May 2007 Ageless herbal newsletter
Birch is a popular remedy in Siberia and Russia for treating arthritis, while the wood also has commercial applications. The bark is used for tanning leather and the twigs are used for making brooms. Birch sap is also thought to provide
relief to sufferers of psoriasis, as it
reduces inflammation and is very astringent.
It is also known as paper birch, white and canoe birch. The sap is also fermented to make beer, wine, spirits and vinegar.
The genus contains about 60 species of deciduous trees and shrubs and is distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. It has drooping branches and peeling bark and grows about 10 - 25 meters in height.
The leaves and bark are used in herbal medicine and the sap is of major commercial importance in herbal cosmetics. Leafy, fragrant twigs of Silver Birch are used in Finland, to gently beat the skin, to increases circulation after a sauna. Birch twigs were bound into a bundle and were used to beat criminals or offenders. This was called “birching,” a form of capital punishment.
It is a bitter astringent tonic herb that has diuretic and laxative properties, while reducing inflammation, relieving pain and also increasing perspiration.
It contains flavonoid glycosides with hyperoside and quercitrin as the main compounds. It also contains methyl esters, phenylpropanoids, steroidal saponins, methylsalicylate and resin.
It is used internally for rheumatism, arthritis, gout, arteriosclerosis, water retention, cystitis, kidney stones, fevers, as well as
It is used with great success to help with psoriasis and
eczema. The astringent effect of the sap also helps to tone the skin and has a positive effect on increasing skin elasticity. In hair care products, it is most useful to combat oily and greasy hair, and also acts as a general conditioner to the hair.
Birch is used in the following products in the Ageless range, which can be viewed by clicking on the following links:
Rosehip oil is a pressed seed oil, which is extracted from a plant which grows wild in the Southern Andes. The best rosehip oil is said to come from Chile.
It is high in GLA (gamma-Linolenic acid), and helps reduce the signs of
ageing, especially the fine lines around the eyes
(crows feet) and lines around the mouth, the drying effects of the sun and climate, as well as assisting with attenuating
(less visible) both accidental and
It helps the skin heal and regenerate and
prevents the formation of ugly keloid scar tissue (thickening of the skin when
forming scar tissue) and is helpful in healing
burns, scars and stretch marks. This effect is also though to be of some benefit In the
treatment of certain forms of
There have been some reports that it can in some cases aggravate acne, but since it is mostly used to
counter the effects of ageing, this problem is not that relevant.
Rosehip oil is not a volatile essential oil, yet is expensive and scarce due to crop failures, and for this reason often sold adulterated, and mixed with another carrier oil.
Massage oil or used neat
It has great healing properties for damaged and distressed skin which makes it a good choice to include when mixing a massage oil or preparing a carrier oil blend, or to use neat when wishing to
give your facial skin a boost.
Cream or lotion
In a cream or lotion, or used neat on the skin, it is one of the most rejuvenating and
regenerating compounds to be found, and for this reason, good quality
anti-aging skincare products normally contain rosehip oil.
It is a good source of vitamin C, which is essential in the
formation and synthesis of collagen in the
skin, without which your skin would not only age
prematurely, but will have terrible tone. The elasticity and
suppleness of your skin would also be impaired.
To have a look at a superior rosehip oil, which is pure and unadulterated, and for more information regarding essential oils, please browse our website at
www.essentialoils.co.za or go directly to the
Rosehip information page at
Psoriasis is a disease, thought to be a condition that results from abnormal activity of the body’s immune system, which affects the skin and joints. It usually causes
red scaly patches on the skin, which are
sore, inflamed and itchy.
These patches are called psoriatic plaques or
lesions and are areas of excessive skin
production, where the skin cells do not shed correctly and later become inflamed, also taking on a
silvery white appearance. The plaques can form anywhere on the body, including the
hands, knees, elbows,
scalp or genitals.
Psoriasis is considered an ongoing
condition, which can manifest in small localized patches or over the entire body, including the skin underneath the fingernails and toenails. The condition can also cause
psoriatic arthritis, where the inflammation extends into the joints and connective tissues.
Although psoriasis is not contagious, it may cause deep depression and loss of self-esteem, due to the unsightly nature of the plaques and the ongoing discomfort of the condition.
Several factors are thought to aggravate the condition, including stress and
excessive alcohol consumption.
The condition has been known for centuries, but was commonly mistaken as a type of
leprosy. The condition only started to be called psoriasis in 1840, when the Viennese dermatologist,
Ferdinand von Hebra derived the name from the Greek word “psora,” which means, “to
In the 20th century, psoriasis was further
classified, according to the way it manifests on the
- The most common, appearing as raised areas of inflamed skin, covered with silvery white scaly skin
- Smooth inflamed patches of skin, usually occurring in skin folds, around the genitals, armpits or under the breasts.
- Numerous small oval (teardrop-shaped) spots, which appear over large areas of the body – associated with streptococcal throat infection.
- Raised bumps filled with non-infectious puss, surrounded by inflamed tender skin. Usually manifests on the hands and feet, but can spread randomly to any part of the body.
