethicone, also protect from thermal damage resulting from styling tools, such as hot rollers, curling irons, and blow dryers. This phenomenon is due to their very low thermal conductivity much lower than water, glycerin, or mineral oil. This reduces heat transfer through the hair surface to the cortex of the hair. Very high temperatures found when styling or processing hair (sometimes as high as 100C to 160C) are capable of vaporizing water contained within the cortex. It is extremely important to maintain proper hydration of the hair because water has a very high specific heat which helps protect the hair from getting too hot. Hair that reaches too high temperatures can suffer permanent damage to the delicate keratin fibrils in the cortex. A protective layer of amodimethicone on the surface can help prevent or reduce damage done in this .Amodimethicone and other similarly modified silicone polymers are considered to be among the best high-performance conditioning polymers currently available to the hair-care product formulator. They provide many unique benefits, including the following: o Deep conditioning o Targeted conditioning to areas of particularly damaged hair o Protect from thermal damage o Increase color retention o Resist build up o Impart gloss and shine o These modified silicones seem to be of particular benefit for those of us with damaged hair, permanently colored hair or those concerned about the buildup of conditioning agents.
Angelica (A. atropurpurea)- Aromatic, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant. During the time of the great plague, a monk said he was told by an angel in his dreams that Angelica would cure the plague. Today, Angelica is best known for its stimulating effects on the digestive system. Angelica is also used to clean wounds, as it aids in the healing process.
Anise (Pimpinella anisum)- Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Pectoral, Stimulant. Anise was used by the Romans primarily as a flavoring for cakes and other food items. Hypocrites used the herb for coughs, and later in history a Roman scholar recommended chewing Anise in the morning to remove unpleasant odors from the mouth. It is still recommended for this use today.
Apricot Kernel oil-Prunus Armeniaca- Emollient/moisturizer. A natural nut/vegetable oil pressed from the kernel of the apricot, for penetrating and softening. Non-greasy feel. High content of Vitamin E. Some claim it can aid the skin in retaining elasticity and suppleness. Is a triglyceride containing oleic and linoleic acid. Another natural replacement for mineral oil. Used by the Hunza people for millennia, contributing to their being the healthiest and longest living people in the world. Mimics the skins natural sebum and is readily absorbed into skin. A great carrier oil as well.
Arnica (Arnica Montana)- Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Analgesic, Antiecchymotic. Traditionally used for the external treatment of sprains, bruises, swelling, muscle pain, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, inflammations, and rheumatic complaints. Arnica can also be used to treat athletes foot, as well as stimulate hair growth. It is said the Goethe, the German writer, poet, and scientist would ask for arnica tea in his old age due to anginal pain he experienced as a result of coronary arteriosclerosis. Arnica grows wild in alpine meadows, and can be easily identified by its brightly colored yellow-orange flowers.
Arrowroot-Maranta Arudinacea- Botanical/Absorbent. Named by the Indians as it was used for healing wounds caused by arrows. Its chemical makeup is one of a starch. Ascorbic acid- Antioxidant; Vitamin C preservative. A chemical component of Vitamin C and free radical fighter. Can be used to lessen skin pigmentation. Is found in fruits and vegetables. Essential for the production of collagen in the skin.
Artemisia Annua (Artemisia Annua)- Although native to China, Artemisia Annua has been naturalized throughout the world. In ancient times it was used by Chinese herbalists to treat fevers. It is also used in tropical regions as an anti-parasitic, particularly to prevent parasite resistance in the case of malaria. It has also been shown to have some anti-cancer properties.
Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus)- Hepatic, biliary fluidifying, cholagogic, diuretic, anti-rheumatic. The artichoke originates from the Mediterranean area, where it grows wild on the island of Crete. It has long been traditionally used as a liver detoxifier, as well as an aid for those with digestive weaknesses and constipation. It is also effective in treating dandruff when used topically, as well as rashes of the skin.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)- Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, stress-reducer, invigorating. A traditional Ayurvedic herb, Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in India to treat various cerebral disorders, including memory loss. Although it has many calming properties, it is also used to promote sexual vitality. This herb is also very good for the skin due to its very high antioxidant content, and has been found to make an effective facial toner.
Astragalus (A. membranaceus)- Adaptive, antibacterial, anhydrotic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, diuretic, immunostimulant, tonic. Astragalus is rich is polysaccharides, and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an adaptogen for thousands of years. It promotes the healing of damaged tissues, and medical studies have shown it to have anti-carcinogenic effects. This herb also increases the strength of T-cells, and studies have shown that cancer patients who opted to use this herb while undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation lived twice as long as those who didnt supplement with Astragalus. It also improves urine flow, blood circulation, and decreases toxicity of the liver.
