Here is one of our favourite ingredients for Archeus skincare products and chances are its growing in your garden or a park near you.
It's camellia, the much-loved beauty ingredient in Asia.
The botanical name for Camellia is Camellia sinensis. I'm fascinated with what names of plants can tell us about their history or use. When you see ‘sinenis’ in the botanical name of a plant, it tells you the plant originates, or was first classified in China. Camellia grows widely through the Asia region and is also native to India and Japan. These days though, camellia bushes are known in gardens around the world as beautiful evergreen shrubs with flowers ranging in colour (dependent on the variety) from deep red, to white. Camellia sinensis flowers are yellowy-white.
Below is a picture of camellia sinensis growing at an organic tea plantation I spent time at in Japan. The plantation is down by the banks of a river and the camellias just love that moist, morning mist on their leaves. That's why tea is also grown at altitude - to catch those quenching forest cloud mists.
Now, here's where it gets interesting: camellia sinensis is also the plant that tea is traditionally made from. Green tea is made from fresh camellia leaves that have been dried at a low heat. Matcha is finely ground green tea. Black teas such as oolong are made from partially fermenting the leaves, rolled and then dried at a higher heat.
Green tea is very high in anti-inflammatory properties; so much so that the American Cancer Foundation recommend it to help reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to a range of problems, including cancer. If you would like to read more about this we have pulled together some really interesting research for you here.
What's all this got to do with skincare? Well, camellia oil is made from the seeds that appear after flowering - we took the main photo of some so you can see what they look like. Camellia oil is best processed by cold-pressing it – in the same way as high-quality olive oil is produced because so often heat can be the enemy of good.
We love using camellia oil in Archeus products, for all the same reasons that make it so good for us as a tea, we want those anti-inflammatory properties soaking into our skin. It’s wonderfully nourishing, especially for mature skin, and its antimicrobial and antifungal properties help promote wound healing. It's also important to us to ensure our products have the right feel - and camellia is a nice light oil that absorbs easily into the skin.
If you're wondering what we mean by light - take some olive oil from your kitchen cupboard and rub some onto your skin (also really good for you) and you will feel it is reasonably thick and takes a while to absorb; well camellia is lighter than olive oil. So when we make products for use on the face we think about that feel and absorbency as we develop our formulations.
Products that we make with certified organic cold-pressed camellia oil include: Calendula & Gotu Kola Skin Repair Cream, Burdock & Juniper Serum, Calendula & Rose Face Cream and our perfume oils. We've had some fantastic feedback on these products. Natasha had this to say about our Burdock & Juniper Serum, " This serum is just divine - smells lovely, beautiful texture and feels wonderful on my skin". Ariel loved our Calendula & Gotu Kola cream saying, "Thank you for the delicate product. The cream is light with delightful scent. It absorbs well. I look forward to using it every day".
We make all our products by hand in small batches to ensure freshness and to reduce waste. You can order online or find Archeus products at selected New Zealand outlets. We ship internationally.
Oh and I almost forgot! We do say our ingredients are good enough to eat and we actually do use camellia oil as a salad dressing! Yum yum!!