People have been using herbs for their skin care for many, many years. Whether the herb’s use was to be astringent, to help the skin hold onto moisture, to heal the skin, to clear up breakouts, to make the skin glow, etc., all they had to do was to look into their garden for the necessary remedy.
These days, we can continue to do the same. Our spice rack or garden, if you grow your own herbs, can be our own holistic skin care resource.
Here are some herbs and spices to consider for your skincare use:
Oat straw is the stem of the oat plant when it’s still green and its sap is milky. It is a great source of silica and calcium and has been used for hundreds of years for skin problems and to correct imbalances in blood sugar. Oat straw is most often made into tea or extracts and also added to food.
Oat Straw Tea contains six different B vitamins, Vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants.
Horsetail (also known as shave grass) used to be used as an exfoliant and probably still is in some places. An astringent by nature, horsetail is full of silica that supports the suppleness of the skin. It can be used in tea but is often dried, powdered and made into a poultice to put on the skin. It can also be added to a warm bath.
Horsetail contains many nutrients and minerals. These include calcium, iron, manganese, silica and antioxidants. Besides being an antioxidant, horsetail is also antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiinflammatory.
The leaf and seeds of the alfalfa plant are used for skin health. Alfalfa is full of carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is vital for the health of the skin, hair and nails. Alfalfa is also full of necessary trace minerals, vitamin K, chlorophyll and amino acids. This is a great grass to add to your smoothie, or use the 4-Grass Blend that can be found at your local Bulk Barn!
Nettle leaves are excellent when it comes to inflammatory skin diseases, especially in children. They clear up eczema and can clean ulcers and wounds. When nettle leaves are used in a tea or tincture, their stinging hairs are neutralized.
Nettle contains vitamins C and K, and B vitamins, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron, to name a few. It also has amino acids and antioxidants. Try a Nettle Leaf tea, which can likely be found at your local grocery store.
This is the fruit of the rose plant. It is extremely rich in vitamin C, and is an all-purpose tonic. It can be taken as tea, taken in capsules, used as part of a mask or in a facial. It also makes an excellent jelly.
Rose hips contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin B-complex, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, silicon, and zinc. They also contain lycopene, pectin, lutein, and beta-carotene. The antioxidant components, which include flavonoids, phytochemicals, and carotenoids also contribute to their health benefits.
Turmeric is derived from the rhizome of a plant that resembles the ginger plant. In a compress, turmeric is used to heal injuries and skin lesions. When it is eaten, it cleanses the blood. Turmeric also contributes to the overall health of the skin.
Turmeric contains more than 300 naturally occurring components including beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, flavonoids, fibre, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and other nutrients. But the chemical in turmeric linked to its most highly touted health effects is curcumin. I LOVE to cook with Turmeric and often add it to things like soups, smoothies, stir-fries, popcorn… you name it!
Yes, this is carrageenan, that additive that thickens store-bought ice cream. When applied to the skin, Irish moss acts as a demulcent, which means it soothes inflamed or irritated skin.
Irish Moss contains 92 different minerals. It also contains protein, beta-carotene, B vitamins, pectin, vitamin C and sulfur.
This herb can also be drunk in tea or used as a compress for skin problems such as acne and eczema. It soothes boils, bruises, warts, and canker sores.
Burdock Root contains vitamins A, B complex and E, inulin, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
This micro-algae is bought as a dried powder and can be sprinkled on food or mixed with drinks (I love to add it to my smoothies!). It is a great source of chlorophyll, vitamins, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, iron, amino acids, and proteins. Its ability to assist digestion, cleanse the blood and help circulation promotes overall skin health.
Spirulina has 2300% more iron than spinach, 3900% more beta carotene than carrots, 300% more calcium than whole milk, and 375% more protein than tofu. Comparing phytonutrient levels, Spirulina is 31 times more potent than blueberries and 60 times more potent than spinach.
The aromatic leaves of this herb tone the skin and is especially good for the hair. It stimulates hair follicles and is said to help keep hair from going grey and baldness from occurring when used as a shampoo.
Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin B-6, and antioxidants.
This herb is famous for its gel, which is used to heal minor burns. Its promotion of rapid cell regeneration helps to heal wounds, rashes, fungal infections and all types of skin problems. Aloe Vera can be made into a juice drink which is also soothing to the stomach.
Aloe Gel is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and packed with 200 active compounds. It contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.
Yellow Dock Root
When drank as a tea or taken in capsule form, this mildly astringent root is rich in iron and can build and cleanse the blood. This makes it a good choice for skin conditions. Yellow dock root is also used in formulas to treat psoriasis and eczema.
Yellow dock root contains vitamins A, and C, iron, Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and antioxidants.
Use the oil of this root externally to heal skin conditions that cause itching and scaling, such as eczema and psoriasis. It also is used to treat ringworm, athlete’s foot, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions.
If you are interested in learning more about herbs and spices and how they can be helpful in your skincare routine, I recommend going to your local health food store and speaking with one of their educated staff members to find the right herb and spice for you!
If you are looking at taking a supplement but are on a prescribed drug or you have an existing condition, please talk with your doctor before starting new supplements as some natural herbs can offset your prescribed drug.
Here’s to your health,