amidst the frost covered forests and white peat lands of the arctic tundra, this seemingly unforgiving landscape and its extreme elements bare one of nature's greatest treasures -- the arctic berry.
"edible berries, a potential source of natural anthocyanin antioxidants, have demonstrated a broad spectrum of biomedical functions. these include cardiovascular disorders, advancing age-induced oxidative stress, inflammatory responses, and diverse degenerative diseases. berry anthocyanins also improve neuronal and cognitive brain functions, ocular health as well as protect genomic dna integrity."
-- molecular nutrition & food research
berry anthocyanins as novel antioxidants
in human health and disease prevention (2007)
unlike their domestic counterparts, these bioactive berries are highly concentrated with antioxidants and vitamins due to their demanding growing conditions. lingonberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and the rarest cloudberries, are transformed by the energy of the brief, but intense summer growing season of 24 hours of arctic sunshine. brimming with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, these sun-produced berries are sought out each summer in the countryside of finland.
finland is a mythical place. an expanse of lakes, infinite forests, midnight sun and plentiful berries that peak their way out from the woodland floor, arctic bogs and serpentine hillsides. as the frost thaws and the plants emerge from hibernation, the finnish people make their way into the woods -- taking part in the cherished custom of "everyman's right," which allows any person to gather berries and mushrooms regardless of who owns the land. these nordic berries have always been part of the traditional finnish diet and health regimen, with the berry picking tradition being passed down through generations.
finns are a people who live pre-eminently close to nature, and are at home amongst the animals of the wilderness, beasts and birds, winds, and woods, and waters, falling snows, and flying sands, and rolling rocks.
-- preface to the kalevela john martin crawford
berries have been a tool for survival ever since the ancient sami people populated the scandinavian arctic and boreal forests. these hunter-gatherers subsisted on arctic berries for over 10,000 years, receiving nourishment from the vitamin-rich fruit. as nordic seafarers hunted in the harsh elements, they ate cloudberries, full of vitamin c, as protection against scurvy. the elusive cloudberry spreads itself amongst the wetlands and mountains of northern finland, ripening only in july. known as "arctic gold," they earn their title by their lush color and profound benefits. cloudberries not only contain twice the amount of vitamin c of oranges, they also contain antioxidants that are 20 to 40 times more effective than vitamin e. endowed with more seed oil than other wild berries, they're packed with skin softening fatty acids, carotene and concentrated antioxidants that serve as the ideal companion for skin's rejuvenation. by enhancing cellular regeneration, they protect skin from aging effects of free radical damage while also replacing the collagen and elastin that is naturally lost over time -- leaving skin softer and more supple.
in september, as summer gives way to fall, the forests of finland turn a vibrant red with the outburst of lingonberries. without the means of modern refrigeration, the finns were able to live off of lingonberries long after the picking season ended, as the berries contain large quantities of fruit acids that naturally preserve them. they were also used as an antiseptic and a tonic for the nervous system in folk medicine. the lingonberry carries a plentiful supply of vitamins e and b, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that aid the skin, though it is the high concentration of polyphenols that is responsible for the berry's antioxidative power. containing twice the amount of polyphenols than cranberries, these active botanicals are produced by plants to protect them from the excessive sunlight and adverse conditions of the arctic. wild berries are one of the best sources of polyphenols and contain more of these compounds than any other plant. these plant chemicals, (the same antioxidants as those in red wine) help to neutralize the sun's radiation and protect the skin from damage.
their extreme habitat is not the only thing arctic berries share in common. the vibrant pigments of raspberries, cranberries and strawberries provide more than a colorful display, but act as antioxidants -- protecting the plant from the elements and the skin from environmental damage both inside and out. the brighter the berry, the more effective its protective abilities, thanks to a powerful phytochemical called anthocyanin. these antioxidants in raspberry seed oil act as a natural sunscreen, absorbing uv damage and function as an anti-inflammatory. further reducing the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin, raspberries are an abundant source of omega fatty acids, and vitamins a and e, all which help to diminish age spots, reduce inflammation and regenerate damaged cells while replenishing moisture. with skin soothing vitamins, raspberry oil was a popular folk remedy to accelerate the healing of scrapes and burns. these anti-inflammatory properties are even more effective than avocado, grapeseed and wheatgerm oils in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other skin irritations. while these essential fatty acids (EFA's) and vitamins work to repair the skin, raspberry seed oil is also backed by a whole host of antioxidants such as quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and even salicylic acid -- resulting in a 50 percent higher antioxidant activity than strawberries.
what they lack in diversity of antioxidants, strawberries make up for it in the potency of their primary skin boosting assets -- ellagic acid and tocopherol. a natural organic compound, ellagic acid works to prevent the drying effects of hormonal imbalances and environmental exposure in the skin. while tocopherol (a form of vitamin e and antioxidant) helps to improve blood circulation, repair tissue, improve healing and reduce scarring. like vitamin c, it prevents the cellular damage that leads to pre-mature aging. even before scientists identified these active botanicals, wild strawberries have been a staple of the finnish diet and culture. harvested by hand, pickers would gather hundreds of these bright berries, hardly the size of a pea and consume their nutrient rich flesh and sweet taste.
from aland to lapland, wild cranberries beckon berry pickers to wade through bogs, swamps and other adverse terrain to track down this nutritional delicacy. the arctic cranberry provides a high dosage of antioxidants and phytochemicals that benefit the cardiovascular and immune systems, increasing blood flow and in turn, increasing cellular renewal -- helping the skin to retain a luminous appearance. what makes cranberry seed oil so nourishing can be attributed to two primary factors. while most berries contain tocopherol (the most common form of vitamin e), cranberries are the richest natural source of the antioxidant tocotrienol - a rare form of vitamin e that is 40 to 60 times more effective. they also contain the perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, allowing the potent nutrients and active botanicals to easily absorb into the skin.
as the core ingredients to red flower nature line, these powerful arctic berry seed oils are sourced using cold-press extraction -- preserving the beneficial properties that work together to anti-oxidize, encourage skin regeneration and provide a toxin-free solution to restore aging skin to radiant health.