Is There Something Like Organic Sunscreen?

The FDA does not allow sunscreens to be labeled as “organic sunscreens” and here is why. There are two ways sunscreens work.

  • Physical sunscreens that physically block or reflect harmful UV rays from the skin. They have mineral pigments zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as active ingredients.
  • Chemical sunscreens that absorb damaging rays using chemicals, filtering them before they reach the skin. These cannot be certified organic.

Products containing titanium dioxide can never be considered for organic certification although titanium dioxide is a wonderful and expensive ingredient that Paul Penders uses successfully for over 10 years in our Herbal Sunscreen SPF 22 and its efficacy tested by independent labs including the Korean FDA

Herbal Sunscreen SPF22 is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to provide a broad spectrum protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. Sun protection comes mainly from titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral). Also added ethyl hexyl methoxycinnamat (also occurring in cinnamon leaves), LevensESSENTIE Gold® (herbal extract made from 22 organic herbs), vitamin E and vitamin A, as well as natural plant oils to soothe and moisturize.

Herbal Sunscreen SPF22 efficacy is tested by independent labs including the Korean FDA

(Image from Australian Organic Association)

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The Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden – Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla flower

Common Names: (/’kæm?mi?l/ kam-?-meel or /’kæm?ma?l/ kam-?-myl), camomile (British spelling), from Greek for “earth apple,” daisy, “the friendly flower”
The most commonly used species for cosmetics and skin care:

    Matricaria chamomilla (also known as Matricaria recutita)– German or wild chamomile
    Chamaemelum nobile (Anthemis nobilis) — Roman, English or garden chamomile

What’s the world’s friendliest flower? Many people will say it’s the daisy. There’s something so cheerful about the yellow center with the white petals radiating out around it, like a child’s drawing of the sun. Lovers check their relationships, pulling off a petal at a time while saying, “He/She loves me, he/she loves me not…”

But there’s more to this sunny flower than meets the eye; certain varieties have powerful herbal properties with significant health benefits. Essences from the chamomile daisy are known for calming, moisturizing, and skin soothing properties and may even improve healing and tissue regeneration.

The dried petals of members of the Asteraceae family (which includes daisies, sunflowers, and ragweed) have long been used in herbal medicines as well as modern skin care and cosmetics. Extracts from the petals are made into herbal teas and essential oils.

The wild or “German” chamomile is an annual herb, which flourishes throughout Northern Europe and grows to 2-3 feet tall. The Roman, English or “garden variety” chamomile is a very short ground cover that only grows 4-12 inches high and appears mainly in English and North American gardens. Both varieties prefer light, sandy, acidic soil with good drainage.

Children all over the world first learn about the soothing powers of chamomile from Beatrix Potter’s famous story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Naughty Peter tries to steal vegetables from the farmer’s garden and barely escapes with his life. His mother, Mrs. Rabbit, puts her undisciplined son to bed with a dose of chamomile tea to help him sleep, saying “One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.” Like warm milk, chamomile is an age-old remedy to soothe and calm.

Many folk remedies have a proven scientific basis. Chamomile is considered to be to Europeans what ‘ginseng’ is to Asians; it is one of the most important plants used in herbal medicines and there is a growing awareness of its potency among Western doctors as well.

One of the herbs of choice of Asclepiades, a Greek physician who lived around 90 B.C., the word ‘Chamomile’ comes from the Greek words for ‘ground’ and ‘apple’ and is often translated as “Earth-apple.” It is believed the name comes from the scent of the flowers, which resembles the smell of fresh apples. When made into an essential oil, it has a spicy, relaxing scent and has proven healing and antiseptic properties.

Medical use and pharmacology – Alpha-bisobolol

Medicinally, chamomile is soothing for upset stomachs and irritable bowels, and is a gentle sleep aid. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects. Topical applications of chamomile in a cream or lotion promote wound healing and reduce scarring.

Scientists report anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, and mild sedative effects, which they believe mostly come from a component of the chamomile flower that chemists call “alpha-bisabolol.”

Alpha-bisabolol has also been shown to reduce fever and shorten the healing time of skin burns. Alpha-bisabolol is an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin. Alpha-bisabolol is the primary ingredient in the popular Paul Penders Cellular Renewal Serum.

Alpha Bisabolol Cell Renewal Serum

Its major ingredient is clinically proven to reduce scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. With antioxidants, enzymes, collagen and elastin that act as “cell communicating agents,” this serum is a natural power-house product that increases cell regeneration due to degradation and cell damage due to overstretching.
Ingredients and to learn more…                          

Cosmetic uses of chamomile

Chamomile is frequently added to skin cosmetics to serve as a moisturizer or emollient and for its anti-inflammatory effects, making skin firmer, smoother, and better hydrated. Chamomile Extract is also used as a natural skin-whitening agent. It helps by slowing down the transportation of melanin to the skin’s surface, as well as inhibiting UV-induced formation of skin pigment. The appearance of scars and stretch marks can be improved by applying chamomile-based skin products.

