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Nourishing soaps. Seems to be mostly bullshit, to me.

 
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I have made a bit of soap, so I did a couple laps around the internet to see what others are selling. I was particularly interested in soap containing moringa, since I'm planning a plantation where moringa will be a major component.

I've seen many advertisements that talk about the vitamin and mineral content of moringa and then they imply that you can expect great health benefits from its external use.

It's well known that we can absorb certain things, good and bad, through our skin. This is true particularly if it's an oil-based thing. So we could see some benefit to smearing vitamin E or other healthy things that want to stick to the skin.

I haven't been able to find one piece of scientific literature that says we can derive any vitamin or mineral benefits from healthy plants that are mixed with soap. The quantities are miniscule and contact time is very brief.
.....
I found one bar of moringa soap, that claims to have a whole teaspoon of moringa powder in it. Let's suppose this is true. Many people use a teaspoon of that powder in their morning shake. It gives them a certain percentage of the daily requirements for many   vitamins and minerals. They eat it. Seems like a reasonable thing to do with vitamin and mineral rich food. With the soap, it is applied to the body, then it is rinsed off. If a person knows how to have a shower, I can't imagine even 1% staying on the body.

 So here's some quick math. Let's say that we do have a 1% sticking rate where we somehow absorb 1% during that brief time. Let's assume that our bar of soap is good for 100 uses. One teaspoon divided by 100 and then that little portion divided by 100 again. We get 1/10,000th of a teaspoon. And that's if we are able to absorb the miniscule amount that actually touches the skin.

Can anyone else smell the bullshit? I've noticed that products sold within the European Union, don't make the big health claims. The stuff from China and Southeast Asia seems to be the worst. I wonder if they just Google the vitamin and  mineral values for botanical products and then put it in their advertising as though it's a food label. I wasn't able to find one of them who even tried to back anything up.
.......
If I look younger, stronger and I seem generally smarter and more virile tomorrow, it's because I have tried this stuff and it's all true.   :-)  If I simply look clean, then the soap is doing its job and I will have to get nutrition through eating something besides soap. :-)

I could have chosen dozens of different brands, but this one is quite bold in their claims. Notice at the very bottom, they mention that nutrients can be absorbed through topical application to the skin. Not one mention that nutrients can be absorbed from soap containing a little bit of these nutrients.
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I still have a few moringa seeds I hope to get growing if any are still viable, but I can't imagine brief topical exposure immediately followed by rinsing off would impart any measurable benefit, beyond placebo. Eating it seems the best option, but moringa is one of the latest healthy marketing fads.
 
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Quite apart from the tiny amounts in a bar of soap, what does the saponification process do to the vitamins? It certainly does strange things to many organic compounds, have you tried to get natural colours in your soap? It can be urm interesting I found! same as putting botanicals in, you can't just stick a dried rose-petal to the top and hope it looks pretty, it won't it goes a horrible shade of brown!
 
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even lye soap made from bacon grease will do a fabulous job cleaning your skin of free radicals, bacteria, and environmental pollution. The nourishing business sounds like BS to me.
As an aside, I have been drinking moringa tea for a while and I haven`t yet grown wings or become immortal. Should I ask Big Moringa for my money back?


(i drink moringa tea before bed, mostly because i have a box of moringa tea bags left from a trip to the US, and it`s easier to make a cup of that than clean the chamomile bits out of the strainer if I make chamomile tea.)
 
pollinator
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So we are to be concerned over the heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, and persistent toxic ick in the hot domestic water supply because it opens our pores, and the surfactants in the soap disrupt the phospholipid layer that usually protects our skin from absorbing bad stuff, but we can't expect to be able to use that same vehicle to deliver herbal medicine to our subdermal and dermal tissues?

I am not taking a position here, only pointing out contradictions in popularly held health concerns. I am also not going to comment on moringa, because I frankly don't know anything about it. We haven't yet crossed paths.

Also, it occurs to me that things applied to the outside of the body might be feeding the beneficial external microbiome. So if the colonies of beneficial fungi and bacteria on your skin are made happier and they start doing their job better, is it possible that it could speed the processes of things like immune response and healing, and even be responsible for blocking vectors of infection?

And as to limited duration of contact, who remembers those ivory commercials on TV, where they'd rub glass with ivory and their competitor brand, and ivory would rinse clean, but the competitor left soap residue? Many natural soaps I have used leave detectible residues, even if it's just a little coconut oil feel on the skin. Medicinal ingredients could potentially linger there, too, depending on the potency of the ingredients.

