Saturday, September 27, 2008

Herbs for Acne

Most of the time acne is caused by the sebaceous glands at the base of the hair follicles of the skin secreting too much sebum - an oily substance released from the pores to keep the skin lubricated and healthy. When too much sebum is produced or it gets clogged it can form hard plugs that block the pores and produce pimples.

A localized bacterial infection can develop when these oil plugs rupture beneath the skin's surface.

What causes an overproduction of sebum?

Hormonal imbalances are a common cause of an overproduction of sebum. This is common in adolescence, especially in males.

In females, menstrual periods or pregnancy can also create hormonal disturbances that can lead to breakouts.

Other common triggers include emotional stress, irritation of the skin, and certain medications, particularly steroids, contraceptives, or any drugs that affect hormone levels.

There is some evidence that skin eruptions can be brought on or aggravated by certain foods or food allergies as well. There are many useful herbs for acne and we will outline some of them here.

Specific Herbs for Acne

ALOE GEL has astringent & antibacterial properties and is applied topically.

CALENDULA promotes healing of skin tissue. You can make a strong infusion of this herb and use as a facial was or steam. It is also available in creams.

LAVENDER compresses are used to relieve inflammation.

ROSEWATER is applied topically for pain & inflammation.

TEA TREE OIL is a powerful antiseptic but must be diluted before applying to skin.

WALNUT LEAF is a useful astringent skin wash.

WITCH HAZEL has antibacterial & astringent properties.

ECHINACEA tincture taken internally promotes healing, reduces inflammation.

GOLDENSEAL is an antimicrobial which stops oozing.

Another common cause of outbreaks is a sluggish liver. When the liver is not functioning optimally it cannot clear excess hormones. When trying to clear acne it is important to balance the hormones and cleanse the liver.

BURDOCK ROOT and DANDELION contain insulin which improves the skin by removing bacteria.

MILK THISTLE is the most commonly used herb for cleansing and strengthening the liver. It also helps remove excess hormones through the stool by stimulating bile production.

Traditionally this condition has responded well to a combination of herbs.

When treating acne it is important to take a two-fold approach:
Internally and Topically

Generally speaking, just treating the skin topically does not address the internal causes of acne and skin eruptions.

Internally, a good combination for cleansing the liver and blood would be a tincture of MILK THISTLE and DANDELION. The traditional dosage is 30 drops in a little water 3 times daily.

Most Useful Herbs For Menopause- Actions, Uses, Dosage

The following herbs are the most valuable in managing menopausal problems along with their actions and uses.

Black cohosh ( cimicifuga racemosa)

Part Used: Dried roots and rhizomes

Actions and Uses: This is a good estrogenic herb that acts specifically on the uterus to reduce cramps and congestion. It is also good for relieving hot flashes. Black Cohosh contains two anti-rheumatic agents. It is an excellent herb for relieving muscular pain and cramping. It may also help to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Dosage: Take 250 mg in tablet or capsule form, two to four times daily. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily.

Damiana ( Turnera diffuse)

Part Used: Dried leaves

Actions and Uses: Damiana is a pituitary regulator and antidepressant. It is also an aphrodisiac and is of benefit for sexual difficulties. It should not be taken too frequently, however, or it may irritate the lining of the urinary tract.

Dosage: Take 100-150 mg in tablet or capsule form, for two or three days out of the week. Or take 1/2 teaspoon of tincture, twice daily, for two or three days out of the week.