Did you know that many, perhaps 75%, of all conventional medications are refinements of herbal medicines? One example of this is the isolation of morphine from opium in 1806. This was the first time that chemical methods were used to extract the active chemical constituents of an herb. The chemical processes used to isolate morphine led to the production of codeine, the widely used cough suppressant. There are countless examples of commonly used medications which come from various plant materials, some of which can often be found right in your own backyard.
Although you should always consult your physician for medical conditions before using any treatment, natural or synthetic, the purpose of this article is to inform you of the various botanically-derived remedies that may be considered for treating some of the most common skin problems. There are many advantages to using herbs rather than the drugs derived from them. A standard medication consists of one, or occasionally two, medically active chemical compounds, plus carrier compounds and a buffer. Herbs and herbal formulas usually contain at least dozens, and in many cases, hundreds, of active ingredients. The many active ingredients act on the body, and on one another, simultaneously. This serves to make the primary active ingredients of the herb more effective. It also serves to prevent the toxic reactions that can lead to side effects. Herbal remedies are more likely to correct conditions without creating additional problems.
Although there are many techniques for making herbal remedies, for the purpose of skin and hair treatments and to simplify the process for home remedy use, I recommend purchasing the herb in the form of its essential oil. Essential Oils are highly concentrated extracts of the herb and can be purchased in small dropper bottles at your local nutrition store or online. Just one drop of essential oil is often equal to 1 full ounce of the plant.
Before applying essential oil to skin or hair, you must ALWAYS dilute the oil first. A carrier (or base) is used for this purpose. The carrier can be a natural oil like olive, jojoba, apricot kernel or similar oil. You could also use your favorite unscented lotion or shampoo or conditioner as a carrier base. I often use organic aloe vera gel as a base for treating skin conditions because of the extraordinary healing benefits of the aloe vera plant. I also prefer the use of aloe vera gel because it is not oily or greasy on the skin.
A good rule of thumb for diluting the essential oil into the carrier base for the purpose of treating a skin ailment is to use about 8 to10 drops of essential oil to 1 full ounce of the carrier base. If you are using more than one type of essential oil, then divide the drops evenly to equal 8 to10 drops total of the various essential oils to 1 full ounce of the carrier base.
Below is a list of 40 herbs, each with its summary of healing benefits. Simply choose between 1 to 3 herbs to use for the particular ailment you are treating and add the appropriate number of drops to your carrier base as explained above. Stir it or shake it to blend the ingredients well and store in a tightly sealed container. Apply it to the affected area 2 to 3 times per day.
Greatest natural source of alpha hydroxy acid. Hydrating, soothing, moisturizing and healing for all skin types. Aloe Vera has extraordinary healing properties, is anti-inflammatory and can soothe the skin and help heal cuts, grazes, burns, radiation burns and insect bites.
read more: Aloe Vera Beauty Tips
Good for dull, irritated, inflamed skin, psoriasis, and fungal infections.
Conditions the hair and stimulates hair growth, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-infectious, antibiotic, very good insect repellent and also good for acne.
Good for eczema, herpes, acne, psoriasis, skin infections, cold sores, blisters, shingles, and chicken pox. Antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-spasmodic, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory.
Excellent for boils, eczema and chronic skin and hair problems. Prevents body’s own immune system from attacking the skin, kills streptococcus bacteria and many disease-causing fungi that infect cracked skin. Add to shampoo or conditioner as a scalp treatment to improve hair strength, shine, body, and to combat hair loss, itching and/or dandruff.
Excellent skin healing herb, natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, fungicidal. Excellent for burns, cuts, eczema, oily greasy skin, bruises, soothes skin, inflammations, insect bites, rashes, wounds, cracked dry skin, stretch marks and diaper rash.
Cleansing properties, antiseptic, anti-fungal, good for oily or blemished skin, natural astringent used in acne treatments. Relieves eczema, psoriasis, skin inflammation, dandruff, insect bites, hair loss, dry or oily hair, softens the skin.
Chamomile is excellent for many types of skin conditions as well as severely infected skin. It has an anti-inflammatory effect, good for hypersensitive skin, eczema, skin rashes, acne, rosacea and allergic skin reactions. Brings out natural brightness and highlights in hair when used in a shampoo.
Chickweed is excellent for sores, abscesses, skin irritations and rashes. Chickweed has an anti-inflammatory action similar to cortisone.
Good for infections, antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-fungal, warts, anti-viral.
Insect repellent, keeps away mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other insects.
