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In the early 1980s we met a kind elderly woman in a TV interview whose skin was kept amazingly fresh and smooth in spite of her age, because she had made and used her own creams from sunflower stems. Thus begins the history of the world -famous Helia -D.
This impression made biogal pharmaceuticals become interested in the cream and did thorough laboratory testing on it. The results of these tests convinced even the company’s experienced researchers, and they immediately began to develop a cosmetic product line based on sunflower stem extract.
Success was inevitable! By the mid-eighties the product line had expanded to more than thirty products and several million boxes of cream were being sold each year. A couple years later, the cream even became a sought-after product on the American market after the not too young, Hungarian-born celebrity Zsa Zsa Gabor said in an interview that her even then beautiful skin is due to Helia-D. The cream was then made in Debrecen under the brand name Helia-Debrecen, this is referred to by the letter D in the brand name as well. They were so popular that the famous Debrecen Flower Carnival invited them to decorate their own car with sunflowers.
The plant agents in the Helia-D products
Helia-D is known of its use of plantbased active ingredients. A total of nine patent applications have been submitted to trademark the product line, which proves just how innovative the developers are. Among these patents, the first exceptional significance, as it is the patent specification on which the first Helia-D product was based ("cosmetic product with skin and muscle regenerating effects and its manufacturing procedure") the novelty of this description is shown below:
"However, until now, there has been no known skin or body care product that could restore human skin and muscle elasticity".
Below is the patent description, what was written about effective use of the product made according to the inventor’s specifications:
"…as the active ingredients, the infusion made of the stem has the surprising effect of restoring a great deal of elasticity to loose skin and muscle when applied to human skin. This makes it very effective for use in fighting wrinkles."
The Helia-D secret
What is the secret of the sunflower stem? The sunflower is a special plant. It supports a flower with seeds that is very heavy in relation to the mass of the stem, and does this without breaking. Added to this is the fact that it is flexible enough to follow the direction of the sun, and that the plant’s cells suffer no damage during all of these processes.
The substance that makes the sunflower stem flexible is called auxin. Elasticity and firmness are two essential features of young skin, and auxin can provide the same benefit for human skin as it can for the sunflower stem through its ability to regulate protein synthesis. In practical terms, products with sunflower stem extract can be regarded as promoting collagen and elastin fiber production (by means of the auxin stimulating protein production). These fibers support the skin elasticity, enhance facial muscle function, and reduce wrinkling and looseness.
The Sunflower and its effect
The Latin name of the sunflower comes from Greek mythology, which told the story of a young woman, Clytie, who fell in love with Helios, sun god. He did not return her feelings, and Clytie’s pain was so great that she could only stare at the sun god all day long. In the end she was transformed into Helianthus, the flower with its head always facing the sun. The sunflower plant was used by the North American Indians both for sustenance and for medicinal purposes.
The sunflower was brought to Europe in the 16th century by cortes and his sailors, whose expedition was charged with conquering the New World. The sunflower spread gradually through Europe. Today it is grown on 250,000 hectares in Hungary.
The sunflower seed can make an invaluable contribution to our health due to its 20-40% protein content and extraordinarily high mineral content. Vitamin e is well-known of its antioxidant properties, which forms a complex system that binds free radicals when combined with other vitamins, primarily vitamin c. This complex system is able to prevent many illnesses. By supporting our enzyme systems as they weaken with age, we can strengthen our bodies’ ability to neutralize free radicals and effectively slow the ageing process. Due to the favorable characteristics of sunflower seed oil, the cosmetics industry uses considerable amounts of it. Linoleic acid is present in the oil in great amounts (58-60%) and it reduces water loss through the skin (trans epidermal Water), to prevent drying. Sunflower oil is absorbed well by skin, enhancing skin’s protective abilities by maintaining the lipid-water balance, making skin velvety soft to the touch. In the unsaponifiable portion of the oil (about 1%) there are valuable phospholipids, lecithin, antioxidant vitamin e, all of which play important roles in cosmetics and nutrition.