Category Archives: Philosophy of Health

A Holistic Approach to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and associated mental health issues including Depression and Anxiety)

Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH in this one-day workshop exploring the impact that long term stress has on the body. We will cover the HPA Axis, and some theories behind PTSD and related mental health issues (including anxiety and depression). Participants will investigate the connection between systemic inflammation and optimal digestive function and dis-ease, including the role a healthy microbiome plays in mental health. Additionally, participants will learn about holistic treatment protocols including nutrition and plant medicine in the route back to optimal health.

Therapeutic options covered include the following:

  • Herbal Medicine options
  • Tips for Nutrition and supplements
  • Lifestyle considerations
  • The role which ‘Connection’ has on our state of mind
  • This course is ideal for a health care professional or any person wanting holistic guidance for supporting their body through extended stress.

Course Instructor: Katolen Yardley is a Medical Herbalist and owner of Alchemy & Elixir Health Group – currently in private practice in Vancouver and Port Moody, BC. Katolen teaches herbal medicine courses at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, Langara College, Dominion Herbal College and local and international conferences. She is vice president of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations (CCHA) and second term president of the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of BC (CHA of BC).

Since 1998, she has appeared on Global Television Morning News, where she offers herbal information to the public. Katolen has been a guest on the Discovery Channel’s Healthy Home Show and has been published in numerous magazines and health journals. Her personal interest in health lies with the emotional connection to wellness and dis-ease.

Her book The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies is available July 2016 and book signings will occur at the end of the course.

For more information visit: www.katolenyardley.com or                                                       Facebook: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016, 9:00am-5:00pm                                                                             Location: Pacific Rim College, Victoria, BC
To register visit: Pacific Rim College Event
https://www.pacificrimcollege.com/workshops/workshop-registration-form/

Course Tuition
Regular – $150 (Early Bird – $142.50, until August 1)
Students* – $137.50 (Early Bird – $125, until August 1)
PRC Alumni – $142.50 (Early Bird – $132.50, until August 1)
*PRC diploma students will receive 0.5 NU/WHS academic credit for this workshop.

A Holistic Approach to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and associated mental health issues)      

 

Presented by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH

During the  2 hours we will:

  • Explore the impact that long term stress has on the body, including the HPA Axis, and some theories behind PTSD and related mental health issues (anxiety and depression)
  • Investigate the connection between systemic inflammation and optimal digestive function and dis-ease and the role which healthy microbiome plays in  mental  health
  • Cover tools for re establishing health including:
  • Herbal Medicine options
  • Tips for Nutrition and supplements
  • Lifestyle considerations and
  • the role which ‘Connection’ has on our state of mind

Date: Thursday April 28, 2016    

Time: 2 hours from  7-9 pm  

Location: Kings College, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Trauma, Rest and the Role of Nature in Resetting the Nervous System

Having recent opportunity to teach in the certificate program “The Holistic Approach to Trauma,” at Langara College in Vancouver BC. The impact of extreme stress and the chain reaction that stress has on the body is fresh in my mind.

PSTD can be triggered from a traumatic event which creates emotional upheaval, flashbacks and anxiety which is re-lived again and again in both the mind and the body.  Rather than integrating the experience and moving forward – which is our bodies normal way of adapting, the trauma of a stress filled event can overwhelm the body, impacting resiliency and ones ability to cope; creating a looping state where the body re-lives an event which occurred in the past. PSTD and chronic stress can create a domino effect, impacting all endocrine  hormones throughout the body, altering immune system, hormones, thyroid function (the bodies motor for functioning) and adrenal health and can trigger inflammatory conditions leading to chronic dis-ease.

Finding my own self in urgent need of rest after a unique year, I sought out the most possible peace filled environment I could imagine. A small cabana hut, complete with a book and a hammock right on the ocean. Time to reconnect with nature and simply exhale.

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My temporary home, a one room hut with a thatched palm roof and outside my door was nothing but a wide stretch of  pristine white sand beach (noted to be some of the most beautiful in the world) and awe inspiring, magnificent views of  turquoise waters.

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Perhaps the very best therapy for trauma (or simply overload from stress) is the quiet calm, the lush green, serene stillness of NATURE. The simplicity of nature assists in our remembering that we are all connected and mother earth is our playground and a healer on this journey called life.

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Studies have been conducted on immersion in nature and its benefits for individuals suffering from stress and extended trauma. Nature can play a fundamental role in the photo 3restoration of a healthy nervous system, providing an opportunity to re-set a hyper functioning overly sensitive state. Immersion in nature is hugely beneficial for those suffering from PSTD. It matters not where ones makes contact with nature to experience the healing offered through contact with her trees, plants and the earth – gifts of mother natures and her green allies. Contact with nature can occur in ones garden, a local community park, or in the countryside, a meadow or at ocean level; remote wilderness, a jungle or high up in the mountains.  It is the benefit that fresh clean air, stunning beauty, walking barefoot in the soil, hugging a tree and experiencing the soothing sounds of mother nature. There is growing evidence that our green friends – trees, plants, flowers can improve our health and well being and reminds us of the connection we have to inhabitants  on this planet -plants, animals as well as each other. We are a part of a larger community.

photo 1 (2)In my soon to be released book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” I speak of the urgent importance of recognizing mother nature and all she provides as necessary for the health of all life on this planet.  Mother nature provides plants which are our nourishment, our foods and our medicines – plants are our healing allies – we co exist together on this planet. We could not exist on this planet without plants. It is essential that we recognise her essential value in our life and seek to protect her gifts which are disappearing at a rapid rate. 

