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Wednesday
Dec302009

Japanese Honeysuckle Extract

In May of 2009 the Organic Consumers Association published an article on their website about Japanese Honesuckle Extract.  Written by Elizabeth Moriarty, a phytochemist and organic inspector, the article states that parabens, naturally-occurring and synthetic, can be hidden in Japanese Honeysuckle Extract.  (Read the original article here)  Moriarty states that:

It is a highly processed and concentrated paraben extraction that may or may not be contaminated with synthetic parabens where it is manufactured in Singapore. I am particularly distressed by the fact that so many companies are evidently using the latter version of "Japanese Honeysuckle Extract" and simultaneously claiming "NO PARABENS" on their labels. 

Shannon Shroter, owner of Grateful Body rebutted the claim, stating that not all japanese honeysuckle extracts contain parabens (read her original article here), and that she tested her extract in a lab and the results showed that "the exact product she maligns actually does not contain any parabens."   Shroter also explains that "there is no such thing as a natural paraben.  In the conventional idiom, paraben has always referred to the synthetic substance.  The word paraben was never originally used by any botanist, biologist, ethnobotanist or herbalist."

Then, following Shroter's rebuttal, another manufacturer, Angelina Amalie weighs in (found here, scroll down), stating:

If Grateful Body tested Plantservative [the trade name for the extract] and found no synthetic  parabens, it merely tells us that it has not been spiked with synthetics. It does NOT tell us that it is not a natural paraben, and it certainly does not indicate that it is a whole plant extract. The "industrial strength" preservation action of Plantservative very strongly indicates that it is a highly processed and concentrated natural paraben.

So, who is right?  Does Japanese Honeysuckle Extract contain parabens?  Are there such thing as "natural parabens?  And are they harmful?

There was one statement in Shroter's article that really caught my eye.  She's talking about the main active compound in Japanese Honeysuckle Extract called para-hydroxy benzoic acid:

If you look at the molecular structure of the para-hydroxy benzoic acid found in Japanese Honeysuckle, one sees a classic carbon ring bond - elegant and simple.  But if you look at the molecular structure of methyparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben or butylparaben, one is immediately struck by the additional CH3 tail, sometimes called a methyl free-radical, that makes these substances completely different from the original phytochemical. 

So you can see what she's talking about, I've pasted the chemical structures below:

Para-hydroxy benzoic acid (the "natural paraben" in JHE)

 

 Methylparaben (a synthetic paraben)

Technically speaking, Shroter is correct in that there is no such thing as a "natural paraben."  Paraben is a term used to describe a synthetically-produced compound.  However, para-hydroxy benzoic acid (I'll call it PHBA) was the naturally-ocurring compound that inspired chemists to create parabens.  Other than the CH3 tail, it's chemically identical.  The addition or subtraction of the methyl free radical doesn't change the structure much--PHBA still contains a benzene ring, which is the main problem with parabens in the first place.

Anything with a benzene ring has the potential to be an endocrine disruptor.  Because our body's hormones are made up of complex structures of benzene rings, our hormonal receptors are made to "fit" these benzene rings.

Estradiol (a type of estrogen) Note the multiple benzene rings

Estrogen Receptor

Notice that in the diagram of the estradiol, the first benzene ring looks just like that of the parabens and PHBA--a benzene ring with an OH tail (hydroxyl group).  Estrogen receptors are designed to fit this exact end of the molecule, so PHBA and parabens latch right in (regardless of any CH3 tail).  These benzene rings enter the estrogen receptors in the body and can "clog" them up so they don't function properly or overstimulate them. Because receptors dictate how cells divide and express themselves, overstimluated estrogen receptors can lead to a host of problems, from endometriosis to breast cancer.  Parabens have been studied extensively for their link to breast cancer, and have been found to accumulate in breast cancer tissue.  Because PHBA is so similar, it acts in the same way.

This study at the University of Reading in the UK studied just this issue.  In their study they compared para-hydroxy benzoic acid to all the types of parabens.  They found that the para-hydroxy benzoic acid, while it wasn't as agressive in stimulating cells as synthetic parabens, it did indeed bind to estrogen receptors, and made this powerful statement:

It can be concluded that removal of the ester group from parabens does not abrogate its oestrogenic activity and that p-hydroxybenzoic acid can give oestrogenic responses in human breast cancer cells. 

