Extracting Bee Venom without harming the bees

Bee Venom Extraction
Image credit: Umberto Salvagnin

We are asked all the time whether bees are killed to extract the bee venom used in the products we sell. The answer? Never! We love bees and we would never contribute to their destruction.

So how is the bee venom extracted? Through a unique and patented method developed by New Zealand scientists. Bee venom is produced in the venom gland of the bee, and is stored in an adjacent sac in the bee’s abdomen. The amount of venom a bee has depends on age. Newly hatched bees don’t have any venom at all, but the amount increases rapidly for the first two weeks of a worker bee’s life, reaching a plateau of about 0.3 mg (dry weight).

New Zealand scientists have invented a collection device for venom that doesn’t kill the bees. The device consists of a glass sheet placed on the bottom of the beehive. The glass sheet conducts a gentle electric current. When the current is turned on, bees that are on the sheet automatically stick out their stingers, and the action of the muscles pushing the stinger also pumps a small amount of venom out the end of the sting. This venom falls on the glass where it is collected and purified for storage, and freeze-dried to ensure that the venom’s bioactive materials are not degraded. It takes one million sting deposits on a collector board to make 1 gram of dry venom. This is the reason the cost of bee venom skin care products is so high.

So if you love bees and New Zealand Bee Venom skincare, you can buy our products without hesitation knowing that bees were never harmed in the process.

Follow the example of the sheep

What keeps the sheep dry and warm? Lanolin!!!

Follow the example of the sheep and use lanolin to protect your skin. Lanolin is the top natural ingredient to protect your lips, hands, feet, and your entire body

Our famous pure lanolin is the best product available today. And it has only one ingredient: lanolin!

And it also comes in convenient lip balm containers.

Stay all natural and avoid these ingredients, particularly on your lips:

  • Lanolin alcohols
  • Artificial colors
  • Parabens
  • Petrolatum
  • Sulfates

You want to add more moisturizing protection? Use our products that combine lanolin with emu oil

With over 30 lanolin beauty products, Koru Naturals is the leader in lanolin skin protection

 

The Fascinating History of Patchouli

 

Patch joins Bay Rum, Sandalwood, OUD, and Fire and Flowers in the collection of NZ Fusion solid fragrances.

If you are a fan of gorgeous patchouli you may know this sensual fragrance has been around for centuries. The exact history is actually quite fascinating when you look deeper into its mystery and allure to find out where the fragrance originates. That’s why at Koru Naturals, we’re adding the brand new NZ Fusion Patch Solid Fragrance to a stellar lineup of favorite scents. Let’s dive deeper into the history of patchouli, so you know a little bit more about this warm and inviting scent. Or if you haven’t tried patchouli for yourself, maybe this will tempt you to add it to your collection.

Patch Solid Fragrance

Patchouli is complemented by Australian Sandalwood, Egyptian Jasmine, Madagascar Vanilla, and Turkish Rose Oil. This results in a complex, rich, and intense fragrance.

As with the other NZ Fusion solid fragrances, you may personalize it by combining with other fragrances. Adding Sandalwood makes it woodier, whereas blending with Bay Rum provides spicy notes.

The Origin of Patchouli

The word “patchouli” itself means “green leaf” because it comes from a herb growing green bush that’s part of the mint family. It does bloom delicate pink flowers that show up in the fall with seeds that are all part of becoming the patchouli scent we know today.

Even though it’s native to Southeast Asia, the South Indian people, known as the Tamil, actually developed some of its first uses and named the plant. They used it for medicinal purposes, insect repellent, and even in some culinary ways or through herbal teas they drank. Growing best in a moist and tropical climate, without direct sunlight, the leaves of the patchouli plant can reach heights of up to three feet when healthy.

Centuries later the herby bush made its way up through the Middle East on trade routes when adventurers used to bargain silk, goods, spices, and oils like the ones made from the patchouli’s leaves.

The French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte brought from Egypt cashmere and silks protected from moths with patchouli leaves, so he may have been the one to introduce it to parts of Europe. People just fell in love with its heady rich scent that was distinctively all its own, exquisite and beautiful. So in Europe  Patchouli went from insect repellent to upscale fragrance.

It wasn’t until 1837 that the patchouli was known as a recognizable scent and quickly made its way to the rest of the Western world.

