Archive for April, 2010

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Bach Flower Remedy … now served with everything

17 April, 2010

 

(from the Natural and Organic Products Show 2010)

Flower Essences used to be marketed as single essences, or combinations, to heal as specific mood or emotional imbalances.  Bach’s Rescue Remedy is the most famous example. 

I myself have dabbled in using flower essences for my cats.  At the end of the day I can’t be sure they’ve worked.  But at least with flower essences there’s a feeling that they don’t have any negative side-effects.

What I’ve noticed over the past year, and increasingly, in this year’s show, is the use of flower essences as enhancements to conventional products.

This year it was the turn of fragrances.  Les Fleurs de Bach is a range that incorporates Bach’s Flower Essences into its range of perfumes and bath and body products, that is both organic and anti-stress. 

It is beautifully-packaged in clean white boxes, every aspect, including the French name shouts “premium” product.   The brand won the Beauty Challenger Awards at Beyong Beauty/Cosmeeting Paris in 2009.

What I’ve been keen to find out is whether or not the vibrational efficacy of Bach Flower Essences is affected by the commercial manufacturing process. 

Assuming that a company would only send experts to a trade show, I asked the representative at the stand at what stage the essences were added.  He didn’t know.  He was much better at talking about the quality of the fragrances and the product.  That’s all well and good, but for me, a holistic product is only as effective as the philosophy and the process behind it.  Based on the sales patter I received I wasn’t convinced that the product was more holistic than commercial.

Elsewhere in the show, there were other signs of flower essences being used to enhance other products.  These included  skin ointments or gels, shower gels, pet shampoos and even chewing gum.  Nelsons have a range which include Rescue Remedy pastilles.  Ainsworths already use flower remedies in their room and fragrance sprays.  Helios use Crab Apple in their pet shampoo because of its supposed effect in soothing skin irritations. 

It’s hard to gauge the efficacy of remedies that act on the vibrational level.  How can we tell how much of it is due to the feel-good factor, or the placebo effect as much of the proof is anecdotal?

Testimonials do abound on the emotional benefits people have experienced through flower remedies, so perhaps the only conclusion is that if more 2-in-1 products emerge which incorporate flower essences, and if people maintain they help them, then  it can only be a good thing.

But now that the box has been opened, what next? 

Ready-meals for dieters with flower essences to help ease the stress of dieting?  Chocolate bars and sweets that help to take away the guilt of bingeing? 

Remember … you heard it here first!

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Homeopathy for your Pets – now from Helios

17 April, 2010

Basic 18 remedy kit

 (from the Natural and Organic Products Show 2010)

I’ve long had an interest in the use of homeopathy, and visited the Helios stand because they were launching their Pet Homeopathy Kit.

Homeopathy kits for pets are not something new.  Ainsworth’s the Homeopaths have a range of veterinary speciality kits for cats, dogs  and horses.  The pillules in these kits are larger and softer than in conventional human homeopathy remedies, so that they dissolve more easily.  The Ainsworth’s kits also come in beautiful wooden boxes. 

I’ve always thought that the Ainsworth’s kits were rather pricey though at £99 for the cat and dog kit (containing approx. 28 remedies and 3 flower essences) and £150 for the horse kit.  And because I use the water-dosing method to adminster the remedies, it doesn’t matter if the pillules aren’t soft. So I’ve always preferred to save my money and use kits meant for humans as the remedies are the same.

The Helios Pet Kit retails at £32.95.  It consists of 24 remedies in 30C potency, plus one flower essence, the SOeSsence Flower Formula which is Helio’s equivalent of Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

The only remedy that seems different from their conventional human kit is Ledum, and possibly Drosera.

I was interested in the Flower Formula, but there were no samples available – I would have to buy the whole kit in order to try the flower essence.  That was disappointing.

Another disappointment was the reply that was given to my question about how to test for the efficacy of the flower essence.  I was told that it was not possible to test for the vibrational efficacy, that they (Helios) had to place its faith in the people who created the essences.

It was an honest answer, and perhaps the person I was speaking to wasn’t an expert, but I was hoping for testimonials.  For e.g. Tortue Rouge’s flower essences for pets are recommended by a homeopathic vet.  And when I spoke to Tortue Rouge (who exhibited last year) I got a very detailed and passionate explanation of how their essences were manufactured.

