Table of contents
Natural and organic cosmetics (Nov 2007)
All the cosmetics have an almost identical recipe: excipients, active principles and additives.
- An excipient is a substance whose purpose is to accelerate the diffusion of the active principle in our epidermis. It can be of vegetable origin as the sweet almond or synthetic as the silicones.
- The active principle determines the effectiveness of the product: to moisturize, to soften, to wash, etc.
- The additives are additives (to colour, to perfume, to create foam, to soften the cream...), conservatives or dyes.
The main ingredients of the cosmetics on the market are coming from the petrochemistry and therefore very inexpensive (sodium lauryl sulfate, silicones, paraffin, mineral oils, PEG, parabens...). The organic cosmetology products, on the contrary, only use living materials that underwent almost no transformation. These raw materials, often vegetable materials, were known of most of the civilizations that preceded us. The excipient is made out of water (and often of hydrolat) and organic oil from first cold pressure, of vegetable butter and waxes. The other ingredients are usually hydrolats, essential oils, seaweeds, plant extracts, clay...
Organic cosmetics are more respectful of the skin that the conventional ones. The ingredients of the conventional cosmetics often destroy the natural hydrolipidic film of the skin. They dry, irritate, cover (preventing the skin to breathe) or, on the contrary, increase the permeability of the skin (and therefore the penetration of toxics).
The conventional cosmetics can cause in the long term eczema, dermatitis or asthma. They often contain comedogenic components, allergens, carcinogens etc. Organic products are not necessarily free of side effects but is not commensurate with conventional products.
Certified organic cosmetics are not tested on animals, unlike the majority of conventional products.
An organic product often contains up to 35% of active ingredients while it is not uncommon to find less than 1% in a conventional product.
Learn to distinguish true organic products from the ones that benefit from the "green" wave. From pharmacy soap until the "Marseillais", whatever expensive they are, the products take advantage of "green" fashion usually contain less than 5% truly natural ingredients.
How to empty a tube of cosmetics? (Dec 2007)
We all use tubes of toothpaste, cream, gel etc. But when throwing them away, are they really empty?
To know it and use the remaining product, simply cut the tube. Take a cutter or a pair of scissors and cut the tube in two equally long parts. And now use the product you were close to discard. Be sure not to let it dry out.
When the tube is made out of aluminum, pay attention not to cut your fingers with the metal.
Bach flower remedies(Jan 2008)
Who never has some psychological problems to overcome? Fears, doubt, discouragement, lack of interest are some examples. The elixirs of Dr. Bach are there to help you in these difficult times and Santi-shop offers them from the brand Biofloral. To learn more about the approach of Dr. Bach please visit the Dr. Bach website or purchase the book "Guide Familial des Elixirs Floraux".
Dry skin(Jan 2008)
Skin often dries more in winter than in summer. Why is it so, and what to do about it?
Dry skin causes a twinge of discomfort and roughness and can affect almost everyone, at any age, to varying degrees. Most of the time, the skin dries temporarily when the humidity is too low. So, often in the winter, the skin dries all over the body and hands chap.
Factors contributing to dry skin are as follows.
- Very cold temperatures, because humidity then becomes very low. Often, the skin problems are growing in the winter.
- Hot and dry climates. In desert regions, where temperatures are very high and humidity less than 10%, the skin can dry out quickly.
- Wind. By accelerated evaporation.
- Sun. Source of heat, the sun dries out the skin. The more one get exposed to the sun, the more the skin dries.
- Heating in the houses in winter, which reduces ambient humidity.
- Frequent baths in hot water that dissolves the fatty substances (oil) located on the surface of the skin.
- Regular swimming, especially in highly chlorinated water.
- Frequent contact of the skin with soap, household cleaning products, make-up, perfume. Regarding soap, those containing alcohol are the most drying.
- Dehydration, due to inadequate consumption of liquids or significant loss of water, which may occur due to a severe diarrhoea or to an intense physical exercise.
- Alcohol, coffee, because of their diuretic effect.
- Some medications, such as antihistamines and diuretics.
This gives you ideas to act on the external factors that you can control. To counteract the effect of the factors you have no control on, you should you treat your skin from the inside (food) and outside (creams).
Before looking at how to combat this issue, let us first have a look at what a healthy skin is. The surface of the skin is protected by a thin film composed of a mixture of fatty substances and water. Fat comes from sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands located in the skin. The sebum lubricates the skin, gives it its suppleness and protects it from dryness as well as excess moisture. The water, however, is produced by the sweat glands. When this natural protective barrier is impaired, the skin dries. The role of creams and moisturizing lotions is to recreate this protective barrier, in addition to rehydrate the skin.
With age, the skin tends to be drier, because the sebaceous glands are less active. And this problem is more prevalent among women than among men.