So, whether the Japanese Honeysuckle Extract is made in Singapore or distilled with CO2 in the USA, no matter how reputible the manufacturer, it is going to contain para hydroxy benzoic acid and have nearly the same health risks that parabens would when applied to the skin. 

Reader Comments (23)

Great article and easily understood! Sometimes I read about the chemistry and totally glaze over. Great explanation. I could even explain it to another!

Sat, January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

Great information, Steph, and thanks for looking out for us. : )

Sat, January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Thank you very much for information, Steph.

Sat, January 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercarmen

I tell my clients how tired of Breast Cancer Awareness I am. They give me some funny looks then I explain to them how I wish we would "educate" rather than just drive "awareness" WHY can we not make Americans aware of the fact that Chlorine, Aluminnum, and Parabens are massive causes to breast cancer! I wish every athlete that wears "pink" during some game would also endorse how to prevent it and tell the dangers about the nasty chemicals that are killing our society.

Sat, January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Ravenscroft

Thank you so much for sharing this information. I always love to hear about the chemistry to ingredients and how they influence our bodies.

To Jeff Ravenscroft - I completely agree with you! We need to turn 'awareness' into educating people on the factors that can lead to breast cancer, that's what will truly make a difference.

Sat, January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline Gillam

To Jeff R.'s comments. That is my number one beef exactly. Even the
literature they hand out never addresses the simple facts of avoiding
aluminum, etc. You have nailed it. Check out The Breast Cancer Fund.
They are very big on prevention and go right to the sources of cancer.

Sun, January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Saucedo

Stephanie, thanks for the information. I have a question. Does this apply to honeysuckle oil, or is that OK. I have a product I really like that contains honeysuckle oil and I'd hate to give it up because it seems to have a totally safe ingredient list, as far as I can tell. Hope the honeysuckle oil is not a problem. Thank you!

Sun, January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Thanks for all the great comments, everyone! What was the deal this last week with the facebook bra colors viral campaign? "Post your bra color to your facebook page for breast cancer awareness." Now, how is this really helping? Breast cancer awareness really isn't the problem--I think we all know that breast cancer exists. Spreading the word about its causes is the real importance!

Anyways....

Carrie--that's a great question. I can't find any listings of honeysuckle essential oil constituents (if that indeed is what they're using). If you send me a link to the product, I could take a look at the formula and see if they're using it as a preservative. Otherwise, contact the manufacturer of the product and ask them if the honeysuckle essential oil contains para hydroxy benzoic acid. If it indeed is a honeysuckle essential oil, and not a synthetic fragrance oil (which would have consequences of its own).

Wed, January 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Carrie--as a follow up, I haven't been able to find true honeysuckle essential oil. I think the honeysuckle oil they're using is a synthetic fragrance, which I suggest avoiding.

Tue, February 16, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Stephanie and I had an online chat last night that included the topic of using honeysuckle as a "natural" preservative. Our chat was very educational for me. Most of the time it is easy to spot chemicals on the ingredients list. This one would not have caught my attention. However, it makes sense because Honeysuckle is one of several (probably many) plant oils/scents that cannot be extracted via steam distillation. Enfleurage and macerations were the ancient method used to extract anything from the flowers, stems, leaves, etc. of honeysuckle, lilac, lily, jasmine and I'm sure there are others. These methods use some type of fat or oil (they used to use lard) to extract the scent from these plants (usually the flowers). The end product is called an Absolut, not an essential oil. Check this out: http://www.victorie-inc.us/honeysuckle.html and http://www.victorie-inc.us/enfleurage.htm Also, if you have not read it, you should read the novel "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" by Patrick Süskind. The movie version was good to, but not as educational as the book.

Sun, March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana McLamore, LMT

Here is my latest post…awaiting “moderation” on Stacy Malkan’s blog, http://notjustaprettyface.org:

Susan Apito Says: (Your comment is awaiting moderation.)
March 29th, 2010 at 6:05 pm

“I choose to avoid synthetic chemicals that may act like estrogen in the body, and parabens of all types are easy enough to avoid in personal care products.” says author, Stacy Malkan.

