Orchid: an elegant and exotic flower well known for its beauty and variety. It is estimated that there are about 28,000 (!) species of orchids in the world and about 30,000 hybrids, an counting.
Orchid has been used Asia for centuries, mostly for its reparative and protective properties. In Chinese TCM Gastrodia elata, Dendrobium species and Bletilla striata, are still used today in the form of medicinal tea. Dried dendrobium is believed to possess medicinal properties that can help strengthen the immune system, and improve eyesight, although there are not many studies backing this theory with scientific research.
So why are orchid extracts so beneficial for skin care?
WHY ARE ORCHID SO SPECIAL?
Orchids are very rich in minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper (strengthen the skin's cells structure) and sugar and polysaccharides, which help to seal in moisture while balancing the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF).
Another key feature of Orchids is a high content of plant pigments called Anthocyanins (which are Flavonoids, antioxidant and ant-inflammatory), part of the plant’s protective mechanism. Anthocyanins are synthesized in response to environmental stressors such as UV radiation, temperature fluctuation and pollution. Anthocyanins pigments have free radicals scavenging abilities up to four times greater than vitamins E and C.
A recent study of the School of Chinese Medicine (SCM) at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has revealed that the natural compounds found in two orchid of the Dendrobium species can also effectively lighten skin and protect it from oxidative damage. They confirmed that Orchids also contain Stilbenoids compounds, notably reducing melanin formation by inhibiting an enzyme involved in its production.
So Stilbenoids are potent antioxidant and anti-melanogenic, aka anti-aging and skin lighting.
Thanks to the combination of minerals, polysaccharides, Anthocyanins and Stilbenoids, Orchid extract offers better results than vitamin C, vitamin E and beta hydroxy acid (BHA).
The best method of extraction is by infusing Orchid flowers in glycerin.
IS ORCHID SCENTED?
The majority of Orchid species is not aromatic but some species have a unique aroma; Cynorkis uniflora, for instance, has a strong sweet aroma, Clowesia Rebecca has a strong medicinal aroma, Bulbophyllum recurvilabre or trigonosepalum ... let's say they smell very bad.
IS THERE SUCH THING AS ORCHID OIL?
Commercially, there is no such thing as Orchid absolute or essential oil (although a tiny amount of essential oil can be obtained by steam distillation from Anacamptis coriophora, Anacamptis pyramidalis, Ophrys holosericea, Serapias vomeracea). So be careful when buying 'orchid essential oil' - it will most probably be a synthetic fragrance.
You can find an infused oil (so Orchid flowers infused in a carrier oil), typically Anacaptis morio or Cymbidium grandiflorum. The oil is antioxidant, mineral-rich and depending on the carried of choice, emollient and nourishing.
SHOP SKINCARE WITH ORCHID EXTRACT
Our NAÃ • Skin Perfecting Serum is formulated with the flower extract of Dendrobium phalaenopsis in organic glycerin, a purple variety of Orchid from Thailand; it's very rich of in Anthocyanins (antioxidant plant pigments), giving this serum an elegant light purple shade.