To maintain well hydrated healthy skin,
- use alcohol-free soaps and prefer those which contain moisturizing substances, such as glycerine or shea butter
- add oil in your bath
- avoid soaps and shampoos containing lauryl sulfate, an agent that dissolves fat
- regularly and generously apply a moisturizing cream all over the body (ideally right after shower or bath to retain moisture)
- apply, if necessary, several times a day, a moisturizing cream on the drier parts like hands, feet, face
- swallow evening primrose oil as a liquid with a spoon or in the form of capsules
The moisturizing creams have different compositions depending on their application. For the face, always use a cream for the face (light cream) because fatty creams block pores, causing comedones or infections.
A flat belly(Jan 2008)
Who does not regret the flat belly he had when he was 20 years old? With the years, the skin, like an elastic band, loses its elasticity and the muscles often work less because of less sport. How to recover a flat belly in a safe way for the rest of the body and without spending too much time?
The method is simple, but it requires some concentration.
Contract and relax your abdominal in a motionless position (standing, sitting, lying down). Do it at a rate of one contraction every 5 to 10 seconds and then release your abdominal gradually while breathing. You can also extend the contraction time by doing a breathing pause after the expiration (5, 10, 15 seconds depending on your possibilities). To find out if the contraction is strong enough, feel your stomach with your fingers, it must be hard as wood.
When to do these exercises? Use the moments when you are not moving. Examples: as a passenger in a car or a bus, as a car driver at a traffic light or in a traffic jam, when in a waiting room, when brushing your teeth, when at the computer.
Free toes(Feb 2008)
Your toes do not cause any trouble and you do not think about them. It's wonderful. But nothing lasts forever; take care of them before they remember you.
Can you cross your hands? This means putting the fingers of one hand between the fingers of the other. Certainly.
But can you put the fingers of one hand between the toes of the opposite foot? Probably not. If you do not succeed, it means that your toes lack of space and suppleness.
Try to improve the situation while massaging your feet with oil or moisturizer. Move your toes with your fingers and keep them aside for about ten seconds: toe after toe. Also try to introduce a finger between two toes. Gradually you will be able to put one, then two, then three and finally four fingers between your five toes. And when you remove the fingers, feel the sense of well-being and space at your feet.
Who, today, could say he is not consuming sugar? Sugar is found in many products, and often in very large quantities. Examples: jam and chocolate. Have a look at the labels.
So what are the different sugars and their respective quality?
- White sugar: is pure sucrose, 99.7% pure! Contrary to popular belief, whether it comes from sugar cane or sugar beet will basically not change its characteristics, since it is only a chemical formula. It is a refined product source of empty calories: for its digestion the body will draw the essential minerals (risk of demineralisation) out of the skeleton, the teeth...
- Brown sugar: also called raw or brown sugar, sometimes blond sugar when it is clear. It is obtained by the crystallization of the sugar cane juice. Molasses, particularly rich in minerals and vitamins, is almost completely excluded from this process of crystallization. It is a quality sugar, but which retains some aggressiveness for teeth, though much less than the white sugar.
- Whole sugar: pure cane juice, dried by cooking in large pots and simply reduced to powder after cooling. It is the richer in minerals, protects against tooth decay and strengthens the body. Its taste is very pleasant and it ideally blends with pastries, chocolate, coffee...
In summary, give your preference to foods that contain whole (or at least brown) organic sugar.
Cereal products(Apr 2008)
The organic grains, as opposed to refined grains commonly consumed in modern times, are rich in nutrients: they provide carbohydrates (55 to 75%), protein (7 to 15%), lipids (0.5 7%), minerals (1 to 4%), many trace elements, vitamins, enzymes, etc.
But pay attention, their protein do not contain a balanced ratio of all the essential amino acids. It means that to have a fully digestible protein intake, one will need to combine them intelligently. Balanced associations can be found in the traditional dishes such as corn and bean grains in South America, couscous and lentils or chickpeas in Africa, rice and fish or soy derivatives in Japan.
Some cereal products contain gluten, which makes their flour bread-making but forbid them to people with celiac disease. For the latter, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa are a good choice!
If you do not know how to prepare a cereal, go onto the Internet and search with the name of the cereal followed by the word "recipe". You are on for long hours of experimentation. Bon appetite.
Essential oils(Apr 2008)
You have some essential oils remaining! Why not to use them in atmospheric diffusion to enjoy their perfume and their properties? In the lavatory, put a few drops on the cardboard tube at the centre of the toilet paper roll. In the kitchen, use the same approach with paper towels. In the rooms, drop the oil on the curtains, sheets, pillows (pay attention to spots).
