The extract of buckwheat (also known as beech wheat) found in PHYTO5’s Water element day cream, night cream, shampoo and the Swiss line Purifying Cleansing Gel has nothing to do with wheat at all because it is not a grass. It is naturally gluten-free and should be emphasized that as a relative of sorrel, knotweed and the rhubarb plant and produces starchy seeds, buckwheat is a fruit seed. It is not a grain at all. It gets its name from its triangular seeds which resemble the much larger seeds of the beech nut tree and from the fact that the seeds can be ground and used similarly to how we use normally use wheat in cooking. When toasted, the seeds are known as kasha.
A native of central Asia, originally cultivated in China from the tenth to thirteenth centuries it was subsequently introduced into Europe by the crusaders. A powerhouse of nutrients, it is one of the healthiest foods you can consume internally or topically on the skin or hair.
Buckwheat greens grown from the sproutable seeds become a plentiful source of chlorophyll, enzymes and vitamins. Buckwheat seeds, being high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, supports skin's elasticity.
Its flavonoids* extend the action of vitamin C and act as antioxidants. This is one of the reasons why buckwheat extract is an important anti-aging ingredient in skincare.
Buckwheat’s main claim to fame is its rutin or vitamin P content. Rutin is a natural anti-inflammatory bioflavanoid which protects against skin damage from the sun and environment. Rutin also blocks free radicals which in turn slows the effects of aging and promotes longevity.
Rutin supports blood circulation so important for skin’s healthy youthful glow and strengthens and repairs small capillaries in the skin. Its high magnesium content also works alongside rutin to relax blood vessels and promote circulation and skin’s glow. This factor also helps to improve circulation in cold hands and feet.
Vitamin B present in buckwheat is very beneficial for skin, nails and hair and it too helps reduce skin damage caused by sun and environmental factors.
Buckwheat’s high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids helps enhance skin’s elasticity.
Buckwheat also contains vitamin E, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (B5), thiamine (B1), B6 and folate all important for everyone and especially people with liver disorders.
Its zinc and magnesium content is very important for skin and hair condition and healthy sleep. Buckwheat extract can be used externally for skin eruptions, inflammations and burns.
Buckwheat is 75% complex carbohydrates, a feature that is exceptional for proper growth of hair. Rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins and zinc, it is highly conducive for hair growth. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is vital for hair growth and health.
In addition to skin and hair health, we can benefit from consuming buckwheat for a variety of other reasons:
Its saturated fat content combined with high protein and fiber content aids in appetite suppression and weight loss. Buckwheat’s very high quality proteins and all eight amino acids help to lower cholesterol; its amino acid composition is superior to all cereals.
Buckwheat consumption may lower the risk of fatal stroke and heart attack as it helps balance blood pressure, circulation and vascular integrity.
A certain type of antioxidant in buckwheat called lignans assist post-menopausal women by helping to prevent breast cancer and other forms of cancer related to hormone imbalance.
The high levels of vitamin E and magnesium present in buckwheat protect against childhood asthma.
Because buckwheat is high in insoluble fiber it can help to prevent gallstones as it facilitates the movement of food through the intestines.
The manganese in buckwheat helps form healthy bones and connective tissue and can help prevent osteoporosis.
It also facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses and assists in energy production
The amino acid tryptophan in buckwheat elevates mood.
Less acid forming with a well balanced mineral composition (phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese) combined with a high flavonoid” content, buckwheat assists in the ability to combat colds and flu.
*Flavonoids are phytonutrients responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables and are potent antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.
Murray, Michael T., et al. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Time Warner International, 2006.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 2009.
Verheyen, Yes. Enjoyvity, Your Full Spectrum of Life. Verheyen Consulting, 2010.