Handmade Naturals believes natural is best (our name is a bit of a giveaway). On this page, you'll find a list of some of the ingredients in our product range, what they do, where they come from and why they nourish your skin and body, and support overall health.
Here are some of the nourishing natural ingredients you'll find in our body, bath and home collection.
Manufacturers derive grapeseed oil by applying pressure to grape seeds and extracting their oil. It's high in omega-6 fatty acid and may offer benefits for both the outside and inside of the body.
Grapeseed oil's primary benefit is its skin-moisturizing ability. It is high in vitamin E which may help reduce UV damage from sun exposure. The oil also supplements the skin's natural oil production, helping to keep it supple.
Grapeseed oil may also help reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance in people at risk of diabetes when eaten. There's also evidence that substituting saturated fat for grapeseed oil reduces the risk of heart disease, partly due to the type of fat it contains, and partly due to its antioxidant and vitamin E content.
Shea butter is a natural vegan-friendly product that comes from shea tree nuts. This off-white cream is easy to spread on the skin and offers tremendous skin-moisturizing effects.
Shea butter is an emollient which makes it ideal for cosmetics products. It soaks into your skin, creating a soft, smooth barrier that protects against dryness. When used in the morning, the effects of shea butter can last all day, eliminating the need to apply commercial, synthetic moisturizers.
Shea butter may have anti-aging properties. Researchers don't quite know what exactly gives it this quality, but they believe that it may increase the production of collagen under the skin, or prevent it from breaking down.
The use of shea butter dates to ancient Egypt and queen Cleopatra. Historical documents suggest that servants brought her the substance in large clay pots.
Jojoba oil comes from the jojoba plant native to North America. It thrives in harsh desert conditions and produces a nut with purported healing properties. Cosmetics manufacturers extract the oil from the nut, either for use on its own, or in combination with other skin care ingredients.
Research indicates that jojoba oil offers several skin benefits. It's antibacterial and anti-fungal, allowing it to kill germs that might lead to breakouts. It's also a humectant, which means it helps to seal the skin, trapping moisture on the surface, preventing it from escaping. It may even help control the formation of dandruff when used on the scalp.
Calendula oil is oil extract that comes from marigold flowers. The name "calendula'' comes from the Latinate name, Calendula officinalis.
Researchers have identified several potential benefits of calendula infused oil, including anti-fungal and antibacterial effects. It may also help to soothe eczema and relieve diaper rash for babies.
Historians aren't quite sure when people began using calendula oil on the skin. However, they suspect they have been doing so throughout history due to its widespread cultivation. Its common name, marigold, refers to the Virgin Mary, an association that goes back all the way to the 14th century.
Natural skin care products frequently contain beeswax, an ingredient that people have been harvesting for thousands of years.
When applied to the skin, beeswax creates a protective barrier. It is a humectant, drawing water to the upper layers of the dermis to keep it hydrated.
Beeswax also contains small granules throughout. This makes it an excellent exfoliator, able to scoop dirt out of pores.
Beeswax's properties make it a potential treatment for several skin conditions. Studies, for instance, found that daily application of beeswax was effective for people with psoriasis and dermatitis. Further studies showed that the substance worked better than synthetic medicines and topical creams.
Arnica comes from a flowering herb native to Eastern Europe and the Siberian steppe. People use it for a variety of medical conditions, including heart complaints. However, it is most famous for its skin and hair benefits. For instance, arnica oil may be an effective dandruff treatment. It may also be able to combat hair loss and premature greying.
Arnica contains some powerful anti inflammatory compounds. Researchers think that some of these may be able to "de-puff" the skin, helping to make it appear less swollen and inflamed.
Lavender essential oil comes from pressed lavender plants. It is well-known for its anxiety-fighting properties but it may benefit the skin as well. Many products combine lavender essential oil with carrier oils, such as coconut oil.
Evidence suggests, for instance, that lavender oil may be able to prevent acne breakout and help clear up those that occur. It works by unclogging pores and purifying the skin.
Lavender may also lighten the skin by fighting discoloration, age spots and hyperpigmentation. Chemicals in the lavender play encourage skin cells to go into housekeeping mode, repairing damage done by sun exposure and aging.
Two thousand years ago, lavender was an important part of Roman bathing rituals, owing to its antibacterial properties. In fact, the word "lavender" comes from the Roman "lavare" which means "to wash."
Ground tangerine peels contain powerful agents that may help improve the condition of your skin. For instance, it has substances that kill unwanted bacteria that live on the skin. Tangerines also contain chemicals that help to tone the skin, making it appear more consistent over its surface. The high presence of vitamin C in tangerines could also help to slow down the aging process of the skin, thanks to its antioxidant capacities.
Roman chamomile comes from the plant's flowerheads. Typically, people use it for digestive disorders. However, it may also have powerful skin-healing properties. Traditionally, people used extracts from the plant to fight a variety of skin conditions and wounds such as hemorrhoids, bedsores, diaper rash, frostbite, eczema, burns, sore gums and cracked nipples. Researchers believe that the active chemical ingredients of the plant are 4-methyl amyl angelate, isobutyl angelate, and isoamyl tiglate.
