Friday, August 11, 2017


Aloe vera is an extremely beneficial ingredient in skin care products. It's thick green leaves store water. This slimy, water-filled tissue is the 'gel' we associate with aloe vera products, which contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Several products of Herbally Radiant are aloe based. Its wide use has earned it a global market share of 13 billion dollars. Some of its benefits are :
1. Has antioxidant and antibacterial properties which are important for health. Aloe vera gel contains powerful antioxidants, which belong to a large family of substances known as polyphenols. These polyphenols, along with several other compounds in Aloe vera, can help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans.
2.Accelerates the healing of burns. Aloe vera is most commonly used as a topical medication, rubbed onto the skin rather than eaten. It has long been known as a treatment for sores, particularly burns, including sunburns. In fact, the FDA first approved Aloe vera ointment as an over-the-counter medication for skin burns back in 1959.
A review of 4 experimental studies found that Aloe vera could reduce the healing time of burns by around 9 days compared to conventional medication.
3.Reduces dental plaque. Tooth decay and diseases of the gum are very common health problems. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to reduce the buildup of plaque (bacterial biofilms) on the teeth.In a mouth rinse study of 300 healthy people, 100% pure Aloe vera juice was compared to the standard mouthwash ingredient chlorhexidine. After 4 days of use, the Aloe vera mouth rinse was found to be just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing dental plaque.
Another study found similar benefits of Aloe vera mouth rinse when used over a 15- to 30-day period. Aloe vera does this by killing the plaque-producing bacterium Streptococcus mutans in the mouth, as well as the yeast Candida albicans.
4.Helps treat mouth ulcers, or canker sores. Many people have experienced mouth ulcers, or canker sores, at some point in their lives. They usually form underneath the lip, inside the mouth, and last for about 7-10 days. Studies have convincingly shown that Aloe vera treatment can accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers. In a 7-day study of 180 people with recurrent mouth ulcers, an Aloe vera patch applied to the area was effective in reducing the size of the ulcers.
5.Reduces constipation. Aloe vera has often be used to treat constipation.This time it is not the gel, but the latex, that provides the benefits. The latex is a sticky yellow residue found just under the skin of the leaf. The key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin, or barbaloin, which has well-established laxative effects.
6. May improve skin and help prevent wrinkles. There is preliminary evidence that topical Aloe vera gel can slow aging of the skin. In one study of 30 women over the age of 45, topical application of the gel was shown to increase collagen production and improve skin elasticity over a 90-day period. Another study found that Aloe vera reduced erythema (redness of the skin), but was also found to dehydrate skin cells.
7.Lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics. Aloe vera has sometimes been used as a traditional diabetes remedy. It is said to enhance insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar management. Several animal and human studies in type 2 diabetics have actually found promising results from consuming Aloe vera extract.

Monday, August 7, 2017


Herbally Radiant noted with concern that potentially unsafe skin care products are being sent to US in growing volumes. In its letter to Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr (D., NJ), FDA has expressed inability to carry out adequate inspections of cosmetic shipments coming from many countries due to scarce resources. At the same time, the letter reveals that about 2000 shipments a year are refused entry to the US, based on these inspections or other issues; the highest share of those blocked come from China, South Korea, Canada, France, and India. It emphasized that imports from China were particularly problematic.

Of the 3 million imported cosmetics shipments, FDA physically inspected just 9,871, or about 0.3 percent in 2016, and 15% violations were found in 1474 shipments.  In other words, in the small percentage of checks that FDA could carry out, the rate of rising violations was of concern.

This comes on the heel of several reports of potentially unsafe cosmetic products being sent by online suppliers which are doing a booming business on the back of aggressive marketing promotions.

While FDA should be able to increase inspections and bar imports from companies dispatching unsafe products, the consumers also need to exercise caution. Most of such cosmetic products use unsafe chemical ingredients not mentioned on the labels.