The Modern Era of Patchouli

The counterculture in America, mainly in the 60’s and 70s really embraced everything the scent of patchouli had to offer. People loved to use it in essential oil form, burning in incense, and it became a common note in many popular fragrances. The essential oil is created by steam distillation of the leaves to produce the pure oil that was very popular at the time.

The rich earthy aroma with a slight mint undertone became a very well known aura around people who were referred to as “hippies.” Men and women with long hair, a free spirit, and a carefree way of dressing became associated with the fragrance.

However, most of the Patchouli used in the 60’s was either synthetic or of low quality. This is in contrast with the pure Patchouli Essential Oil used in our new fragrance, which is extracted only from the top 3-4 leaves of the plant and aged for at least 3 years. This Patchouli has a rich, dark, earthy-sweet, and mellow aroma. Sandalwood, a touch of sweet Madagascar vanilla, and lush Turkish rose complement the Patchouli notes of this fragrance. This is a fragrance with outstanding depth and warmth that will allow you to treasure wearing patchouli all day long.

Try Patch today!

2017 Holidays Gift Ideas and Sales

Pohutukawa Trees in flower means that It’s that time of the year again! We put together offers and gift ideas for you.

Wild Ferns Manufacturer’s Offers

Special Wild Ferns offers for the  American friends of the brand:

 

Lanolin Soap
Lanolin Soap

Get a free bar of the new Lanolin Soap with at least $40 purchase of Wild Ferns products

OR

Get a free Manuka Honey Hand and Nail Cream with a purchase of at least $60 in Wild Ferns products

Special offer on a set of 6 Small Wild Ferns Body Lotions

Gift Ideas

New Zealand Soaps – Always a hit

For men with Facial Hair

Great Lip Balms – Really different from anything else

Solid Fragrances – So much fun!

Rotorua Mud Bath at 20% off

Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Shower Gel at 20% off

And a lot more at Koru Naturals!

The Beautiful Simplicity of Emu Oil

Benefits of Emu Oil

Emu oil for beauty is simple and effective. I’ve talked about taking your skincare and paring it down to just the essentials before in recent articles here. When simplicity wins, you win with an easier beauty regimen that’s just right for your skin and hair. Emu oil is the next level oil you should be exploring for your routine. I’ve found that the benefits of emu oil are extraordinary and time-tested. Here are some of the beautiful benefits of emu oil, that you are going to definitely want to test out for yourself, with a bottle of your own from Koru Naturals.

History

This is an oil you should look into that comes from an interesting Australian flightless bird. The Aborigines of Australia were some of the first people to discover all the ways the emu bird, this Wonder Down Under, could be used successfully for holistic healing, haircare, and especially on the body and face for skin health.

When it was first discovered, the back fat of the bird was used to create the emu oil. The reason the oil is so beneficial number one comes from this fact. This oil contains a bounty of omega fatty acids, including 3, 6, and 9. The trifecta of “good for you” oils as a skin treatment is legendary. This can’t be overstated. What emu oil naturally contains is amazing. Omega-9 specifically is called oleic acid, which is also in many other nut butters (shea butter) and vegetables oils, like olive or grapeseed oil. Oleic acid is responsible for keeping skin supple and radiant.

 Antioxidants Are Plentiful

Another reason, other than the fatty acid content of the emu oil, is that it’s also loaded with antioxidants that help hydrate aging skin, help with skincare issues like eczema or psoriasis, and can even act as a corrective agent to improve the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and other skin imperfections. What doesn’t this simple oil do? It’s a powerhouse all around to add to your skincare regimen.

 Hydration Is Plentiful with Emu Oil

The moisturizing properties of emu oil are insanely effective. It’s able to penetrate much deeper than other oils for true, deep down moisture. I’ve found this is the most luxurious part about using emu oil. After my shower at night, I slick on a layer of emu oil on my damp skin, including my face, to lock in the moisture. It’s truly the best face serum and not expensive like most others on the market for hundreds of dollars. The next morning when I wake up, I notice just how silky soft and gorgeous my skin feels. It’s a nightly treatment that is absolutely essential to my routine now because I just can’t get over how great my skin feels to the touch. My hands and nails enjoy the nourishment too because as a nail hydrating oil it’s helped to stop breakage and ragged cuticles. 