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IMG_0270The beach road outside of Tulum, Mexico is known for its bohemian new age feel, live music, plenty of yoga, juice bars, plenty of ecologically conscious retreats and small boutique hotels – a far removed sanctuary from sprawling busy resort hotels miles away; this lush beach front is still largely surrounded by palm trees, green jungle plants, mangroves and animals. No pressure to do anything except to enjoy the sparkling Caribbean Sea and stunning shoreline. The first night I took in some late night music therapy – feeling the reverberations of vibration soothe my tired soul.

photo 1 (8)  photo 4 (6)  Tulum 232

Further south of the Riviera Maya,  past the Tulum Playa coastline, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a world renowned Ecological Reserve and designated World Heritage Site (UNESCO); extending roughly 120 kilometers of coastline, and over 400,000 hectares of land. Sian Ka’an currently is the largest protected area in the Mexican Carribean. This biosphere reserve contains tropical jungle forests, marshes and wetlands, freshwater lagoons and mangrove forests, palm savannah and intersects  the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest barrier reef in the world) with its white beaches and sand dunes.  It is the home for an thousands of plant and animal species, a habitat for more than 300 species of birds, (including the great blue heron, jabiru, ocelot, margay and wood stork, American flamingo, toucan, vultures, ) spider black howler monkey, crocodile, black iguana, puma,  jaguar, brown pelican, puma, ocelot, tamandua and tapir, It also is home to a great diversity of marine life: nesting marine turtles, rays, coral fish and numerous fish species.

Tulum 134

Studies confirm that peace filled green environments such as those found in nature have an impact on mental well being, reducing fears, anxiety, anger, tension and depression.  Recognizing the challenges and stressors of daily living in our western industrialized society, nature can provide the needed reset button and perhaps may just influence our own future choices and the direction – if we recognize mother nature as valuable we might be more likely to fight to preserve her own health.

Continued and frequent contact with mother nature may be a necessary contact to sustain IMG_0297balance – sustainable and ecological friendly practices for tourism are desperately needed. New levels of ecological tourism are needed to prevent the destruction of the beauty which tourists flock to enjoy; currently at the cost of the plant life and animal species that call this backdrop home.  Perhaps it is a timely call for mutual healing – for both ourselves – humans suffering the consequences of our industrialized lifestyle – insomnia, hypertension, plagued by anxiety and worry.  And our own active involvement the natural world, ensuring she is flourishing, healthy and well for our mutual growth/ nourishment on this planet.

Yet during my stay I was aware of the urgent need for more environmental conservation practices in the Yucatan Peninsula to sustain this exquisite environment.  This very land which provides such great beauty and deep healing is in desperate need of saving, as large resorts and fast moving developments destroy miles of mangroves creating irreversible destruction to the fragile ecosystem of this land.

What we do to the planet we do to ourselves. It is time that we take responsibility for the state of the environment and make personal and conscious choices for its improvement.

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When I awoke in the morning, and took my first morning ocean swim, I could SEE the truth of the situation! Before the local beach groomers had swept the beach to remove the proof -at night the ocean would deposit ALL that was being held in her waters – plastic, plastic, and more plastic! Bottles, containers, plastic chips, hundreds of colored plastic bits littered the beach. Resembling little colored fish, I could imagine larger fish ingesting these plastic parts thinking they were nourishment. An example of xenoestrogens and a visual example of the impact that tiny bits of plastic can have on marine life and aquatic species.

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Ecotourism and the issues surrounding growing coastal urbanization is a focus as locals seek to preserve the beauty of the environment and retain the biodiversity of plant and animal species in the Yucatan. Environmental groups are committed to protecting the local areas and fragile ecosystem and attempt to slow down or prevent the ecological problems that have already taken hold in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.

 

Many smaller hotels are conscious of the need for sustainable tourism and take steps to  minimize the environmental impact on this fragile ecosystem, supporting existing conservation projects to help preservation for future generations. Some of the challenges of this area:

  • there are well-documented garbage and sewage problems: septic tanks from larger (and even smaller) hotels may be dumping soap water from their laundries into the mangroves or nearby cenotes polluting the underground river system.
  • chlorophenoxy herbicides from pesticides and chemical fertilisers used in green lawn areas and golf courses are now major threats to the fragile barrier reef
  • due to a lack of proper man made drainage, the hydrological cycle is short, and over time the vegetation in existing mangroves ends up dying
  • contamination of drinking water and ocean life from both untreated sewage and containing byproducts found in human urine (containing traces of pharmaceutical medication (such as xenoestrogen chemicals found in birth control pills, premarin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen and residue from beauty care products containing plastic beads, antiseptics (aka antibiotics such as triclosan) are a major problem
  • traces of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) have also been found in ocean water and has an impact on coral and marine life
  • documented climate change, raising temperatures and water levels, pollution and contamination has damaged local mangroves and reefs

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Taking small steps to be  eco-friendly, many smaller boutique hotels have no electricity past midnight. Toilet paper is not flushed  and it is requested that water and other resources be used sparingly. Many showers are refreshing one tap cold ocean water rinses. Solar panels provide electricity and many hotels take steps to reuse and recycle offering filtered water (refills) rather than selling bottled water containers.  Many environmental agencies make recommendations such as the use of impermeable liners beneath golf courses, improved wastewater treatment infrastructure, prohibition of dumping treated sewage into saltwater and protection of remaining mangrove habitat, which buffer coastal areas from pollution.

Centro Ecológico Akumal is a non-governmental organization that focuses on sustainability-related issues and improving ecosystem management in and around Akumal.

Statistics from the Mexican government state the the mayan riviera is the fastest gowing resort area in the world. Mangroves that once covered all of the coastal area, have now been bulldozed and paved over. A jarring example of how NOT to create a sustainable tourist area. Scientists now believe that mangrove forests can help slow climate change, by purifying the water from human wastes and pollutants, and in doing so, coral reefs are less effected. The roots of mangroves act to trap sediments that would otherwise be washed back out by the waves. Moreover, mangroves provide a habitat for many different species of animals and suck a large amount of industrial carbon out of the atmosphere and bury it deep within the underground network of roots.