Friday, August 4, 2017


The question of aging of skin has been engaging the attention and efforts of beauticians and scientists. The R&D team of Herbally Radiant has experimented with a variety of combinations using herbal ingredients to create and maintain a youthful appearance. It also monitors the latest studies on aging factors and found the recent article by Yella Hewings-Martin, PhD in MNT  a good effort in explaining the biological process of aging.
Skin aging is caused by a combination of natural aging and exposure to sunlight. Add to this the inescapable factor of time, and the result is sagging skin, wrinkles, and discolorations: the characteristic signs of skin aging.
Our skin has two distinct layers. The epidermis makes up the outer barrier of our skin and protects us from environmental insults, such as bacteria and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Meanwhile, the dermis is rich in collagens and other proteins, which are responsible for skin's strength and elasticity.
The dermis contains a very complex arrangement of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, including collagens and others, such as elastin, which provides elasticity.
Fibroblast cells in the dermis not only produce these proteins, but they are also firmly lodged in between these proteins and connected to them. As we age, the ECM progressively loses its integrity as the protein structures become fragmented.
Fibroblasts lose their ECM connections and slowly degrade the protein networks. This leads to a change in fibroblast shape, severely affecting the cells' function. Protein production by fibroblasts is reduced, contributing further to the breakdown of the ECM network.
This detrimental circle of events causes a significant reduction in elasticity and results in the loss of our part skin tone. Scientists think that it is caused by a combination of oxidative stress damage to DNA, cell senescence, and chronic inflammation.
Although we all experience some natural loss of elasticity and ECM integrity as we age, sun exposure makes this much worse.
But fibroblasts themselves do not react to direct irradiation with UV light in laboratory studies. Instead, scientists think that cells in the epidermis respond to UV exposure by releasing chemicals that diffuse into the dermis and lead to enzyme release in dermal fibroblasts.
This complex interplay is thought to result in deep wrinkles, which is a hallmark of UV-induced skin aging. And recent evidence implicates a third player in causing the signs of skin aging.
As our bodies age, the fat layer below the skin naturally shrinks, resulting in sagging. But until recently, scientists were unable to see any connection between UV damage and fat; UV rays do not penetrate deeply enough to reach the subcutaneous fat. However, a new type of fat depot in the deep dermis was recently discovered that can penetrate the upper dermis, which is well within reach of UV light.
These specialized fat cells can also respond to chemicals released by cells in the epidermis. In response to chronic UV damage, these fat cells die and are replaced by scar tissue.

Besides avoiding excessive sun exposure, Herbally Radiant has found certain combinations of herbs and essential oils extremely effective in preventing premature aging of the skin. The rich nutrients in its anti-aging formulations (Radiant and Rejuvenating), amazingly activate cellular cleaning process and accelerate epidermal regeneration.  These improve skin hydration and elasticity and reducing the appearance of over-pigmentation and skin inflammation. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


The Washington Post carried an informative piece on misunderstanding of the product labelled as "Natural Flavors".  It explains how the FDA defines a natural flavor as a substance extracted, distilled or similarly derived from plant or animal matter, either as is or after it has been roasted, heated or fermented, and whose function is for flavor, not nutrition. Foods that should be vegetarian can include flavors that are derived from animals, and foods can have flavors that outwardly have nothing to do with the food involved. An example of these incongruities is wine that includes traces of eggs or fish.In the food and cosmetics industries, the term “all natural” is poorly regulated, so manufacturers may use it even when their products are full of chemicals and preservatives — not at all what we think of as natural.
 There are a few reasons extra flavors are added to foods. They can replace flavors that food processing and pasteurizing removed (probably the case with the orange juice he spotted); they help food taste fresh even when it is not (again, perhaps the case with the orange juice); they create an appealing smell that will entice the consumer to eat the product.
The words “natural flavors” seemed to be on most of the food packages they spotted at the store. In fact, the Environmental Working Group found in its research of 80,000 food products that only salt, water and sugar are listed more often than natural flavors on food labels. We all know that we aren’t supposed to eat too much sugar or salt, and water seems to be a safe bet, but what about that fourth most popular ingredient.
There seem to be about 1000 chemicals in the GRAS category that have not been researched or approved by the FDA or anyone else. Some are obviously artificial flavors and not natural flavors. Artificial flavors are created in a lab instead of being derived from a natural substance, yet what was fascinating to my boys was that the chemical structures of a natural strawberry flavor and an artificial strawberry flavor may be exactly the same, just achieved by different means. This suggests that a natural flavor may not be chemically any healthier than an artificial flavor. Organic foods cannot have artificial preservatives or synthetic solvents, so generally they are a safer bet.

Monday, July 31, 2017


Herbally Radiant welcomes the initiative of the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) to regulate mixing of heavy metals in cosmetics.  EU law is protective of public health. The German initiative seems to be the result of growing pressure from activists that the heavy metals are very dangerous to public health when applied on the skin.

There have been several studies confirming the health risks due to the harmful metal elements in cosmetics. The 2012 study by the Dominican University of California brought out this danger.

