Beauty Comes From
the Inside Out
Our skin is the largest organ of assimilation and
elimination and is a window into the health of our entire body. If our body is
healthy, our skin will be, too. A joyful attitude and bright smile can light up
the room, sending healthy, healing chemicals throughout our entire body. In
other words, beauty comes from the inside out. Healthy skin begins with eating
well, staying hydrated, and a healthy attitude.
The liver is our body’s master filter and so plays a huge
part in keeping our skin healthy. Everything we eat, breathe, drink and think
(thoughts create hormones that the liver must deactivate and eliminate)
eventually ends up in the bloodstream and that blood is filtered by our liver. The
liver often gets congested by the many toxins in our environment, which enter
our body via food, water, the environment and thoughts. When the liver is
overburdened with these toxins and hormones, its fail-safe is to send them out
through our largest organ of elimination— the skin. Of course, Mother Nature
understands this and provides delicious herbs to nourish, strengthen and clear
the liver of these toxins and hormones, which is why these herbs can also help
alleviate common skin problems like eczema and acne. And the best part is, many
of these healing plants may grow right in your own backyard!
Let’s explore some fun herbs and recipes that you can make
right in your own kitchen.
Drinking an herbal tea is always a great way to “cleanse”
our body of unwanted toxins. Dandelion root, burdock root and red clover are
blood cleansers that help with this. Simply put 1 heaping tsp in a cup of hot
water, cover (always important to retain those volatile oils) and let steep for
20-30 minutes. Add a little honey or stevia to cut the bitter flavor of these
herbs and enjoy 2-3 cups a day.
Topical herbal applications, which are widely used, offer
relief for itchy and irritated skin. Calendula, chamomile, chickweed, yarrow
and horsetail are all good herbs to make into a salve. They can be made with
one herb or in a combination with each other. Sometimes herbs ramp up their
healing action in combinations. Pick a jar of your choosing and fill it ⅔ with
your dried plant material. Then cover it, liberally, with your oil of choice.
Extra-virgin olive oil is widely used by herbalists, as it has many skin-healing
constituents, but feel free to use whatever oil you prefer. Label your jar
(name of plant(s), oil used and date) and let sit in a warm part of your
kitchen for 3-4 weeks. Strain the herb(s) out of your oil when ready and use as
a topical to nourish your skin, or add a bit of beeswax to it and make it into
hazel has also been used for centuries to cleanse and heal irritated skin. It
is a natural astringent used for bleeding and varicose veins, and helps reduce
redness. Try using witch hazel as your liquid (menstruum) in your topical
herbal treatments. Witch hazel is good for all skin types or skin issues. It is
a perfect skin-cleansing agent, so try this recipe for cleansing pads, and use
to keep your skin free of acne-causing bacteria. In a jar with a tight-fitting
lid, add cleansing pads (found at dollar stores). Then combine in a bowl 2 cups
distilled water, 1 Tbsp mild shampoo or body wash, 2 Tbsp witch hazel, and 1 Tbsp
white distilled vinegar. Swish to combine, then pour over pads and seal
tightly. Use these cleansing pads day and night.
have issues with breakouts or acne on your face, check out a Chinese face map
to see which area of the body needs some support. For example, if you breakout
between the eyebrows, your liver might need some detoxing. Below your nose?
Maybe your blood pressure is high. How about your chin area? Look to your
reproductive system/organs. These maps are widely available on the internet, so
do a little research. It might help you get to the source quickly.
in a bath (or foot bath) is a good way to relieve skin irritations all over
your body. The choices are endless, and with a little research you can find an
herb or blend that suits your body issues. Here are a few examples: For normal
skin, try oats, chamomile or lavender; for oily skin, try sage, peppermint or
rosemary; and for dry skin, try roses, plantain, chamomile or oatmeal. Adding a
bit of powdered milk and Epsom salt takes it to the next level.
offer endless ways to healthy skin: drinking, topically or soaking. What is
Madalyn Johnson and Kathleen Gould
Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb
Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has
extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call
480-694-9931, or visit SWHerb.com or Store.SWHerb.com.