Why go natural? And what you should know when you do

Natural is defined as ‘existing in, formed by or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.’

Many people are sceptical about the efficacy of natural ailment care products. It seems they only try natural products as a ‘last resort’ or out of ‘desperation’ when pharmaceuticals don’t seem to do the trick to keep symptoms under control. These people are more often than not, pleasantly surprised and never look back once they try the natural approach, after all, many pharmaceutical drugs and treatments are simply synthetic versions of active ingredients in plants and herbs that have been isolated and imitated. But it is often the whole plant, not just the active ingredient, which has the real beneficial action. The plant compounds work synergistically to stimulate the body’s healing capacity. Plants and herbs have of course been used as natural treatments for thousands of years.

Personal care products, like soaps and creams, are used daily by all of us often without knowing what ingredients they contain. If you have a look at the ingredients list on the label of most main stream personal care products, you will find a long list of tongue-twisters. These are usually synthetic chemicals, like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and mineral oils that have shown to be harmful, even toxic and some have been linked to pre-mature ageing, allergies, infertility, cancer and much, much more. Our skin is our largest organ and it can absorb as much as 60% of what we put on it, so it only makes sense to limit our exposure and to rather use products containing natural ingredients.

It’s not just about you

Pharmaceuticals and harmful chemicals in personal care products are being detected in water supplies, polluting our environment. We drink this water and use it to grow crops and feed livestock. These chemicals also end up in our oceans and in the fish we consume, creating a cycle of contamination.

Consumers are becoming more aware of and educated on these matters and are applying the precautionary principle, preferring to stay away from ingredients that are suspected to carry risk. This is one of the reasons why the natural and organic industry is growing rapidly. But in a booming and relatively young industry where regulation is still being developed, advantage is often taken. Many products may have a ‘natural’ stamp on their labels, but that does not mean they don’t contain harmful chemicals – it simply means there are some natural ingredients in them. So, it is important to familiarise yourself with harmful ingredients, buy from stores and producers devoted to offering you only the best, pure products and to read the back of labels.

Lucky for us, it seems the tendency among truly caring producers of natural products is to list the percentage natural and organic ingredients in products. There is a growing preference to use organic ingredients. Organic ingredients are natural ingredients grown from non-GMO seeds, grown with fertilisers and pesticides considered to be non-synthetic, and are certified organic by an authority body. These producers also like to show you that they abide by the philosophy of keeping it ‘natural’ and harmless, often obtaining accreditation that the products aren’t tested on animals and proudly displaying it on product labels so that you can have peace of mind with your purchase.

So, this is what going natural holds for you… Natural products are made up completely of natural ingredients and if synthetic ingredients are used, they are used in very small amounts and are known to be safe. Natural products are manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain ingredient purity, use no animal testing in its development, use biodegradable ingredients and environmentally sensitive packaging. Natural products avoid any ingredients with a suspected human health risk. The ethos of the natural product producer is to be transparent and to fully disclose ingredients accurately and truthfully.

Why would you want anything else? And if you just want to try, there is no harm in doing so. Why not try a safe, effective and natural Down to Earth product?


Sources:
Health Product Association of South Africa
(http://www.hpasa.co.za/)
Natural Product Association
(http://www.npainfo.org/NPA/NaturalSealCertification/NPANaturalStandardforPersonalCareProducts.aspx)
Avoid artificial fragrances:
(http://www.naturalnews.com/033634_fragrance_chemicals.html#)

Down to Earth

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