Avocado Oil-Persea Gratissima- This ultra rich organic oil is a delightful treasure containing high amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E. Also contains amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin, and other essential fatty acids. Highly prized to those with skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments and our variety makes a lovely salad oil for dressings and condiments. Highly recommended to those with sensitive skin, problem skin and other irritations that require vitamin rich oil. Anti-irritant; emollient; moisturizer. Has cleansing applications as well as a moisturizing carrier oil.
Baking soda-Bicarbonate of Soda- an absorbent/topical that relieves itching, and burns. Sometimes used for insect bites.
Bamboo Fibers- High silica content bamboo fibers come from renewable plants and do not tax the earths eco system with over harvesting. Add them to scrubs, exfoliating washes, and masques.
Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)- Antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, deobstruent, emetic, febrifuge, insecticide, stimulant, tonic. Bayberry has been found to be especially useful in the treatment of various female problems, especially excessive menstruation. It is a strong skin cleanser and healer, and is good for treating ulcerated sores. In India, a combination of Bayberry and Ginger is used to combat the effects of cholera. It also aids in digestion, nutrition, blood building, blood circulation, and the healing of cuts, ulcers, bruises and insect bites.
Beeswax- Emollient. A wax produced by bees, used as a wax base or for smoothing the skin.
Bentonite- Porous clay from volcanic ash. Is used in facial masks as an absorbent, also as an emulsifier, thickener, and stabilizer. Bentonite is considered noncomedogenic. It is a colloidal aluminum silicate clay.
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)- Antirheumatic, antispasmodic, estrogenic, uterine tonic. Black Cohosh is native to North America where it was used to treat snake bites, including that of the rattlesnake. Its name, Cimicifuga means to chase insects away, and it has been used accordingly. Black Cohosh has also been proven useful for those who suffer allergies to bee stings. The early American colonists used it to treat yellow fever, malaria, nervous disorders, bronchitis and dropsy. It is a useful tonic for the central nervous system, and is effective in relieving all different sorts of inflammatory conditions, making it ideal for skin disorders. Recently it has become a popular treatment in Germany for menopausal symptoms, but it is important to note that the plant has been employed to treat feminine issues for decades. Traditionally, Black Cohosh has been used to treat arthritis and rheumatism, as well as tinnitus, sciatica, whooping cough, and conditions that require reduction in LH levels, such as cyst formation.
Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)- Antispasmodic, uterine tonic, nervine, anti-dysentery. Black Haw is similar to Black Cohosh in that it too is effective in relieving menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, and nervousness. The Native Americans also used it as a way of preventing miscarriages. Black Haw contains salicin, which is the compound in aspirin responsible for relieving pain and inflammation. It is also rich in steroidal saponins, which serve as the raw material for the production of hormones by the liver.
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)- Anthelmintic, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, insecticide, vermifuge. Black Walnut is probably best known for its antiparasitic effects, and has traditionally been used to expel worms from the intestines. The American Indians used it as a natural laxative, and for many centuries the Europeans used it as a laxative and as a treatment for skin ailments, especially herpes and eczema. Black Walnut is thought to be a good remedy for bad blood diseases such as syphilis and Diphtheria. It is also useful in the treatment of acne, dandruff, mouth sores of various kinds, hemorrhoids, cold sores, and for cleaning the teeth.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosis)- Bladderwrack is a seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the western Baltic Sea. It was discovered in 1811 and is the original source of iodine. Thus, it was used to treat the swelling of the thyroid gland, which is related to iodine deficiency. Because it is a thyroid stimulant, Bladderwrack is very useful in helping obese people lose weight, as many of these people suffer from very slow metabolisms. Due to its high mineral content, Bladderwrack is also good for cleansing and refreshing the skin, as well as treatment for psoriasis, cellulite, sprains and bruises.
Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)- Alterative, anthelmintic, anti-pyretic, aperitive, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic-stimulating, diuretic, emetic (in large doses), emmenagogue, galactagogue, tonic. The Quinault Indians of North America used to use the whole plant as a means of birth control. In Europe, monks used Blessed Thistle to cure small pox, and in 17th century England, herbalist Culpepper used Blessed Thistle for fever, feminine complaints and headaches. It strengthens the heart and lungs, stimulates milk production in nursing mothers, is a good digestive tonic, balances female hormones, and has even been used to treat internal cancers.
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)- Anthelmintic, antispasmodic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, oxytocic, sedative, stimulant. The Native American Indians used Blue Cohosh for menstrual problems and delayed delivery. It also inhibits false labor pains in childbirth, and is effective in regulating a womans menstrual cycle. Blue Cohosh relieves muscle cramping and spasms, and is a good remedy for emergency allergic reactions to bee stings.
Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)- Alterative, anti-inflammatory, cathartic, diuretic, stimulant. Blue Flag is excellent at treating a variety of skin conditions such as acne, herpes simplex, and psoriasis. It is a powerful liver cleanser, and generally effective at removing stagnation from within the body. It is used in the treatment of hepatitis, chronic rheumatism, jaundice, and to relieve flatulence, heartburn, nausea and belching. Also, recent studies have shown that Blue Flag reduces cravings for food, making it an ideal candidate for helping those with obesity.
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)- Diuretic, analgesic, expectorant, anti-rheumatic. The term vervain comes from the Celtic word ferfaen, meaning to drive away a stone. This refers to the herbs historical use in treating kidney stones. The Native Americans used it for colds, coughs, stomach cramps and fevers. It is also effective in treating bladder infections, hemorrhoids, chronic bronchitis, and joint pain, and was used in old pagan love potions.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis)- Expectorant, stimulant, alterative, antibiotic, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, emetic (in large doses). The Native Americans used Bloodroot as a dye they knew as musquaspenne, and introduced it to early colonists in Virginia. Nineteenth-century physicians used Bloodroot as a remedy for pneumonia, headaches, cancer, hepatitis and coughs. Today, Bloodroot is an ingredient in various tooth care products due to its content of an alkaloid known as sanguinarine. Sanguinarine chemically binds to dental plaque, keeping it from sticking to teeth. Using Bloodroot is also an effective way to prevent gum disease, as well as a treatment for various skin afflictions such as athletes foot and burns.
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)- Analgesic, antipyretic, aperitive, bitter, diaphoretic, emetic, febrifuge, stimulant. Traditionally, Boneset has been used as a remedy for coughs, fevers and colds. Civil War troops received infusions of Boneset to keep them healthy, or to assist them in recovery from fevers. It is a tonic for the liver, stomach, bowels and uterus, and has mild anti-inflammatory effects. It is also useful in treating indigestion of the elderly. Recent research in Germany suggests that Boneset stimulates white blood cells to consume more foreign agents, which explains its effectiveness in treating infections.
Borage Oil-Borago Officinalis- types as an acting emollient and is best known for its ability to soften, soothe, and re-condition the skin. It is truly marvelous as a carrier oil and is equally superb for addition to body care products. Natural expeller pressed oil from raw almond kernels and exceptionally rich in fatty acids. Emollient; moisturizer; ointment base; botanical. Considered useful for sensitive skin. This comes from a hardy annual. Mostly the leaves are used; sometimes the flowers.
Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus)- Antithyroid, astringent, bitter, cardiac, diuretic, emmenagogue, hemostatic, sedative, tonic. Bugleweed is especially successful in treating hemorrhages of the lungs and bowels, as well as excessive menstrual bleeding. It improves blood circulation, and has been used successfully to strengthen the circulatory system, as well as to reduce fluid discharges from the body. In some cases it is also a useful pain reliever.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)- Alterative, antidote, anti-phlogistic, anti-tumor, aperient, bitter, bacteriocide, blood purifier, carminative, cholagogue, demulcent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, hepatic, laxative, lithotriptic, stomachic, tonic. Burdock Root is known as a blood purifier, and historically herbalists have used it to rebuild the body due to its high source of various nutrients. The Menominee and Micmac Indians used it to treat skin sores, while the Cherokees used it for a broader variety of ailments. The Chinese used Burdock Root to treat colds, coughs, sore throats, measles, sores, abscesses, and tonsillitis. Burdock Root helps prevent water retention and jaundice in babies, and is a very strong liver purifier. This herb is especially valuable for the skin, arthritic pains, and glandular problems.
Butchers Broom (Ruscus aculeatus)- Anti-inflammatory, aperient, astringent, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, laxative, prevents blood clots, vasoconstrictive. Butchers Broom is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and is especially useful in the prevention of blood clots, as well as varicose veins, swelling of the legs and feet, urinary stones, fractures, and lowering cholesterol.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)- Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic. The Greek physician Dioscurides used Butterbur leaves to treat skin ulcers. During the Middle Ages Butterbur was used extensively in an attempt to cure the plague by mixing its powder in wine. It was also traditionally used as a treatment for conditions such as pain, spasms and fever. It is used as an anti-spasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps, as well as an anti-parasitic. Today, Butterbur is primarily used for the prevention of migraines, as well as headaches and asthma.
