Today, consumers are in a frenzy searching for ‘all-natural’ labels on medicine, make-up, sunscreen, baby food, pet (the other baby) food, and a host of other products.
They know in their hearts that these products are safe because they are natural and chemical-free. This makes Mother Nature very much in-demand these days. After all, Mother Nature has been our bestie for centuries, giving us life-sustaining food, not to mention morphine, aspirin, and other life-saving, all-natural medicines derived from her plants.
As Australia’s leading resource for news and information about plastic surgery, cosmetic enhancement, and everything related to health and beauty, Costhetics wanted to know more about what a chemical-free world with nothing but all-natural products might look like. What we discovered in our research was literally shocking …
Mother Nature is a two-faced bitch.
Mother Nature’s Garden is Alive with Death
In an article on Australia’s most poisonous plants, Australian Geographic reported that “About 1000 species of plants in Australia are known to be toxic to animals and humans and plenty more cause skin and eye irritation, rashes or discomfort. About 10% of plants in Australia even make cyanide.” Here are some of the members of Mother Nature’s deadly squad:
- Angel’s Trumpets – Pretty and fragrant, they may cause diarrhoea, migraines, confusion, paralysis, and even death if ingested.
- Deadly Nightshade – It’s name is well-earned as ingesting one leaf or 20 berries can bring on hysteria, hallucinations, and death.
- Gympie Gympie – A giant stinging tree covered in hairs on its stems, leaves, and fruit that trigger swelling, pain, and other allergic reactions.
- Oleander – This common garden plant can trigger skin irritations and is fatal if ingested.
The bottom-line according to Australian Geographic, “Plants vary from region to region, but no matter where you are you need to know what to keep an eye out for.” That doesn’t sound very safe, now, does it?
Supplements, a Natural Source for Nasty Problems
The safety of an all-natural product is especially problematic in the world of supplements. A herbal supplement may contain dozens of chemical compounds, and all of its ingredients may not be known. “Complementary medicines and supplements don’t receive the same level of testing and regulation as prescription drugs before they can be sold,” reports ABC.net in an expose on supplements. Supplements are considered a low risk product and can be marketed with no safety or quality criteria, and no proof that their claims for effectiveness have merit. “Even if the supplement or complementary medicine you are taking is regulated by the TGA, you can never be 100% cent sure that it contains what is on the label, or that it will work,” says ABC.net
Herbal and dietary supplements may be called natural, but they are made up of chemicals, too, just like everything else in the world, and some of those chemicals are toxic. Among the most problematic pills in Mother Nature’s medicine chest are:
- Celandine – used to alleviate stomach discomfort, but associated with liver damage.
- Ephedra – treats colds and fevers, but is associated with heart problems and fatality.
- Garcinia Cambogia – diet pills that have been linked to mania, delusions, and testicular atrophy.
- Green Tea Extra Powder – reported to be good for weight loss, but can elevate blood pressure and heart rate.
- Kava – reduces anxiety, but may also be associated with liver damage.
Adding to the problem of supplements is a lack of manufacturing regulation. If the supplements are made improperly, the impact can be devastating and deadly.
Chemicals Get a Bad Rep
Before you slap a “No Chemicals” sticker on the boot of your car, consider this: everything in the world is made up of chemicals, including you! Toxic chemicals, the keyword being toxic, are substances that are hazardous to your health if they are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Here are some all-natural frenemies you may already know from the cosmetics aisle:
- Lead – A proven neurotoxin that affects fertility and the onset of puberty, lead finds its way into lipsticks, toothpaste, and foundation.
- Parabens – A widely used cosmetic preservative linked to breast cancer and problems in the nervous and immune systems.
- Phthalates – Used to help products hold scent, phthalates mimic human hormones and may lead to reproductive and neurological damage.
- Polyethylene glycols – Petroleum-based compounds that thicken and soften cream-based cosmetics and enhance the penetration of good and bad ingredients into your skin.
- Quaternium-15 – When this chemical breaks down, it releases formaldehyde gas, a proven human carcinogen.
The Knowledge Movement
Armed with the Internet and well-honed research skills, health-conscious consumers are discovering new facts in the natural vs. chemical debate. It’s influencing their purchases in the beauty aisles and at the grocery store. Costhetics hopes the next time you go shopping for a chemical-free alternative that you’ll remember, “Mother (Nature) doesn’t always know best.”