As a professional in this industry, I’d love your help. As you may have read, I am currently doing research on Japanese Honeysuckle. I have been looking into is because companies are claiming “no parabens” (this started when I was introduced to the Ava Anderson product line, which both you and Mia Davis have publically praised) when their products contain japanese honeysuckle, which most people believe works to preserve via natural parabens.

I am going to contact an old friend of mine who is an editor for Body and Soul magazine, we used to both work for The Herb Quarterly. I am going to pitch an article about parabens in japanese honeysuckle.

I’ve been asking on all my facebook and aromatherapy groups, I’ve asked Dene, too. So, you have said you avoid parabens but are also a fan of the Ava Anderson product line. I’ve asked Kim (the Mom) who has stated that her products have been tested and do not contain parabens… “if not natural parabens, then what chemicals are actually doing the preserving in your products.”

I have not received an answer. So I am asking you as an author in the field of cosmetics and toxins, does Japanese Honeysuckle contain natural parabens?

If not, exactly what chemicals are the antimicrobials in the Japanese Honeysuckle?

+++

I am so thrilled to find your website...the information is exactly what I have been looking for! THANK YOU!!

Tue, March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Sawhill Apito

Argggghhhh! I am not a happy camper right now! I use and love Grateful Body skin care line so imagine my surprise when I discovered this article on Organic Consumer Association's site the other day regarding Japanese Honeysuckle Extract. I started using Grateful Body at the same time that I discovered Bubble and Bee and gave them a shot after finding the link and nod of approval from Organic Consumer Association's website as a vendor to purchase from. Hmmmmm, now I don't know what I want to do?! I wonder if their whole line contains the extract? I will have to go and check out if their whole line contains the extract and if they intend to keep using it.

Thanks for all the information Stephanie. I will have to do some research this weekend.

Wed, March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I emailed Hugo Natural's about their use of Honeysuckle Extract and this was their reply to me, anyone have any thoughts about what they have to say??? This is what they said:

Hello Lisa,

Your request for clear and understandable information is completely reasonable. You want to make informed decisions about the products your use, and their potential health effects. I also hear you saying you believe that we are not providing this information, and that we are not being forthright with our customers about this specific ingredient. I want you to know we understand your outrage, and would feel the same way if we only had a limited amount of information available, such as what is found on some websites.

Fortunately, Hugo Naturals has access to a wealth of credible experts on the subject, and we have spent countless days and weeks investigating this ingredient, as we do all ingredients in our formulations. I will attempt to provide some important information which we have complied for our own use.

Below is a statement from Dr. Balasubramaniam. Dr. “Bala” is not an industry pundit, or a scientist of questionable credibility, but is the actual creator of Campo Plantservative (Japanese Honeysuckle Extract). He is the guy, so to speak. The other statement we have included is from our own Organic Chemist and Technical Advisor, John Mizialko. John is well-respected in the natural personal care industry.

Dr. Balasubramaniam:

“Natural Parabens” do not exist, and especially not in Campo Plantservative WSr...The anti-microbial influence of this plant extract CP WSr is not of paraben at all, nor of natural Benzoic Acid, and is due to complexities of Loncerin and side-lined enzymatic chains that are highly anti-microbial (ie. natural preservation properties).

Below are additional comments from John Mizialko (Hugo Naturals Organic Chemist and Technical Advisor):

“Japanese Honeysuckle Extract does not contain chemicals commonly known as parabens , however, it does contain small amounts of natural Benzoic Acid (less than 5 ppm), which is also found in some common fruits and vegetables, and is used widely as a food preservative. It is completely false that natural Benzoic Acid is a natural paraben. There is class of chemical compounds called esters that can be made (synthetically) from derivatives of Benzoic Acid, and these esters (Methyl Benzoate, Propyl Benzoate, Butyl Benzoate) are also known as Xeno-parabens- or their more commonly known names of Methylparaben, Propylparaben, and Butylparaben. These synthetic compounds do not exist in Japanese Honeysuckle Extract. In addition, independent analytical testing using PDA (Photo-Diode-Assay) HPLC (High-Pressure-Liquid-Chromatograph) instrumentation have conclusively shown that Japanese Honeysuckle Extract contains no “parabens” whatsoever.”