Mother natures offers us her gifts – nature is a stunning reprieve from hectic city life. It is essential that we recognize and preserve her qualities and  value her continued existence and seek to protect her gifts which are disappearing at a rapid rate. 

For more information and information reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/dec/09/cancun-mangrove-paradise-megasprawl

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-mangroves-idUSTRE6AN0YH20101125http://voicesmotherearth.blogspot.ca/2016/02/cancun-quintana-roo-commercial-property.html

S.A.V.E (Society of Akumal Vital Ecology) a non profit organisation involved in preventing construction over mangrove swamps in Puerto Morelos, creation of natural reservex in Xcacel-Xcelito and protection of hundreds of marine turtle nests. http://www.cenotes.com/save/

Health Action Network Society (HANS): Mind-Alive Conference: Exploring Natural Medicine for Mental Health

mind alive HANSHANS and Orthomolecular Health are hosting this extraordinary full day event dedicated to the awareness of natural treatments for mental health issues. Our expert speakers will be discussing the siagnosis and treatment options for, eg. anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders.

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH Medical Herbalist will be speaking on the Holistic Approach to Mental Health: discussing nutrition and herbal medicine support.

Date: Saturday October 25, 2014

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre Meeting Rooms 10-12, Vancouver BC

For more information visit:  www.hans.org

 

Kootenay Herb Conference 2014

For herbal medicine students, herbal enthusiasts and all people passionate about learning more on healing and herbal medicine- Check out the first annual Kootenay Herb Conference! The theme of the inaugural Kootenay Herb Conference is “Herbs: The Medicine of the People.” This year’s conference celebrates the centuries-old tradition of herbs in food and medicine, connecting to our past and their healing power. Whether we use them to feed our families, or to maintain our health and wellness, herbs can be appreciated by everyone. Date: July 11- 14, 2014

Location: Creston, British Columbia

For more information  on workshops view the website at: Kootenay Herb Conference Workshops.

 

Numen: The Healing Power of Plants Documentary

An inspiring documentary on the Healing Power of Herbal Medicine – featuring some of my favorite herbalists of all time: Rosemary Gladstar, Tieraona Lowdog, MD, David Hoffman and others. Official selection of the Santa Fe film festival, Green Mountain film festival, Maine International film festival, and the Sonoma Environmental film festival and third place documentary feature and best visual effects winner of the Los Angeles Reel film festival, Mark down these dates on your calender to view the award winning film Numen: The Healing Power of Plants. – free to view online October 20-30. Check out the trailer here.

Lifestyle Tips for Boosting Whole Body Health

With the New Year right around the corner- jump start your health goals by incorporating new lifestyle tips and routines into your new year!!

1. Incorporate tonic herbs into your daily routine (including Maca, Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha), to build the bodies endurance and stamina, offering resistance from stressful conditions and support for immune system function.

2. Consider Medicinal Mushrooms: rebuild and restore immunity with mushrooms such as Shitake, Maitake, Oyster, Reishi, Enokitake mushrooms; add into cooking recipes and take in supplement form for stronger immune modulating, anti inflammatory actions, to enhance liver function and raise energy levels. Chaga is another unique mushroom which offers specific support to the digestive system, including ulcers, and symptoms of irritable bowel disease.

3. Boost your bodies’ detoxification ability by drinking herbal infusions (teas) such as Nettles, Burdock, Dandelion root or Cleavers. These herbs are traditionally referred to as alteratives which support the function of the organs of cleansing and elimination.

4. Xenoestrogens: Read labels -identify potential endocrine disruptors –and reduce exposure— familiar yourself with the names of low level hormone disruptors or estrogen mimickers -hidden ingredients in our cosmetics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food, and personal care products. Xenoestrogens, are a group of chemicals present in the environment and in products we use every day, which mimic the effects of estrogen and disrupt normal hormone function. Combined with the estrogen naturally produced by the body, these foreign chemicals can create an excess of estrogen (and contribute to issues with fertility and reproductive health) and chemical sensitivity — many are also known carcinogens. Items to avoid include: phthalates, parabens, plastics (BPA, PETA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and butylates hydroxyanisole (BHA). To assist in ridding these agents from the body consider Crucera SGS, Indole 3 Carbinol and Calcium d glucarate.

5. Remove chemical toxins from your home by choosing biodegradable cleaning products or better yet, create your own home cleaning products by using vinegar, baking soda and pure essential oils.

6. Daily ‘skin brushing’ using a dry vegetable bristle brush, will improve circulation and stimulate drainage from the lymphatic system.

7. Choose Organic – to remove chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers (which are also xenoestrogens!), focus on foods in whole form not from a package (boxed or canned) and read labels -if there a list of long chemicals in the ingredients then avoid these foods.

8. Cultivate gratitude: give thanks for what is good in your life – focus and appreciate on that which contributes to ones peace of mind and happiness including community (family and friends), sunshine, an abundance of accessible healthy food, and our right to a variety of educated health care choices.

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ a Medical Herbalist in private practice in British Columbia – is now accepting new clients. www.katolenyardley.com

 

Sage Wands

Organic Sage Wands

Sage bundles, Smudge fans, or prayer fans, have been used by first nations people for centuries.  The art of smudging involves burning herbs such as sage and sweet grass, or used together, first beginning with sage.  The smoke is directed or “washed” over people and things that need blessings and healings.  The smoke is believed to dispel negative influences. Smudging can be used to cleanse a room of tension and bad spirits after a verbal dispute or if someone with depression or anger had pervaded the place with gloominess.  Another common use is to cleanse a dwelling before you move in to a new space. Take the smudge fan and disperse the smoke in all corners to purify your new home, office, garage or yard, furniture, special objects and pets.

