Whole Foods has just launched a range of body and hair care products the claim to do you, the planet and your pocket book as much good and as little damage as possible.

The Save Your World line is helping preserve 200,000 acres (I hate to sound churlish, but that isn't very much in the greater scheme of things) by using part of the proceeds from sales of the Save Your Hair and Save Your Skin products. The retail price points are fairly reasonable (this is Whole Foods not CVS) at under $20. But are they doing you any good?

The signature ingredient in Save Your World shampoos, body washes and lotions is yerba mate. This is a plant that is brewed as a popular drink (there are caffeine-like qualities) in Latin America. A lot of health claims are made for yerba mate by herbalists and tea-bag peddlers and Save Your World touts a study by the University of
Illinois that found the plant to be rich in phenolic constituents,
which can fight cancers. Meanwhile, (in a not very conclusive study) the International Agency for Cancer actually claims drinking the tea may cause oral cancer. The bottom line is that there doesn't appear to be enough data to back claims that this is a powerful anti-oxidant.

Save Your Skin Oasis Fruit Body Lotion ($17.98 for oz) also has safflower seed oil, aloe vera, shea butter, jojoba, carrot and avocado, as well as vitamins E and A. Apart from these, there are a couple of natural preservatives, emulsifiers and glycerin. All in all, not a bad product, but not a stand out one - unless you give yerba mate the benefit of the doubt.

Useful links

The Save Your World website (be warned it is having a few teething problems)