Episode 54: Beauty, Health, and Ravintsara


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doTERRA: Reports have shown that the beginning of the year is the time when we need to support our body's immune system the most. Winter's chilly air has been shown to affect many parts of your body, and during this time of year it can be absolutely critical that we give our bodies a little bit of extra support so that we can stay in tip-top shape. So that's what we're going to be talking about today: how to support your body inside and out.

Welcome back to Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA, the podcast where you'll hear exciting, useful, and simple everyday uses for essential oils from experts in the field. If you like what you hear today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. We always appreciate hearing from you.

Today, we are excited to sit down with Samantha Lewis, a member of doTERRA’s product marketing team, to talk about supporting our health inside and out. We'll also give you an in-depth look of a new, special oil that we released.

Taking Care of Your Skin

Samantha thank you so much for coming back and sitting down with us today. One of the things we want to focus on a little bit this week is health. I know it's a thing that a lot of people are concerned about this time of year. There are a lot of different issues that can come up with people's health. And so one of the aspects is kind of your outside health. So your skin. Your skin is exposed to all sorts of different challenges and different things as you go throughout the day. So one of the things we want to focus on is really taking care of our skin, giving it what it needs.

So doTERRA has a lot of different products that can do this, but one of the newest and the one I want to ask you a few questions about is Yarrow|Pom. Can you tell us a little bit more about what Yarrow|Pom is?

Samantha Lewis: Yeah, absolutely. Yarrow|Pom is probably my favorite product I've had a chance to use from doTERRA and then also it was a blast to develop. It was really a labor of love. We wanted to figure out how to best use yarrow essential oil, really promote its assets. We wanted to find the best way to allow users to utilize the benefits of yarrow, while experiencing added benefits that just exponentially are greater than just yarrow on its own.

So we combined yarrow essential oil with pomegranate seed oil. The pomegranate seed fatty oil was chosen as a super powerful and unique carrier for yarrow. We wanted a carrier that not only complemented the benefits of yarrow, but also created a unique synergy for both internal and topical use, which is fantastic. So you take it internally, it can benefit your skin it can benefit other systems of your body, but also using it on your face and your body—you get fantastic results.

doTERRA: And that's so fun that you can choose to use externally, you can choose to use it internally, whatever you find works best for you.

Samantha: Yeah.

doTERRA: So you told us a little bit about why you chose the pomegranate oil. Why did you choose the yarrow oil.

Samantha: Yarrow is such a powerhouse oil. It's been used for centuries in different cultures around the world. And we knew we had to pay homage to the beautiful history this oil carries. When we found our oil supplier for yarrow, we were so excited to be able to offer it in some capacity. And I think we were pretty successful in the way that we have pulled in the cultural uses and the historical uses of yarrow and modernized it, given it a different focus. Our whole Yarrow|Pom program has just become a staple in so many people's homes. It's not just the Yarrow|Pom single with the dropper. We also have the supplements, we also have the body serum, and just using those all as a collection can completely change the way your skin acts and the way your whole body reacts to the environment around us, like you were talking about earlier.

doTERRA: And that's great, and those resources are so great because I've been using just the Yarrow oil on its own, and I'm so excited to try the serum to—kind of—take that care throughout my entire body and let all of my skin benefit. So you mentioned one thing that is super unique about the Yarrow|Pom oil, and that's the dropper that comes with it. Can you tell us why you guys included the dropper?

Samantha: Yeah, the dropper allows completely customizable usage and dosage for Yarrow|Pom. But it's also a very thick oil combination. Because of that, we didn't want it to be in a traditional orifice reducer, even the ones that are for thicker oils like vetiver, so that dropper really allows you to get that thick oil out get every single bit of it out that you possibly can from the bottle and totally customize the way that you use it, the amount that you use, and where you use it. It's a fantastic delivery method.

doTERRA: And that, definitely—I've tried to use it without the dropper, and it’s one of the oils that takes so long, you have to sit and wait for it to come out.

