Why buy natural or herbal or organic products! What you need to know!

organic Indian brands

With organic, natural and herbal being the new buzzwords – people are bound to be confused. If you can’t convince the customer – confuse! This is the marketing strategy being used by brands! So here is a little something which I hope clears up any confusion!

If you would have seen me in my hey days – you would be hard pressed to even find a coconut oil bottle in my dresser – let alone – organic, natural or homemade beauty products!! From using every cosmetic beauty brand, under the sun – to now making my own homemade lotions and creams – it has been a long journey. One on which I am stumbling, learning but it’s a road I’ve chosen to travel.

It’s not like I was ignorant that the ingredients (which I couldn’t pronounce nor comprehend) would in any way be healthy. There was always a nagging doubt – but I would push it aside. Now, that I have to think about my little one – I am paranoid about every single thing that he comes in contact with.

So, let get on with it, and see what means what! 🙂

What are natural products or natural ingredients?

Anything being found in nature or grown – not manmade or synthesized can be called a natural product. Most of the MNCs have been selling personal care products made from ‘synthetic chemicals’ made in a lab. Jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, honey, mehndi – are all natural products. Natural products can be sold in a raw and unprocessed – and still have long shelf life.

Natural products do not require any special certifications to call themselves….well natural!  on the other hand, uses 95% natural ingredients but they specifically won’t be the ones grown in an organic farming, they require no certification to claim themselves Natural, you can easily identify if the product is natural or not by looking at the ingredient list if the brand discloses the complete ingredient list!

gripe water is not good for babies
The names themselves are so complicated! If you can’t pronounce it – it not natural!

 

 

 

What are herbal products or herbal ingredients?

Herbal ingredients are made from plant extracts and plant roots or leaves. These plants would have been indentified for their medicinal or healing properties. A good brand of herbal products would be free of chemicals.

What are Ayurvedic products or ingredients?

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical science. While most Ayurvedic products use herbs and ghee as their base – many metals like gold, silver and copper are also used to formulate them. All of these would be considered natural ingredients – as Ayurveda does not practice the use of chemicals.

What is meant by an organic product or organic ingredients?

Organic ingredients are grown or produced without the use of any chemicals – pesticides or insecticides. Organic products would be made from all natural ingredients – which are grown organically.

A truly organic and natural product would be made without the use of any chemicals – even during the processing stage. Organic products don’t have any synthetic or genetically modified ingredients. No preservatives, no acidity stabilizers, no anti caking additives and most importantly no food color!

When buying always check the product packaging for organic certifications. The major logos to look for are India Organic, USDA Organic, EU organic, Bio Suisse, Australian Certified Organic and NASAA Certified Organic. Most countries have their own certifications; however USDA Organic has become one of the most popular standard for organic products.

organic
Major Organic Certifying Authorities and their Logos.

Organic brands have to undergo regulations before they can call Organic. The compliance requires that they have at least 95% natural and organic ingredients.

Why should you buy natural, organic or herbal products?

My hubby, being an environmental engineer from IIT Kanpur has always been very supportive of me going natural! One of the main reasons we decided to not only buy natural products – but also adopt a natural lifestyle is because products are not the only way toxins enter our body!

Chemicals and toxins can enter our body through the following ways

  • The air we breathe
  • Food and water we intake
  • Our skin

Toxicity through the air we breathe:

In an ideal world we would all be breathing fresh air – but instead we are subjected to toxic fumes wherever we go. I know we have little control over all the petrol guzzling vehicles on the road – but we do have a lot of control over the toxic air in our homes. Yes – even the air you breathe in your very home can be full of toxins. The flame retardants in our furniture and mattresses, the fumes of household cleaning supplies and BPA and phthalates and even the ‘air fresheners’ all release toxins into the air we breathe.

How to reduce the toxic air in your home

  • Good: Slowly replace your furniture, for greener options whenever you get a good deal! Slowly reduce your dependency on commercial household cleaners. Vinegar and essential oils are all you need to make your own cleaning supplies. Open your windows and mesh doors for fresh air to circulate.
  • Better: Buy second hand furniture if it suits your taste! (Especially those older than 5 years as they don’t give off fumes like the new ones) Get indoor plants that purify indoor air and yeah don’t use toxic household cleaners.
  • Best: If you can afford it, replace all your furniture and mattresses for greener furniture alternatives like cane or other natural products. Use organic upholstery and furnishings.

Through the food and water we intake:

Food and water are the major sources through which we can unknowingly ingest a lot of toxins. Even the plastic cup, plates and bottles that we use can leach chemicals into our food.

How to reduce the toxins in your food

  • Good – If you can’t overhaul your house all at once – start small. Begin with your kitchen. Stop using plastic in the kitchen – containers, mugs, plates – slowly remove them. Every month buy new stainless stell or glass containers and over time you will have a plastic free kitchen.
  • Better – Use only stainless steel containers to store and cook food. Get rid of all your plastic containers, cups and plates – go for steel! Get the best water purifier you can afford.
  • Best – Remove all unnecessary plastic items from your home. Buy organic food and vegetables, whenever you can. Avoid eating at places you know add food color.

Through our skin

The beauty products industry plays on our vanity and haven’t we all fallen for it! This skin whitener, this stretch mark remover oil and that wrinkle free cream! Has any of them, really worked for you? And if they have – consider the cost to your health! Our skin is our largest organ – and it’s high time we treated it that way!

How to reduce the toxins entering your body through skin

  • Good: If you feel that you just cannot do without handy personal products – try to go for the ones which have the least amount of chemicals. Some good brands that I trust are Rustic Art and La Flora Organics.
  • Better: Slowly start moving away from commercial brands of personal care products. The easiest to replace has been deos and powder. I just don’t use them anymore. Next you can try making some home creams and lotions. The hardest I have found to give up is shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. I still use a very popular brand of toothpaste – well just because!!
  • Best: Use only organic ingredients to make your own homemade creams, lotions, toothpastes and shampoos and conditioners! Stay away from anything that comes in a plastic bottle – easier said than done – I know! I am still trying and failing!

There are numerous more reasons why you should have a natural home! If you are looking for an actionable plan on how to reduce the chemicals and plastic in your home I’ve done a comprehensive post to that too!

If you are wondering – no, Patanjali is not a completely herbal and natural brand – more on this later! Leaving you with this video!