 Smudge bundles are dried and burned; used in the beginning of prayers, rituals, smudging and other ceremonies to remove perceived negative energies, to promote spiritual and emotional purification, to purify a space, and align in harmony with the earth and with ones higher self. Often used in combination with sweetgrass; sage smudge sticks can help turn a negative atmosphere in to a positive environment.

Directions: Sage bundles are usually burned by lighting the end of the bundle, let it burn for about 10 seconds, then blow the flame out. Hold a large clamshell, or bowl under the grass to catch the embers.  The bundle should smolder and give off smoke. It is this smoke which is used for purification and spiritual and emotional cleansing and the removal of negativity from a sacred space, a person, home, or new environment.

Once the sage is lit, you do not stop it from burning. If the smudging has been completed, then set the bowl down and let it burn itself out until it is done. Do not put it under water to douse the smoke or stop it from burning its flame out naturally.For obvious reasons, do not leave the flame unattended.

Repeat as needed, cleanse ones home or environment monthly, or after any negative or traumatic emotional experiences.

White Sage Bundles – are sold individually as one bundle. Order here:

A-Z Glossary of Harmful Chemicals and Additives to Avoid in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products continued…

Continued from September Posting – information written and compiled by Klaus Ferlow of Ferlow Botanicals writes about harmful chemical ingredients hidden in cosmetic and personal care products.

