Acne treatment Acne treatment

Herbs for Clear Skin

Herbs for Clear Skin Herbs for Clear Skin

Up to 45 million people in the United States have acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are available to counter the symptoms, but some people prefer a more natural approach. Although clinical research is limited, herbal remedies such as guggul, tea tree oil, neem and burdock may combat problem skin and encourage a clear complexion.


Guggul, also known as Commiphora mukul, is a small, thorny plant that grows in India. The resin produced by the plant is the source of guggul extract. The UMMC recommends a dose of 500 mg of guggul twice daily to treat acne. In a study cited by the UMMC, guggul had the same effect as tetracycline, an antibiotic conventionally prescribed to treat acne. Because it has effects that are similar to estrogen, guggul should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, people with a hormone-related cancer or people who are taking other drugs or herbs that affect the hormones.

Tea Tree Oil

When applied topically to problem areas, tea tree oil, or Melaleuca alternafolia, can reduce bacteria and inflammation and improve skin. A report by the University of Western Australia, published in 2006 in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, found that a topical application of 5 percent tea tree oil had comparable effects to a treatment of 5 percent benzoyl peroxide, which is commonly found in over-the-counter acne creams. The group treated with tea tree oil experienced more skin oiliness but less scaling and dryness than the group treated with benzoyl peroxide. The tea tree oil group reported fewer side effects.


Neem, also known as Azadirachta indica, is a tree in the mahogany family that is native to India, southeast Asia and Africa. Extracts from the plant are commonly found in skin care products in India. The terpenoids in the plant give it antimicrobial properties, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Creams with concentrations of 5 percent neem can be applied topically twice daily to treat skin infections.


Burdock, an herb native to northern Asia and Europe, has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, from indigestion to sore throat, according to the UMMC. The herb is thought to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be applied topically to treat skin problems such as acne. Burdock should not be taken by pregnant women or people who are allergic to daisies or ragweed. It may interact with diuretics and drugs used to treat diabetes.

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