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Bixa orellana

* Botanical Ingredient * * A South American fruit shrub commonly called the "lipstick tree" because it contains brightly colored red annatto seeds. Often referred to as annatto extract.

Since ancient Mayan civilization, indigenous tribes of the South American rainforest have relied on Bixa Orellana's bright red annatto seeds for fabric dye, body paint and arts & crafts. In addition, tribes have long since believed that the seeds to work as an expectorant, and the roots to aid in digestion. For this reason, native South Americans administer the whole plant as a natural medicinal treatment for bladder conditions, fevers, dysentery, burns, inflammation, heartburn and various skin problems.

* Botanical Ingredient *

* A South American fruit shrub commonly called the "lipstick tree" because it contains brightly colored red annatto seeds. Often referred to as annatto extract.

Functions:

Since ancient Mayan civilization, indigenous tribes of the South American rainforest have relied on Bixa Orellana's bright red annatto seeds for fabric dye, body paint and arts & crafts. In addition, tribes have long since believed that the seeds to work as an expectorant, and the roots to aid in digestion. For this reason, native South Americans administer the whole plant as a natural medicinal treatment for bladder conditions, fevers, dysentery, burns, inflammation, heartburn and various skin problems.

Today, many people, particularly those interested in natural medicine, believe infusions and decoctions of this ingredient to work as an effective diuretic with powerful anti-inflammatory (external & internal), anti-bacterial and digestive properties. Though its medicinal use is somewhat scarce in North America and Europe, several western studies support Bixa orellana's purported digestive, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities. Click here for a full list of research conducted on this ingredient.

Commercially speaking, Bixa orellana most often comes in the form of seed paste or seed oil, and functions as a food and textile colorant. The cosmetic industry increasingly uses it as a natural red color additive due to the swelling number of restrictions being made against unnatural, synthetic pigment ingredients. It's particularly popular with body lotion/cream and shampoo/conditioner because it can give the skin and hair a natural "sunny" glow. In addition, because Annatto Oil is an emollient rich in carotenoids, it may also function as a powerful antioxidant. For the most part,  you'll find this ingredient in products such as facial moisturizer, bar soap, hair dye, lipstick, shampoo/conditioner, powder and tanning products.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

The FDA lists Annatto as a color additive exempt from certification, and they, along with the EU Cosmetics Directive, deem it as safe to use in food and OTC cosmetic products.

Recommended Products w/ Bixa orellana:

Ojon Tawaka "The Ball" ($65)
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