|Annatto (Bixa Orellana) Medical Health Guid|
It was about 5000 years ago ancient Sumerian men and women were possibly the first to introduce and wear lipstick to make them attractive. The ingredients they used were colored gemstones which they crushed them into powder and used to apply on their faces, mainly on the lips and around the eyes, a sort of facial decoration what we now call 'Facial make-up'. Egyptians did not fall behind and pretty women like Cleopatra crushed bugs to create a color of red on their lips. Wearing lipstick was a symbol of social status rather than gender in that country. The women in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization made a different approach. What they did was, they had used rectangular pieces of ocher with bevelled ends as lipstick.
In the case of ancient Greeks, lip paint was used by the women and it use was initially restricted to hookers and courtesans. But, in the later years, women in the high status had begun to wear lipstick between 700 and 300 BCE with a view to establishing their status in the society. Greek women in order to color the lips and enhance their look used cosmetics made from dyes containing Tyrian purple, crushed mulberries, and the toxic pigment vermilion. The main and singular purpose of wearing lipstick in the past centuries was to attract men as dating was unknown in the distant past.
Generally speaking, a ''Lipstick'' is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that apply color, texture, and protection to the lips. Lipstick that comes with many colors, is also a balm adding hydration so that lips won't go dry. The name Lipstick applies to the baton (stick) of material, within a tubular container, usually around 10mm in diameter and 50mm in length. Now, the term covers the material itself, regardless of method of application.
|Annatto (Bixa Orellana) www.ccbolgroup.com|
In the western countries, the government agencies have taken many artificial coloring agents off the list as they are health threatening and there has been an increasing demand for the lipstick seeds world over. Besides, the drug industries have also found them to have many healing properties. The Annatto seed extracts are used to cure digestive, headache, eye-related ailments, weak bone growth, etc.
|Lipstick tree, Krishi Jagran|
According to the HFRC spacing of plants in the the plantation is very important and the spacing of 10 x 10 ft. will normally yield 500 kg to 2000 kg of dry seeds / ha /year. For the individual trees with dried seeds, the yield is between 0.5 to 3 kg/per year. The yield of 2 - 3 kg/tree is good for the farmers. Food industries consume lots of extracts made from Annatto plants and the coloring agents from these seeds are used in the production of cheese, butter, other dairy products and in margarine, fish products, salad dressings, confectionery , bakery products, ice creams, beverages, and snacks.Mind you, Bixin and non-Bixin pigments which impart grey or orange color are free from cancer-causing substances.
Let us go into the medicinal value of this wonder plant.
Annatto is known to have long history of health benefits and the seeds are often sought by the drug companies world over.
Healing of Wound: washing of burn wounds, cuts, etc by the concoction of leaves produces good results.
Stomach problems: Extract of leaves and bark is used as purgative in dysentery, stomach ache, vomiting and nausea, acid reflux and other stomach problems.
Gonorrhea: Poultice of leaves are used to treat gonorrheaFever.
Periods: Annatto bark and branches are known to improve menstrual flow and reduce menstrual pain.
Vaginal wash. Annatto is used as a vaginal antiseptic in south American countries. .
Diabetes: it improves blood sugar level in the case of diabetes patients.
Poison antidote: Extracts from Annatto leaves, roots and barks are useful as antidote to treat cassava poisoning. Jatropha poisoning and allergy from sandbox tree.
The other uses are: treatment of headache, sore throat, snake bites, Aphrodisiac. Annato seeds are known as libido enhancer. control of cough, control of prostrate enlargement (leaves are taken 3 times a day, treatment of heat stroke ( decoction is used). to control bleeding (Blood coagulant), etc. The extract from the seeds has anti cancer activity, antioxidant activity and antimicrobial activity.