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Arnica montana oil for arthritic pain

By Ann C Wooledge
on September 20, 2012

Organic Arnica oil for arthritic pain and inflammation

Arnica montana organic flowers 

Arnica (Arnica montana) is a well-known and well-established herbal cure for anyone who has ever experienced the debilitating  pain and inflammation of arthritis, broken bones, sprains, gout, pulled muscles or torn ligaments. We began infusing (also commonly referred to as macerating) our own Arnica oil several years ago when we realized that some of the most important constituents in this amazing herb can be lost if processed at high temperatures. This herb has also been referred to as Arnica chamissonis, leopard's bane and mountain tobacco. The product we use is from the flowers of Arnica montana that are collected at the end of the summer and dried for medicinal use. We are diligently looking for local growers and our dream, of course, is to have land of our own to grow and dry our own plants. In the meantime, we carefully source our herbs from a company who is extremely concerned about the environment and tests for pesticides and heavy metals. We receive fresh herbs that still have their natural color and brightness intact, as you can see from the picture. If not used immediately, we store our herbs in dark glass in dark closed cabinets.

What are the benefits of Arnica montana oil?:

Traditionally the benefits from this plant are obtained from the flowers and the roots. In countries where Arnica is indigenous it has been used as a popular remedy for pain, bruises, rheumatism, as well as many other inflammatory conditions. In North America the flower is what is used most frequently and this is in fact what we use in our organic Arnica infused oil - not to be confused with an essential oil.  Although due to its potential toxicity the internal use of Arnica is allowed only in homeopathic remedies - this caution does NOT apply to the external topical application. In fact, this particular plant is well-known as one of the best remedies for external local healing and can be used as a compress or included in a massage oil or cream. Which is why it is one of the main ingredients in our very popular Spicey Muscle Oil.

According to the most reliable authority, The Complete German Commission E Monographs, arnica contains helenalin, its most active sesquiterpene lactone, responsible for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects (1, 2), for those who are interested,  and 11,13-dihydrohelenalin. This plant also contains the flavanoids of isoquercitrin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and astragalin, the volatile oil (with thymol and its derivatives), phenol carbonic acid (chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid), and coumarins (umbelliferone, scopoletin). Arnica montana is known to contain 10 different constituents which have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits. According to the Aromatic Guide to the Use of Herbs by Kolbjorn Borseth, the essential oils of this plant "stimulates the mopping up and reabsorption of blood from the bruised tissue and hastened the replacement of damaged tissue with new cells.” According to Richo Cech in his classic book Making Plant Medicine, he indicates that "arnicated oil" is an excellent penetrating anti-inflammatory for treating traumatic injuries such as bruises, sprains and torn ligaments. He goes on to say that “Arnica resolves stuck blood.”  And in yet another herbal classic entitled "The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook" by James Green, he indicates that Arnica oil can also be blended into equal parts with infused calendula and infused St. John's Wort oils for soothing traumatic injuries including small to major ones. We are also offering these two infused oils on our website and, of course, they are the base for our previously mentioned Spicey Muscle Oil.

Our organic herbal tradition process:

While making our unique infused oil, we use only the certified organic flowers of Arnica montana and infuse these flowers in a certified organic high oleic sunflower oil. The sunflower oil alone has an amazing array of benefits the details of which can be found on our website. Research has shown that sunflower oil when used on premature infants actually increased their ability to survive. Use in soaps, creams, lotions and/or massage oils. As mentioned previously, we infuse these flowers for weeks at low temperatures to ensure that we are obtaining the maximum amount of healing constituents. We are now offering this infused oil to the public on our website in a one ounce treatment bottle, or 2 or 4 ounce glass amber bottle. The amber glass is used to protect these precious healing constituents from UV light. Our prices are extremely competitive as our overhead costs are substantially lower than larger operations. Additionally, in the best herbal tradition,  we do this process in small batches and fully believe that the energy of good will and purpose as we stir these oils daily will be reflected in the overall quality of the end product. Our final infused/macerated oils are stored in recycled wine bottles with vacuum pumps to insure no benefits are lost - and we store them in a refrigerated room to insure their freshness.

SAFETY AND CAUTIONS:

All herbalists agree that Arnica montana oil should not be applied to an opened wound. Repeated application to the skin can cause irritation. Do not apply to broken skin and this herb is not recommended while pregnant or nursing. 

Thanks for listening!



1. Lyss, G., T. J. Schmidt, I. Merfort, and H. L. Pahl. "Helenalin, an anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone from Arnica, selectively inhibits transcription factor NF-kappaB." Biological Chemistry 378.9 (1997): 951-61. Web.

2. Lyss, G., A. Knorre, T. J. Schmidt, H. L. Pahl, and I. Merfort. "The anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone helenalin inhibits the transcription factor NF-kappaB by directly targeting p65."  Biological Chemistry 273.50 (1988): 33508-16. Web.

Why buy organic soap?

By Ann C Wooledge
on June 15, 2012
3 comments

What's so special about organic soap?

And I guess more importantly, for us anyway, is why buy Wingsets' organic soap?

1.      Our soap is artisan crafted and handcut by us in small freshly made batches. Wikipedia describes an artisan as follows: "An artisan or artizan (from Italian: artigiano) or craftsman (craftsperson) is a skilled manual worker  who is engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.

2      We use 100% certified organic vegetable oils, cold-pressed and unrefined, thus saving all of the benefits, vitamins and minerals that are normally processed out of conventional oils.

3      We use 100% certified organic shea butter well known in the cosmetic industry for its extremely high levels of hydrating and protecting properties for the skin.

4.     We use NO artificial dyes or chemical additives.

 5.    We use 100% certified organic or wildcrafted (NOT sprayed) botanicals with additional antioxidant and inherent beneficial properties.

