Peat deposits are carbonaceous soils that have been formed as a result of an incomplete oxygen-free decomposition of plant wastes. In peat bogs only 10 to 15 cm of the surface layer is alive. The lower part of the bulk of the plants die and turns into peat. Natural peat is acidic and contains plenty of water. Peat contains diverse valuable chemical compounds which make it into a significant raw material for various treatment and cosmetic preparations.
Peat Used in Treatments
Peat is used for therapeutic applications like baths, for local treatments, and in cosmetic preparations. Peat used in treatments is a highly decomposed layer of natural bog, which consists of sedge peat or sphagnum peat. The therapeutic effect of peat is based, among other things, on its excellent ability to bind heat, its antibacterial properties, and the action of the bioactive compounds.
Sedge peat is suitable, among other things, for treatment of supporting and locomotive organ diseases, and sphagnum peat, among other things, for gynecological and hormonal ailments. Peat also condition and cleanses skin as well as cure skin disorders.
Selection of Treatment Peat
The acidity is determined in treatment peat, as well as the content of humins, humic acids, celluloses, asphalts, pectins, and mineral components. A significant criterion is the quantity of humic acids and fulvo acids contained in peat.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Peat Effects on the Skin
Peat activates the metabolism of skin cells, stimulates the defense capacity of the skin, and increases the activity of the white blood cells in the treated area. Positive changes are mostly visible in the main skin layer. This increases skin’s renewal and self-healing capacity. Peat also stimulate the skin’s selfcleaning mechanisms.
Peat Effects on Tissues
Peat enhances the recovery processes of tissues and improves immunity. Peat balances inflammatory reactions, enhances renewal processes of the connective tissue, prevents it from drying, and prevents stiffening of the joints.
Peat improves capillary circulation, which has a positive impact on the metabolism of cells. Peat also stimulates the process of cleaning tissues from various poisonous substances.
Reactions of the Central Nervous System
Central nervous system reacts to peat by relaxing. Electric activities of the brain improve. Activity level of the brain becomes normal – the volume of the stress hormone becomes lower. Peat causes muscles to relax; peat also reduces cramps of smooth muscles and pain reactions.
Overall Effect of Peat on the Organism
General effect of peat occurs with long-term usage, when the affected surface is big enough. Overall effect is obtained by e.g. whole body baths and body wraps, and body wraps with big enough surface. The overall effect of peat treatment is the sum of different reactions, such as its chemical effect and acceleration of blood circulation. Local effect takes place through the reflectory system of the skin through which it is also possible to affect the functioning of internal organs. The most powerful reactions are in the heart and the blood circulation system.
Impacts of Peat and Bog Mud on Cell Functioning
• Activate and accelerate the enzyme activity of cells
• Enhance the activity of nucleous acids that stimulate special activities
• Facilitate the energy-metabolic system of cells
• Restore the electrolytical chemical balance of cells
• Facilitate transportation of nutrients
• Improve efficiency of cells in binding various poisonous substances
Active Substances Contained in Peat
Chemical composition of peat is extremely complex and rich. Peat contains enriched combinations of various plants, the compositions of which have undergone extensive research, but the final specification was still not found. According to the present-day knowledge, peat and mud contain around 200 different substances.
Peat is a very rich source of minerals. It includes the following chemical elements: aluminum, iron, manganese, vanadium, barium, chrome, phosphor, calcium, copper, silicium, magnesium and selenium. Their quantities vary in different peat and mud grades.
One third of peat is hemicellulose, which is a fiber-type substance. Fiber-type substances have an absorbing effect and participate in the cleaning of the organism. Humins (60%) act as an extremely active part of peat by influencing, among others, the metabolism. Humins contain various organic acids whose quantity varies in different research. These acids are divided into two different groups: fulvo and humic acids. Fulvo acids are very important components for all live cells and are connected with all the life processes and function as their catalysts, i.e. accelerators.
Bog peat also contains other vital compounds that participate in metabolism, such as vitamins, hormones and antiseptic or anti-inflammatory substances.
Source: Sankelo, Terhi–Siivari, Jari/CRS-Biotech Oy 2001: Hormoninkaltaiset fytoestrogeenit. LTT-hanke 2001. Kirjallisuus- ja tietokantaselvitys Detria Oy:lle.
It Even Helps with Cellulite?
No allergic reactions have been detected in peat treatment. On the contrary, due to its antiseptic effect, it has even soothed some reactions, since it stops skin itching and scaliness. Peat treatment softens psoriasic thickened and flaky areas of the skin. As to its hormonal action, peat treatment reduces to some extent menstrual pain, alleviates ailments related to menopause, and removes hormonal cellulite.
Source: http://www.yle.fi/terveys/aitounelma/turve1.html (09/2004)