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Herbs For Skin

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Herbs For Skin
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Herbs background pic © Elena Moiseeva - Fotolia.com

The skin is not just the largest organ in your body but the most visible one as well. As it surrounds your entire physique, it makes perfect sense that one strives to maintain its health, youthfulness and clarity. With herbs like the ones listed below being gentle on the skin yet tough on skin conditions, they certainly have earned their rightful place as effective skin remedies and even in skin care and cosmetic products.



Scrapes, cuts, burns, acne, eczema, psoriasis and skin cancer are just some of the most common skin conditions. [1] Globally, sales gained from skin products exceed over $300 billion every year and $8 billion in the US alone! [2]

Not only is healthy skin beautiful on the outside, it is also an indication of good health on the inside. [1] However, you need not spend so much on commercial skin products when there are natural plant extracts and herbs available! Many of these herbal remedies have the ability to fight free radicals, inhibit enzymatic degradation, promote collagen synthesis [3] and possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some that have been indicated by various studies to have beneficial effects on skin:

10 Beneficial Herbs for the Skin

Calendula

Also known as pot marigold, calendula is believed to heal and regenerate skin tissue. For example, calendula has been found to improve firmness and hydration of skin in human tests. [4] There is also some evidence that suggests calendula oil-based cream may be effective against Ultraviolet B radiation-induced alterations in skin tissue. [5]

Aloe

The gel of aloe vera is well known for its ability to repair damaged skin and heal wounds, making it a common ingredient in skin care products. One study has found aloe vera cream to be slightly more effective than topical steroids in reducing inflammation and skin itching. Other studies indicate the value of aloe in relieving dermatitis, frostbite, burns and psoriasis. [1]



St. John's Wort

Externally applied as a cream, ointment or macerated oil, St. John's Wort is found to have calming effects on skin irritation. [4] An investigative study has shown that oleum hyperici, an oil extract of St. John's Wort may be used for topical treatment of wounds, burns, bruises, nerve injury, cuts, hemorrhoids and may even serve as an antiseptic. Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics, St. John's Wort oil extracts exhibit antimicrobial activities against common microorganisms. [6]

Peppermint

In a 2011 experiment, scientists ascertained that when peppermint oil was liberally applied onto the skin, a sensation of freshness was experienced. [7] Its cooling and refreshing qualities allow peppermint to stimulate and revitalize skin, restore skin elasticity, close pores, reduce swelling and unpleasant odor, and lessen redness and irritation. [4]

Green tea

Green tea is not just for drinking. Green tea extract can also be applied to the skin. One study has found that a 2% green tea lotion can work as an acne solution. Aside from alleviating acne, green tea contains antioxidant flavonoids that protect skin from the dangers of ultraviolet light, thereby supporting skin to heal from sunburns, aging and cancer. [1]

Chamomile

Undeniably, chamomile is one of the most common herbal ingredients in many skin care products today. This herb is an excellent source of a potent compound called alpha bisabolol that is thought to be effective in accelerating the healing process of skin as well as in reducing the occurrence of wrinkles and fine lines. [8]

More than its wonderful aroma, chamomile is also known for its anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that are beneficial for the skin. When applied, chamomile is useful for relieving allergies, eczema, minor burns, sunburn and skin rashes. [9]

Lavender

Outside of its relaxing and calming effects, lavender is also beneficial for skin repair. The herb contains the compound linalool that soothes the skin, prevents tissue degeneration, and keeps the skin firm and taut. Lavender also acts as an excellent anti-aging agent because of its cytophylactic properties that promote regeneration of new cells. It promotes faster healing of wounds, cuts, scar tissue, inflammation, irritation, psoriasis, sunburns, eczema, acne and other skin disorders. Lavender is also thought to have antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-toxic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. [10]

Comfrey

Just like chamomile, comfrey is also one of the most popular ingredients in skin lotions today. What makes this herb effective and high in demand? It is commonly believed that comfrey's allantoin content plays a vital role in protecting the skin as well as in promoting skin cell regeneration. When applied to the skin as poultice, comfrey has the potential to heal abrasion and laceration. [11]

This herb is also known as knitbone and can be used to treat a wide range of skin ailments. Allantoin also works by promoting skin repair and soothing skin inflammation. Despite its effectiveness, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the consumption of comfrey because it is thought to cause damage to essential organs of the body such as the liver. [12]

Licorice

Known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, licorice is a wonderful herb that promotes skin health. It is beneficial for people suffering from rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. [13] When applied onto the skin as a gel, licorice helps to relieve symptoms like itching, redness and swelling. [14]

Tea tree

Found in Australia, tea tree oil is known for its antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. [17] The results of recent studies revealed that tea tree oil is beneficial for treating various skin conditions and ailments including skin blemishes, acne, and scabies. [15]

For people with acne, tea tree oil helps by acting as a natural exfoliant that destroys bacteria that causes flare-ups. Furthermore, it is useful for eliminating symptoms of skin ailments like irritation, itching and scaling. [16]

Herbs For Skin - References:

[1] http://www.herbco.com/t-herbs-for-skin.aspx

[2] http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/05/24/great-herbs-skin/

[3] Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23431351

[4] Calendula extract: effects on mechanical parameters of human skin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21928714

[5] Effects of Calendula Essential Oil-Based Cream on Biochemical Parameters of Skin of Albino Rats against Ultraviolet B Radiation.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23008814

[6] Estimation of dermatological application of creams with St. John's Wort oil extracts. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22205093

[7] Freshness evaluation of refreshing creams: influence of two types of peppermint oil and emulsion formulation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22682397

[8] http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4151/Top-5-Herbs-For-Glowing-Gorgeous-Skin.html

[9] http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html

[10] http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4151/Top-5-Herbs-For-Glowing-Gorgeous-Skin.html

[11] http://www.herbco.com/t-herbs-for-skin.aspx

[12] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/comfrey-000234.htm

[13] http://www.herbco.com/t-herbs-for-skin.aspx

[14] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm

[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_tree_oil

[16] http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/tea-tree-oil-treats-skin-problems

[17] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22998411

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas, © herbs-info.com 2013

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