  • Fragrance/parfum (also called perfume), “hidden chemicals” linked to a large variety of health effects, including allergies, immune system toxicity, headaches, dizziness, and suspected carcinogenic activities
  • g-Terpinene: causes asthma and CNS disorders, found in cologne, perfume, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, air fresheners
  •  Hydroquinone: used in skin lightening creams, increases skin’s exposure to UVA/UNB, and linked to organ toxicity, developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, and neurotoxicity.
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea: skin sensitizer, can instigate immune system response that include itching, burning, scaling, hives, blisters of skin, severe respiratory reaction, gastrointestinal or liver toxicity hazards suspected, used in a huge variety of cosmetics and personal care products
  • Lauramide DEA: potentially contaminated with impurities, linked to cancer and other significant health problems, used in many cosmetics, shampoo, hair color, spray and bleaching, liquid hand soap, bubble bath shaving cream, bath oil etc.
  • Lead (also called lead acetate):  often not listed on labels, a contaminant in many lipsticks even well known brand names  and hair dyes, , evidence of carcinogenic effect, may cause kidney and brain damage, damage to the blood cells causing anemia, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes and skin, causes pain, abdominal cramps, constipation, convulsion, nausea, vomiting, carcinogen, and hormone disrupter, , in 2005 Health Canada did act against this hair ingredient, found in men’s hair colouring, Grecian formula 16, by placing it on the “cosmetic hot list.”
  • Limonene: carcinogenic, prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant and sensitizer, always wash thoroughly after using this material before eating, drinking, applying cosmetics, do not inhale limonene vapour. Found in perfume, cologne,  disinfectant spray, bar soap, shaving cream, deodorants, nail color ands remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid, air fresheners, after shave, bleach, paint and varnish remover.
  • Linalool: narcotic, respiratory disturbances, attracts bees, causes CNS disorder, toxic to animals, used in perfume, cologne, bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, nail enamel remover, hairspray, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, Vaseline lotion, air fresheners, bleach powder, fabric softener, shaving cream, after shave, sold deodorant.
  • Mercury: best known name in vaccines is thimerosal, also called mercuric oxide, phenyl mercury acetate, phenyl mercuric benzoate, mercurochrome, found in eye drops can effect you when breathed in and by passing through your skin, irritate skin and eyes, may cause allergy, neurological impairment, negatively affects brain development, cough, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, vomiting, fever or elevated body temperature. Used in mascara, eye liners, dental amalgam fillings, skin-lightening cream, nasal sprays, soaps, haemorrhoid treatments, antiseptics and as preservative in eye make up. Mercury fumes can collect inside a jar of skin cream or a tube of mascara, and a person could inhale them when the container is opened. The State of Minnesota and many European countries have banned it due it harsh toxicity.
  • Methylene chloride: Banned by the FDA in 1988! No enforcement possible due to trade secret laws protecting the chemical fragrance industry. On EPCERCLA hazard waste list, carcinogenic, absorbed in body fat, it metabolizes to carbon monoxide, reducing oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, headache, giddiness, stupor, irritability, fatigue, tingling in the limbs, causes CNS disorder, still used in shampoo, cologne, paint and varnish remover.
  • Mineral oil: also called petrolatum, cheap petroleum by-product , coats the skin like plastic, clogging up pores, interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne, eczema, resulting in premature aging, can be absorbed through skin contact. Manufacturers use white petrolatum because it is very cheap, used in moisturizer, baby oil, foundations, lipstick, gloss and hair products, concealer, sunscreen, tanning oil, facial cleaners etc.
  • Mono sodium glutamate (MSG): a neurotoxic (brain damage), endocrine disrupting substance found literally in thousands of products. For more details please read the book from John Erb “The Slow Poisoning of North America”, and also the websites: www.rense.com/general64/msg.htm,www.truthinlabeling.com and put into google “MSG Obese”.
  • Nitrosamines: is mutagen and a number are transplacental carcinogen. They are metabolized the same in humans and animal tissues, it seems highly likely that humans are susceptible to the carcinogenic properties of nitrosamines. Used in thousand of consumer products such as fried bacon, cured meats, bee, tobacco products, gastric juices, rubber products, metal industry, pesticide products and use, certain cosmetics and chemicals, may cause cancer. More detailed information can be obtained from the article “Nitrasomines and Cancer” from Richard A. Scanlan, Ph.D., Dean of Research Emeritus and Professor of Food Science of the Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University, Corvallis, www.lpi.oregonstate.edu/giving.html#planned
  • Oxbenzone: also called benzophenone-3, benzol-5, 5-methoxyphenol, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, methanone, solaquin, active ingredient in chemical sunscreens, linked to alleries, hormone disruption, cell damage, low birth weight.
  • Parabens: trade names are benzyl, butyl, ethyl, isopropyl, methyl, propyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates) acting as preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products preventing bacteria, fungus and microbes, neuro- and immuinotoxins, skin irritants. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that parabensdisplayed estrogenic activity in several tests and can have endocrine-disrupting action. Dr. Philippa Darbre at the University of Reading, UK detected in a study in 2004 parabens in 18 0f 20 samples of tissues from breast tumour biopsies.  The women used underarm deodorant spray. More scientist issue warnings about parabens. Because of the possible link to breast cancer and reproductive effects in boys, parabens are also an issue in sunscreens, since many are applied by massaging them into the skin. An article about the “Truth about Parabens” will follow shortly!
  • Para-phenylenediamene (also tetrathydro-6-nitroquinoxaline, PPD, p-diaminobenzene, p-phenylenediamine, p-aminolaniline, 1,4-benzenediamine, ): these are commonly found in hair colouring products (including products “Just for Men) and other hair products. Immune system and organ toxicant, allergen, linked to dermatitis, causes cancer in lab animals. Health Canada issues a warning August 2003 that PPD should not be used in “black henna” tattoo ink and paste since it is unsafe and should not be sold and used in cosmetics, creates allergy, red skin rashes, contact dermatitis, itching, blisters, open sores, scarring and other potentially harmful effects.
  • PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid): can create nausea, skin rashes, vomiting and may cause liver damage, mainly used in commercial sunscreens.
  • Phenylphenol: known carcinogen, can effect you when breathed in and may enter the body through the skin, possible eye damage, irritating eyes, respiratory system and skin, very toxic to aquatic organisms,  abdominal cramps and pain, cough, laboured breathing, dangerous for the environment, possible carcinogen, banned in Europe
  • Phenoxyethanol: skin irritant, causes allergic reactions, used as preservative in vaccines.
  • Phosphoric acid: a clear, odourless, colorless liquid that is irritating to the skin and eyes, moderately toxic if ingested, it is used in the production of soaps, detergents, fertilizer and animals food.
  • Phthalates:  rarely listed on labels but hidden in fragrance, linked to liver, kidney, and lung damage, found in many plastics as well as cosmetics and personal care products. An endocrine-disrupting chemical, some of them are also xenoestrogens, but many work in a different way as “anti-androgens” that interfere with male hormones. Exposure to phthalates during pregnancy is linked to development defects in male children, but they may also play a role in breast cancer. Some have been shown to increase proliferation of breast cancer cells in lab experiments and to reduce the effectiveness of the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen.
