Herbs for skin: 10 amazing natural skin healers

There are so many healing herbs for skin we’d have to write the world’s longest blog post to talk about them all. But there are a few superstars of the herb world that we want to tell you about, because we use them abundantly in Mukti Organic Skincare products. A herb is any plant with leaves, seeds or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine or perfume.

Each of the following herbs has been used throughout history to heal just about every skin condition there is. They are all tried and tested for their excellent ability to soothe, heal, rejuvenate, moisturise and balance the natural oils in your skin and hair.

1. Chamomile

Herbs for skin: the soothing properties of chamomile make it a superb skincare ingredient

Chamomile is the ultimate soothing herb, both when you drink it as a tea, and when you apply it to your skin. It can heal inflamed skin, burns and wounds, rashes, acne, stings and bites, bruises and sores. It is, not surprisingly, an ideal ingredient for skincare products. According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, chamomile’s flavonoids and essential oils have a significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy activity, and can also help in the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis. We add it to our products as it’s an excellent emollient, or skin softener. According to a study by L. Bauman published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in 2007, chamomile can improve the texture and elasticity of the skin, as well as reducing signs of photoaging. You can use chamomile tea as a face wash, as a conditioner to highlight blonde hair, or in a foot bath to soothe sore and tired feet.

2. Calendula/marigold

Calendula is the wonder herb for healing dry, itchy, irritated skin, rashes and burns.

Calendula has long been regarded as one of the safest and most effective herbs for skin. It is wonderfully healing for chapped, irritated and inflamed skin, rashes (it’s wonderful for nappy rash), dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, age spots, stretch marks, varicose veins, corns, warts, calluses, bruises, sprains, burns, ulcers, bites and stings. The oil soluble components including the essential oil are especially good at stimulating wound healing. Distillate of calendula can help soothe mouth sores and hemorrhoids. The petals of calendula are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulating. Calendula’s healing properties come from its high levels of carotenoids, and it also contains oil soluble sterols that plump up the skin. Some of the products we use it in are our Balancing Facial Creme and of course our luscious Calendula Creme.

3. Horsetail

Horsetail’s astringent properties make it an important anti-aging herb for skin

Horsetail is also a healing herb for skin, and as it’s an astringent, it has a firming and tightening action on the skin. It can be effective in the treatment of acne as it helps eliminate excess oil from skin and will also help with oily hair. Horsetail has a very high silica content, a constituent of collagen. Collagen keeps your skin youthful and supple, so horsetail is one of the important anti-aging herbs for skin, and can help with thinning hair, sagging, loose or rough skin, wrinkles and premature aging. It words to bind blood vessels together, so skin stays evenly textured, and it also has antibacterial properties.

4. Lavender

Lavender is antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial herb for skin health

Lavender, like chamomile, is one of nature’s essential herbs for skin nourishment and healing. There are over 20 species and many subspecies in the Lavendula genus. Acne, eczema, dermatitis, insect bites, burns… you name it, lavender can help. Lavender essential oil not only smells divine, it is an antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, helping skin to heal and renew itself. The scent of pure lavender essential oil can be very calming, and a couple of drops massaged into the temples can help relieve a headache. You can calm restless children at bedtime or soothe them when frightened by nightmares by putting a couple of drops of lavender oil on the collar of their pyjamas, or add it to their evening bath. Certified organic lavender hydrosol is the first ingredient listed on the label in our Roll-on Deodorant and is also in our Floral Hydrating Mist Toner, among other Mukti products.

5. Peppermint

The menthol in peppermint has a cooling effect on the skin.

Peppermint is a ‘thermoreceptor’, which means it has a wonderful cooling effect on the skin. This is due to its menthol content. When menthol is applied to the skin, the nerve cells sense cold without actually changing the temperature. Just like capsaicin in pepper causes the heat in a chilli pepper to burn your tongue, menthol calms the heat of inflamed joints and sore muscles. It’s a wonderful, minty addition to soaps, lip balms, shampoo and conditioner. When used in skincare products, it nourishes dull skin and helps balance out oily skin. You can also use peppermint to deter insects — crush the leaves onto your skin to deter flies, mites and mosquitoes. It can also alleviate bites, stings, burns and scalds, and best of all, peppermint essential oil has a sublimely uplifting aroma, which can enhance memory and alertness.

6. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is an excellent addition to skincare products aimed at treating acne and oily skin.

Lemongrass is an astringent herb, which constricts the skin, helping to minimise pores and limit oil secretions, which makes it an effective ingredient for skincare products aimed at treating oily skin and acne. Its astringent quality also gives it a temporary skin-firming effect. It is an excellent skincare ingredient as it contains anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, and it can also help prevent skin infections. It’s also a fungicidal, which means it can heal fungal infections on the skin. You can infuse lemongrass leaves in boiling water to make a facial steam, which opens the pores and clears pimples and blackheads. Follow the treatment by splashing cold water over your face to close the pores. It’s beautifully refreshing sipped as a tea, and it gives a lovely, fresh scent to any skincare product it’s added to — in aromatherapy it’s used as a mood lifter.

7. Gotu kola

Gotu kola is an anti-aging herb as it has a beneficial effect on collagen production.

Gotu kola is an intriguing herbs. A perennial plant native to India, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific, it is a member of the parsley family and has no taste or smell. Legend has it that a Chinese herbalist was able to live for 200 years by taking gotu kola. Today, in the US and Europe, it is a popular treatment for varicose veins, and it’s also used to treat psoriasis, minor wounds, stretch marks and burns. It has been found to inhibit scar formation, can help repair connective tissues and smooth out cellulite. The primary active constituent is triterpenoids, which have a beneficial effect on collagen, which we need to keep skin smooth and supple. Finally, studies have shown gotu kola can help heal sun-damaged skin — stay tuned for more reports on this as scientists study it further.

8. Nettle

Nettle added to cleansers helps to deep clean the pores.

Over 500 species of nettle grow worldwide, and it is a common weed in many countries, however few people are aware of the valuable medicinal and healing properties of the plant. It contains a very rich mineral content, being high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, chlorine, sulphur, copper and silica, which is essential to cell rejuvenation and youthful skin. Another of the astringent herbs for skin, nettle can help balance out oily skin and hair. It’s a brilliant addition to cleansers, such as our Gentle Foaming Cleanser, as it cleanses without stripping natural oils from the skin and hair, making it an excellent acne treatment. It deep cleans the pores and helps to remove dirt that builds up and causes blackheads, and it can help clean out infected pores that lead to whiteheads. Added to shampoo, it can help clear up a dry scalp and treat dandruff.

9. Burdock

Burdock contains high levels of antioxidants.

Burdock grows as a weed in North America but is native to Europe and Northern Asia, and can produce excellent results in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and acne. It has not been studied for its use in skincare as much as some of the other herbs we’ve discussed, but it is known to be an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and an antioxidant. Recent studies show it contains phenolic acids, quercetin and luteolin, which are all powerful antioxidants. Burdock is a blood cleanser and can be used to treat dandruff, bites, boils, cysts, bruises, dermatitis. Made into an ointment or a hot poultice, it can provide relief from burns, skin eruptions and wounds.

10. Aloe Vera

Burn clinics have found that aloe vera is 50% more effective for burn treatment than other remedies.

Last but certainly not least, is the amazing aloe vera. Certified organic aloe vera forms the basis of our entire range, so we are obviously big fans. Humans have used aloe vera for skin treatment for over 5000 years. Papyrus texts from Ancient Egypt showed Cleopatra and Nerfertiti bathed in aloe juice to retain their youthful and beautiful skin, while modern research has shown the tremendous healing powers of aloe vera when used both externally and internally. Aloe vera has six antiseptic agents (sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid, cinnamic acid, urea nitrogen and phenol), which provide antimicrobial activity. Researchers have found aloe vera applied to skin has the ability to penetrate the skin’s layers and reach the deepest body tissues. You can apply the gel straight from the leaf to burns and scalds, insect bites and stings and it’s especially soothing for sunburn. Burn clinics have found that aloe vera is 50% more effective for burn treatment than other remedies. When applied to wounds, aloe can quickly stop bleeding and the antibacterial action of aloe stops inflammation. Men can use the gel from an aloe leaf as an after-shave lotion and for a quick and soothing treatment for razor cuts. Due to its incredible healing and rejuvenating properties for skin, we use certified organic aloe vera leafe juice in most of our products. You can read more about it in this blog post.

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