Roman chamomile is a potent ingredient and so cosmetics manufacturers tend to use it sparingly.
White charcoal is made by pyrolysing wood in a kiln at around 600 degrees F for 120 hours. In recent years, cosmetics brands are increasingly using this ingredient to help their customers eliminate toxins and impurities from the skin, and draw out oil and dirt. White charcoal gently exfoliates and hydrates the skin, giving users a healthy, radiant glow.
White charcoal has been used in Japan for hundreds of years. It's not the same as the charcoal that you use for your BBQ grill. That's toxic, so don't use it on your skin.
After using white charcoal on your face or body, your skin will feel light and refreshed. You should feel less dryness or tightness compared to synthetic alternatives.
Safflower oil comes in both body oil and essential oil forms and is a common ingredient in skin care products. Vendors derive it from a plant called Carthamus tinctorius which grows in wet and humid regions.
Scientific research for the skin benefits of safflower oil is ongoing. However, studies so far suggest that it may have some pain-relieving effects. It also has well-documented skin-moisturizing effects, helping to make it appear smoother and softer.
Many people use safflower oil for acne. While adding more oil to the skin might seem like a bad idea if you have breakouts, research indicates that safflower oil is noncomedogenic, meaning that it doesn't clog pores. In fact, because it contains anti-inflammatory factors, it may help to keep them healthy.
People also use safflower oil for eczema. That's because it contains the topical moisturizing agent, linolenic acid, which maintains the integrity of the upper dermal layers.
Tamanu oil is an extract from the tropical evergreen tamanu nut tree. Asians, Africans, and Pacific Islanders have been using it for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years, to treat a range of skin conditions. Evidence suggests that it may help to treat cancer and even slow the rate of HIV infection, (though it is not an accepted part of Western medicine yet).
Tamanu oil offers a variety of skincare benefits. People use it to treat wrinkles, acne scars and acne. It may also offer relief for dry skin, eczema, stretch marks and dark spots. Researchers believe that it is effective because it contains factors that encourage collagen and GAG production, reversing signs of sun damage and aging. Unfortunately, modern science is yet to fully document all of the benefits of tamanu oil.
Here are some of the edible, health-promoting ingredients that you can find in our herbal wellness collection.
Organic black seeds have Latin name Nigella sativa and are also sometimes called black cumin (though not botanically related to regular cumin). People have been using black seeds since ancient times to cure a host of ailments. Roman physicians, for instance, used the spice to treat more than 47 conditions.
Modern science now knows a great deal about black seed and the benefits that it offers. Traditionally, people used it for treating digestive disorders such as dysentery, gas, colic and constipation. In modern times, however, people have also begun using it for allergies, cough, emphysema, flu and nasal congestion. Black seed may also help when used in combination with other natural ingredients, such as saffron, to alleviate the side effects of certain drugs.
People have been using pine pollen in medicines for more than 2,000 years. The pollen comes from three primary species of pine tree: Scots pine, Chinese red pine, and Masson's pine. Chemically, the pollen is similar across all three species.
Pine pollen has a variety of purported benefits for health. These include slowing the aging process, reducing fatigue, increasing testosterone levels, and treating a variety of conditions, such as colds, prostate cancer and constipation. Studies have found that taking pine pollen may reduce memory errors. It may also help increase the production of antiinflammatory molecules that fight inflammation.
There is also some evidence that pine pollen may be able to reduce arthritis symptoms. Researchers fed the substance to mice for 49 days and found that they had fewer arthritis symptoms afterwards.
The father of wester medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates, frequently prescribed garlic for healing a variety of ailments. Thus, the plant from the allium family of vegetables (the same as onion) has been in use for at least 2,500 years, possibly more.
Garlic offers a variety of medicinal properties and was a mainstay of medicine in Egyptian, Roman, Chinese and Babylonian civilisations. Researchers believe the health benefits of garlic come from the sulfur compounds it contains. The most famous of these is allicin, though there are others ,such as s-allyl cysteine and diallyl disulfide.
Studies suggest that garlic can fight diseases like the common cold. It may also reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels - a strong predictor of heart disease.
Ashwagandha powder is an ancient medicinal herb and part of the ayurvedic system. Indus valley civilizations have been using it for more than 3,000 years to reduce stress, increase energy levels and enhance concentration.
In the West, ashwagandha is known as Withania somnifera. Studies suggest that it is a natural analogue to life-extending drugs, such as rapamycin and metformin, but without any of the associated side effects. Researchers believe that its health benefits derive from its high concentration of with anolides, potent chemicals shown in the lab to fight cancer and inflammation.
The list of ashwagandha's alleged health benefits is extensive. Researchers believe that it may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, reduce stress levels by lowering cortisol, fight symptoms of depression, and boost testosterone and fertility in men. Further studies report that it may improve body composition by increasing muscle mass and reducing fat content.
Cascara sagrada comes from a shrub - Latin name, Rhamnus purshiana - that grows in western North America. The herb has been listed in US Pharmacopeia since the 1890s and is now FDA-cleared as an over-the-counter medication for constipation.