Samantha: Yeah.

doTERRA: So the dropper is so convenient. My final question about the Yarrow|Pom oil is it has this fantastic blue color—it's bright, kind of dark blue. Where does that color come from?

Samantha: That's one of my favorite things about yarrow, is that really intense indigo blue. It's hard to describe, right? But when—when the white yarrow flowers are steam distilled—because yellow flowers completely white, so it's very stark contrast between the oil and the flower—there's actually a chemical reaction that occurs.

In that chemical reaction, a chemical component called chamazulene, or some people pronounce it as sh-amazulene, is created so that when the distillation takes place, it creates that blue chemical compound called chamazulene. And that is actually a main chemical component in both yarrow and blue tansy. So it's what gives both of them their blue color. It also adds to the benefit of the essential oil so that really is what drives home some of the amazing skin benefits and internal benefits for yarrow.

doTERRA: Oh I love that, and that is just kind of blowing my mind that it comes from this pure white flower and through the steam distillation process you get that beautiful, beautiful oil.

So switching gears a little bit, from the outside we're going to go inside and talk about more of your internal health, focusing on your immune system. Now I know that during the winter there are a lot of different challenges that sometimes come up for our immune system, and we need a little bit of extra help. So one thing that doTERRA has that I absolutely love is the On Guard® collection, and I think it is a wide-ranging and super useful group of products. How do we use these oils in our life, and these products.

Samantha: I couldn't agree more with you about how amazing the collection is. I absolutely love the On Guard collection. I use it throughout my whole home all year round but especially in the colder winter season. It really promotes immune system health that you need when things are a little colder and you need that extra boost. Plus, I think it smells fantastic. It has those the spiciness and the citrus, so it makes your home smell like the winter months. It helps kind of warm things up, but you also know you're getting those aromatic benefits: you're getting those air-cleansing, purifying benefits from it.

doTERRA: And that is wonderful, and like you said, it really is just throughout your whole home; there are so many different ways to use it.

So what makes the On Guard blend so special, so powerful?

Samantha: It's so versatile. You have the warm, uplifting aroma, so you start in that place with the aroma. Like I mentioned, it helps kind of clean up the air, but also, internally, it helps support a healthy immune system and even respiratory function.

What's great, too, is you can use it to boost your home cleaners if you're using the On Guard Cleaner Concentrate. Add a couple extra drops of On Guard if you really need an extra boost of cleansing. It's totally non-toxic, so it's a great non-toxic surface cleaner that you can use with confidence in your home. Best of all, the ingredients have been shown to help support your body's natural defense, along with so many different body systems.

doTERRA: And I love that it's non-toxic. I know that's something that I have been getting more and more worried about in my own life. As you read the back of different cleaning products or different things that are supposed to help you—you know—even with your immune support and you just see all these words you don't recognize, and that can be a little bit scary. So I love that it's non-toxic. You can trust that it's going to be safe for every member of your family. So can you tell us a little bit about the ingredients that are in On Guard and how they combine to make it so effective?

Samantha: Absolutely. So in the On Guard blend we have Wild Orange, Clove, cinnamon—both the bark and the leaf—and then Eucalyptus and Rosemary. With those combined, it really creates that powerhouse blend that On Guard is, and it's a staple in so many people's homes. Each ingredient is known for supporting various body systems all unique in its own right. And they also have positive effects on the immune system when taken internally. So they all are so unique. Each ingredient truly drives home the benefits of On Guard when combined, and you can add in a little bit more of one or the other if you want more—if you want more respiratory benefits, add a little bit more Eucalyptus. If you want more cleaning benefits, add some more Wild Orange or Clove. They really are such powerful ingredients on their own, and then when you combine them it's—it's even better.

doTERRA: And that's such a cool idea and one that I don't know that I've ever thought of—of, kind of, boosting the part of it that you need the most help with. So adding that little bit of Eucalyptus if you're needing the respiratory support. That's such a fun idea.

So Samantha, what benefits have you seen from using the On Guard collection in your life.