In hair products, chamomile is also often used to “bring out the blonde,” enhancing highlights and the color of blonde hair.

A few warnings

Because chamomile can cause uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriage, the U.S.National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers should not consume chamomile teas.

Allergic reactions are also possible, especially if you’re sensitive to ragweed. However, the potential is rated as “extremely rare contact allergy.” How rare? A survey by The Honest Herbal reports that between the years 1887 and 1982, only 50 allergies resulting from “chamomiles” were reported in the literature.

“Though the chamomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows,
[like] youth the more it is waster, the sooner it wears.”
— Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act II, Scene 4

Because of its wonderful healing properties for the skin, chamomile is an integral part of Paul Penders’ unique patented herbal formula called LevensESSENTIE Gold®. Paul Penders also uses chamomile as a key ingredient for a number of skin, hair and body care products.

Watch this blog for more from the Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden. Paul Penders products are formulated from organically grown herbs and flowering plants. Special cold blending and other scientific processes help retain the natural benefits of these gifts from Mother Nature.


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The Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden – Calendula (Marigold)

Calendula Officinalis

Common names: calendar flower, marigold, pot marigold, garden marigold, marsh marigold, herb of the sun, ruddles

‘It has pleasant, bright and shining yellow flowers, which do close at the setting down of the sun, and do spread and open again at the sun rising.’ (ca. 1578)

Gardeners say it is one of the easiest flowers to grow and herbalists call it one of the most useful for healing purposes. This small but bright orange or yellow flower flourishes in almost any soil, although it does not like extremes of cold or heat and is short-lived. One of the most popular flowers all over the world, garlands of marigolds decorate weddings and temples in India while North American vegetable gardens are edged with marigolds which act as a natural insecticide.

The calendula officinalis is a flowering herb in the daisy or aster family that is native to southern Europe but now is grown in almost all temperate climates. In the wild, a single circle of petals is seen in the field marigold. More recognizably, the garden-variety flowers have a bunchy flower head with many petals. Most varieties have a spicy aroma. Sometimes called a “pot marigold,” the plants have been a staple in soup pots in Europe for centuries although they give a bitter taste.

Because its petals open in the morning sun and close up towards sunset, its name means “little calendar” or “little clock.” “Officinalis” indicates the plant has established medicinal uses. Its herbal properties have been known for centuries. By the 17th century, it became associated with the Virgin Mary and also with Mary, Queen of Scots, and became known as the “mary gold” or “marigold.”

Even Shakespeare mentions the marigold flower:

      The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun
      And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
      Of middle summer…

In herbal preparations, calendula is mildly astringent but also soothing. In tincture or suspensions, it has been shown to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. Calendula Oil acts as strong antiseptic that also promotes healing of the skin. Herbalists have used calendula preparations for centuries for wound-healing, rashes, skin infections, and female hormonal and pregnancy applications. Some studies show that calendula is anti-genotoxic, preventing or repairing cellular damage at the DNA level, and is useful in healing skin damage from radiation.

Modern medical science has shown that when calendula is applied to surgical wounds, it promotes the clotting of blood and reduces inflammation. It can help to reduce scarring as it has been shown to stimulate the production of epithelium skin cells.

The petals contain carotenes, flavonoids, resin, saponin, sterols, triterpenes, bitter glycosides and volatile oils. The plant’s high resin content contributes to its astringent and healing properties.

Gentle enough to be used in ointments for babies with diaper rash or for the bedsores that often afflict the elderly and invalids, calendula (marigold) provides powerful healing properties for the skin.

Because of its wonderful healing properties for the skin, calendula is an integral part of LevensESSENTIE Gold ®. Paul Penders uses calendula as a key ingredient for moisturizing skin and body care products.

Watch this blog for more from the Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden. Paul Penders products are formulated from organically grown herbs and flowering plants. Special cold blending and other scientific processes help retain the natural benefits of these gifts from Mother Nature.


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The Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden – Arnica

Arnica (Arnica Montana)

Common names: Leopard’s bane, Mountain tobacco, Common Arnica, Mountain Arnica, Mountain Daisy, Wolfsbane

An ancient German folk custom was to plant arnica around fields of grain. It was believed that the spirit of a wolf wandered through the fields. The arnica was thought to prevent the “Grain Wolf” from escaping before the grain was harvested, and that his spirit would enter the sheaves and strengthen the crop.