Presently, German VBL allows the following heavy metals in cosmetics: lead (2.0-5.0), Cadmium (0.1), mercury (0.1) arsenic (0.5) and antimony (0.5).  For the present, it is allowing cadmium in trace amounts in cosmetics. However, scientists have highlighted the inherent grave risks in allowing heavy metals in cosmetic products even in a small ratio.

Herbally Radiant has, therefore, been advising customers to avoid chemical based skin care formulations, and prefer skin-friendly safe ingredients to avoid health risks.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


While promoting natural organic skin care products, Herbally Radiant has also been advising its customers to desist from ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of formulations without understanding their scientific basis.

Writing in MNT, Amanda Barrell has explained the unsubstantiated properties of Manuka honey, the market for which has exploded recently under its perceived benefits as a superfood..

The bees that collect nectar from Manuka tree (also known as tea tree) is said to have healing properties. All honey contains antimicrobial properties, but Manuka honey also contains non-hydrogen peroxide, which gives it an even greater antibacterial power. Some studies have found Manuka honey can also help to boost production of the growth factors white blood cells need to fight infection and to heal tissue.

Manuka honey contains a number of natural chemicals that make it different:
Methylglyoxal (MGO): effective against several bacteria, including Proteumirabilis and Enterobacter cloacae.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): converts into MGO during the honey production process.
Leptosperin:  naturally occurring chemical found in the nectar of Manuka plants and a few close relatives.

Experts believe that because Manuka honey has added antibacterial and healing properties, it may be even more effective. Strong evidence was found that honey heals partial thickness burns around 4 to 5 days more quickly than conventional dressings. There is also evidence indicating that honey is more effective than antiseptic and gauze for healing infected surgical wounds. However, more studies are needed in evidence.

In the lab, Manuka honey has been shown to be able to inhibit around 60 species of bacteria. These include Escherichia coli (E. coli) and salmonella. It can also fight so-called superbugs that have become resistant to antibiotics. These include staphylococcus aureus (MRSA-15) and pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, the line of investigation is still incomplete.

Herbally Radiant would like to highlight the fact that the medical grade honey used to dress wounds is very different from the honey sold in stores. Medical grade honey is sterilized, with all impurities removed, and prepared as a dressing. Wounds and infections should always be seen and treated by a healthcare professional.

Store-bought Manuka honey can be used in the same manner as any other honey: on toast, on porridge, or to sweeten drinks.

There is no clear evidence that people who consume Manuka honey in this way will notice any benefit to their health. It is not clear how the active ingredients that provide Manuka honey with its healing properties survive in the gut.

Honey is usually around 80 percent sugar, mainly supplied by glucose, fructose, and sucrose, so moderate intake is recommended. This is particularly true if one suffers from diabetes.

Monday, July 17, 2017


An investigative piece by Emma Deangela, dietician, shows how lobbying by food industry manipulates consumers.  We at Herbally Radiant promote healthy lifestyle – balanced diet and natural skin care products and advise customers that excessive sugar impacts on skin and speeds up aging of it.  Unfortunately, sugar has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine.
The Sugar lobby planned to change the public opinion of sugar through industry-funded research in 1964, when increasing studies were finding solid connections between sugar and heart disease. The plan was “to refute (our) detractors,” and “diminish negative views of sugar” by pointing to another source – fats and cholesterol – as the main cause of heart disease.
The sugar lobby paid $ 50,000 to review selected articles that condemned fats and cholesterol. When examining the studies naming sugar as the main culprit for heart disease, the researchers would claim that the studies were flawed in certain ways but questioning saturated fats, the researchers would praise the format of the study.
The article highlights how Dr. Hegsted, who became head of the nutrition at the USDA helped draft dietary guidelines recommended by the federal government.  His relationship with the sugar industry executives was widely known.  

In 2015, Coca-Cola paid millions to minimize any connection between their sugar-filled drinks and current obesity trends. In June’16, a trade association, representing three major candy companies funded a research study that claimed that children who ate more candy weighed less overall than those who didn’t!
Sugar is necessary to a certain degree, but not in the amounts that are typically consumed in a Western diet. Only when sugars and fats are consumed in right amounts, will the heart disease will begin to decline.
Herbally Radiant comes across “new studies” frequently that are inspired and funded by cosmetic firms to promote their products. The customers need to be aware of facts, and not be manipulated by unverifiable claims of the marketers.