Our Laboratory

Posted by Mary Ellen Sheehan on

We would like to introduce you to the lab that is developing our products. The US Botanical Safety Lab in collaboration with Bent Creek Institute is located in Candler, North Carolina. It is nestled in the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains, just south of Asheville. USBSL is a non-profit botanical ingredient testing laboratory. Bent Creek Institute is a collaborator of the North Carolina Arboretum and an affiliate of the University of North Carolina.

A year and a half ago Amanda Vickers, the Director of the lab, welcomed us to the lab and institute. She also introduced us to the Executive Director of the North Carolina Arboretum, George Briggs, who greeted us with our own slogan, “Think Like a Tree.”  We met together in an office overlooking the Pisgah National Forest while he shared the history and goals of the arboretum with us.

Don Decker is our lead chemist and has developed our Ultra Rich Moisturizing Cream and is working on an SPF 30 sunscreen. Morgan Tompkins is Quality Manager and works on fragrance development. We are excited about fragrance development as we have some Thanaka ideas for fragrance!

We are delighted with this partnership and look forward to developing new products together.

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Among the Trees

Posted by Mary Ellen Sheehan on

On February 3, 2017 Myo (Mew) went to Mandalay to meet with U Saw Sein Aung, an expert with extensive knowledge of Thanaka. He guided Myo through the whole trip and process of acquiring Thanaka for Royal Thanaka. They made their way to Pakokku, Myanmar. Myo spent the afternoon touring acres of Thanaka trees. Some of the trees were wild and some were farmed. He eventually chose farmed trees with the healthiest looking bark. Select branches were chosen and pruned with care to be sure that tree growth continued and flourished. They were then transported to Rangoon (Yangon).

In Rangoon the wood was rinsed with rainwater and dried under the sun. After drying, the bark was removed. Then the bark and core were separately dried a second time in a drying oven. They were then ground into powder and shipped to the US according to USDA guidelines.

Through this process, Myo and his US partners created Royal Thanaka, an international business benefitting people in Burma and the US. Royal Thanaka is committed to skincare products that are safe for skin and planet.   

Royal Thanaka, good for our skin, good for our earth. Live intentionally with the ancient wisdom of trees”

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Creating Royal Thanaka: What is Thanaka?

Posted by Mary Ellen Sheehan on

Htwe in Berma

The people of Burma (Myanmar) have been using Thanaka for over 2,000 years. The earliest literary reference to the Thanaka tree is in a 14th century Burmese poem. It has been and is still used for skin protection, hydration, and decoration.

We are introducing Thanaka from the Limonia Acidissima or Hesperethusa Crenulata tree in our face cream. It is a tree indigenous to Burma (Myanmar). Traditionally the wood and bark of the tree are ground into a powder on a circular stone slab. Water is added and the ground powder becomes a paste. The paste is immediately applied to the skin, leaving a yellow crust with a fragrance similar to Sandalwood. Thanaka is applied to the face and sometimes to the entire body, providing cooling during hot weather.

Royal Thanaka chemists have made extracts from Thanaka, for our products. Our Ultra Rich Moisturizing Cream is infused with the protective and nourishing properties of Thanaka. The lightweight smooth texture melts into your skin to nourish and protect while soothing any irritation that may be present.


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Creating Royal Thanaka: We Begin!

Posted by Mary Ellen Sheehan on

It was a Friday evening in August 2016 when we first came up with the idea for Royal Thanaka. I had just returned from a 12-week cooking class on an organic farm in Ireland. I was telling my (now) business partners, Htwe and Myo, about my experience in Ireland. There was a particular story that came to mind that evening. While fishing for mackerel from a boat in Ballycotton Ireland, one of my cooking school classmates told me about her idea of creating skincare products made from Irish seaweed and peat moss. I was amazed at the idea and did not know that such a thing could be done. We continued with a successful fishing trip.

Fast-forward three months. Upon sharing this story with Htwe and Myo, it occurred to us that the 2,000-year-old Burmese tradition of applying Thanaka to the skin would be a welcomed relief for the rest of the world. We decided to create skincare products using this amazing ingredient! Thanaka not only protects the skin from harsh elements but it is hydrating and high in antioxidants. The use of Thanaka in Burma (Myanmar) has a time-tested track record and is still in use today. It is a safe ingredient and is used by people of all ages, including babies. The people of Burma regularly create a paste from the bark of the Thanaka tree for daily protection from the sun and to cool the skin. And there are four kinds of Thanaka trees, some with medicinal properties. We decided to proceed with our idea and what an adventure it has been!

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