Cactus Grandiflorus (Selenicereus grandiflorus)- Aromatic. Cactus Grandiflorus is primarily used for its fragrance in various cosmetics. The night blooming variety known as Cereus has a heavy, vanilla like smell, while other varieties have a more delicate aroma. It is also an excellent heart tonic, sympathetic nervous system regulator, sedative and nerve tonic.
Calcium Carbonate- Chalk; used as an absorbent in cosmetics.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)- Alterative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hemostatic, stimulant, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary. Calendula was first used by the Romans to treat scorpion bites, and old herbal doctors recommended regularly applying Calendula as a way to prevent gangrene. It supports the connective tissues of the skin, and is good for healing all types of skin irritations and injuries such as burns, rashes, cuts and varicose veins. Due to its natural content on iodine, it is considered to be one of the best antiseptics available.
Calendula Oil- Organic Calendula Officinalis- Not only one of the most effective topical oils, it also makes an excellent base for salves, facial creams and many other natural cosmetics. Gentle, cooling, and soothing. Calendula oil is the most successful oil for assisting us with dry and damaged skin, skin inflammations, rashes, diaper irritations, and other skin disorders. Makes a wonderful babys oil and is exceptional for those with sensitive skin.
California Poppy (Escholtzia californica)- Sedative, analgesic, hypnotic, antineuralgic. Known to early Spanish settlers as copa del ora, meaning cup of gold, California Poppy is a rather effective pain reliever, as well as mood balancer. The Costanoan Indians would rub a decoction of the flowers into the hair to kill lice, and the Indians of Mendocino County used a poultice of the fresh root for toothaches, headaches and sores. It can also be used for insomnia, psoriasis, and painful migraines and headaches.
Camellia Oil-Camellia Sasanqua- Anti-aging; emollient; carrier; moisturizer. High content of oleic acid. Helps in role of anti-oxidation and is fairly non-greasy.
Camphor-Cinnamomum Camphora- Is used as an anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, cooling, and is thought to be slightly stimulating to blood circulation. Derived from a species of tree in the Orient that resembles the Evergreen tree.
Camu Camu Berry- This active ingredient is used in skin care as a powerful vitamin c source. Research vitamin c and skin care to understand the value of this ingredient. Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a native bush to the South American rainforest that produces a fruit containing more vitamin C than any other known botanical source. For comparison: a fresh camu camu berry may contain up to 4% vitamin C, whereas a lemon may contain at most 0.5% vitamin C. Some sources estimate that camu camu berries have 30 times as much vitamin C as oranges. The camu camu berry is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, the amino acids serine, valine and leucine, as well as small amounts of the vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). Camu camu also contains high levels of anthocyanins (a powerful antioxidant), bioflavonoids, and other essential co-factors. All of these nutrients help the body make full use of the abundant levels of Vitamin C found in this superfruit. For proof of this we need only turn to Dr. James Duke, notable USDA scientist and author of The Green Pharmacy: I take vitamin C for coldsI prefer to get mine from camu camu, the amazing Amazonian fruit that has the worlds highest vitamin C content.
Canola Oil- Carrier; emollient; moisturizer. Extracted from rapeseed oil. It is considered to be a natural replacement to Mineral Oil. Has good emolliency and lubrication.
Carbomer- a group of thickening agents used primarily to create gel-like formulations
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)- Cardamom contains an antiseptic known as cineole which is known to kill bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath. Aside from being a popular culinary herb, especially in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, it is also a popular aromatic used in perfumes and oils, as well as love potions. Cardamom also stimulates digestion, eases bowel spasms and flatulence, and is often used by herbalists to prevent the griping effect of laxatives.
Carnauba Wax- A natural, hard wax obtained from the leaves of palm trees. It is used primarily as a thickening agent, but also has film-forming and absorbent properties. To protect itself against dehydration during the period of drought that severely affects the Northeast region of Brazil every year for more than six months, the Carnauba covers its leaves with a thick layer of wax consisting basically of esters, alcohols and fatty acids of high molecular weight. Once the leaves have been collected, they are dried out and beaten for the wax to loosen up. After going through a refining process that includes filtering, distillation, and centrifugation, the wax is used all over the world by various industries, such as in the manufacture of polishing wax (floors, shoes, cars etc.), in the paper and packaging industries, in making paints and other more resistant continuous coatings, in the cosmetic industry (lipsticks, enamels), in the food industry (bubble gum, chocolate, fruits), as well as in the pharmaceutical industry as vehicle and excipient.
Carrageenan- Chondrus Crispus. Irish Moss. A natural stabilizer and emulsifier. Wonderful humectant properties for the skin and hair. Seaweedlike in smell and water soluble.
