Herbal Acne Medicine
Common acne afflicts millions of people from their teens through middle age or beyond. The pimples, redness, irritation and even scarring are troublesome at any age, and can have emotional as well as physical consequences. Acne is caused by the buildup of the protein keratin in skin, which in turn provides an ideal medium for bacteria. There are many different treatments for acne, including effective herbal remedies.
Why Try Herbs?
The key to an effective acne treatment is eliminating the germs, which give rise to pimples, the most common form of acne. The problem with most washes and topical remedies is that they don't reach the bacteria that hide in clogged pores and hair follicles. While most over-the-counter acne treatments clear the skin of surface bacteria, dirt and oil, many herbs combine this cleansing action with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that revitalize the skin and work from the inside.
Herbs containing berberine are ideal for washes, write Dr. Linda B. White and Steven Foster in "The Herbal Drug Store." Berberine, found in Oregon Graperoot and Goldenseal, is a powerful antibacterial agent. White and Foster suggest making a "tea" from the herbs by adding 2 tsp. of graperoot or goldenseal to 2 cups of hot water, straining the concoction and allowing it to cool. The tea, which is not meant for drinking, is useful as a compress or as a face wash. A tea made from dried rose petals is also refreshing and antiseptic.
Lavender oil, commonly available in drug stores and supermarkets, is an excellent topical anti-inflammatory that reduces the irritation caused by pimples. Dab a bit on to pimples and blemishes with a cotton swab. Making a tea, again not for drinking, with Calendula petals by steeping a teaspoon of dried petals in a cup of hot water and cooling. Apply the tea to problem areas with a cotton ball. Other anti-inflammatory herbs that can be taken internally include dandelion root in capsule form and chamomile tea.
Burdock, a common herb used in Indian cuisine, has anti-bacterial properties and can obviously be taken internally, either as a tea or in capsule form. Rosewater made from the essential oil of the flower is a pleasant natural antiseptic. As White and Foster write: "Heavenly smell, soothing, antiseptic action--what's not to love about roses for natural skin care?" They suggest putting the rosewater in a spray bottle and "spritz on your face as often as you like."
Simply because you are using natural remedies is no reason to consider these treatments any differently than an OTC version. Always read the labels on the containers and follow the instructions. Overuse of any remedy can have dangerous side effects and some, like calendula, should not be used when you are pregnant.
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