I am not saying anyone is wrong, only that there might be more going on here than is readily apparent.

I would be interested to hear from anyone practised in herbalism on the subject, and if we could get a dermatologist, that would be awesome, too.

Good line of questioning, though. It hadn't occurred to me to wonder to what extent what they put in soap intentionally, for therapeutic benefit, was actually absorbed, and to what extent it was psychological and sensory, making us feel better and cleaner by aromatherapy and association.

Dale, didn't you mention in another thread that they use moringa seeds to sterilise water? Wouldn't moringa have an anti-bacterial effect on the soap you put it in? I know that's a practical benefit outside the health claims that are the focus of the thread, but maybe that's the original purpose of moringa soap, with the rest you mentioned being hopeful afterthoughts used to sell the product.

-CK
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, there are botanical additions to soap that make it a more pleasant product to use and that make us feel nice and clean. I was specifically addressing the idea that we absorb vitamins and minerals from soaps. And specifically dealing with the minut amount actually available.

There's a trend towards using natural plant oils to make soaps smell nice. These cover up any rancid sort of smells that are common with homemade soaps, particularly those that include animal fat. I have used many of these soaps and totally agree that they are pleasant to use. They don't have the lingering chemical smells found in detergent bars, so I don't think it's all placebo. Something pleasant and either mildly therapeutic or benign is replacing some very irritating ingredients.

I'm quite interested in the antiseptic qualities of Moringa oil also known as benzoyl. Most soaps employ cheap oils to make the main body of the soap and then when the saponification process is largely finished, more expensive oils are added. The idea is to put in a little more than is needed, so that all lye is consumed and the good oil remains to impart a pleasant odor and any other benefit that is expected.

So, I'm not against putting these things into soap. I know that my own could benefit from it, and I expect that benzoyl will be part of my soaps, and probably also neem oil. I also plan to market Moringa powder, as a nutritional supplement. So far as I can tell, it's the most nutritious terrestrial plant. But I believe it should be taken internally.

The powder has a definite visual effect on the product. This is bound to help sales. Moringa oil is a much more valuable and potent ingredient that could be part of the superfatting at the end of the saponification process. But the oil is just about colorless. Using the oil raises the cost of making soap, without its presence being immediately noticeable. Some of the bars were so nice and green, that I'm assuming they're using a colored clay or other dye. The green from plants, doesn't stay nice and green when it's part of soap. Someone mentioned the rose petal earlier, and that's what I've seen happen.

The antiseptic qualities of Moringa oil are not in question, in my mind. It has been shown to kill more than 99% of bacteria in drinking water. Soap is a mostly oil product, and I think if a soap is to benefit from good qualities of the moringa plant, it will be from the use of that oil, and not from inclusion of powdered leaves, whose vitamin and minerals would be available, if the customer ate the powdered food supplement.
 
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From Researchgate.net:

"Saja H Hamed
Hashemite University

Up till now there is no evidence that the topical application of nutrients and antioxidants -containing cosmetics are substitute for taking these nutrients and antioxidants internally …taking into consideration that the first layer (epidermis) does not contain blood vessels and skin nourishments come from the underlying layer (dermis) that is enriched with blood vessels and taking into consideration that many of the nutrients and vitamins due to their molecular weight and ability to oxidize easily cannot reach the lowermost layer of the skin where synthesis of proteins (dermis) and differentiation of keratinocytes start (lowermost layer of epidermis). So the topical application of nutrients-containing cosmetics cannot be a substitute or alternative to internal ones however if they are well manufactured and well protected from oxidation by adding antioxidants to the cream and also manufactured in a line under nitrogen where oxygen cannot destroy the nutrients in addition to packaging in special pump-container then the nutrients and vitamins and antioxidants may boost skin nutritional and antioxidants status especially for people who are exposed continuously to free radicals such as heavy smokers. However those well manufactured cosmetics are expensive and the price cannot justify the questionable efficacy. In conclusion, there is no good, objective, scientific evidence that supplying the skin with these nutrients containing cosmetics will make skin healthier and serve as alternative for the one taking with food and nutrients supplements (i.e. capsules). Of course this will not stop manufacturer and creative copywriters from implying that it will .
So my advice as a skin pharmaceutics expert is to take care of your diet and nourish your skin internally (the natural way)."
 
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