Samantha: Back to the non-toxic thing, I found that using a non-toxic cleaner really has changed the way that my family interacts with cleaners. I don't have any kids, but I do have two dogs. And it's nice to know that when I'm using these cleaners, if I'm cleaning the floor or if I'm clean different surfaces, if they lick it, they're not going to—it's not going to harm them in any way, which really comforts me a lot.

I've also found a huge benefit with the various products. I love, like, the Sanitizing Mist. It's in my car; it's in my husband's car; it's in my bag; it's at my desk. We have bottles all over the house. I love using that as just a quick cleanup for my hands on the go. Plus, it smells great. I love the smell of On Guard.

I also add a couple drops of On Guard in my water when things start getting a little colder in the environment, and I found it really helps protect my body from the things in the environment and the things I might—you know—encounter here and there during the colder seasons.

doTERRA: Absolutely. Well Samantha, thank you so much for walking us through the inside health, the outside health, and how we can use these two amazing collections—the Yarrow|Pom and the On Guard—to really boost and support our body in all the different ways. So thank you so much.

Samantha: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

doTERRA: I have the incredible opportunity today to talk to you about a new, exclusive oil that doTERRA has produced. This oil is Ravintsara. So to start off, we want to talk a little bit about the history of this amazing tree.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt displaced, in an unfamiliar spot, alone and striving to adapt to overcome your circumstances? The ravintsara tree has faced a similar struggle and understands exactly what it's like to be forced to change, to grow, and to become better for it.

Ravintsara is an evergreen tree with the scientific name Cinamomum camphora. The term cinamomum is derived from the Greek root kinnamon or kinnámōmon, meaning “sweet wood.” The bright green leaves of the ravintsara tree have a glossy and waxy appearance. In the spring, small white flowers appear on the tree, and the fruits are small and black, and they look like little berries.

The History of Ravintsara

While the history and uses of the ravintsara tree have been intertwined with the history of Madagascar, the tree is actually not indigenous to Madagascar at all. It is actually native to China, Japan, and Taiwan. The tree was introduced onto the island of Madagascar during the middle of the 19th century, though there's a lot of disagreement on how the tree actually made its way to Madagascar. In the countries where Cinamomum camphora originates, it is well known for camphor, which is extracted from the leaves and the wood of the tree.

The Science Behind Ravintsara

Now one of the most interesting things about this tree is that through research it's been found that there are a number of different subspecies or chemotypes, and the chemical profile of the essential oil distilled from the different subspecies is incredibly different depending on where the tree was grown. So, while the trees grown in Japan produce camphor the Cinamomum camphora that is cultivated in Madagascar contains high levels of cineol, which is also known as eucalyptol all and does not contain any camphor. And the only difference between the trees is where they are grown.

Now the entire tree is aromatic, but the Ravintsara oil is contained in secretory tree pockets on the leaves. The leaf harvesting is done manually by farmers who live on the production sites, and the fresh leaves are distilled immediately after collection or, at the very latest, the next day.

Traditional Uses for Ravintsara in Madagascar

The Malagasy people, or the people native to Madagascar, give high regard and value to the ravintsara tree, and this is evident in the origin of the word ravintsara. In Malagasy, ravintsara translates to “the tree with good leaves,” coming from the Malagasy words ravint meaning “leaf” and sara meaning “good for you.” The leaf of the tree has long been used in the central highlands of Madagascar as a folk remedy. Tea made from the leaves is often used as a home help in times of need. And ravintsara can also be rubbed on the chest or the leaves can be steamed and the vapors inhaled. Traditional beliefs say that ravintsara could also be used to remove the evil eye and stimulate the spirit in a positive way. Also, some beliefs reveal that ravintsara would allow traveling into the subconscious. And finally, in order to help purify a space, the leaves have also been traditionally burned.

Not only has the tree been utilized in health practices, but the Malagasy have even found a place for it in their cooking. The leaves are sometimes used as condiments and certain culinary specialties. As evidenced by the name given and the traditional uses that they had for the ravintsara tree, the Malagasies have given the tree a noble status. For centuries, ravintsara trees have been planted on the estates of the noble families of Madagascar, and when the French colonists came to Madagascar in the late 1800s, they noticed how much the Malagasies revered the ravintsara leaf. Taking their cue from the native people, the French colonists also began to hold the tree in high esteem and began planting ravintsara trees on the grounds of their hospitals and missions.

