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Many indigenous African botanical extracts are blessings in disguise, for all manner of purposes and uses, from therapeutic to cosmetic. These brief comments will highlight some of the topical cosmetic benefits.
Aloe vera is one of the most beneficial natural botanicals one can wish to use – whether raw and fresh, directly from the long, juicy leaves of this cactus-like beauty, or as a refined cosmetic botanical extract. It is moisturising and very soothing, helping to treat and calm dry and inflamed skin.
Kalahari melon seed oil is one of the latest cosmetic ingredient raves. In the desert, the melon fruit provides a crucial source of water for hunter-gatherers, while the oil from the seeds boasts excellent emollient, hydrating and epidermal restructuring attributes that protect skin from the effects of dehydration and other environmental aggressors.
The prolific fruit-bearing marula tree yields a glorious oil from the seed that has been doing the cosmetic ingredient rounds for some time now. It remains a popular plant extract in various products due to its fatty acids and antioxidants profile, which makes it a great skin- nourishing, moisturising agent.
Baobab oil, from the ‘upside-down’ tree – the largest succulent in the world - is another well-balanced African gem that is an outstanding ingredient for skin, nail and hair care treatments. It is highly penetrating and easily absorbed, moisturising and an emollient. It is considered anti-inflammatory and non-comedogenic (won't cause black-heads).
Although regular rooibos has its own legendary status for health and wellness, green rooibos extract is emerging as a cosmetic ingredient of note for stressed and dehydrated skin, due to its purported antioxidant and skin-protective properties.
When it comes to buchu people either love it or hate it, since the aroma of this amazing fynbos plant is very distinctive and pungent. Buchu essential oil has found a place in many modern cosmetic applications as well as in perfumery, where the somewhat ‘catty’ or ‘blackcurrant’ note can add an intriguing aromatic dimension not provided by more sweet-smelling components.
DR SANDI NYE, ND.
Tel: 021 531 3545
She is a naturopath with a special interest in aromatic and integrative medicine. She is multi-registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA), and represents Naturopathy on the AHPCSA Professional Board for Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Phytotherapy. She serves as editorial board member and/or consultant for various national and international publications. She is in private practice in Pinelands, Cape Town.
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