- Discolors the nails, thickening the skin under the nails, pitting the nails or loosening the nail, causing it to disintegrate.
- Causing inflammation of the joints and the connective tissue. Usually found to occur in the fingers and toes, but also found in the hips, knees and spine.
- A widespread inflammation and exfoliation of the entire
skin, exacerbated by extreme itching, swelling and
pain. This is usually found to be an extension of plaque psoriasis, usually following the withdrawal of treatment. This form can be fatal, as it destroys the body’s ability to stabilize body temperature and prevents the skin from performing its protective function.
The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood. Research shows that two theories are considered, however. The first theory considers
psoriasis as a disorder of the
skin, in which the problem is seen as a fault in the reproduction and growth of skin cells in the epidermis and its
The second theory sees the disease as the manifestation of a disorder in the immune
system, where the T-cells (which help to protect the body against infection) migrate to the dermis and cause the
production of cytokines (messenger molecules in the immune system), which causes inflammation and an over production of skin cells. This theory is supported by the fact that medicines, which
suppress the immune system, can help clear up psoriasis
plaques. It seems that the why and wherefore of this is not yet understood.
People report that psoriasis may worsen or improve for no apparent reason. Studies seem to report conflicting findings, but the first outbreak is sometimes linked to stress, skin injury, streptococcal infection, infections and changes in season and climate. Drugs, such as Lithium salt and beta-blockers, may also activate or aggravate the disease. Smoking, obesity and the excessive use of alcohol are reported to aggravate the disease and to hamper the correct
management of psoriasis.
Dermatologists usually follow a trial-and-error approach to finding the best treatment for
psoriasis, taking into account the severity of the outbreak, the patients age, gender, attitude and state of general health. Treatment usually starts with medicine or topical applications which have the least side effects or adverse toxic reactions and follows what is known as a “psoriasis treatment
ladder” where medicine with considerable toxicity is reserved for severe unresponsive
Creams, ointments and lotions are usually prescribed at first, and if this fails,
ultra-violet radiation or phototherapy may be considered. The third step may be the
use of medicines that are given orally or through
injections, usually including a specialized drug that suppresses the immune system. All 3 of these options may also be used in conjunction. Ultra-violet light therapy may also be combined with application to the skin of
retinoid (vitamin A derivative), coal tar or
Another treatment, called photo-chemotherapy may also be used, combining the use of
psoralen (a chemical compound extracted from certain plants) and
ultra-violet A rays.
Exposure to short periods of sunlight has long been known to improve the condition and a change of climate and environment has been reported to help certain sufferers.
Some people believe that following a healthy lifestyle, eating correctly and following a moderate exercise routine, with correct stress management, improves the condition vastly.
Neem oil has been used to treat the condition in India, for thousands of years. Epsom salts baths have also been found to be beneficial by some and visits to spa’s (such as the spa’s found at the Dead Sea in Israel) have provided relief to many sufferers.
It seems that there is no definite cure for
psoriasis, but there seems to be a better understanding of the immune processes involved in psoriasis, which will lead to the formation of drugs that are better targeted at the suppression of immune mediators.
Some of our clients have reported that they have found relief and a lessening of systems by using our Ageless Healing Cream, which can be viewed by clicking on the following link: http://www.ageless.co.za/reconstr.htm.
The above information about psoriasis is for general information purposes only and must not be construed as being medical advice, and if you have any queries or concerns we suggest that you contact your medical practitioner at the earliest convenience.
- Healing cream
- To assist in wound healing while soothing skin complaints – such as eczema and psoriasis, acne and piles and moisturizing and protecting the skin. This product has shown its effectiveness over a wide range of problems and judging from sales over more than a decade – it is the trusted healing cream to help with all mishaps, allergic reactions, irritated, burning, itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions.
- Face wash
- This face wash will properly clean your face and remove all impurities and environmental pollutants, without drying the skin. It contains eight herbal extracts to help promote a clear, vital and healthy complexion and a younger looking skin.
- Moisturizing day cream
- This day cream is formulated to help fight the signs of aging on various fronts. It helps to reduce free radical damage which, if left unchecked, leads to premature aging. The herbal extracts help to promote cell rejuvenation and regeneration and provide moisture and hydration to the skin.
- Nourishing night cream
- This nourishing night cream penetrates the skin extremely well and does not make the skin feel oily. It contains a host of herbal extracts to help in the fight against premature aging and has added vitamin E as well. Apart from the moisturizing effect and the anti-aging properties it also softens and smoothes the skin.
- Eye gel
- An effective refreshing eye gel to help reduce puffiness and dark rings around the eyes, while fighting wrinkles and lines. This is a very clever combination of herbal extracts and the base formula has its roots in a clinically proven formula.
- Mud face mask
- With this skin treatment product we combined a special selection of herbs in a base of thermal mud with oligoelements. This recommended weekly treatment will boost circulation to the skin, help to fight wrinkles and lines, improve firmness while at the same time improving suppleness and elasticity of the skin.