 Plus, it’s been helpful to reducing the appearance of stretch marks and old acne scars. As a mother of two, I thought stretch marks were just a part of life. Once I introduced emu oil into my bodycare regimen, those marks look so much better!

Your Hair and Scalp Will Love Emu Oil Too

Not only does emu oil work wonders on the skin, but you can also use it on your scalp and hair. For scalp issues, like hair itch relief, emu oil can help hydrate and nourish the scalp balancing out your natural oils to reduce the appearance of dandruff and dry scalp. 

 You can also use emu oil as a treatment mask. Just mix a few drops of emu oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil and slather on your hair from root to tip. Leave on for 20 minutes and then shampoo and condition as you regularly do. You’ll find that your hair is fortified, soft, and less frizzy overall. Use this intensely hydrating treatment mask about once a week for best results.

 I sometimes will rub some emu oil in the ends of my hair before I go to the gym or to the pool to protect my strands. Then I just pull it into a topknot and go. It’s an easy way to hydrate and pull my hair up for activities.

 A Note on the Emu’s Environment

Today for Koru Natural products, the emu oil is created from United States farming sources, where all the extraordinary birds are treated humanely. They aren’t subjected to antibiotics or keep in poor conditions. That was an important fact for me before I started using emu oil. Having this oil as a part of my life for years has been such a benefit for my skin and hair’s health and condition, but I had to know the birds were being treated well too.

 If you are interested in finding an exceptional oil that treats so many skin and hair issues, you’ll be so glad you looked into simplifying your skincare with this one product. It’s definitely something I always have on my vanity now for so many reasons. You’re going to love it too!

Lanolin: the perfect skin care ingredient

The sheep’s gift to humans

Why is lanolin so good for our skin? Because it works better than any other ingredient! The structure of lanolin is very similar to that of human skin lipids, making it compatible and effective as skin moisturizer.

Lanolin serves to protect the sheep from the elements, keeping their coats protected and dry in all seasons. But, the sheep’s wool grows continuously, so it can get hot and dirty if the animal is not sheared. Lanolin is extracted from this wool, making it not only natural but cruelty-free.

Dry skin is caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin, known as Trans Epidermal Water Loss. Moisturizers work by forming a layer on the top of the skin that holds water in, but still allowing air to flow freely. Although there are many moisturizing substances available, lanolin is the most effective one from natural sources, working to prevent TEWL while protecting the skin.

All Lanolin products in the Koru Naturals collection are made with the best lanolin available.

View our collection of pure lanolin, lanolin creams, and lotions.

Mythology that warms our hearts

Mānuka and Māori Mythology

“In the beginning before the world was light, Rangi the sky-father and Papa the earth-mother were bound together, their offspring caught in the darkness between them. Their strongest son, Tane Mahuta, put his shoulder to Papa and thrust upwards with his powerful legs, creating life and light.”
− Maori legend

And Tane Mahuta became the Maori God of the forests. Tane Mahuta married Tawake-toro, and together they had the Mānuka tree! This is how deep  Mānuka’s roots are in New Zealand’s history and culture.

The Māori often say that Mānuka has “whakapapa”.  Literally translated, whakapapa means “genealogy”. But, it is actually a deeply spiritual concept that is a fundamental principle in Māori culture. Your personal whakapapa places you in the context of your ancestors and the lands where they lived, and centers your identity in the context of your personal history.

So Mānuka has whakapapa, and this is why New Zealanders take everything that is Mānuka so seriously.

Tāne Mahuta doesn’t just exist in mythology, but is also a gigantic kauri tree alive today. Tāne Mahuta stands at an impressive 170 feet tall, and it’s trunk is 45 feet wide, and it may be over 2,000 years old. You can hug this kauri tree at the Waipoua Forest of Northland, New Zealand, and feel a surge of inner peace and deep respect for its ancient history.

At Koru Naturals we know that when we go through great lengths to ensure the purity and quality of our Mānuka Honey and Mānuka Oil, Tāne Mahuta is watching us approvingly!

Sources:

http://treefellas.co.nz/the-legend-of-tane-mahuta/

Ministry of Education.

