Discovering Anchusa: A Walk On The Wild Side

Anchusa azurea is not your everyday garden variety but it is the skincare ingredient you need everyday.

How did we discover Anchusa and its wonders for skin?  Let’s take you on a tour of La Furtuna Estate and recreate the experience that led to the discovery process.

THE ANCHUSA DISCOVERY TOUR
It’s late spring, sunny Sicily is in full bloom and we are privileged to have Mimmo, our farm’s resident botanist, escort us through the Estate. You may be interested to know that Mimmo is an ecologist, an esteemed authority on Sicily’s bio-diversity and an expert on olive oil. He has set up a herbarium on the Estate and revitalized the nearly extinct Biancolilla centinara olive tree.

BEYOND THE SWIRLY GATES
As we pass through the gates of the Estate, we’re greeted by a breathtaking vista of the unspoiled Sicilian countryside. We inhale the purity of the land and feel invigorated by the clean, unpolluted air. We’re ready to take on the two mountains surrounding us, Monte Barraù and Monte Castro. Mimmo points to the pure mineral spring waters that flow through the slopes.  The streams nourish the plants so they grow strong and resilient while soil compositions of clay, limestone and sandstone mineralize them. We look out at the rolling hills and are blown away by all the treasures of the botanical wonderland in front of us: 12,000 olive trees, 500 unique plants, 50 medicinal wild herbs and archeological remains from 2000 B.C. The Estate rests on a biological reserve at an altitude cascading between 600-1400 meters above sea level. Mimmo continues to fascinate us with highlights of Sicily’s history, a land that was once at the center of civilization, shaped by a fusion of cultures and extreme environmental forces. 

We are informed that the farm is sustainable and organic but that the goal is not to earn certifications and awards, but to ensure that the land and its plant life will continue to thrive for generations. Here, botanicals are sustainably harvested in diverse communities to respect nature’s ecosystem. Mimmo had us at “ciao” but his commitment to heritage and nature makes us love him even more.

REVELATION ROAD
It turns out the most revelatory moment of our tour is still to come. As we walk along the roads and over the stony hills, we can’t help but notice bright bursts of azure blue lighting up the landscape. We post some pics and prod Mimmo to tell us about this flower. He waxes flowery about what a special, beautiful bloom it is and that it’s his favorite of all. Anchusa azurea, he calls it, named after its stunning azure bulbs. He gives us a quick history of the herb— its use in old-world Sicilian medicine as an anti-inflammatory, in ancient makeup as a cheek tint and in salads as a wild foraged food. Our curiosity is piqued. We are on a mission to find out more.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS
That’s pretty much what happened when Furtuna Skin co-founder and formulator Kim Walls first discovered Anchusa azurea on La Furtuna Estate. An expert in nutrition, biochemistry and clean beauty, she looks at ingredients through the lens of health and wellness. Her interest piqued, she read up on the flower’s history and nutrient content in a fact-packed compendium of original research that had become her bible on Sicilian plants. Her instincts proved right. Comprehensive studies referenced in the book demonstrated that it had the highest antioxidant activity of any wild Mediterranean plant.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY STORY
Through extensive research, Kim learned that Anchusa azurea was revered for its anti-inflammatory and healing powers in ancient medicine. Recent studies reveal its anti-inflammatory secret. It contains rosmarinic acid, a compound that helps prevent and treat inflammation. Reducing inflammation is essential to anti-aging and healthy, glowing skin so the fact that Anchusa is both historically used and clinically proven to reduce inflammation, made it an obvious choice for our wild-crafted skincare. 

GLOWING SKIN NUTRITION
Studies showed that Anchusa contains a variety of nutrients that are good for skin. High concentrations of linolenic fatty acids helps improve the skin barrier. Brightening Vitamin C enlivens skin’s radiance and helps diminish hyper-pigmentation. Vitamin E protects against oxidative damage. B9 folate helps promote cell renewal. Calcium optimizes daily skin function. Other chemical studies reported that Anchusa possessed many pharmacological effects such as antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

ANTIOXIDANT JACKPOT
Kim also worked with top labs in the U.S. to test the antioxidant potency of a wild-foraged blend that features Anchusa. Results on its intracellular antioxidant activity were extraordinary. The blend was proven to block free radical formation and protect skin cells and their key building blocks against oxidative stress and DNA damage by 100%.  The Anchusa infusion proved itself to be an antioxidant goldmine for skin.

CAPTURED WITH CARE
Given its powerful skincare benefits, she worked with Mimmo to source Anchusa from La Furtuna Estate during its spring blooming season in May. Since it is a wild botanical, it is caringly foraged by hand to protect the raw materials. It is sustainably sourced in an ethical way that respects the natural ecosystem and never threatens the species or the environment.  The ingredients are collected, dried, contained and immediately rushed to our ultrasound facility where they’re quickly extracted using our Soundbath™ method. This gentle eco process captures the full potency of nutrients and avoids any need for harsh solvents and extended periods of time in the sun.

LIFE FORCE
Anchusa is the potent life force behind many of our wild-crafted Furtuna Skin products. It’s the hero ingredient of our proprietary Splendore Anchusa™ complex, which powers our Porte Per La Vitalità Face and Eye Serum. A unique and rare ingredient to the beauty world, its exclusively found in Furtuna Skin products. Part protective face serum, part depuffing eye serum, the dual-use concentrate lifts and enlivens allover, making it your gateway to vitality for skin.
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