Another excellent addition to the Helios range is a SOeSsence Shampoo for Pets which contains essential oils of Lavender and Roman Chamomile, plant tinctures of Calendular and Urtica Urens, Sulphur and flower essence of Crab apple. 

Wow – finally, a pet shampoo WITHOUT tea tree oil which is toxic to cats.   The person I spoke to was instrumental in formulating the shampoo and in this instance was able to communicate her expertise in this matter.

(Elsewhere in the show, there was a manufacturer of pet shampoos which included tea tree oil in them – and there was a picture of a cat and dog on the bottle.  When I pointed out the toxicity of tree tree oil to cats, their cavalier reply was that then it shouldn’t be used on cats).

Finally, Helios were also offering a SOeSsence Balm for Pets for minor wounds, abrasions, sore paws and skin irritations.  Again, all the ingredients were designed so that the pet could lick the balm, and not suffer any ill-effects.

What the Helios products offer is peace-of-mind.  Pet owners can use the products knowing that there are no nasties that can make their pets ill.  A much-needed step in the right direction in an industry which often doesn’t take the needs of different species into account in formulating its products.

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Natural and Organic Products Show 2010 – Part 1 – Natracare the Hero of the Show

17 April, 2010

Once again I made my annual pilgrimage to the Natural and Organic Products Show which was held this year on 11-12 April at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre.

 It’s one of my favourite shows because natural products is one of my passions.  It also keeps me at the cutting-edge of what’s new in the natural and health food industry. 

It’s a fantastic opportunity to sample the products.  But more importantly it gives me a chance for a face-to-face chat with the people behind the products.  Their answers tell me just how genuinely committed they are to making a difference to the world in a holistic way, or whether it’s just lip-service and they are just riding on the natural products and organic bandwagon.

HERO OF THE SHOW

For me, the hero of the show (this year and in previous years) is Natracare.

Natracare is a company that manufactures feminine hygiene products (e.g. sanitary napkins and tampons) using certified organic, 100% cotton with totally chlorine-free, plastic free biodegradable materials.

Why is this important?

If you’re a woman you probably use these products.  And if you’ve ever suffered from reactions or allergies from these products, then please try Natracare products.

A friend of mine told me how she used Always sanitary napkins and experienced severe itching in her nether regions.  It got so bad that they became minor sores.

Out of desperation, she tried Natracare, and with the help of regular washing, her allergy cleared up.  Some months later, she returned to Always and the allergy recurred.

So why should Natracare be a more suitable alternative?  Always and other proprietary sanitary napkins use synthetics in the cover and in the stuffing.  The effect is the same as placing a plastic bag in your knickers and letting it stew – the resulting environment is perfect for causing irritation.

Susie Hewson, the founder of Natracare, was there manning the product stand. 

Speaking with her was a revelation.  Here was someone who has put her money where her mouth is:  she has developed a product that really meets the need of women but without sacrificing standards of care to the environment. 

For example, all the cotton used in Natracare products is 100% organic and GM-free.  What this means is that the cotton comes from India and Eastern Europe.  Not from the US where it is difficult to guarantee that cotton is 100% organic or GM-free.

People may scoff at the organic and GM-free labels, maintaining that they are anti-science. 

The fact remains that organic farming respects the balance of the environment and the health of the farmer. 

And the problem with cross-contamination of GM crops has led to the development of superweeds, thereby requiring ever-heavier levels of herbicides in GM farming.

All of these nasties affect the land, the insects and also the people who farm the land.

Susie told me of a friend of hers who worked briefly on a farm in which pesticides were used.  Two years later, that friend developed cancer and died.  It was lung cancer, and she was a non-smoker.

Natracare is not just a feel-good product though.  Quoting from the Natracare web site, here’s what the scientists and doctors have to say: 

“studies revealed that up to a third of women with symptoms of vaginal itching, soreness and/or discharge may be experiencing the symptoms of Vulval Dermatitis or Intimate Irritation, further research has shown that 75% of UK gynaecologists believe that conventional sanitary protection could be the cause of intimate irritation.

… nearly 4 out of 5 questioned felt that their patients, suffering with intimate irritation, were experiencing sensitivity to synthetic fabrics, sanitary protection and toiletries, and 50% then recommend the use of natural, chemical-free sanitary protection to help alleviate the symptoms.”

That’s why in terms of ethics, quality, and year-on-year commitment to standards, Natracare deserves the award for being the hero of the show.

Natracare is available from most health-food stores, independent pharmacies and Waitrose.