- Shampoo with rosemary extract + 7 other herbals
- Our shampoo is in a class of its own – and granted – it is far more expensive than cheap supermarket shampoos, but no other shampoo has the active ingredients we have in our shampoo. The rosemary will boost the health of the hair and scalp, while the other seven herbal extracts will help strengthen the hair and make it shine, increase the volume and make it manageable.
- Rosemary hair treatment conditioner
- We have found that this hair conditioner should really be used as a conditioning treatment. This then removes the need to condition the hair every time you wash – and can be used once a month. It is a superb hair tonic and helps in the control of sebum secretion of the scalp. Although not formulated for dandruff – the ingredients will assist with this as well, while supporting the health of the scalp.
- Hand and body lotion
- When formulating this hand and body lotion we created a rich nourishing, protecting and reviving lotion, which will not leave the skin oily or tacky, but will create a well moisturized, hydrated and supple skin. After applying this lotion it will quickly be absorbed by the skin, leaving it silky soft, smooth and well moisturized.
- Stretch mark gel
- Although nothing can remove already formed stretch marks (only surgery can do that) – thousands of satisfied clients confirm that this gel improves the appearance of old stretch marks. The gel will help in PREVENTING stretch marks (a 92% success rate) and is used with great success by expectant mothers and body builders who may form marks when bulking-up. The formula of this gel is based on clinical studies done in France, to which we added other herbal extracts.
- Cellulite gel
- Fighting cellulite is easy with this herbal cellulite gel. It contains a patented extract of Bayberry (Myriceline) and nine other plant extracts and essential oils. The gel will help to get rid of cellulite (which has been clinically proven) and will also help to prevent cellulite from forming. So now it is easy to get your soft body contours back again.
- Apple cider vinegar (liquid) with Centella asiatica
- The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are combined with the therapeutic properties of Centella asiatica. This old folk remedy is still used with great effect by thousands of people daily.
- Digest capsules
- If your digestive system is under-par and you struggle with constipation or you simply need to boost the health of your digestive system then this capsule is for you. Fenugreek is a general digestive tonic and psyllium is a magical bulking agent that will help proper bowel movements, without using a laxative.
- Detox capsules
- Our modern day lifestyle exposes us to many unwanted additive and our diet also places stress on the body. To help the body get rid of toxins and waste materials naturally we combined fennel, basil, celery and parsley to help the body remove these toxins. It peps-up your metabolism and helps the bladder, kidneys and liver to do their work more effectively.
- Urinary and bladder health capsules
- Using an all natural approach, our capsules will help the discomfort and burning urine sensation of urinary tract infection and help clear up foul smelling urine. We combined cranberry, dandelion, uva ursi and vitamin C in a single capsule to effectively fight bladder infections and to stop the burning sensation when urinating.
- Tri- Mushroom blend capsules
- If you need an immune system boost then have a look at our combination of maitake, reishi and shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms have showed to be a great help in boosting the immune system – and form a good nutritional supplement support for HIV/Aids patients and people receiving chemotherapy. Any person with even a slightly compromised immune system may benefit from this supplement.
- Olive leaf extract capsules
- This natural detoxifier helps with a variety of ailments and people with chronic fatigue syndrome, infections, glandular fever (Epstein Barr), and even candida and herpes have found it of value. Olive leaf extract helps to fight bacteria, viruses, retroviruses, and protozoa and yeast strains. Apart from fighting all of these problems it also helps to improve kidney function and fights free radicals.
- Sexual supplement (previously known as Vuka Nkuzi)
- Men normally don’t admit when they have a declining libido although it is a most common problem. We combine in this supplement seven different natural ingredients to boost sexual health – without any side effects often experienced with such medication. After more than a decade, and thousands of regular Vuka Nkuzi clients we still offer this well priced supplement to boost the libido.
- Jojoba oil
- This liquid golden ester not only moisturizes and penetrates the skin but also helps to fight wrinkles and lines while promoting a clear and unblemished skin. Jojoba does not clog the pores but helps to restore skin elasticity and smoothness. It will leave the skin supple and velvety soft without any oiliness and can be used neat on the skin.
- Lavender oil
- This is the most popular essential oil and with good reason. Lavender oil is a superb product to use on burns, insect bites, sunburn, wounds and other skin complaints and irritations. Lavender oil is one of the few essential oils that can be used neat (not diluted) on the skin, and is great to help with regeneration and rejuvenation of skin cells. Emotionally it has a calming and soothing effect and is an exceptionally pleasant smelling oil.
- Tea tree oil
- Once used, you will always have a bottle of tea tree essential oil handy. It deals effectively with bacteria, fungi and viruses. Our oil surpasses the “Australian Standard” by having less than 15% 1,8 cineole and more than 30% of Terpinen-4-ol. This powerful essential oil is effective in various ways to fight infections and skin problems.
- Almond oil
- This light and deeply moisturizing oil has a softening effect on the skin and can be used on the face and body. Almond oil has excellent emollient properties and helps to balance water and moisture loss in the skin. It can be used neat on the skin and also makes an excellent massage base.