We wanted to give you a little bit more insight into how doTERRA gets its Ravintsara oil. So we sat down with Christa Orozco, who is a strategic sourcing specialist for doTERRA. Christa thank you so much for sitting down with us today to talk about this sourcing story.

Christa Orozco: Yeah of course.

doTERRA: So can you tell us a little bit about where we get our Ravintsara oil?

Christa: Yeah, so we get our Ravintsara oil from Madagascar. It grows abundantly there, grows in the wet tropical forests zones, so Madagascar is a perfect place for that.

doTERRA: So why did we choose Madagascar? I know this tree grows in a few different places, so why did we choose Madagascar to source this oil?

Christa: Well, ravintsara has a long history there in Madagascar. A lot of the smallholder farmers already know how to cultivate it. They've been doing it for years. They've been distilling it for years too, so it makes sense that we go to that area, and people know how to cultivate—it also grows in the wild. So we're sustainably harvesting in that area because it's so abundant.

doTERRA: I love that, and I think that's so cool that you're pulling from a tradition that was already there, and that everyone that gets to use those oil benefits from the knowledge of those small farmers and the years and years that they've spent working with this oil.

Christa: Yeah.

doTERRA: So talking about those small farmers that we work with in Madagascar, what kind of impact does this sourcing have on them?

Christa: So a lot of these farmers and harvesters that are providing the ravintsara biomass for us do this as an extra, additional income activity.

doTERRA: Ok.

Christa: You can harvest this year-round. So a lot of the farmers can have a consistent, additional income cash flow. So this is helping them to have stability, fair payments for the biomass that they're providing doTERRA with, and they get paid immediately upon giving us the biomass at the distillation site. And really, being able to provide these fair and on-time payments for the farmers and providing this extra, additional income for them, providing these jobs are all sourcing guiding principles that are key to our Co-Impact Sourcing program.

doTERRA: And I bet that's something that probably isn't as common with these small farmers, is getting that fair payment that they're guaranteed on delivery. That's wonderful.

Christa: Right, that makes a big difference for these farmers and harvesters, for sure.

doTERRA: Is doTERRA doing anything else for the community at large in these areas?

Christa: Yeah actually, so through the Healing Hands Foundation, we've funded a mobile health clinic that goes around to the different areas where a lot of these farmers and harvesters are from. It gives them access to healthcare that they normally aren’t able to access because of lack of resources or accessibility to medical clinics. And so this is really providing them an opportunity to get that health care that they need and knowing that that's reliable and consistent.

doTERRA: And I think that's wonderful, and the Healing Hands Foundation is great at finding those areas of need in these communities, so I think that's a beautiful thing that we've been able to do for them.

Christa, my final question for you is you have the experience and the knowledge of how doTERRA is working with these farmers, what do you think is the most important part of the sourcing story for Ravintsara?

Christa: I think the opportunity that we're providing these small-scale farmers and harvesters to have extra, consistent income makes a really big difference. It's allowing them to invest more in their other income activities. It provides them with trust that sometimes isn't found in this type of industry, and it's helping them have access to more opportunities to continue growing economically.

doTERRA: And I'm sure that's something that has the power to change people's lives, to really turn around their family and where they're headed.

Christa: Yeah, we're so grateful that we have the opportunity to get into these types of networks and find those farmers and harvesters who can really benefit from this. And at the same time, we benefit from getting this great essential oil that they're producing for us.

doTERRA: Christa, thank you so much for sitting down with us, for teaching us a little bit more about this Ravintsara oil, about how we get it, and how it can bless the lives of not only the people growing it but the people in doTERRA who now get to use this oil.

Thanks for joining us, and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. Also, if you want to try any of the products you learned about, go to doterra.com or find a wellness advocate near you to place an order today.

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