The skin serves as a protective coat for the body organisms against injury, bacteria, viruses, parasites, radiation and other environmental factors. Keep these skin care herbs in your first aid kit this summer to help reduce inflammation, redness, dryness, itchiness, bruises, burns, stings and bites!
1) Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
This impressive wound healing herb has anti-inflammatory, astringent and expectorant actions. The leaves of comfrey can speed wound healing, improve scar formation and reduce inflammation from sprains and broken bones. This shrub’s healing properties are attributed to allantoin, a substance that encourages rapid cell growth in systems that have been traumatised or stressed. Comfrey has also been shown in many skin care studies to be effective in wound healing topically as an ointment or poultice.
2) Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
This Australian tree contains a number of compounds from the oil in the leaves that have been proven to kill certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The essential oils from tea tree can be used as a hand sanitizer, insect repellent, natural deodorant, mouthwash and household cleaner when diluted with a carrier oil or water. Tea tree oil can help with nail fungus, treat athlete’s foot, relieve psoriasis, parasites, bites, head lice and so much more! This is an item you will want to keep in your first aid kit at all times.
3) Plantain (Plantago Major)
Some might call this plant a weed, but dont pull it out of your garden as it has powerful wound healing agents. Plantain contains vulnerary, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties making it great for speedy recovery of redness, burns, swelling, scratches, stings and bites. When used as a poultice, the leaves have the ability to pull the poisons from stings and bites and dramatically decrease the redness, swelling, and pain. Studies show that using plantain as an ointment can help reduce pain and swelling from burns.
4) Chickweed (Stellaria Media)
Chickweed is incredibly soothing when applied to the body and used for skin care. It also contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and emollient properties beneficial for healing cuts, wounds, itchiness and irritation. Chickweed can treat a wide variety of skin conditions when used as an ointment, including chapped skin, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Studies have demonstrated that chickweed contains major antioxidants including phytosterols, tocopherols, triterpene saponins, coumarins, and flavonoids which have the ability to fight oxidative stress that can cause inflammation.
5) Arnica (Arnica Montana)
These large yellow and orange flowers are one of the best remedies to help reduce pain and inflammation for bruises and sprains when applied topically. Arnica contains active properties called sesquiterpene lactones and helenalin that have been largely studied and shows how the anti-inflammatory effects help with pain and inflammation. Use as a spray on the affected area making sure there are no open wounds.
**This list of common herbal supplements for skin care is for informational purposes only. Talk to your Doctor, Naturopath or Health Care Provider to discuss specific medical conditions or symptoms or if you are taking prescriptions.