We sincerely appreciate this opportunity to provide needed clarity and address your important concern. I want you to feel free to contact me at the direct number below if this response does not answer your questions. Hugo would be happy to speak to you personally, and can arrange a phone meeting with our organic chemist, at your convenience. We are incredibly proud of our formulations, and the use of this preservative.

David Greenbaum

VP of Sales

20727 Dearborn Street

Chatsworth, CA 91311

1.206.396.6896 (direct)

1.888.642.5024 (fax)

1.818.576.9917 (Customer Service)

Mon, May 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa B.

Ah, the debate continues. I have quite a bit to say to this, so I'll dedicate a full entry/article in response to it soon.

Mon, May 31, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Well...I think that pretty well ends the debate. Even a professor in England whose research is being quoted here and there, states "........para=hydroxy benzoic acid............as parabens would have". In other words even he agrees that what Honeysuckle is comprised of, is not a paraben. Dr. Balasubramaniam knows the product better than anyone, and if he was making false statements his company would be sued big time.
In addition, para-hydroxy benzoic acid is found in most plants, even carrots, olives, etc....if we were to listen to the naysayers, I guess we should all stop eating most of the vegetables and and many fruits we eat.
This is all as silly as those who act as experts on glcerine and put out on the internet misinformation, saying that glycerine is really bad in personal lubricants because it contains sugar and causes yeast infections. The truth is that we as humans lack the enzyme to turn the type of sugar that is in glycerin, into the type of sugar that causes yeast infections. Point here is that even if something sounds similar to something else, or is off by just one little molecule, does not mean that it is going to act like or cause the same health risks as the ingredient that does cause the health problems.
Another example, along simillar lines is a new ingredient that is derived from corn. that has the same chemical make up as propylene glycol, but it doesn't act the same, or cause the health hazards. Even though in chemistry it sounds the same, it is just different enough that it does not have the health hazards that propylene glycol has.
The Dr. is correct....their Honeysuckle extract works in an enzymatic way, etc...I don't see anyone on the internet who is saying it is bad, even mentioning enzymes, which in the science world have amazing powers for so many things. Perhaps people on the internet should speak to the developer and world renowned scientist who developed something, before jumping to conclusions...........
Did you know ushumans are only about 1 or 2 DNA strands off od being trees. We are so similar yes so different.
and if you think Grapefruit Seed Extract is a safe preservative and all natural...what is not listed by people who buy it from the manufacturer, Citricidal, that is only works because it has been quarternized with ammonium chloride and also contains diphenyl hydroxybenzene. Without either of those, it would not work, period.
Did you know a lot of the herbal or plant extracts, and plant derived actives you see in abundance on labels.....are in a base of propylen glycol, butylene glycol, or preserved with toxic and estrogenic preservative? This will never be on a label.
How about virtually all Aloe Vera gel, you see listed on a label..yes, it has been preserved too.
How about shea butter...looks good on a label, might even be from certified organic shea...gee..no one tells you that it has been deodorized and decolorized with ethylene oxide...a known carcinogen, which almost alwasy contains 1.4 dioxane too.
Why do I go on about this. Because there is a lot that is being hidden, even by products that are certified organic. There a a lot of ingrediients that people are jumping to conclusions about and spreading incorrect information on the internet...Plantservative seems to be one of those ingredients that has been incorrectly dished.