6.    “Soap” that we can choose to purchase such as Dove is a mix of chemicals and not real soap, which is why they cannot legally call it soap – it is a “bar” or some other such marketing name. Only real soap is a natural process that results in additional glycerin which is very moisturizing for the skin. Even according to the FDA, it is a "toxic mix of synthetic, non-biodegradable ingredients."

7.     We use pure plant based essential oils or phthalate-free fragrances.

8.     Certified organic vegetable oils are not sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides; conventional ones are.

9.     We use no palm oil, which is not a sustainable crop and is resulting in the destruction of vast areas of the rain forest.

10.   These pesticides, herbicides and fungicides do leach into our ecosystem and it MATTERS for the short and long term.

11.   Our earth should not be allowed to be a dumping ground and what we leave behind for our grandchildren MATTERS.

12.   What we put on our skin MATTERS for the short and long term for the health of our skin and bodies.

13.   Our soap gently but thoroughly cleans partly due to the Nebraska yucca we infuse into our organic olive oil. It moisturizes and hydrates our skin – you will be able to tell a difference.

14.   We package our soaps in biodegradable shrinkwrap so you can smell them but not worry about who smelled them before you did. 

14.   Yes, we raised the bar on our bar soap! Yes, you can find other, less expensive, well made, even prettier soap. But is it made with any extra fat – much less the 30% shea butter we add to each and every bar of our soap? Is it made with certified or even organically grown vegetable oils? Probably not – and the number of satisfied customers tells us it MATTERS to them too.

15.  And, I think our soap is pretty too....

Thanks for listening!

Ann

 



 


Hexane in that veggie burger?

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 03, 2011

Is there hexane in that veggie burger?

And do you know why hexane is used as compared to cold-processed or expeller pressed oils? Are  you worried about hexane residue in your veggie burger?  And as importantly, is there hexane in the oils you use to cook with or used to make your personal care products? We don't think it's a high risk in your veggie burger and the link below shows why, but we do buy and use 100% certified organic cold pressed oils and expeller pressed oils for all of our personal care products. These oils are always more expensive, 2 to 3 times for some oils and butters. We do that because these processes are done at lower temperatures and this retains the vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients in the oils, not so much because we're concerned about hexane in non-organic oils. We're much more concerned about pesticide and herbicide residuals in non-organic oils. Below is some information about the different types of oil processes - things you might want to consider when purchasing your oils for cooking or your creams, soaps and cosmetics.

Why do we buy oils that are expeller pressed?

Our first choice is always cold pressed, but that's not always available in some oils. If we can't find cold-pressed for a particular oil, then we look for expeller pressed oils and butters. This is a process that does not use chemicals to extract the oil - which means, no hexane is used. Additionally, no external heat is applied in order to extract the oil. There is friction and, therefore, higher heat from the higher friction is required in some nuts or seeds that are harder and require more friction in order to extract the oil. So basically, expeller pressed means that the oil is extracted without using hexane or other chemicals. Using chemicals and high heat is a common practice for many conventional oils you find on the grocery stores and your cosmetic counters.

Why do we pay extra for cold pressed?

Well, cold pressed is just that - cold processed where temperatures are controlled to ensure that the seed or nut does not go higher than 100-120 degrees F (some are even processed as low as 80 to 90 degrees F).  By cold pressing, the key nutrients, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients are left intact. Obviously, this is a more labor intensive and expensive process, but worth it we think and definitely the "gold standard" for all oils. When we add these oils to our products, we also are very careful about keeping these oils at low temperatures, as we also do when infusing our organic herbs into the oils.

Avocado oil was the one that was the most obvious to me and finally convinced me we needed to change. We previously purchased a "cosmetic" grade avocado oil and when I asked the supplier if it made a difference whether I purchased the organic or cosmetic grade, he said no. I then asked was this oil "food grade" and he said no. It was then that I knew we should be purchasing not only food-grade oils, but certified organic ones. I decided to sample some of the different oils and purchased a certified organic cold-processed, unrefined avocado oil that is a beautiful deep green, thicker, and it seems obvious to me would contain far more nutrients than could possibly be retained in a high heat process used for cosmetic grade oils and butters. The picture here clearly shows the difference, even in spite of my amateur photography. The oil on the far right is our certified organic extra virgin olive oil, the same that we use for cooking and for our creams and soaps (30% in our soaps). The oil on the far left is the cosmetic grade Avocado oil we used before we knew better, and the middle avocado oil is our certified organic unrefined avocado oil. I'm visual and this was an obvious no brainer for me. The lesser grades of olive oil are also very thin and clear in color but that is what is used in most of the cosmetics and soap on the shelves today - and, unfortunately, in a lot of the extra virgin olive oil you probably pay a lot for at the grocery store - even the health food store. Not ours. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and more true to their natural seed, nut or fruit.

The cosmetic grade oils are refined at temperatures as high as 450 degrees - these oils are not a food grade oil. Some oils are "partially refined" which can include deodorization and bleaching. And, finally, and important we think, is that certified organic oils and butters are rigorously analyzed for chemical, pesticide or herbicide residue. We do not purchase oils that have been processed through high heat extraction as these methods produce unhealthy oils - if we can't eat it ourselves, we don't use it in our products.

So what about hexane in our veggie burgers?!

The link provided below gives a good analysis of whether this is true and to what extent it should influence  your purchasing habits. We do think it's important to look at the label and compare the oils you use for cooking as we believe it makes a difference in the content of vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients retained. Obviously, you're probably not going to know what type of oils are used in your cosmetics and other personal care products- except ours of course. And that's even assuming the product contains real oils and butters or just lots of synthetic chemicals to try to accomplish the same feel at a much lower cost - to them, not usually to you. But that's another story for another day.

 
 
Thanks for listening!


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