Carrot Oil-Daucus Carota Sativa- Botanical; emollient; anti-aging; skin protectant. This carotene rich emollient is derived from the carrot root. A good source of Vitamin A. Used in some cosmetics to treat skin blemishes or to assist with creating a tan stain in conjunction with other ingredients. Also some application indicated for dermatitis and skin rashes by some estheticians.
Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana)- Alterative, anthelmintic, bitter tonic, cathartic, cholagogue, emetic, febrifuge, hepatic, laxative stimulant, nervine, stomachic, tonic-colon. The name Cascara Sagrada means sacred bark, and was bestowed upon this particular tree by Spanish and Mexican explorers. The American Indians used it as a remedy for chronic constipation, among many other things. It is not considered to be a habit forming laxative, as it restores natural tone to the colon. Cascara Sagrada helps the body rid itself of gallstones, and is helpful in the treatment of hemorrhoids, as well as jaundice, colitis, and liver failure.
Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (botanical hyaluronic acid)- Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide is a botanical ingredient retrieved from the Cassia Angustifolia, a native plant to India. In cosmetics it is primarily used as a skin moisturizing agent due to its high content of polysaccharides. These polysaccharides have shown to mimic hyaluronic acid, a component of the skin which assists tissue repair and protection. When applied topically this plant based hyaluronic acid penetrates the dermis to secure moisture and in turn support the skins elasticity and structure. Not only is hyaluronic acid directly correlated to increases in skin moisture, it can adjust its moisture absorption rate based on the humidity of the environment. This natural extract also functions as an anti-inflammatory and a treatment for acne.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)- Analgesic, antacid, antispasmodic, aperitive, aromatic, bitter, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, refrigerant, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic. The North American Indians used Catnip as a sedative and for infants with colic. Early Europeans were drinking Catnip tea before even Chinese tea became popular. Catnip is a good topical aid for hemorrhoids, and relieves pain, spasms, the flu, and colds. It is also good for calming the nerves and reducing fever. Catnip improves circulation throughout the body is good for reducing swelling, especially under the eyes. It removes excess mucus from the body, relieves gas from the bowels, and is generally soothing.
Cats Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)- Lymphatic stimulant, expectorant, antispasmodic, astringent. Native to the South and Central American rain forests, Cats Claw has traditionally been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used for stomach ulcers, eczema, liver diseases, gastritis, and fevers, as well as a powerful immune stimulant. The Ashanica Indians of Peru believe that if one drinks a cup of Cats Claw decoction a week it will ward of disease, cleanse the body, and ease bone pain.
Cayenne (Capsicum annum)- Antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperitive, aromatic, astringent, blood thinner, cardiovascular tonic, carminative, condiment, diaphoretic, hemostatic, hypertensive, hypotensive, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic-general, vulnerary. This herbs name comes from the Greek word to bite, and was brought over to Europe by Christopher Columbus upon his return from the New World. The Cherokee Indians used Cayenne as a stimulant, while the Navajos used it as a means of weaning young children. Cayenne is a known catalyst, and aids the body in absorbing virtually any concoction, as well as increasing its effectiveness once ingested. It stimulates digestion, increases circulation, and is high in vitamin A. This last property is especially useful to us because vitamin A is essential for the maintenance of normal vision, growth, cellular activity, reproduction and immunity. Capsicum is a useful aid in arresting hemorrhaging and for cleansing and healing external wounds. It heals ulcers in the cell structures of arteries, veins and capillaries, heals any inflammation, aids in healing the flu and colds, lowers cholesterol, and decreases fat deposits in the liver while simultaneously increasing the liver enzymes responsible for fat metabolism. If Cayenne and Plantain are combined, a poultice of sorts can be applied to the skin in order to draw out foreign items such as slivers and thorns, and a small amount of powder can be sprinkled in the socks in order to prevent frost bite.
Celandine (Chelidonium majus)- Alterative, diuretic, purgative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, anodyne, narcotic. Celandine is primarily used for cleansing the liver, hepatitis, jaundice, eczema, psoriasis, warts and various other skin problems. It is a blood-purifier that also relieves muscle spasms, itchiness of the skin, and ring worm. The Chinese have used it extensively for treating whooping cough and bronchitis. Interestingly, the fresh juice, when mixed with milk, is directly applied to cataracts and white spots that form on the cornea of the eye in order to remove them.
Celery (Apium graveolens)- Alterative, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, aperitive, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, uterine stimulant. Celery has historically been used to stimulate digestion, and is also a good nervous system soother. It is a tonic for the skin, especially aging skin. Celery has been reported to balance out acidity in the body, as well as dissolving arthritic spurs with the body in a matter of about nine months. Celery is a natural source of organic sodium, stimulates the sex drive, and is helpful in the relief of headaches.