Image Copyright

How to avoid Manuka Oil scams

High triketone content Manuka Oil
Ask some basic questions before buying Manuka Oil

A consumer’s guide to New Zealand Manuka Oil

The three natural health jewels of the Pacific

Australia and New Zealand have a historically deep commitment to natural health. Traditions of native peoples were transferred to the European settlers and were subsequently adopted by people around the world.

The most famous natural health products of the Pacific are Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil from New Zealand, and Tea Tree Oil from Australia. At Koru Naturals we carry both Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil from Te Araroa, in the East Cape region of New Zealand.

As with any other natural product, an educated consumer is key to making informed purchase decisions and fighting adulteration and omissions of critical information (1).

Education

In the last few years we have seen a significant increase in the level of awareness of quality issues with Manuka Honey. Now most U.S. consumers know that they have to get UMF® certified honeys, and they have to ask pointed questions about storage conditions. For Manuka Oil, however, the awareness is lacking, mainly because it’s a fairly new product for the U.S. and there is quite a bit of chemistry involved in the understanding of quality. But, if you are interested in Manuka Oil, and you should be because it’s a wonderful product preferred by aromatherapists and natural health people, please bear with us as we tell you what questions to ask before buying.

Triketones tell the story

All essential oils contain compounds that serve as chemical markers for purity. For example, two chemical markers for peppermint are menthofuran and viridifloral, which can be used to detect adulteration (2). For Manuka Oil the markers are a family of compounds called triketones, primarily ß-triketones that are unique to Manuka oil, the main ones being leptospermone and isoleptospermone (1, 3, 4).

As with other essential oils, geography and climate make a difference. Although Manuka trees grow all over New Zealand, the type (known as chemotype) that grows in the East Cape has the highest triketone content, and is therefore the best for extracting Manuka Oil (4).

There are two main producers of Manuka Oil in the East Cape: Natural Solutions from Te Araroa, which supplies our oil, and the New Zealand Manuka Group from Gisborne, which sells under the brand Melora and also supplies oil in bulk to companies in the U.S. Both companies produce excellent oil and comply with the basic requirement of listing the triketone content on the label. Natural Solutions simply lists the minimum percentage on the label. For example, our current oil has at least 41% triketones, so it’s labeled 40%+. The New Zealand Manuka Group has developed a more complicated nomenclature to provide the same information: MβTK™, which stands for MANUKA OIL ßeta TRIKETONES. So, for example, a Manuka Oil produced by this firm with at least 10% triketones would be labeled MβTK™ 10+ (5).

Both the Natural Solutions and the Melora oils are bottled in New Zealand, which provides a high level of confidence on quality and integrity. The same cannot be said for Manuka Oils bottled in the U.S. Many U.S. sellers don’t even disclose the triketone content of their products or whether they have been diluted. For the Manuka Essential Oils that are imported in bulk and bottled in the U.S. there are some important questions to ask to avoid buying adulterated oils:

  • Is the oil bottled in facilities equipped to handle essential oils or it’s done in someone’s kitchen, basement, or garage?
  • Is the oil sent for analysis after bottling?
  • Is the equipment used appropriate for handling manuka oil?
  • What was the triketone content of the bulk oil, and what is the content after bottling?

Given the long history of adulteration of valuable essential oils, we recommend buying Manuka Oil exclusively from sources that can be trusted, with particular emphasis on transparency regarding the levels of triketones and the reliability of the bottling operation. Manuka Oils bottled at the source in New Zealand offer the best assurance of integrity.

(1) https://www.facebook.com/notes/essential-oil-university/manuka-essential-oil-a-must-have-oil-for-aromatherapy-enthusiasts/10155518914423083/

(2) https://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/detecting-essential-oil-adulteration-jreac.1000132.php?aid=40867

(3) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031942204001116

(4) https://tararuacropping.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/essential-oil-manuka-may-2014_kanuka.pdf

(5) http://www.mbtk.org.nz/

When Simplicity Wins: Pure Lanolin Lip Balm

Pure Lanolin Lip Balms

Follow Kelly as she continues to simplify her life, this time tackling lip balms

Let’s get honest here

Right now, look into your handbag or cosmetic kit, and calculate how many lip balms you have. Over five, 10, even 20? If you are a lip balm lover, like I am, you probably have quite collection in your lip care arsenal. The problem with that is how good are the ingredients in each of your lip balms? They might be packed with fragrances, preservatives, and fillers you definitely don’t need. Some of them may even be irritating your lips! That’s exactly the opposite of what you want in a lip balm. Simplicity wins on this one again. It’s truly better to narrow down the ingredient list of what’s in your lip balm to one simple ingredient. Pure lanolin.

