Superfoods aren’t just for eating. Some of them are also highly beneficial when applied topically to the skin. Enter Sacha Inchi (plukentia volubilis), an extraordinary plant that grows on vines native to the Peruvian Amazon. You could say Sacha Inchi is the new health nut for health nuts. But what makes this exotic botanical seed so special?
A Brief History of Sacha Inchi
The earliest accounts of Sacha Inchi use dates back to the Peruvian Mochica and Chimu civilizations some 3000 to 5000 years ago, confirmed by ceramic artifacts discovered from this era. It continued to be used and grown by the Chancas and then the Incas. Also known as Sacha Peanut, Jungle Peanut, or Inca Peanut, depictions of the plant have been discovered on Incan tombs.
Sacha Inchi remained a local secret until 1976. That’s when the Peruvian Minister for Agriculture opened an investigation on the Amazonian region’s potential for new types of food crops. Once Sacha Inchi’s impressive nutritional profile was recognized along with its ability to be sustainably harvested, the spotlight shone on its opportunity for growth as a functional food. Sacha Inchi was first exported to Switzerland from Peru in the mid 2000s. In January 2013, the European Union approved Sacha Inchi oil for sale as a novel food. In October 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Sacha Inchi as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS).
Sacha Inchi Health Benefits
Sacha Inchi seed oil is obtained by cold press extraction using mechanical pressure. The seeds (nuts) are considered a superfood due to their impressive nutritional profile. They possess a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids (94%), rich in Alpha-linolenic (Omega 3, 45-60%) and Linoleic (Omega 6, 25-37%) polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also contains Oleic (Omega 9, 8-12%) monounsaturated fatty acid plus Palmitic (3-5%) and Stearic (1.5%) saturated fatty acids. Sacha Inchi is also a robust source of antioxidant Vitamin E.
The human body does not produce Omega 3 or Omega 6, yet these nutrients are essential for optimal body and skin health. Omega 3 in particular is a potent anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid. Sacha Inchi seeds possess about 10 times more Omega 3 by gram weight than salmon and about 3 times more Omega 6 by gram weight than flaxseeds.
A study published in a 2011 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry noted that Sacha Inchi contains very high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that supports the production of serotonin, the body’s natural feel-good hormone and mood stabilizer. Sacha Inchi has also been shown to help balance cortisol levels, the body’s stress hormone. Since Sacha Inchi has the capability of influencing hormone levels, aiding the body with its adaptive response to stress, it is considered to be an adaptogenic herb.
Sacha Inchi Supports Healthy Skin
Recent studies show that the body can effectively absorb essential fatty acids like Omegas through the skin and into the blood stream. When applied topically, Sacha Inchi oil nourishes the skin to help support cell membrane integrity, encourage cell regeneration, and increase skin elasticity. By reinforcing skin’s lipid balance, it also helps to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL), increasing skin moisture levels. Sacha Inchi oil is readily bio-available, and requires no preservative as it natural has the ability to fight oxidation.
The Skin Science
According to GREENTECH, the company that supplies Humanist Beauty with Sacha Inchi seed oil (Organic Lipactive Inca Inchi® WO) for its Humanist Beauty Facial Oil formula:
“Linoleic and linolenic acids are essential to the formation of the epidermal lipid barrier. They are cell membrane structural fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are eicosanoid precursors, antagonists of inflammatory reactions. Linoleic acid also contributes to reducing black heads and the associated skin irritation.”
It supports its claims by way of clinical and sensory studies.
First, an in vitro keratinocyte regeneration simulation supporting +19% improved cell regeneration vs. control at 95% confidence level:
Next, an in vivo cutometer study supporting 66% increased skin suppleness after 28 days and a sensory test indicating improved perceived skin aesthetics:
GREENTECH has also conducted skin safety tests to determine that its ingredient is non-irritating, hypoallergenic, non-mutagenic and non-pro-mutagenic, and non-phototoxic.
Sacha Inchi Cultivation
While many other botanical oils are produced through plantations, Sacha Inchi is a forest crop, thriving in heavily forested areas. Its seed oil is produced through eco-friendly harvesting that encourages reforestation. In 2003, an Inca Inchi cultivation and industrialization development program was initiated in Peru called OMEGA Programme. This program supports the reforestation of the Amazon and operates in the context of fair and sustainable trade. This helps thousands of families living in the Peruvian Amazon, and GREENTECH is a founding member of this initiative. Hence, the Sacha Inchi oil used in Humanist Beauty products is both sustainably sourced and fair trade.
In addition to the OMEGA Programme, there are other charitable and fair trade initiatives fostering sustainable Amazonian Sacha Inchi cultivation. Your purchase of Herban Wisdom Facial Oil not only helps support the local Amazonian indigenous people, it contributes to the greater movement towards building a regenerative economy founded upon positive social and environmental impact.
If you’d like to receive a sample of Herban Wisdom Facial Oil, click here to order. The sample is free, there’s just a small charge for shipping and handling.