Tue, September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C

Dr. Balasubramaniam is a world renowned scientistchemist who has developed novel ingredients. His knowledge brings new and novel chemistry to the world, that most scientists don't understand. Scientists/chemists at times, discover approaches that the science world does not understand, so they have to reshape their thinking and learn something new, news ways of looking at science. Even experienced scientists/chemists are always learning something new about something they thought they knew. Same goes for astronomy, and many other things. Many plant derived ingredients of today, at one time were thought to not be possible, a thought process based on previous knowledge, previous science. For people to assume they know how Plantservaitve works, for example, when they don't, is amusing. I haven't seen one person even suggest that Plantservative works because of an enzymatic process and chains. Everyone assumed otherwise, that it works because it has parabens, and that para-hydroxybenzoic acid is what makes it work, and has the same effects as parabens. I guess that is why it takes 1-2% of Plantservative to work and .08% of parabens to work, because they are the same and virtually equally effective. As well, parabens typically are combined with other parabens or other preservatives, because they are not broad spectrum on their own.
Dr. Balasubramaniam is pretty clear in his statement, if it is inaccurate, sue him and the company that makes Plantservative. If he made false statements other ingredient manufacturers would sue him. He also has a very important and well known reputation among other scientists/chemists, and is not about to tarnish his reputation. As far as I am concerned, there is no debate. No one on here knows anything about the enzymatic process and chains that make Plantservative work, neither do most scientist/chemists, and least of all a phytochemist.
One example that might help, is glycerin. It contains sugar. People are using chemistry to say that glycerin causes yeast infections, because it contains sugar, so glycerin is a bad thing to have in a personal lubricant. Based on that, some companys are jumping on the band wagon and making glycerin free personal lubricants and saying glycerin causes yeats infections. Problem is, humans lack the enzyme to turn the type ofsugar that is in glycerin into the type of sugar that causes yeast infections....yet, in a chemistry formula, the two different sugars look virtually identical.
EWG is a joke in my opinion, they recommend and give low or 0 ratings to ingredients that contain carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic, and estroigenic ingredients within them. EWG also lacks the funds to do necessary long term studys for the safety of ingredients in humans. Same goes for Ecocert and many other organizations. I may be wrong, but please correct me if I am, but from memory a couple of years ago, EWG was recommending Grapefruit Seed Extract and also giving it a 0, and recommending brands that used it. However, at the time I pointed out to them that it is not safe and not as natural as they infer.
their reply was that their website and what they do is only a guideline. What is wrong with Grapefruit Seed Extract. The only one that is fairly effective and the one that most are using, is the one from Citricidal. Alone it is a poor preservative and simply isn't effective. It only works because of the ammonium chloride and diphenyl hydroxybenzene that has been added to it. You will hear companys say that their Grapefruit Seed Extract doesn't contain parabens....I have even heard Aubrey say this. But companys don't tell you about the ammonium chloride or the diphenyl hydroxybenzene.
I would suggest someone speak with Dr. Balasubramanaiam, rather than making statements about the type of chemistry that is used in Plantservative, and how each of the phytochemicals in it work in tandem in this novel preservative, rather than just assuming things based on old science. How can it be that a chemical used one way can be hazardouls and in another way be comletely harmless. Why can one plant chemical kill a cow instantly but is safe for humans. No one on the internet even thought that Plantservative is wokring because of an enzymatic process and chains...why? Because they are looking at old science to form their opinions, and also making assumptions without knowing the intricacies of Plantservative.
Things definitely are moving in the right direction, but there is a long way to go yet.

Tue, September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C

Brian--please read my latest article on the subject with information from Dr. Bala here.

Tue, September 28, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Also, check out my article on GSE here: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2010/1/27/the-truth-about-grapefruit-seed-extract.html We agree on many points, Brian.

Tue, September 28, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Yes we do seem to agree on many things.

