If you’re concerned with aging skin then you’ve certainly come across collagen, an integral part of plump skin that degrades as we age.
What helps our body create collagen? Vitamin C.
Topical Application of Vitamin C
I spend a lot of time keeping up to date with all the novelties emerging from the green beauty industry. It has come to my attention that the vitamin C serum hype persists amongst eco-skincare companies, marketed as collagen boosting.
I have a couple comments on this:
⚘ Vitamin C is water-soluble. If it’s formulated in an oil-based serum then synthetic vitamin C is being used because water & oil don’t mix. If it’s present in a water-based cream then synthetic additives are incorporated because vitamin C degrades fast. What I’m seeing in the green beauty industry is a lot of synthetic forms of vitamins that ultimately come from the petrochemical industry (more on this hot topic in another post).
Ascorbic Acid = vitamin C isolated from GMO corn = not found in nature.
Isolated = derived from. In the case of ascorbic acid, most often with acetone (aka nail polish remover).
⚘ According to my literature review to date, while there IS scientific evidence suggesting the benefits of topical vitamin C for collagen production, THERE IS NO evidence to suggest that topical application of vitamin C is more advantageous than ingesting it. Why spend the time putting vitamin C on your face when you could just ingest it and reap the benefits for your entire body?
Not to mention the personal accounts of women that come to me complaining about skin sensitivity after vitamin C serum application. The culprit is l-ascorbic acid. Just remember that if it’s acidic for your tongue it’s acidic for your skin.
The solution: to consume 'whole food' vitamin C.
Whole Plant Vitamin C
I’m always searching for plants and trees that our ancestors consumed that are found in many different biomes across the globe. Pine trees, like Pinus Sylvestris, are ubiquitous, and in the Spring, foraged young shoots are a source of naturally occurring vitamin C.
How you can incorporate vitamin C from pine needles into your life:
500 year old Chinese medicine books record the use of pine needles in tea for medicinal purposes, while Europeans used the needles to cure scurvy. Pine needles provide antioxidants and polyphenols which can be obtained by foraging and preparing pine needle tea.
↟ Option 1- Forage for young green edible pine needles
You’ll want to make sure you’re confident with your tree I.D. skills and harvest an edible pine species like Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), White pine (Pinus strobus). And avoid toxic look-alikes like Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Balsam fir (Abies balsamea), Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata), Yew (Taxus baccata).
In herbalism, when seeking to benefit from a specific plant compound we have a multi-pronged approach. We usually incorporate many different plants that have the same desired active or outcome into a remedy. So, when making your tea, feel free to add other vitamin - C rich trees and perennials like citrus peels, hibiscus flowers or rosehips.
If you’d rather benefit from a whole-body topical vitamin C experience, as well as a little forest bathing in your home, you can make a BATH tea with edible pine needles and citrus peel.
*Always check in with your health care provider prior to implementing any dietary changes.
↟ Option 2 - For novice foragers
If you're not confident about your TREE-ID ing skills then stick to the easy citrus peel in your tea or bath. Or simply purchase pine needle tea from your local natural health food store.
At Anato it is our mission to raise awareness about tree & perennial plant identification, which is why we developed Tree ID postcard sets for you to stick on your fridge or send to a family member.