Pare Down Your Lip Balms

Don’t fall for all that cosmetic industry hype. Finding a lip balm that is simple, inexpensive, and effective is truly what your lips need. In my own life, I was finding that the more ingredients in my lip balms, glosses, and lipsticks, the more irritated my lips were all the time. I couldn’t get away from flaky, dry lips no matter how much lip product I continued to pile on them.

The Simple Solution Exists

The solution for me was Koru Naturals Pure Lanolin Lip Balm. I’m so glad that I’ve found them. Koru Naturals Pure Lanolin Lip Balm comes in sets of four tubes or pots, or you can also get it in one larger single pot.

I have a few pots in strategic places around my home to slick on my lips anytime I like. Here’s a tip I’ve found to wake up to silky lips: leave a pot by your bedside to put on a layer at night. That’s it! The feeling of having soft smooth lips just can’t be beat. All because I’ve found the single most effective lip soother, pure lanolin.

What’s up with so many Millennials singing in the shower?

Showers and skin health

Research shows that 81% of people born between 1980 and 2000 like to sing in the shower, versus only 53% for the rest of the population. Why? Nobody knows. But what’s clear is that getting clean is only part of showering, and for all ages.

Believe it or not, shower statistics is a very active field. More numbers that apply to all people in the U.S.: 50% like to start the day with a shower, and for 60% showering is the only way to feel awake and refreshed. More than 75% of respondents like to brainstorm in the shower, with many claiming to have their best ideas under the running water.

Researchers have speculated that creativity works through an incubation period that eventually leads to a clear idea (1). Maybe the hot water pries open the thinking cage? But, clearly, if you are singing you are not thinking. So perhaps, if you are dealing with something difficult you should sing less and brainstorm more while showering!

From crystallizing thoughts, helping people face the day, and nurturing fantasies of singing careers, shower habits go well beyond personal hygiene. As an addict to long hot showers, I’m not going to tell you to shower less frequently and make it shorter. But, as a skin care company, we have a few reminders and recommendations to avoid the skin damage that may result from the frequent running of hot water over your body:

1. Use gentle moisturizing soaps or body washes. For soaps, we recommend the emu oil soap or the lanolin soaps.

Emu Oil Soap
Emu Oil Soap
Lanolin Soap
Lanolin Soap

2. For body washes, Manuka honey does an excellent job.
3. Hair and scalp may also suffer, so we recommend our sulfate-free keratin emu oil shampoo, followed by direct application of emu oil to the scalp.
4. Pat your skin with a towel rather than rubbing vigorously, which can cause irritation.

 

5. You must moisturize your skin after showering. In a hurry, running late, or just being lazy, this is easily neglected. But remember that hot water may strip critical oils from your skin, so moisturizing is critical.

On the Lamb Lanolin and Emu Oil CreamOn the Lamb Dry Skin Cream

The question is how to make it easy so it gets incorporated into the daily routine. From what our customers tell us moisturizers in pump dispensers are easier to incorporate into the after-shower routine than creams or lotions in tubes or jars. Our favorites are the two On the Lamb Dry Skin pumps and the Wild Ferns Lanolin Lotion. Just take an extra few seconds to apply a moisturizer all over to seal in the moisture and replenish the natural oils that keep your skin healthy.

Rotorua Mud Bath
Rotorua Mud Bath

And what happened to the old soak in the tub for hours bath? It seems to have gone down the drain, together with so many other relaxing and fun things erased by hectic lives. But, baths are still a treat, and the Rotorua Mud Bath is just wonderful. Maybe on a weekend or holiday you’ll find the time to relax in a tub with Rotorua Mud.

 

So go ahead, enjoy your long showers, but please keep our recommendations in mind.

1Creativity—the unconscious foundations of the incubation period, Ritter and Dijksterhuis, Hum Neurosci. 2014; 8: 215