1)Dr. Bala said that Plantservative is in the salcyclic CLASS. He didn't say it is Salcyclic Acid, so I am not sure why one would infer it is Salcyclic Acid and infer that Plantservative would have the same hazard rating as Salcyclic acid.. Being in the same class is not the same as being the same.
2) A friend she read what people are saying about Plantservative on here and she is confused, as I am, as to exactly what is being said. Apparently iit is parabens.....then someone says it is parahydroxybenzoic acid...then someoe infers it is salcyclic acid. Thiose are 3 completely different chemicals....and like we know even a chemical that has the same chemistry on paper, they can still be different. Also, because something has the same synonym of something else, does not make it 100% the same, in function, in toxicity, etc. Propylene Glycol has hazards, but the corn derived ingredient that has a name that is a synonym of propylene glycol, does not have those hazards. A plant in the class of another plant mgith be not hazardous, but andother plant in the same class, is hazardous and toxic. I think in the case of Plantservative, people are jumping to conclusions not based on the precise science and make-up of Plantservative.
3) Until one knows the complete process of how the enzymatic actions of Plantservative works and the precise chemistry and reactions that allow it to work...people are just guessing, in my opinion.
4) If it was as obvious as is stated as to what Plantservative precisely is and preciselly comprised of, etc...it would be as obvious to the researching scientistswith EWG and they would have no problem ascertaining a hazard level of some sort, for Plantservative. They certainly don't have a problem giving hazardous ratings for salcyclic acid, for example.
5) It is said that a molecule is exactly the same except for one that is attached in a different spot.....this alone can result in an ingredient having different functions, hazards, etc.
6) what is the point about whether a minute amount of butylene glycol has been used at one step in a process, if it does not remain in the end product, or if it does in such a minute amount it would cause zero hazard. Should we stop eating all vegetables and friuit with toxic chemicals that are part of life.
7) There is the impression that plants are not chemicals, and that if something is a plant it is safe and doesn't contain any toxic chemicals. Plants are 100% chemicals. Plants have parahydroxy benzoic acid, they have salcyclic acid, they have parabens, they have arsenic, the have heavy metals, etc....it is life. If people actually saw the chemisty symbols and names of the plants they assume are not chemicals...they would be shocked. There is no such thing as 'chemical free'. Herbal extracts/plant extracts have such chemicals, as stated above. They also contain bacterias, etc. There are a lot of chemicals that plants are comprised of that are toxic or hazardous to humans, some more so than others. We eat chemicals (plants that are vegetables), and they all contain toxic chemicals, etc.....in a lot of cases, minute. While plants are beneficial to us, they also contain chemicals that are bad for us. Did anyone know that while salcyclic acid has some potential hazards, it is also considered by scientists worldwide to be an essantial nutrient vitamin s.
8) Is Plantservative drived from a plant, yes. Have certain components been
extracted that are of benefit to us, yes. It is safe...well it seems it is until someone has proven otherwise or knows the precise mechanisms to how it works and is able to be what it is. Has certain parts of the plant been transformed to something more effective in certain ways, yes. Interestingly, our bodies do this all the time, changing something into something completely different. Humans are plants too, we are chemicals. Many vitamins/supplements are transformed from their natural states and are quite different than the natural
chemical in a plant, for example. We take enzymes that are completely differentin some cases than their origin and no longer act the way the almost identical chemical in the plant, behaves.
9) The preservative attributes of the chemicals in a plant, strong enough to do some checking of certain bacteria, fungus, yeasts,or molds....in products, can also be hazardous to humans. Just because they are chemicals in a plant does not mean they don't have hazardous actions towards humans. The bottom line for me, is...is an ingredient safe. And for anyone to say that a certain plant extract has been used for years without any side effects, so it is safe, is naive.
Who has done any serious safety research and long term studies on the effects of so many chemicals in plants and how they are affecting us...not realy anyone. Cigarettes as bad as they are...cause cancer...and while this is extreme and some cases show up sooner than others...it would typically take 20-30years of a serious study to actually prove they cause cancer.
The point here, is that everyone thinks that plant/herbal extracts are safe to use...and also don't contain chemicals, when there are negative things about them and they are chemicals. Not everything that is good for a plant is good for us. Essential oils also have their own set of hazards to humans. As well, side effects, skin sensitation, etc....can occur over time. Just because something is not immediate and not instantly noticebable, does notmean it is not affecting our brains, nervous system, skin...in a negative way. And kids especially don't need to be exposed to essential oils or synthetic fragrance in kids products they use.

Wed, September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C

1)Dr. Bala said that Plantservative is in the salcyclic CLASS. He didn't say it is Salcyclic Acid, so I am not sure why one would infer it is Salcyclic Acid and infer that Plantservative would have the same hazard rating as Salcyclic acid.. Being in the same class is not the same as being the same.

What Dr. Bala says is that it is "p-hydroxybenzoic acid of the salcylic class"...in other words, it's not the 4-hydroxybenzoic acid I wrote about previously, but 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, aka, salicylic acid. There is only one p-hydroxybenzoic acid in the salicylic class...salicylic acid.

2) A friend she read what people are saying about Plantservative on here and she is confused, as I am, as to exactly what is being said. Apparently iit is parabens.....then someone says it is parahydroxybenzoic acid...then someoe infers it is salcyclic acid. Thiose are 3 completely different chemicals....and like we know even a chemical that has the same chemistry on paper, they can still be different. Also, because something has the same synonym of something else, does not make it 100% the same, in function, in toxicity, etc. Propylene Glycol has hazards, but the corn derived ingredient that has a name that is a synonym of propylene glycol, does not have those hazards. A plant in the class of another plant mgith be not hazardous, but andother plant in the same class, is hazardous and toxic. I think in the case of Plantservative, people are jumping to conclusions not based on the precise science and make-up of Plantservative.

