Best Herbs for Beauty Skin – Glowing Skin Using Herbs
I have three basic beliefs about skin and beauty care. It is important that you understand my perspective, even if you don’t agree—at least not yet! Here’s what I believe, in order from easiest to hardest to accept:
* It is relatively easy to agree with me that too many American women put too many synthetic chemicals on their faces, hair, hands, breasts, legs, you name it. Some government experts have estimated up to 200 chemicals a day! Not enough of U.S. women know that the skin is the body’s largest organ and, even if they do know, they aren’t checking the ingredients of their favorite skin creams, lipsticks, or makeup very closely—if at all. While everybody wants to look beautiful, it shouldn’t come at any price. Our bodies, especially our skin, need a respite from harsh chemicals.
* The second belief might take more of a leap of faith, or imagination, on your part. But here goes: I believe essential oils have a life force that can be transferred to, say, the skin, when applied. Plant energy becomes your energy. Okay, woo woo, you’re thinking, and what about the fact that plants are killed to make the oils? Typically, the plant is harvested for its flowers or leaves or even stems but it grows back the next season. The harvested part of the plant is immediately processed to lock in maximum freshness and life force. As for the woo woo, I simply have seen too many examples—with my own facial burns, healing stories of clients (including my great friend Gina Belafonte profiled in this chapter), and research studies—to believe there isn’t real life force energy at work.
* You’ve heard my third belief before, or at least something like it: Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder but also inside the heart and soul of each one of us. There’s an old saying that “contentment is the best cosmetic for a woman’s face.” I agree, and suggest we are all happier when there are fewer chemicals and more natural substances in our lives. Think of it this way: Being positive about yourself equates to natural ingredients and self-doubt to harsh chemicals. Add the former, let go of the latter. The Natural Beauty portion of my Healthy Living plan is aimed squarely at accomplishing a new balance in your life with essential oils.
But don’t just take my perspective for it. A short of history of beauty (without the textbook!) can help explain why essential oils are the missing ingredient in your personal care routine. We can all learn from the past to thrive in the future. For thousands of years women all over the world, from all tribes and all cultures, have used plants to preserve their youthful looks, to soften their skin, to embellish, to cleanse, to tone, and to perfume themselves. The expertise of using plants for body and skin care was handed down from generation to generation, from mothers to daughters. There was nothing magical or mystical about it; specific plants were used for specific purposes because they worked. Simple as that, natural as that.
|So-called natural beauty products aren’t always as advertised. Manufacturers might indeed use natural ingredients but in tiny amounts compared to the artificial substances used. You can check out any product’s claim by looking at the label. By federal law, ingredients are listed in descending order, starting with the greatest amount in the product. A moisturizer with a featured ingredient close to the beginning of the list, for example, would have more of that ingredient than any other ingredient. A featured ingredient listed close to the end suggests that not much of that ingredient is present. And while you are at it, you might note that a product labeled as, say, lemon or rosemary doesn’t contain a single drop of essential oil.|
Here are some historical examples of oils that were popular for skin and beauty care :
Native Americans have used the geranium plant as a cure- all for everything from toothaches to ulcers. Since ancient times, geranium has been used to balance female hormones and ease anxiety. But it has been most widely used to treat skin problems, due to its healing abilities. According to folklore, geranium was planted outside and around the home to protect it from evil spirits. That is a tradition that has remained, and it is why geraniums are the most common plants on doorsteps today. It is ideal for balancing your skin, but also for soaking up oily spots and even temporarily tightening mature skin.
In ancient Egypt, juniper was one of the major ingredients used in the embalming process (imagine what it can do for our bodies!). It was also massaged onto the body or used in baths. Juniper oil was used as an effective diuretic to help control weight. In China and Tibet, Juniper was used to prevent infectious disease and to ward off evil spirits.
To ward off the epidemics that occasionally went through their cities, the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians all burned lavender-flower tops. Lavender tales tell of its magical ability to promote states of blissful love and sensuality. Some Native American tribes have used lavender for centuries to heal burns, cuts, and scrapes.
This essential oil played an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, India, Japan, and Malaysia, as a general body tonic, a potent aphrodisiac, and an antidepressant. When the British stopped importing fabrics from India, and started manufacturing them themselves, the British women would not buy the fabric because it was missing the scent of patchouli. That’s what I call a fashion statement!
The ultimate symbol of love, the rose is found on the walls of Egyptian tombs dating back as far as 500 B.C. In ancient mythology the rose is linked and represented by the goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus. These days, aromatherapists revere it for moisturizing sensitive, dry, itchy, or inflamed skin, and for alleviating grief and anger.
There is a popular legend that the essential oil of rose was discovered at a Persian wedding. The royal affair was held at a palace surrounded by a canal. Roses and rose petals were thrown into the water as part of the celebration over a few days, and at the end of the festivities, a layer of essential oil was visible on top of the water in the canal. Smart merchants collected the rose oil in vessels, and a new trade was born.
Rosemary has been honored and utilized in many ancient traditions. In Latin, rosemary translates to “dew of the sea,” referring to the areas where it grows and flourishes. Greek philosophers wore garlands of rosemary to help their memories and sharpen their minds, while Queen Elizabeth of Hungary used rosemary and lavender in her famous facial potion still called Hungary Water. Though it might be part fable and part fact, the special liquid apparently made the Queen so radiant and young-looking that the king of Poland proposed marriage when she was seventy-two. Rosemary is for remembering, and is often placed on graves and at burial sites of loved ones. It is also a wonderful tonic for hair and scalp.
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