63 Anything Under the Sun: Natural Remedies and Traditional Skincare Natural Remedies and Traditional Skincare, Anything Under the Sun” /> Natural Remedies and Traditional Skincare - Anything Under the Sun

Anything Under the Sun

Monday, July 23, 2007

Natural Remedies and Traditional Skincare

Recently I watched a documentary on the people of Myanmar(formerly known as Burma). An interesting fact that graped my attention is that the women of Myanmar used the bark of Thanaka trees for skin care. It is considered the beauty secret of Burmese women. Apart from cosmetic beauty, thanaka also provides protection from sunburn, helps remove acne and promotes smooth skin. It is a traditional cosmetic and an inexpensive form of skin care. Thanaka cream is made by grinding the bark of the thanaka tree with a little water on a circular stone slab which has a channel round the rim for the water to drain into.

Living in South East Asia, it surprised me that I've never heard of this tree before. So I started to wonder what other natural remedies and skincare products are available from other countries and other societies.

From my Hindu friends, I know that Turmeric is very important as a skincare product for them. Turmeric paste is used by some Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair. Turmeric paste is applied to bride and groom before marriage in some places of India, where it is believed turmeric gives glow to skin and keeps some harmful bacteria away from the body.It also acts as an excellent anti-scarring agent when mixed with milk and applied on skin.

In the Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties and many in India use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts and burns. Whenever there is a cut or a bruise, the home remedy is to reach for turmeric powder. Ayurvedic doctors say it has fluoride which is essential for teeth. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.

It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. It is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer's disease, cancer and liver disorders.

Aloe Vera
My aunt used to apply the sap of the Aloe vera onto her cheeks where she had black marks on them. After continuous use for some weeks, the marks disappeared.

Aloe vera has been used externally to treat various skin conditions such as cuts, burns and eczema. It is alleged that sap from Aloe vera eases pain and reduces inflammation. Cosmetic companies add sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, moisturisers, soaps, sunscreens, shampoos and lotions. Aloe vera gel is also alleged to be useful for dry skin conditions, especially eczema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin.

Mint Leaves
Menthol from mint essential oil (40-90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy. A common use is as an antipruritic, especially in insect bite treatments (often along with camphor). Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains.

Sandal Wood
Sandalwood essential oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as urogenital (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic. Its main component santalol (~90%) has antimicrobial property. It is used in aromatherapy and Sandalwood oil is also used to prepare soaps.

English lavender has a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors, walls and other surfaces.

An infusion of lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites. Bunches of lavender are also said to ward off insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil is said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation: Seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows, and an infusion of three flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water are recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink.

Green Tea
The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. here are just a few medical conditions in which drinking green tea is reputed to be helpful:

rheumatoid arthritis
high cholesterol levels
cariovascular disease
impaired immune function

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots.

Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.

The Latin name for sage: salvia, means “to heal”. Although the effectiveness of Common Sage is often open to debate, it has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment. Modern evidence supports its effects as an antihydrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic. Internally it can be used for indigestion, gas, liver complaints, excessive lactation, excessive perspiration, excessive salivation, anxiety, depression, female sterility, menopausal problems. While externally it is generally used for insect bites, throat, mouth, gum, skin infections, vaginal discharge.

Grape Seeds
In all products grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues, possessing regenerative and restructuring qualities which allow a better control of skin moisturization. It is noted to be especially effective for repair of the skin around the eyes. Used as an all-over skin moisturizer, grape seed oil is known to reduce the look of stretch marks. A light, thin oil, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over the skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils. Grape seed oil is also usable as a lubricant for face shaving. Grape seed oil is reputed to contain plentiful antioxidants.

The essential oil is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries for instance in tooth paste and as major ingredient in some cough syrups. In traditional medicine nutmeg and nutmeg oil were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems.

Tulsi (Basil)
Tulasi’s extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulasi is taken in many forms: as an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal toiletry. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulasi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.

Tulsi is effective for diabetes, by reducing blood glucose levels. There is a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels with Tulsi. Tulsi's beneficial effect on blood glucose levels is due to its antioxidant properties.

Anise leaves are used to treat digestive problems, to relieve toothache, and its essential oil is used to treat lice and scabies. In aromatherapy, aniseed essential oil is used to treat colds and flu. It is being researched for the treatment of bird flu as well. In India, aniseed (Saunf in Hindi) is also used as mouth freshener. It is also used for flavouring some foods.

German Chamomile
German Chamomile is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It can be taken as an herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It is also used as a mouthwash against oral mucositis. It has acaricidal properties against certain mites, such as Psoroptes cuniculi. The primary active ingredient of the essential oil from German Chamomile is bisabolol. Chamomile is also used cosmetically, primarily to make a rinse for blonde hair.

Cloves are used in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminitive, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming is needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen will warm the digestive tract.

In Chinese medicine cloves are used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge from yang deficiency, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, or for vomiting and diarrhea due to Spleen and Stomach coldness.

Ayurvedic herbalist uses cloves internally as a tea and topically as an oil for hypotonic muscles, including for multiple sclerosis.


