I had been really looking forward to this programme after seeing it in the Radio Times. But I have to say it was a bit of a disappointment.
The premise was how to make your own products to promote health and beauty using commonly available materials. This sounds like a really fascinating idea. We are surrounded by plants and animals that are the result of billions of years of evolution. It is one of the wonders of life that for all its diversity there are also things that all living creatures have in common. We all use basically the same chemistry, and so material from one species can have a big effect on another. This is the origin of the whole branch of pharmaceuticals that recognises the uses of natural products. It is called pharmocognosy and is the basis of such well known drugs as aspirin, which was originally extracted from willow bark.
Talking through some of the stories behind these and showing how you can use that knowledge yourself sounded really great.
So I was looking forward to being educated, entertained and possibly even given some ideas that could be of use to me and my family.
Well, it wasn’t actually a bad programme in the event. The guy presenting it, an ethnobotanist, had a cheery manner. The highlight for me was the making a face pack out of kiwi fruit and papaya which was quite fun. He explained that the papaya contained an enzyme called papain that could act as a chemical exfoliant. A couple of young girls tried the packs out and seemed to enjoy the experience. It wasn’t clear to me at any rate why they needed exfoliating and whether their skin looked better for the treatment. I would have liked to hear more about the papain and what it did.
Basically it was fine as far as it went, but I wanted it to go further. Perhaps explaining how natural actives work is an idea for another programme. Or maybe a blog.
If you are interested in looking into this subject the best book I have read is by Jean Bruneton.
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