Regenerates skin cells. Good for oily skin and hair, blemishes, mature, wrinkled or inflamed skin, acne, boils and puffy skin.
Natural astringent and antibiotic. Good for mature skin, oily skin and acne. Stimulates cell regeneration.
One of the most valuable plants in both cosmetics and medicine. Regenerates aging tissues.
Antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-infectious and anti-parasitic. Regenerates skin cells. Good for insect bites and rashes.
Excellent for acne, scar tissue, mature skin, stretch marks, spots, warts, old scars, dermatitis, broken veins and burns. Antibacterial properties.
Good for dry, mature, aging skin, acne, scars, reduces wrinkles, balances out oily skin, healing for all skin types. Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, natural astringent.
Excellent anti-fungal with antibiotic properties that fights secondary bacterial infections.
Good for wounds, scarring and psoriasis. Stimulates the regeneration of skin cells and underling connective tissue, beneficial effect on collagen and inhibits its excessive production in scar formation, accelerates the healing of burns and skin grafts and minimizes scarring.
Used for acne, athletes foot, tones and tightens skin, antiseptic, disinfectant, detoxifier and anti-infectious. Good astringent for oily skin and hair, aids in hair growth.
Natural anti-oxidant used in cosmetics especially to reduce the puffiness around the eyes. Also has astringent properties.
Natural source of Vitamin C and malic acid. Used by the to treat wounds, dandruff and stimulate hair growth. Has antibacterial properties.
Good for acne, bruises, cuts, wounds, dermatitis, eczema, inflammations, scars, and cell regeneration.
Used for sensitive, mature, aging skin and stretch marks. Beneficial for dry, greasy, irritated skin.
One of the most popular herbs, lavender is excellent for many skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, insect bites, infections, rashes, infected hair follicles, pimples, black heads and light forms of acne. Antiseptic, analgesic, antispasmodic, tonic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-infectious, antitoxin and anti-parasitic.
Good for infections, acne, boils, warts; increases shine and growth of hair and nails, antibiotic, astringent, and antiseptic. Beneficial for oily complexions, hair and skin blemishes.
Good for infections and acne. Natural astringent, antiseptic, anti-infectious, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal. Also good for enlarged pores.
Beneficial for inflamed skin, boils, athlete’s foot, chapped skin, mature skin, wrinkles and ringworm.
Scar tissue, improves elasticity and reduces stretch marks. Good facial softener, great for overall skin care, regenerates skin cells and tones mature, dry, sensitive skin.
St. John’s Wort:
Excellent antibacterial and antiviral properties for the treatment of burns, cuts, scrapes, and minor skin irritations. Also may be helpful herpes breakouts.
Good for acne, scarring, blackheads, athlete’s foot, eczema and other fungal infections. Antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-infectious, antiseptic, moisturizing, regenerates skin cells, aids in regulating oil production of the skin.
Natural antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial. Used for dermatitis, athlete’s foot, ringworm, parasites, rejuvenates skin cells, mature and dry skin, scars, eczema, inflamed, cracked skin, acne, eliminates dandruff, repels bugs, and relieves insect bites.
Natural antiseptic, antiviral, antitoxin, antibiotic and anti-infectious. Beneficial for cold sores, herpes, and shingles.
Natural astringent, anti-infectious, antiseptic, astringent, antiviral and emollient. Regenerates cells, heals radiation burns more quickly, good for scarring and for use on all skin types especially mature, dry and sensitive skin.
Good for infections, acne, skin care and hair care, Natural anti-toxic and antiseptic.
Anti-infectious, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal. Good for candida, acne, dry, sensitive, inflamed dermatitis, scars, wrinkles, regenerates cells.
Used for scarring, acne, dry, aged, chapped skin, soothing as an aftershave treatment, good for dry and oily hair, and increases water retention of collagen. Natural antiseptic,astringent and emollient. Encourages new cell growth.
Tea Tree is an important herb extremely beneficial to various skin conditions such as cuts, wounds, abrasions, rashes, insect bites, nail fungus, dermatitis, ringworm, thrush, head lice, boils, cold sores, acne and infections. Can protect skin during radiation treatment, reduces swelling, heals scar tissue, controls oil on the skin, and dries up pus.
Beneficial for acne, cuts, mature skin, oily skin, dry skin, infections, inflammations, regenerates cells, good for sagging skin, softens and moisturizes
Natural astringent that also tones the skin. For all skin types.
Natalie A. Decker