Under preventive or curative state against infections, deposit a drop of lemon or eucalyptus essential oil on the handkerchief you have in your pocket or inside the tissue paper pocket. Remember to tighten the cover.
Preservation of cosmetics(Apr 2008)
For an optimum conservation, apply the following three rules:
- Close the container after use: on contact with air, the product may lose its qualities (flavour, texture and so on). The packages are designed to conserve the products in the best possible way. The humidity of a room has normally no effect if the container is well closed.
- Keep the product away from bright lights (especially for transparent packaging).
- Keep the product away from heat: heaters, sun, etc.
Like any perishable product, cosmetics hold on their packaging an indication of expiration date.
If lifetime expectancy is less than or equal to 30 months, the packaging indicates a deadline of use.
If lifetime expectancy is greater than 30 months, the packaging indicates a PAO (Period After Opening). The symbol, an open jar, appears with a duration (in months) not to be exceeded after opening the product.
Do you need to get rid of a product that has exceeded one of these two dates? Not necessarily, because if its smell and texture have not changed you may continue using it without fear.
Increase in food prices(Apr 2008)
Media talk about it: cereal price and the price of food made out of cereals increase.
Why has wheat and rice bulk price doubled in a few months?
- Because Asian countries (China, India,..) are rising their consumption of meat and that 10 kg of grain are required to produce 1 kg of meat. (more)
- Because the production of several biofuels is based on cereals. A fill of biofuel consumes the grains needed to feed one person for one year. (more)
- Because there is a monetary speculation (futures market) on cereals like the one on shares.
- Because oil price has increased and as a result, the price of crops and transport of agricultural products.
What can we do as consumers?
- Reduce our consumption of meat (principally red meat)
- Eat "organic" or "fair trade" because these products are less (still now) subject to monetary speculation. If present trend continues, will we soon buy organic or fair-trade products at a cheaper price than standard products?
- Consume as much as possible local organic food from the season (less transport, hence less fuel consumption)!
- Boycott the biofuels produced out of crops replacing food crops.
Allergies to grass pollen(May 2008)
What can one do against pollen allergy and hay fever which is an allergy to grass?
The "ALLARGEM" complex from Herbalgem is a protection complex that rebalances the allergic ground. It can be taken to reduce the intensity of a crisis, but ideally one should use it in a preventive manner, one bottle per year starting one month before the start of the allergy. The duration of treatment will be proportional in a 1 to 2 ratio to the age of the allergy.
Pollen levels in Luxembourg.
Pollen levels in Belgium.
Pollen levels in France.
Pollen levels in other countries.
Fair trade(May 2008)
"Fair trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. Fair trade contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to marginalized producers, mainly in the South, and by securing their rights."
Fair trade justifies its existence by citing article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection."
Beyond the act of purchase, fair trade helps educate consumers to the difficulties faced by producers in the South. In this sense, it is also an educational tool.
Fair trade has three dimensions:
- social & economic: fair trade exchanges and sustainable development.
- educational: other types of commercial relationships based on trust and transparency.
- political: commitment to greater justice in international trade rules.
One often forgotten positive consequence of fair trade is to stop the immigration of people from poor countries to rich ones. Indeed, if they can live with dignity through their work, why should they emigrate?
Product quality(May 2008)
Are the cosmetic products available on Santi-shop really of better quality than the ones offered in big stores (Nivea, L'Oreal…) or in stores such as Yves Rocher?
To find out, compare the INCI list of ingredients. And to understand their meaning build the product cards using the website of the author of the book "The truth about cosmetics." The exercise takes a little time but will help you understand the difference.
You will also find the reason why an organic product is more expensive than a standard product. Example: a chemical surfactant costs about 2.6 euro per kilo, while a natural surfactant costs between 5.0 end 20.0 euro per kilo. (more)
Why are the organic products so important? View the movie launch bellow, from the French movie "Nos enfants nous accuseront."
Sunburn treatment(June 2008)
The summer period is propitious to sunburn. How to treat them best? There is of course the full range of "aftersun" creams. But you can also prepare your personal potion with our organic oils.
Pour in 10 ml Jojoba oil, Calendula macerate or St John's Wort macerate five drops of Lavender or Aspic Lavender essential oil, Geranium Rosat oil and Helichryse oil. Put a few drops of this oil mix over the sunburn area and massage gently until full penetration. Repeat two to three times a day (or more) depending on the intensity of the burn. Do not expose that area to the sun rays. (carrier oils)
Tick bites are usual in the summer for those who have a garden or hike in the woods. One senses the presence of the tick several hours after the bite because of the itching. The tick is black and can be very small (1mm).
It is essential to remove it as soon as possible. But how to do without pressing or breaking it, leaving a portion of the tick in the skin? The best way is to let the tick to detach by itself and then to remove it with tweezers, paying attention not to press it.