Cellulose Gum- Cellulose gum (CMC) is one of the most common hydrocolloid or thickening agent used by the global processed food industry due to its versatility, ease of use and effective cost-in-use. Cellulose gum is based on natural cellulose strains such as for example the lint from the cotton seed and its main functionality is to add mouth feel and texture, stabilize proteins, retain moisture and form oil-resistant films in a vast variety of food applications. Centrimonium Chloride- It is a quaternized ammonium molecule (frequently abbreviated as quat), and it has a single positive charge at the head group. CTAC belongs to a family of molecules known as cationic surfactants, which can be used as emulsifying or conditioning agents. Some other commonly used molecules in this group are cetrimonium bromide (CTAB), behentrimonium chloride, and quaternium-15. Their conditioning capabilities are due to electrostatic attraction between the positively-charged head group of the cationic surfactant and negative charges that occur along the surface of hair strands. This electrostatic attraction causes cationic surfactant molecules to deposit themselves onto the cuticle of the hair, which helps create a smoother surface and also reduces static-induced flyaway hair that can occur in cold, dry weather. As emulsifying agents, cationic surfactants can be used to aid the formulator in getting many different types of hydrophobic (water fearing) oils to go into solution. They are frequently used in mixtures with a nonionic surfactant. These mixtures can form large micelles, or emulsion droplets. Oil-in-water micelles are clusters of molecules with an oily center or core, made up of the non-polar tails of the surfactants, surrounded by an outer shell formed by the polar portion of the molecule. The polar portion of the shell is water soluble, and the interior of the micelle can encapsulate a water-insoluble oil, such as silicone. This complex particle can then be dispersed into an aqueous solution, such as a hair conditioner or shampoo formula. (There are also micelles known as water-in-oil micelles, where the polar groups are in the interior portion of the micelle, and the oil soluble portions are on the exterior of the micelle.) A common example of such a mixture is cetrimonium chloride, trideceth-12 (the nonionic surfactant), and amodimethicone. The two surfactants surround the amodimethicone, which is water insoluble. The resultant aggregate of all three components is dispersible in water, due to the hydrophilic nature of the micelle shell. However, it should be noted that this mixture is dispersible in water for the purposes of ease of manufacture of the shampoo or conditioner. The mixture does not remain intact during product use, and it should not be inferred that having those three components in a formula renders the amodimethicone water soluble once it is applied to the hair. Once the actual product is applied to wet hair in the shower, the aggregate is broken up and each component does what it would ordinarily do. The nonionic surfactant is washed away when the hair is rinsed; the positively-charged amodimethicone and the cationic surfactant are each deposited (separately) onto the surface of the hair. The amodimethicone is left alone, and is thus in its water insoluble state, and it dries to form a film, which imparts sheen and silkiness to the hair. Despite the fact that it is water insoluble, amodimethicone has been found to resist the formation of build up, and most users have reported excellent results with products containing amodimethicone, even if they use a shampoo-free regimen.
Ceteareth 20- Fatty alcohol that is used to thicken cosmetics and keep ingredients mixed together and stable. Cetyl Alcohol- A fatty alcohol used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener, and carrying agent for other ingredients. RSL uses a naturally derived cetyl alcohol as in coconut fatty alcohol. It is not an irritant and is not related to SD alcohol or ethyl alcohol. The term alcohol here is a real disservice to this ingredient as it is really a fat substance. Produced from Palm Oil usually, but it is also found in Coconut and other vegetable oils (it can be made synthetically too). Considered by some sources to be non-comedogenic, it is a moisturizer (not at all a drying alcohol).
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis-Roman)- Analgesic, anodyne, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-pholgistic, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperitive, aromatic, bitter, calmative, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge. Chamomile was known by the Greeks as ground apple. The Cherokee Indians used it in the cases of colic, vomiting and bowel complaints. It helps one to relax and aids digestion and bowel problems. It is an effective easer of menstrual cramps, as well as helping one to sleep, and has even been recommended for people who experience nightmares (especially children). Chamomile is an especially good herb to use while pregnant because it helps one to sleep and relax.
Chaparral (Larrea tridentate, L. divaricata)- Alterative, anodyne, antibiotic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-tumor, bitter, blood purifier, diuretic, expectorant, anti-parasitic, tonic. The Paiute, Shoshone, and Kawaiisu Indians of North America used Chaparral for ailments relating to elimination and bacterial problems. In Mexico it is used an anti-cancer remedy. This plant is known to act against free radicals, and is therefore useful in any ailment related to degeneration. It is an anti-inflammatory, and is known to rebuild the tissues. Thus, it is an excellent herb for the skin, especially considering its free radical fighting properties. Chaparral eliminates parasites from the system, is a pain killer, and cleanses deep into muscular tissue. It is a strong cleansing herb for the kidneys, as well as a healer for the liver, blood, urethral tract and lymphatic system. It has also been shown to be a powerful anti-cancer herb.