I never said that it was parabens---only parahydroxybenzoic acid (aka 4-hydroxybenzoic acid), which is a metabolite of parabens and closely related in chemical structure. My first article clearly details the difference in chemical structure and talks about how they're related. After Dr. Bala's input, it became clear that the parahydroxybenzoic acid that is present in the product is 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, not 4-hydroxybenzoic acid. The 2-hydroxybenzoic acid is the synonym for salicylic acid.

Synonym by definition is just a change in name---whether I call you Joe or Joseph, you're still the same person. Same thing with this chemical--whether it's called salicylic acid or 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, it's the exact same chemical structure. Many chemicals are like this.

I would beg to differ regarding propylene glycol---propylene glycol is the same chemical whether it's created from petroleum or corn. It's the same chemical structure. Perhaps there are different contaminants present in a corn-based propylene glycol vs a petroleum propylene glycol. But that would be the only difference--they are the same chemical.

3) Until one knows the complete process of how the enzymatic actions of Plantservative works and the precise chemistry and reactions that allow it to work...people are just guessing, in my opinion.

I am gleaning as much information as we can from the materials that have been provided from the manufacturer, which has varied over the years. But I don't think I'm off base here.

4) If it was as obvious as is stated as to what Plantservative precisely is and preciselly comprised of, etc...it would be as obvious to the researching scientistswith EWG and they would have no problem ascertaining a hazard level of some sort, for Plantservative. They certainly don't have a problem giving hazardous ratings for salcyclic acid, for example.

One thing to note about the "researching scientists with EWG". Each risk score for each ingredient IS NOT carefully researched. It started out as a list of ingredients, which cross-linked with 50 other governmental, industry, and non-profit databases. It is highly automated, and only if an ingredient is brought to their attention numerous times with strong evidence will they change it. There are tons of "0" risk ingredients in the database that are dangerous--why? Because there are tens of thousands of chemicals in their database, and only a handful of researchers that may or may not be chemists or scientists. If the ingredient wasn't matched up with data from another source, there is no data available, and thus it's assigned a 0 risk. JHE is in no database at all because it is a new chemical that's not widely used. Thus, it scores a 0. Not because it is safe.

5) It is said that a molecule is exactly the same except for one that is attached in a different spot.....this alone can result in an ingredient having different functions, hazards, etc.

Yes, this is true. This is what I was talking about 2-hydroxybenzoic acid vs. 4-hydroxybenzoic acid. 2-hydroxybezoic acid has different functions, and does show more risks than 4-hydroxybenzoic acid.


6) what is the point about whether a minute amount of butylene glycol has been used at one step in a process, if it does not remain in the end product, or if it does in such a minute amount it would cause zero hazard. Should we stop eating all vegetables and friuit with toxic chemicals that are part of life.

The point was to expose to consumers that it is not as "natural" as it sounds. It does remain in the product, albeit in a small amount. That information should be made public so consumers can make informed decisions. No, we shouldn't stop eating all vegetables and fruit--they are whole foods with balanced compounds--like with basil, which contains methyl eugenol. Methyl eugenol is carcinogenic, but eating basil is not because there are other compounds present that counteract the effects of the methyl eugenol. It is when we start messing with nature and upsetting this balance that we come in to problems.


7) There is the impression that plants are not chemicals, and that if something is a plant it is safe and doesn't contain any toxic chemicals. Plants are 100% chemicals. Plants have parahydroxy benzoic acid, they have salcyclic acid, they have parabens, they have arsenic, the have heavy metals, etc....it is life. If people actually saw the chemisty symbols and names of the plants they assume are not chemicals...they would be shocked. There is no such thing as 'chemical free'. Herbal extracts/plant extracts have such chemicals, as stated above. They also contain bacterias, etc. There are a lot of chemicals that plants are comprised of that are toxic or hazardous to humans, some more so than others. We eat chemicals (plants that are vegetables), and they all contain toxic chemicals, etc.....in a lot of cases, minute. While plants are beneficial to us, they also contain chemicals that are bad for us. Did anyone know that while salcyclic acid has some potential hazards, it is also considered by scientists worldwide to be an essantial nutrient vitamin s.