Growing wild high on alpine mountainsides, the arnica flower is sometimes called a ‘mountain daisy,’ though you can always tell the difference because of its rich golden-orange color. The word “arnica” comes from a Greek word for “lamb’s coat” – soft hairs cover the green oval-shaped leaves that surround the flowers.

A member of the sunflower family and related to dandelions, arnica plants thrive in temperate climates, and can be found in the mountain woods and pastures all along the central part of the European continent and the Pyrenees, and in the mountains and plains of Siberia, Canada, and the American northwestern states.

Unusual among plants, it blooms in late summer or autumn. Its flowers are harvested when in full bloom, and then dried. In fall after the leaves dry and drop, the rootstalks (rhizomes) are collected. Both flowers and roots may be used in tinctures.

Herbalists in many traditions have used arnica for centuries for its anti-bruising, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial qualities. Plastic surgeons today recommend application of arnica cream after surgery and many athletes swear by arnica liniments to ease sore muscles, strains, sprains and bruises.

Science tells us that arnica acts by increasing local blood supply, which accelerates healing. It provides real pain relief for osteoarthritis and joint pain sufferers. It even has been shown to promote hair growth!

Because of its wonderful healing properties for the skin, arnica is an integral part of LevensESSENTIE Gold ®. Paul Penders also uses arnica as a key ingredient for scalp cleansing and skin toning products.

Watch this blog for more from the Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden. Paul Penders products are formulated from organically grown herbs and flowering plants. Special cold blending and other scientific processes help retain the natural benefits of these gifts from Mother Nature.


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Your Beautiful Hair, Part 1: Tender Loving Care for Your Scalp

Gleaming, shining, smooth as silk – your hair can be one of your most beautiful assets!

Ever have those days when you look in the mirror and your hair just seems lifeless, dull, even boring? What’s the difference between your day-to-day hair and all those models in the pictures with their highlights and super shine?

Sure, it helps to have professional treatments and styling – and a retouch artist to fancy up your photos. But you can have ‘picture perfect’ hair without spending a lot of time and money in a salon. We have a number of recommendations for optimal Do-It-Yourself hair care in upcoming blogs.

One real answer to beautiful hair is in how you treat your scalp.

It’s not something you may think about a lot unless your scalp gets irritated or you develop scalp problems like dandruff. For many people, scalp health is just an after-thought – a quick shampoo, maybe some conditioner, and then it’s wash-and-go.

But if you really want healthy, beautiful hair, then giving a little extra TLC (Tender Loving Care) to your scalp can have a real payoff.

Diagnose and assess. A first step is to take a close look at your scalp in a mirror – you may want to get a friend to help. With a comb, part your hair to reveal the skin beneath. Notice whether it looks dry, splotchy, or if there are any unusual lumps or bumps. Do you see any flaking, peeling, or differences in color from one section to another? If you’ve been out in the sun, did your scalp get sunburned?

Look along your hairline. This is an area where you can develop skin irritations or even infections but they are relatively easy to see if you look closely. Dirt, dust, and chemicals can also accumulate along the edges of the hair. It’s also an area where the pores of the skin can get clogged – you may see whiteheads or blackheads that need attention.

Deep clean and massage. Press on various points on your scalp and you may feel a variety of sensations; you might feel a knot of tension, a sense of release, maybe even a little pain. Like muscles and tissues elsewhere in your body, your scalp can hold tension. Press and squeeze on pressure points found all over your head to help release tight muscles and help to get blood flowing more freely.

Whenever you shampoo, you can turn a simple wash into a scalp massage treatment. Use your fingers to press and pull. Part and separate your hair so that the shampoo reaches down to the roots and the follicles anchored in the skin. Your hair and your scalp will both be cleaner.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) identifies acupressure points on your scalp that relate to other organs. Use two or three fingers at a time to press and make circles wherever you feel a point of sensation on your scalp.

Tone and refresh. Paying attention to the condition of your scalp can make a big difference to your appearance. Like skin everywhere on your body, your scalp needs nutrition and stimulation to improve circulation. You want it to be very clean but at the same time, you don’t want to strip of its natural oils and sebum produced by the sebaceous glands just under the skin. Harsh soaps, shampoos, styling gels, hairsprays, and hair dyes can upset the natural balance. We recommend use of a scalp toner like Paul Penders Holy Basil Conditioning Scalp Toner to help rebalance and support the health of your scalp.

Your beautiful hair starts at the right at the roots. Make scalp care an important part of your beauty regimen.

Image courtesy of marin /

With Teviot Fairservis blog & copy writing services


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