  • Petroleum distillates: extremely hazardous for humans, may cause cancer, lung damage if swallowed, many chemicals are petroleum based, for example 95% of all synthetic fragrances creating serious health problems.
  • Placental extract, also known as placenta, placenta protein, hydrolyzed placental protein, used in skin and hair care products, linked to endocrine issues
  • Polysorbate-n(20-85): emulsifier in cosmetic creams, lotions, cream deodorant, baby oil, sun lotion, can cause sensitivity and skin irritation
  • Polyquaternium: use in a variety of cosmetics such as hair care, moisturizing lotions, creates allergic contact dermatitis
  • Potassium dichromate: a carcinogen, handle with extreme caution, can affect when breathed in, may cause skin allergy and affect the kidneys, heritable genetic damage, toxic for the reproductive system, pain, blurred vision, sore throat, wheezing, severe deep burns, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, shock or collapse, very toxic, banned in EU cosmetics
  • Propylene glycol also known as PEG, also avoid  PG, and PPG, PEG possibly contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene glycol, both known carcinogens, one of the most chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products, creams, lotions, shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, cleansers, hair products, perfume, shaving cream, toothpaste, body spray, bath oil, bubble bath, mascara, antiperspirant, deodorant, lip gloss etc. and also used in antifreeze and de-icing, solutions for cars, boats, aircraft, solvents for paints, plastics, laundry detergent. Is a skin sensitizer, causes irritation of nasal and respiratory passages and if ingested can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, itching, burning, scaling, hives, blistering of the skin, alters skin structure, allows other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream, contact dermatitis. Research has shown to be mutagenic and can cause cardiac arrest, degreases the skin. Japanese studies have shown that it can damage cell DNA (genetic code), toxic.
  • Selenium Sulfide: used for dandruff and scalp dermatitis, may cause skin irritation, dry skin, hair loss, can irritate eyes on contact with possible eye damage, high exposure may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, garlic odour of breath, metallic taste, and coated tongue, known to cause cancer, may damage the liver and kidneys, prolonged exposure may cause pallor, nervousness and mood changes. Banned in EU cosmetics!
  • Siloxanes: used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smoothand moisten, suspected endocrine disruptor and reproduction toxicant, harmful to fish and wildlife. It is a silocone-based compound and makes hair products dry more quickly and deodorant cream slide on more easily, also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments, can also be found in medical implants, water repelling windshield coating, building sealant and lubricant.
  • Silicone-derived emollients (cyclomethicone, dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, used in products that make hair and skin tumors in lab tests, said to accumulate in liver and lymph  nodes.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), other names are sodium dodecyl sulphate, sodium PEG lauryl sulphate, monododecyl ester, sodium PEG lauryl ether sulphate, makes products foamy, a sknown skin irritant that is easily absorbed, another chemical that you will find in as many cosmetics and personal care products as propylene glycol. The key ingredient to this foaming facial washer is a detergent that started as an industrial degreaseant and garage floor cleaner. When applied to the human skin it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer and is irritating and eroding the skin, leaving it rough and pitted. Is used as a lathering agent, corrodes hair follicle and impedes hair growth, penetrates your eyes, brain, liver and remains there for a long time. Degenerates cell membranes and can change the genetic information (mutagenic) in cells and damage the immune system. May cause blindness and lead to cataracts, retards the healing process. Enhances the allergic response to other toxins and allergens and can react with other toxic ingredients to form cancer-causing nitrosamines. The U.S. government has warned manufacturers of unacceptable levels of dioxin formation in some products containing this ingredient.
  • Sodium laureth sulphate (SLES): chemical name sodium lauryl “ether” sulphate. An ether chain is added to SLS, used as premium agent in cleansers, conditioners and shampoo. It is very inexpensive, but thickens when salt is added in the formula and produces high level of foam. Also used as wetting agent in the textile industry. Irritates skin and scalp and creates itching, may cause hair loss.
  • Sodium PCA (na-pca): PCA = pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, natural version is derived from fruits, grasses and vegetables, occurs naturally in skin, is binding moisture to cells, however the synthetic version causes throat irritation and lung constriction, irritation to eyes, neurological effects such as dizziness, classified in the EU harmful by inhalation.
  • Sodium Cyanide: a highly toxic compound, also known as sodium slat of hydrodyamic and cyanogran. Immediate medical attention is required in the event of cyanide poisoning, as it is quickly fatal. Used in extracting gold, silver, copper, poison to control indoor pests, irritates and severely damages tissues of eyes, skin, respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract, inhalation causes headaches, dizziness, convulsion, vomiting, unconsciousness, redness of eyes and skin, severe deep burns and nausea.
  • Sodium oleth sulphate: used in shampoo, liquid hand soap, makeup-remover, conditioner, body wash, cleansers, bubble bath, antibacterial skin cleanser, may contain levels of ethytlene oxide and or dioxane, both potent toxins.
  • Styrene monomer: causes sensitization by skin contact, throat irritation and lung constriction, irritation of the eyes, dizziness.
  • Talc: als called French talc, cosmetic talc, used as cosmetic talcum powder to absorb moisture in blush, make-up, deodorant, baby powder, an astringent powder used to preventing rashes on the area covered by a diaper (diaper rash) , food additive or in pharmaceutical products. Several studies have established preliminary links between talc and pulmonary issues, lung, skin and ovarian cancer and is a probable respiratory toxin, tumours in animals.
  • Toluene: other names are toluene-2,5-diamine, toluene-2,5-diamine sulphate, methylbenzene, too, benzene, methl, also avoid butylated hydroxytoluene, possible  hormone disruptor nd known immune system toxicant, hidden sometines in fragrance, used as a solvent and chemical intermediate, when inhaled causes sore throat, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, unconsciousness, abdominal pain, skin allergy, irritating nose, mouth, repeated exposure may cause liver, kidney and brain damage, death may occur, possible risk of harm to unborn child, harmful, highly flammable, toxic.
  • Triethanolamine (TEA):synthetic emulsifier, highly toxic, over 40% of cosmetics containing it, have been found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens, harmful if swallowed, irritant corrosive and serious damage eyes, avoid skin and eye contact, used also a pH adjuster, avoid breathing vapours if generated.
  • Triclosan: also called microban, is basically used as an antimicrobial to prevent growth of harmful bacteria, also called an anti-bacterial, virus and fungi in a huge variety of household good, personal care products (antibacterial soaps, liquid hand soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, processed food, clothing, dish soap, detergent, floor wash, counter and disinfecting spray, glass cleaner, mouthwash, laundry soap, lotion, moisturizers, children’s toys, cleaning supplies. Suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. Other antimicrobials include antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-fungals, disinfectants and antiseptics. Studies in Sweden, Institute of Odontology, Huddingen, USA, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg and Canada,  University of Victoria, B.C. have shown that triclosan may promote the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, creates allergy and asthma in children, can interfere with the thyroid hormones and is a health hazard to humans in general and wildlife. The American Medical Association suggest that consumers should check product ingredient lists for triclosan, tricocarban, quaternary ammonium compounds and it is sometimes listed as Microban.