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)- In Italy, the flowers of the Chaste Tree are strewn on the ground in front of novices as they enter the monastery or convent. Many of its folk uses suggest that it is an anaphrodisiac; it was given to nuns to quell their sexual urges. Today, we know that it stimulates milk production in lactating women, regulates menstrual cycles, stimulates synthesis of the hormone progesterone, and can be used to treat inflammation of the womb lining, fibroids, and to establish menstruation and ovulation after discontinued use of the birth control pill.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)- Alterative, breaks down fat, demulcent, discutient, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, mucilant, nutritive, pectoral, refrigerant, stomachic. The Chippewa and Iroquois Indians used Chickweed as a wound poultice and eye wash. Chickweed is an excellent herb for treating any skin problem ranging from boils to sores to diaper rashes, and is also used for breast inflammation during lactation. It is good for sore eyes, hemorrhoids, swollen testes, stomach ulcers, and inflammation in general. Chickweed has a soothing effect on the body, and for this reason is used in baths. It moves plaque out of blood vessels, strengthens the tissue lining of the stomach, and breaks down cellulite.
Chinese Ginseng (Panax schinseng)- Adaptogen, alterative, aphrodisiac, cell proliferant, demulcent, digestant, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, nutritive, rejuvenative, immuno-stimulant, cardiotonic, tonic. The name Ginseng is Chinese for man plant, referring to its shape. Ginseng is healing to the prostate and is an aphrodisiac, is good for the digestive system, supports adrenal function, reduces stress, regulates blood sugar, and is considered by some to be the most powerful adaptogen of them all. It promotes regeneration of the body, helps to rebuild body strength, and is a stimulant for the brain and memory centers. Ginseng fights free radicals in the body, therefore combating the signs and symptoms of aging.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)- Apart from being a popular herb used in various culinary traditions around the world, Cilantro has a long history of being used as a remedy for anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine. The seeds are used in India as a diuretic, as well as a digestive aid and carminative in traditional herbalism. Cilantro is also an effective treatment for acne (the juice can be applied to the face like a toner).
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. cassia)- Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, fungicide, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic. Cinnamon was one of the herbs that spurred world exploration. The Egyptians used Cinnamon in their embalming mixtures, and the Romans had to pay a high price for it. It calms down the stomach, reduces milk production, stops uterine hemorrhages and excessive menstruation, and has been shown to be both an anti-bacterial and an anti-fungal. Cinnamon suppresses E. coli and Candida Albicans, as well as controlling the microorganisms that cause Botulism and staph infections. It is also used for pain and discomfort experienced in menopause, chest pain, back pain, and neck pain.
Citric Acid- Acidulent; AHA; buffer. Often used to adjust the pH of a product.
Citronella- Cymbopogon Nardus- Used primarily in lotions, gels, and sprays as a natural bug repellent. Especially effective when combined with other natural essential oils that also repel insects and fleas- see our Pet and People section.
Cleavers (Galium aparine)- Diuretic, alterative, aperient, mild astringent. Cleavers is used as a treatment for skin diseases such as psoriasis, as well as burns, sunburns, and pigmentation. It is one of the most effective diuretic blood purifiers known, and is good for the treatment of all urinary and reproductive organ inflammations, as well as hepatitis and venereal disease. It is used in the case of enlarged lymph glands, cystitis, skin eruptions, and fevers.
Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)- Analgesic, anodyne, anti-emetic, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, disinfectant, expectorant, germicide, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vermifuge. Cloves are sometimes used by dentists to disinfect and treat disturbed root canals. Clove cures nausea and rids the gastrointestinal tract of gas. Chinese herbalists often used the oil of Cloves to treat diarrhea and hernia. Cloves oil has strong germicidal properties, and has been shown to be effective against athletes foot, as well as other fungal conditions.