The properties of Eucalyptus oil include Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antiviral and as a Stimulant. Its many uses include Air Disinfectant,Asthma,Bronchitis,Burns,Cuts,Decongestant,Flu,Headaches,Insect Repellant,Muscle aches,Rheumatism,Sinusitis,Skin Ulcers,Urinary Infections and Wounds.

Chinese women traditionally have taken ginger root during pregnancy to combat morning sickness. Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as "stomach settlers" for generations in countries where the beverages are made. Ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps in the United States in the past. It may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, making it theoretically effective in treating heart disease

A special type of ginger in Indonesia which also known as Temulawak is being used as a herbal preparation and therapy for patients who wish to slim down, detoxification, reducing "winds" in blood streams and controlling bad eating habits.

lemons contain unique flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Because of its high Vitamin C content, lemon has been touted in alternative medicine as a tonic for the digestive system, immune system, and skin. There is a belief in Ayurvedic medicine that a cup of hot water with lemon juice in it tonifies and purifies the liver.

In Myanmar, ginger and local sweet (Htan nyat) which is made from palm tree juice are boiled together and taken to prevent the Flu. A hot ginger drink (made with sliced ginger cooked in sweetened water or a Coca-Cola-like drink) has been reported as a folk medicine for common cold.

Now for some Homemade Skin Care Recipes

Skin Freshener/Soother
Add pulp-free aloe vera juice to water in a spray bottle and spritz arms, legs, back and face.

Skin Astringents
Lettuce leaves
Boil green lettuce leaves for 10 minutes in enough water to cover. Let cool and strain.

5 All-Natural Beauty Aids
Not everything you use to enhance your appearance has to come from a bottle or box.How often do you go all-natural? Did you know you can freshen up your looks with fresh fruits and other grocery store goodies? Some of the most effective tools for improving your looks -- from the texture of your hair to the appearance of your skin -- can be found at the local farmers' market. We’re talking about fruits that are just as good for your outside as they are for your inside.Here are top secret tips for enjoying natural beauty. These tips not only make great sense, but they also can save you plenty of dollars.

1. Squeeze an orange and, using your fingers, pat the liquid on your face. The juice will evaporate quickly and leave you with a radiant glow. Plus you'll have the benefits of the antioxidant vitamin C.

2. Mash half a banana and rub it into patches of dry skin. Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse well. Your skin will be baby soft. BONUS: the potassium in the banana will help erase the dark circles under your eyes.

3. Snip off the foot section from an old pair of pantyhose and fill with one cup uncooked oatmeal. Now carefully tie the "oatmeal foot" to the faucet of your tub (you want the water to run through the oatmeal). Now fill the tub and soak away your dry, itchy skin.

4. Blend 2 cups crushed macadamia nuts with 2 sprigs fresh mint and a half-cup of honey. Mix into a paste and rub over your body to exfoliate dead skin. Rinse and pat dry.

5. Mash a ripe mango with one tablespoon plain yogurt. Add 2 egg yolks and blend. Work the mix into your hair, then cover your head with a shower cap and leave in place 20 minutes. Shampoo thoroughly. It's the ultimate hair conditioner!

Homemade Skin Care Recipe: Skin lightening with lemon juice

One of the simplest ways of lightening skin is Lemon Juice. Topical Vitamin C is difficult to store and very expensive too. Rubbing Juice of half a lemon on the face and neck every day can provide very good results. It tingles the skin a bit, especially if applied on clear skin, but the tingling only lasts a few seconds. For added benefit a drink of lemon juice with a glass of warm water and rock salt, can be taken first thing every morning. The results can be seen within 4 weeks.

Juice of Half a Lemon - for application. For Drink - Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice, Warm Water, Rock Salt.

How to prepare:
Just Squeeze the lemon, avoid storing, best used fresh

How to use:
Dab a cotton Ball with freshly Squeezed lemon juice, rub over face and neck, till dry. If tingles too much, pat dry with towel.

Homemade Skin Care Recipe: Lentil paste for excessively oily skin

A small amount of lentil paste either dry or wet, when applied to excessively oily skin is found to be effective in 3 ways. It cleanses, scrubs, and exfoliates skin removing dirt and dead skin. For dry skin this is not so effective and can cause irritation. Depending on the skin tone and irritation you can add some honey (for moisturizing), lemon (for cleansing), neem (antiseptic), milk (conditioner and moisturizer), orange peel (complexion improver).

Basically I have followed the above with honey and lemon juice once a morning regime. It leaves a squeaky clean feeling that stay the whole day. This pack can be adjusted according to your own suitability and availability.

Red lentil (or Indian masoor dal) - a handful. Lemon juice - quarter of a small lemon; Honey - 1-2 teaspoons; Tulsi leaves - a few; Neem leaves - 1-2 leaves

How to prepare:
Grind dry lentil beans in a grinder/blender. It need not be very finely ground. In fact best if some beans are not thoroughly ground. The powder should have a gritty feel when rubbed against your hands. Mix sufficient water/milk to make it a paste. Add lemon juice (too much will make skin dry), honey, crushed tulsi and/or neem leaves. Mix paste with hand to form a smooth paste.

How to use:
Apply the paste freshly made. Do not store. Wash face and neck with warm water pat dry and apply immediately. Let the mask dry completely before removing with lukewarm water. Use a gentle scrubbing motion while removing mask. Pat dry and feel the difference.

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posted by Bubbles at 9:25 AM


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