Samuel SEpstein, MD (with Randall Fitzgerald) , Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the School of Public Health, University at Chicago, is an internationally recognized authority on the causes and prevention of cancer, the toxic carcinogen effects of pollution in the air, water, soil, and the workplace, and ingredients and contaminants in consumer products in food, household products, and cosmetics, personal care products and toiletries. In his book “Healthy Beauty” – Your Guide to Ingredients to avoid  and products you can trust you find under “Appendix One” a list of 113 Toxic Ingredients Tear-Out Sheet  that lists additional hazardous, dangerous toxic chemicals.

This article is based on the research from books, the internet, studies, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), www.cdc.gov/Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), www.epa.gov/-47k-

Environmental Working Group (EWG), www.ewg.orgNational Toxicology Program, Dept. of Health and Human Serviceswww.ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ ,Health Care Without Harm, Natural Skincare Authority.

For more information on additional hazardous, dangerous chemicals is cosmetics and personal care products, please check the following websites:

Products sold without harmful ingredients:

Klaus’s Bio: Honorary Master Herbalist, Dominion Herbal College, Professional Herbal Advocate, Canadian Herbalist’s Assn. of BC, author, innovator, lecturer, researcher, founder and co-owner FERLOW BOTANICALS, Div. of Ferlow Brothers Ltd, Vancouver, B.C., manufacturer of herbal medicinal and personal care products without harmful ingredients to holistic health practitioners in traditional medicine since 1993. 