Apply on the tick a drop of the following oil mix: 3 drops of Lemon, Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils in 5ml of Olive or Jojoba oil. Leave on for a few minutes, ten if necessary, and then remove the tick gently.
You will most likely keep a mark for a few days at the site of the bite. Apply a drop of above oil mix two to three times a day until almost complete disappearance of the swelling.
If the recipe above does not work for you, consult your doctor.
This recipe has not been tested on animals or on big ticks! (more)
Will the world's oceans be our next drinking tap?(July 2008)
"Desalination plants are popping up all over the world, but they may very well make the environmental crisis worse." (more)
It warms you, hydrates you, refreshes you, helps you sleep, wake you up or simply gives you a moment of pleasure and relaxation. Moreover, it contains a wealth of excellent active ingredients for your health. Its anti-oxidants protect your cells from diseases related to aging and it may help prevent tooth decay.(more)
How fair is fair trade?(Sep 2008)
Launched more than forty years ago, fair trade was based on a contract that was offering a better and more honest price to small producers for their products. The fair trade channels were originally characterized by small specialized structures responsible for importing and direct sales to end consumers, away from the traditional distribution. Over the past decade, however, fair trade has deeply evolved: it has expanded to new products, traded volumes have increased and, with large retailers and the Internet, its distribution channels have diversified. What are the effects of fair trade in the South? What is the consumers' point of view toward this evolution? What is happening in the North? What is the future of fair trade?
Why the existing economic model will fail.(Sep 2008)
It is clear that our present economic model cannot survive when applied to China. Why? To know, refer to the book of Lester Brown "Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization".
An astonishing world.(Sep 2008)
Current world population is close to 6.7 billion people and it keeps increasing by more than 200,000 people a day!
77 million bicycles have already been produced in 2008 and close to 3 times more computers!
Be astonished, be afraid or surprise your friends with the numbers presented on Worldometers.
Our body, amazingly sophisticated.(Sep 2008)
Discover human anatomy like never before. Register (free) on Visible Body and you will have access to 3D views you can easily change upon your mind.
The wine(Nov 2008)
A study conducted in Europe focused on pesticide content in wine. 40 bottles from different countries, including 6 of organic wine, have been analysed and the result will for sure convince you that it is much healthier to drink organic wine. (more)
Purchase a piece of rainforest to protect the environment(Nov 2008)
Click! I have just bought 10 sq cm of rainforest for a few pennies on the net. Click click! That's 0.2 sq ft of Patagonia coastline saved from mining. You have the feeling to protect the earth for the next generations. But, do you really know what is hidden behind this? Have a look at John Vidal's article on the Guardian.
Eye pockets (Apr 2009)
Eye pockets, no one likes to see them in a mirror! Some people are more prone to it than others. Why? Often hereditary, this phenomenon is promoted by stress, sleep deprivation, fat rich diet, smoking or alcohol consumption that retain water in tissues. In addition, sleep and lying cause a slowing of the lymphatic system. The fluid then builds up under the eyes to give those nasty pockets.
As this eye area is very fragile, repeated swelling stretches the skin under the eyes and, on the long term, causes a faster aging. With the years, the skin loses its elasticity and withers.
To remedy this situation and start your day in a beauty, remember to apply an eye contour balm. Draining and boosting microcirculation, the balm will soon give you bright and sparkling eyes! Additional tip: apply the balm by tapping gently for a stimulating action! (more)
Tinctures (May 2009)
A tincture or mother-tincture is a conservation method for medicinal plants. The tinctures from Biover are concentrated hydro-alcoholic plant extracts whose main advantage is a long (over three years) shelf-life since they are prepared with alcohol.
The tincture is always produced with one single type of plant (up to 750g of fresh plant for one litre of tincture). Based on the targeted purpose, one can mix various tinctures to combine their effects.
Tinctures are ready to use, easy to carry (to work place, on holiday...), very easy to use and cheap. They are usually for internal use (swallowed) but some can also be used externally (applied on the skin).
The production process is the following. The fresh plants are finely chopped, then, principally (> 70%) as fresh plants, are cold soaked in alcohol for three to four weeks (maceration) and during this period, the mixture is stirred daily, to promote the further diffusion of the active ingredients. Note that the use of fresh plant for the maceration is not always possible or desirable. So, for example, buckthorn tincture is produced from bark that was drying during 2 years.
At the end of the soaking-strirring period, the maceration is decanted. The remaining plant residue is further pressed. The resulting fluids are then filtered to produce a clear solution containing a minimum of 45° alcohol. After a period of time, a deposit may sometimes happen: this is a natural phenomenon, which has no effect on the quality of the tincture. (more)