Cocoa Butter-Theobroma Cacao- Emollient; skin conditioner; skin protectant. A luscious moisturizing fat that has a high melting point so it is often observed as a solid. Good lubrication. Super high mineral content, vitamin C content, and feel good love chemicals. Cocoa was named Theobroma and means food of the gods. Cocoa Butter is becoming increasingly popular in the natural bodycare and cosmetic industries for good reason. It has been used for centuries in Africa for its moisturizing and healing properties, where it has been used to protect and condition skin which has been damaged by the sun and wind. The four major West African cocoa producers are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The Ivory Coast produces about 43 percent of the worlds cocoa, and the next largest producer is Ghana with about 14 percent of the worlds output. Nigeria is one of the smallest and produces about 6 percent of the worlds cocoa. Outside of West Africa, the major producers of cocoa are Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic. After cocoa beans have been received at the processing location, they are inspected and thoroughly cleaned of all extraneous matter, such as sticks, stones, and metal fragments, as well as broken beans. Once the beans are cleaned they are roasted and then ground into a paste. The heat generated by this process causes the Cocoa Butter in the nib to melt, hence the name cocoa liquor. Chocolate liquor destined for processing into Cocoa Butter is refined to a very small particle size because it is easier to reduce the particle size early when the butter is still present. A smaller particle size makes butter extraction easier. Cocoa Butter contains natural antioxidants that give it a long shelf life of over 3 years. It is naturally rich in Vitamin E as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E helps to soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin and also provides the skin collagen which assists with wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Cocoa Butter also contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), a substance that inhibits the production of the immuno globulin IgE. IgE is known to aggravate symptoms of both dermatitis and asthma. For centuries pregnant women have used to Cocoa Butter formulations to prevent and treat stretch marks, but this pleasant-smelling substance is added to countless other topical preparations. Lotions and oils containing Cocoa Butter are often used in aromatherapy massage to promote relaxation and the feeling well-being. Research indicates that massaging the skin with Cocoa Butter may help relieve stress, boost the immune system, and even prevent cancer. This is because Cocoa Butter, like chocolate, contains a lot of CMP and there is some evidence that the CMP in Cocoa Butter may also help prevent heart disease and ease arthritic symptoms. Cocoa Butter is mainly used is a thickening agent and is a common ingredient in lipsticks, soaps and emollient creams. It is also a folk remedy for burns, cough, dry lips, fever, malaria, rheumatism, snakebite and wounds. It is reported to be antiseptic and diuretic. Cocoa Butter is has a melting point at human body temperature, is edible and nutritious which presents many industrial uses. Cocoa Butter is a superb moisturizer which slows down moisture loss. Cocoa Butter is known for its hydrating effects, Cocoa Butter is also gentle on the skin and has a pleasing aroma. Cocoa Butter is excellent when used on dry skin or on wrinkles. Cocoa Butters Emollient properties great in soap making and lotions. Cocoa Butter is hard at room temperature. Cocoa Butter is mainly used is a thickening agent and is a common ingredient in lipsticks, soaps and emollient creams. Cocoa Butter is easily absorbs into the skin and imparts sheen. Cocoa Butter is one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats known, and melts at body temperature so that it is readily absorbed into the skin. Since Cocoa Butter absorbs so quickly, it immediately relieves dry and irritated skin. There are many different uses for Cocoa Butter, below are some of the ways in which Cocoa Butter may be used: Add a spoonful to your bath water for a luxurious and healing experience. Especially helpful for those with dry or itchy skin, or sore muscles. Try adding Lavender or Chamomile essential oil as well, or an herbal infusion made from soothing herbs. In massage, Cocoa Butter is beneficial for overexerted muscles or for dry skin In soaps, Cocoa Butter has a conditioning effect that adds a good lather. Try incorporating Cocoa Butter into your handmade soap recipes. Use during pregnancy to keep the skin supple, and to prevent stretch marks. It may also be used after giving birth to reduce stretch marks.
Cocamide MIPA- A mixture of isopropanolamides of coconut acid. Also known as cocamide monoisopropanolamine. This ingredient works in a variety of ways, including as an emulsifier, a stabilizer (in foams & emulsions), a thickener, a surfactant, an anticorrosive agent and a foaming agent. It is mostly contained in personal care products such as shampoo, hair dye, conditioner, body wash, dandruff treatment, bubble bath, exfoliant/scrub, cleanser and liquid hand soap
Cocomidopropyl Betaine- Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a mild amphoteric co-surfactant. It is derived from coconut oil and beets and is highly water soluble in wide pH range, pH: 5 - 6 (10 % aqueous solution). It is supplied in a clear yellow liquid with no or faint odor. Cocamidopropyl betain is very mild co-surfactant compatible with anionic, nonionic, cationic surfactants (also useful as primary surfactant), good cleanser & foam booster, viscosity enhancer, excellent conditioning & antistatic agent, moderate emulsifier. It is used in body washes, shampoos, bubble baths, cleansing lotions, creams, hand soaps, baby products, hair conditioners, cream rinses at use levels of 2-40%
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