Plants are chemicals. People are chemicals. Everything is chemicals. Nothing is "chemical-free." However, in the context of this discussion, the word "chemical" has become synonymous with "synthetic chemical." There are hazardous chemicals that parade as herbal extracts. Consumers should be aware and ask questions about ingredients. In the case of salicylic acid, it's all about balance. Perhaps in a food, with other whole compounds, it can be beneficial. But when we start extracting it and applying it to skin, we start to have problems because it is an estrogen mimicking compound. That's not to say that all plants are safe. There are plenty of highly toxic and dangerous plants.

8) Is Plantservative drived from a plant, yes. Have certain components been
extracted that are of benefit to us, yes. It is safe...well it seems it is until someone has proven otherwise or knows the precise mechanisms to how it works and is able to be what it is. Has certain parts of the plant been transformed to something more effective in certain ways, yes. Interestingly, our bodies do this all the time, changing something into something completely different. Humans are plants too, we are chemicals. Many vitamins/supplements are transformed from their natural states and are quite different than the natural
chemical in a plant, for example. We take enzymes that are completely differentin some cases than their origin and no longer act the way the almost identical chemical in the plant, behaves.

(Humans are not plants...humans are animals. But we are all made up of chemicals, just like plants are. We do ingest plants and our bodies turn those chemicals in to chemicals that our bodies need). The processing that JHE undergoes is not at all similar to the natural metabolism of the body. Nanoparticles, Colllusion-induced dissociation...our bodies are not designed to handle the by-products of these unnatural processes.

9) The preservative attributes of the chemicals in a plant, strong enough to do some checking of certain bacteria, fungus, yeasts,or molds....in products, can also be hazardous to humans. Just because they are chemicals in a plant does not mean they don't have hazardous actions towards humans. The bottom line for me, is...is an ingredient safe. And for anyone to say that a certain plant extract has been used for years without any side effects, so it is safe, is naive.
Who has done any serious safety research and long term studies on the effects of so many chemicals in plants and how they are affecting us...not realy anyone. Cigarettes as bad as they are...cause cancer...and while this is extreme and some cases show up sooner than others...it would typically take 20-30years of a serious study to actually prove they cause cancer.
The point here, is that everyone thinks that plant/herbal extracts are safe to use...and also don't contain chemicals, when there are negative things about them and they are chemicals. Not everything that is good for a plant is good for us. Essential oils also have their own set of hazards to humans. As well, side effects, skin sensitation, etc....can occur over time. Just because something is not immediate and not instantly noticebable, does notmean it is not affecting our brains, nervous system, skin...in a negative way. And kids especially don't need to be exposed to essential oils or synthetic fragrance in kids products they use.
This is very true.. Check out my latest article about essential oils safety here: http://bubbleandbee.blogspot.com/2010/08/essential-oils-and-pregnancy.html

Thanks for engaging conversation!

Wed, September 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

What a load of BS!

Blueberries are FULL of benzoic and para-hydroxy benzoic acid, I suppose they are cancerogenic too?!

Fri, November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

Must have struck a nerve, there, Toni?

Of course blueberries are not carcinogenic. (BTW, I never said that p-hydroxy benzoic acid was a known carcinogen.) But if you took the para-hydroxy benzoic acid and benzoic acid from the blueberries, extracted it, and applied it to your skin it would have the same risks! No matter if it's extracted from blueberries, honeysuckle, or petroleum, it's the same chemical.

But, fortunately, blueberries are filled with other compounds like tannns and anthocyanins that work together with the salicins and phba to create wonderful anti-cancer effects, as we know. That is because blueberries are a WHOLE food that works together to give your body great benefits--as nature intended.

To read about the unnatural frankenmolecules and nanoparticles in Japanese Honeysuckle Extract, read my latest article with the inside scoop from the manufacturer here

Fri, November 12, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Stephanie. Would organic grapefruit seed oil be considered not natural as grapefruit vegan extract that you mentioned? I bought a facial cream from another good company that does not uses chemicals and I'm wondering if "vegan organic grapefruit seed oil" is harmful like grapefruit extract?

Sun, February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMANDY

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