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Getting Through the Confusion of the Misused Term ‘Natural’
Since the marketing world has discovered the high demand for products that are considered natural, the term has been thrown into and printed on every conceivable item. The word natural seems to reflect a return to nature and a removal of all things toxic. But, as we know, there are many things in nature that are neither healthy or good, and just because you see the word ‘natural’ printed on the label, does not mean that it reflects your positive perception.
Some of the areas and terms that may be called natural but are not include: coming from nature, plant-derived, contents are all vegetable-based ingredients, may contain some vegetable-based ingredients. These terms are an attempt to hook the consumer into a purchase and they may feel better when they see the presence (no matter how minute) of such common natural ingredients as lavender and aloe. The true test is the content, which is often so low as to not be considered.
The term plant-derived dredges up many questions: how is derived? What is the process that they used? Some processes remove the main oils and ingredients in the plants that can offer the positive health benefits. To be truly natural, the ingredients have to be a main ingredient without synthetic preservatives and the process should be clearly labeled as cold-processed or cold-pressed oils.
Many of the creams and lotions include chemically treated wax that is added to the product. It is then described as natural, when the product is not. Additionally, when we view them on a label, we aren’t aware that some of the ingredients are bleached and/or solvent-extracted. Some of the most common include: Jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, almond oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, kokum butter and mango butter.
So how do you filter through all of the marketing and hype to find truly natural products? Look for the following label and advertising indicators on 100% of the ingredients: cold-pressed, plant-based, products are produced with lowest possible heat, fragranced only with Co2 extracts or essential oils, no chemical refining or bleaching.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.