This information is offered for its educational value only and should not be used to diagnose, treatment, or prevention of disease, contact your health care practitioner. 

A-Z Glossary of Harmful Chemicals and Additives to Avoid in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

Complied by Klaus Ferlow, Vancouver, BC – and shared with permission from author

(A list of the most harmful chemicals to your health are listed here from the over 10,500 toxic chemicals to be found in cosmetics and personal care products)

  • AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid): the skin is exfoliated chemically instead of mechanically via abrasion, dries and increases skin aging. Supposed to be anti-wrinkle, found in many skin and hair care products. Used as solvent originally in cleaning compounds and  for tanning leather. A smooth finish is developed by stripping the outer layer of the skin, irritated skin can puff up.
  • Acetamide MEA: used in lipsticks and cream blusher to retain moisture, causes adverse reactions, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic.
  • Acetone: on EPA, RCRA, CERCLA hazardous waste list. Inhalation can cause dryness of the mouth and throats, dizziness, nausea, in coordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, and, in severe exposures, coma. Acts primarily as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. You will find it in cologne, dishwashing liquid, detergent, nail enamel remover.
  • Alkyl-phenol-ethoxylades: mimics estrogen, used in shampoo, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic. Causes adverse reactions. Reduces sperm count.
  • Ammonium laureth sulphate: found in hair and bubble bath products. Laureth contains ether that is listed as carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and causes adverse reactions.
  • Aluminum: used as colour additive in cosmetics, especially eye shadow. Listed as carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic.
  • a-Pinene: sensitizer, damaging to the immune system, in bar and liquid hand soaps, cologne, shaving cream, deodorants. Dishwashing liquid, air freshener.
  • a-Terpineol: highly irritating to mucous membranes, aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema., also can cause excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, CNS respiratory depression, headache, prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact, found in perfume, cologne, laundry detergent, bleach powder, laundry bleach, fabric softener, stickup air freshener, Vaseline lotion, soap, hairspray, after shave, roll-on deodorant.
  • Bentonite: used in fascial mask, makeup, face powder. Supposed to draw out toxins and claimed to be non-toxic, but rats died when injected with it.
  • Benzaldehyde: narcotic, sensitizer, local anesthetic, CNS depressant, irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, an GI tract, causing nausea and abdominal pain, may cause kidney damage, do not use with contact lenses. Found in perfume, cologne, hairspray, laundry bleach, deodorants, detergents, Vaseline lotion, shaving cream, shampoo, bar soap, dishwasher detergent.
  • Benzene: found combined with other chemicals in many personal care products and is known a bone-marrow poison, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and causes adverse reactions.
  • Benzyl acetate: carcinogenic, linked to pancreatic cancer, from vapours irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough, can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects, do not flush to sewer, used in perfume, cologne, shampoo, fabric softener, stickup air freshener, dishwashing liquid and detergent, soap, hairspray, bleach, after shave, deodorant.
  • Benzyl alcohol: irritating the upper respiratory tract, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure. Used in perfume, cologne, soap, shampoo, nail enamel remover, air freshener, laundry bleach and detergent, Vaseline lotion, deodorants, fabric softener.
  • Benzyl violet: used as a colouring in various products, including nail treatment, it is a possible human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Group 2B), on US and European labels, it is frequently listed as violet 2 or violet 6B.
  • BHA and BHT (butylated hydroxyamisole) and (butylated hdroxytolune), are closely related to synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, and other cometics. They are wildely used as food preservatives too, cancause allergic reactions in skin,the International Agency of  Research on cancer classifies BHA as a possible human carcinogen. The European Commission of Endocrine Disruptors has lisstedBHA asa category1 priorityl substance based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function. BHT is harmful to fish and wildlife.
  • Camphor: local irritant and CNS stimulant, readily absorbed through body tissues, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions, avoid inhalation of vapours, found in perfume, shaving cream, nail enamel, fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, nail color, stickup air freshener.
  • Coal Tar derivatives: many kinds of shampoo designed to treat dandruff and flaky scalp  contain it. Disguised with names such as FD, FDC or DF&C colour. It causes potentially severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, fatigue, nervousness, headaches, nausea, lack of concentration, cancer, carcinogen, cough, redness of skin, burning sensation, can irritate nose, throat, hoarseness, nosebleeds, coughing, phlegm, changes in skin pigment and a rash. A 2001 California study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who used to permanent hair dyes once a month were twice likely to develop bladder cancer! There are many factors involved with hair colouring. Studies in the U.S. have suggested that the chemical reaction created by hair colouring products may be having a carcinogenic effect and have also associated hair colourings with an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Try to avoid dark hair dyes entirely and choose products made with natural ingredients instead. Banned in EU cosmetics!
  • Cocamide DEA: (also listed as Cocamide diethanolamine, triethanolamine, monoethanolamine, cocamide DEA), emulsifiers and foamers in  range of products inclusive shalmpoos, face and body washes, make-up nitrosamines can form in all cosmetic ingredients containing amines, nitrosamines and amino derivatives with nitrogen compounds, are known to be carcinogen causing allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. When DEA is applied to the skin known carcinogens can form, mostly found in shampoo. The National Toxicology Program in the U.S. published in 1998 a study that topical skin application of cocamide DEA created in mice and rats liver tumours.
  • Cocomidopropyl Betaine: used in shampoo in combination with other surfactants, synthetic, causes eyelid dermatitis.
  • Carboner 9ds34, 940, 941, 960, 961C: as thickener, stabilizer in creams, toothpaste, eye makeup, bathing products, may cause eye irritation
  • DEA (Diethanolamine): a synthetic solvent, detergent and humectant (moisturizer) widely used in brake fluid, industrial degreaser and antifreeze. Mostly used in liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner. Can be harmful for the liver, kidneys and pancreas. May cause cancer in various organs, irritates skin, eyes, mucous membranes. Found also in hair dye, lotions, cream, bubble bath, liquid dishwashing detergent and laundry soap. Creates health risk especially to infants and young children. Forms nitrosamines known to be carcinogens. Causes allergic reactions and contact dermatitis, hazardous and toxic.
  • Dibutyl phthalate: used in nail polish in combination with toluene and formaldehyde, a colourless, oily liquid with a week aromatic odour, irritation of eyes, nose throat, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, may cause nausea, tearing of eyes, vomiting, dizziness, long term exposure may cause liver and kidney damage, my harm the development of foetus and male testes, may cause mutations, reproductive damage, headache, drowsiness, seizures, affect nervous system, harm to the unborn child, possible risk of impaired fertility, dangerous for the environment, banned in EU cosmetics, used in epoxy resins, insect repellent, clothing and a solvent for perfumes, oils and textiles.
  • Dimethylamine: known to cause cancer, can irritate and cause severe burns of the skin, irritate and burn the eyes with possible permanent  damage, even causing blindness, prolonged exposure may damage the liver, can affect you when breathed in and by passing through the skin, cough, headache, sore throat, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, irritable mood, used in de-hairing, detergents and pesticides, used in leather tanning and pharmaceutical products, banned in EU cosmetics.
  • Dioform: many toothpastes and other tooth whiteners contain it, damages your teeth enamel and weakening their protective shell
  • Dioxane: also called 1,4 Dioxane, a flammable liquid, may form explosive chemicals, especially when anhydrous (very dry), enters the body when people breathe air or consume water or food contaminated with dioxane., can also be absorbed through skin contact, causes watering of the eyes, redness of skin and eyes, pain, headaches, nausea, cough, sore throat, abdominal pain, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, unconsciousness. Is used in facial moisturizer/treatment, shampoo and a variety of cosmetics.
  • Disodium EDTA: may contain dangerous levels of ethylene oxide and or dixane, both potent toxins, a manufacturing by- product, also used as chelating agent, carcinogenic.
  • Hydantoin DMDM: causes dermatitis, acts as a preservative and may release formaldehyde and is suspected carcinogen. Rats develop cancer when injected with is chemical.
  • Elastin: supposedly improves the elasticity of the skin when applied topically, but there is no proof it’s true.
  • Ethanol: On EPA hazardous waste list, creates fatigue, irritating to eyes and upper respiratory tract even in low concentrations. Inhalation of ethanol vapours can have effects similar to those characteristic of ingestion. These include an initial stimulatory effect followed by drowsiness impaired vision, ataxia, stupor, causes CNS disorder, found in bar and liquid hand soap, cologne, perfume, shaving cream, deodorants, dishwashing liquid, air freshener.
  • Ethyl acetate: narcotic, on EPA hazardous waste list, irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract, may cause headache and narcosis (stupor), de-fatting effect on skin and may cause drying and cracking, anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys, wash thoroughly after handling, found in after shave, cologne, perfume, shampoo, nail color ,nail enamel remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid.
  • Ethylacrylate: acrylates and methacylates are monomers that are combined with other monomers or polymers to produce plastics us in cosmetics, medicine, dentistry and manufacturing industries. When inhaled causes cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, redness of eyes and skin, pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, skin allergy, liver and kidney damage, severe irritations and burns of the eyes and skin, respiratory system, sensitization by skin contact and is a flammable and reactive liquid, a fire and explosion hazard, banned in EU cosmetics.
  • FDC-n (FD&C): various artificial different colours and some are simply irritants while others are strong carcinogens.
  • Fluoride: hazardous chemical, researchers linked it to cancer years ago, but no one was listening. Fluoridated toothpaste is especially dangerous to young children who tend to swallow it since it is tasty after brushing their teeth. Supposed to stop tooth decay, however, it seems just to do the opposite and Scientists are now linking fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions, can lead also to Crohn’s disease, a manufacturing toxic by-product.
  • Formaldehyde: due to its bad reputation it is sometimes hidden under the name DMDM hydantoin , methanol, formic aldehyde, methyl aldehyde, oxomethane, oxymethane, DMDM hydanhydantoint , diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, trade name is formalin.  Immune system toxicant used as a preservative, especially in nail products, hair colourant, false eyelash adhesives, amony others.Released by diazolidinyl urea, causes dermatitis, adverse effects, is very toxic when inhaled or swallowed, skin irritant, a suspected carcinogen and linked to cancer, burning sensation, cough, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, watering eyes, blurred vision, corrosive, should be handled with extreme caution, can irritate nose, throat and mouth, is a highly flammable gas and a dangerous fire hazard, should be handled with extreme caution. To be continued next month…

 Note: we carry a number of products by Ferlow Botanicals which are free from harmful ingredients. 

Klaus’s Bio: Honorary Master Herbalist, Dominion Herbal College, Professional Herbal Advocate, Canadian Herbalist’s Assn. of BC, author, innovator, lecturer, researcher, founder and co-owner FERLOW BOTANICALS, Div. of Ferlow Brothers Ltd, Vancouver, B.C., manufacturer of herbal medicinal and personal care products without harmful ingredients to holistic health practitioners in traditional medicine since 1993. Klaus is writing a book about the miraculous healing power of Neem to be published in 2014 and is is also the co-author of the book “Seven steps to dental health”, available  in print and e-book from amazon.