Historically, the primary purpose of cascara sagrada was to treat constipation. It works by inhibiting the ability of the small intestines to absorb water. This action increases stool volume, making it easier for the gastrointestinal tract to push solids through to the colon. Medicines usually combine cascara sagrada with other known natural laxatives, such as senna and aloe vera.
Nettle leaf powder comes from wild stinging nettles, Latin name, Urtica dioica, but don't worry, it won't hurt you. In fact, it offers a tremendous range of benefits. The plant, for instance, is high in a range of health-promoting nutrients, including polyphenols such as quercetin, coumarins, caffeic acid and kaempferol. It also contains pigments such as lutein, luteoxanthin and carotenoids besides a healthy complement of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
Scientific studies suggest that nettle leaf powder may offer a host of health benefits. Research has found that it may reduce inflammation and treat the symptoms of enlarged prostate. It may also provide relief for people with hay fever, lower blood pressure and assist in blood pressure control. Other potential benefits include improved wound healing, better liver health, and reduced bleeding.
Hawthorn berries are small fruits that grow on trees in the Crataegus family. Berries from these trees taste tart but have a mild sweetness and can range in color from bright yellow through red to deep black.
Hawthorn berries have been used for centuries. They are a key part of traditional Chinese medicine.
Today, Western science is catching up and discovering some of the benefits of this remarkable fruit itself. Research indicates that hawthorn berries may have anti inflammatory properties - great for people with asthma, type 2 diabetes and cancer. It may also lower blood pressure thanks to various vasodilation compounds that it contains. Other benefits include its ability to prevent hair loss and mild sedative action - great for people with anxiety. It's also surprisingly easy to add to the diet. You can get it in supplement form, eat it raw, add it to tea, make it into wine and vinegar and use it in jams and desserts.
Cat's claw bark comes from a woody vine that grows in the Amazon rainforest and other parts of South and Central America. Manufacturers derive it from one of two species: U. guianensis and U. tomentosa. Traditionally, people used cat's claw bark for a variety of health conditions, including colitis, gastritis, parasites and leaky bowel syndrome.
Research indicates that cat's claw bark is safe when consumed short term orally. It may work by increasing the activity of the immune system, helping it to fight off diseases. It may also lower blood pressure, meaning that anyone on blood-pressure lowering medications should speak to their doctor before taking it.
Berberis vulgaris is a shrub that yields tart, red berries, called barberries, and grows natively in Europe, Africa, and North America. For centuries, cultures have been using it for its medicinal benefits.
Barberries are most famous for their ability to fight diabetes. Barberries are where berberine comes from, a compound that works similarly to mainstream anti-diabetic drugs, such as metformin.
Barberries may also help to fight diarrhea. Studies show that the small berries kill common stomach bugs, such as E. Coli.
Barberries could have positive effects on dental health too. The berries contain an anti-inflammatory substance that helps to prevent the establishment of inflammation that can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Reishi is known as "the mushroom of longevity" and has a rich history of use in Chinese medicine since ancient times. Reishi mushroom comes from Ganoderma lucidum fungus. Active, health-promoting compounds include peptidoglycans, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids.
People celebrate reishi for its ability to boost the immune system. Studies show that the fungus may change the way white blood cells operate. For instance, it may increase the activity of natural killer cells in cancer patients, helping the body fight tumors. Further studies show that it may have anticancer effects in colorectal cancer patients and improve lymphocyte function in athletes experiencing high levels of stress.
Reishi is also popular for its purported fatigue and depression-fighting abilities. Studies in breast cancer survivors found that taking reishi powder for four weeks reduced overall tiredness.
Kelp powder comes from kelp, a type of sea algae that grows on the Siberian Pacific coast, the West coast of the US, around the UK and Iceland, along the coast of South Africa and South America.
In recent years, people have become more interested in kelp for its disease-fighting ability. The sea vegetable may combat estrogen-related conditions, such as breast cancer. It may also slow the spread of colon and breast cancers in patients with metastatic tumors, thanks to estrogen-mimicking compounds it contains.
People also use kelp powder for its purported weight loss benefits. Studies suggest that a type of fiber it contains - alginate - may prevent the stomach from absorbing fat, reducing the amount of energy that gets into the body.
Elderberry powder is a product made from elder plants in the Sambucus nigra family. Uses of elderberry date back all the way to 400 BC - the time of Hippocrates and the other ancient Greek medics.
Elderberry is used as a treatment for constipation, headaches, fever, bad breath, muscle and joint pain, kidney problems, and epilepsy. Researchers believe that its medical benefits come from its high concentration of antioxidants and vitamins and their effects on the immune system.
Black cohosh is a flowering plant with scientific name Actaea racemosa, native to North America. Historically, Native Americans used it in their medicine to improve hormonal balance and treat the symptoms of the menopause.
Researchers believe that black cohosh root powder is effective because of the phytoestrogens that it contains. These compounds may mimic and enhance the effects of the body's natural estrogens.