Meet the peat

Gaias Lab

Posted on April 03 2018

What is Peat?

Peat originates in swamp, where it has been naturally developed during hundreds or even thousands of years. It is the accumulation of organic matter that are unique to bogs, swamps, peatlands, or moors.  

In certain terrains with short summers and long winters, the plants have a short life cycle. The short life cycle contributes to intense growth with high nutrients contents than plants grown elsewhere.  Biological degradation of organic material from herbs, plants, flowers through biochemical processes contribute to the peat accumulation.

Principal substances in peat are:

  • humic acids
  • humin
  • fulvic acids

Other major components include pectins, cellulose and lignins, wax, resins and inorganic material. Dark peat contains about 10 times more humic substances than the white garden peat. 

Where is it used?

Peat is commonly used in balneotherapy or the use of bath to treat disease. Many spas in Poland,Czechia, Germany, Austria have a tradition of including peat muds, poultices etc. in their balneotherapy. These traditions date from the 18th century to date.

Peat in dermatocosmetics

Peat is a complex natural source of humic substances that are of potential interest in both dermatology and cosmetology. Humic substances in peat have been partially characterized and pharmacologic and biologic activities have been documented. 

Humic substances are natural products that develop during decomposition of organic matter in humus. Humic substances are the most stable fraction of organic substances in soils.

Activities of humic substances includes astringent, anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-coagulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, UVB-protective among others.

Source: Peat: A Natural Source for Dermatocosmetics and Dermatotherapeutics 

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