By Jenny Redding D.Ac
Do you know what the largest organ in the body is? Here are a couple hints; you wear it as a sweater to your muscles. It has a wide spectrum of colours. It’s dry in the winter and sticky in the summer. Got it?? YESSSSSS your skin!! Good!! From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach healthy skin starts from the inside out. There is a growing number of miracle products out there on the market claiming they can give you amazing, smooth, wrinkle free skin! It’s a multi-billion dollar industry in the west, yet most of these products contain harsh chemicals or drugs that have nothing to do with getting to the root of the problem. For some these products can actually make the problem even worse. In TCM we use products that are commonly found in flowers, trees and gardens. Dermatology is a speciality of TCM, we look at the internal problem which then allows the skin on the outside to clear up. Many times we feel that our dry skin is caused by external forces, but in reality it can be an imbalance of your yin or yang, your Qi or energy could be blocked causing manifestations on the body like dry skin, eczema, hives etc. Once we open the blockages the Qi can flow!
To specifically help with dry skin in TCM we would focus mainly on strengthening ones immune system to decrease the body’s sensitivity to the cold and other negative environmental hazards. Also, we like to remove any imbalances or blockages via acupuncture which helps the body to eliminate toxic build ups that can cause itchy, red, hot skin. Then a herbal remedy or salve to repair the damaged skin. Several herbs are especially useful in skin care, within the methodology of Traditional Chinese Medicine some herbs are blood purifiers, some are diuretics that help cleanse the body, some are immune boosting and others are specifically for skin healing. I am going to specifically look at two skin healing herbs. Calendula is a great all natural moisturizer for dry skin. It has antiseptic, anti fungal, anti- inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which make it a great option for treating skin infections. It helps to reduce inflammation in skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis and it is mild and soothing. Perfect for skin that is irritated. The vivid colors of its petals come from nineteen different carotinoids, each of which is a powerful anti-oxidant. Beauty Benefits Of Calendula – Reduce fine lines and improve elasticity – Soothe inflammation and even your skin tone – Soften rough skin and smooth your complexion – Reduce damage from free radicals and sun exposure – Delay formation of wrinkles – Heal dry, chapped skin and relieve itching
Goji Berries are a berry that has long been used in Chinese medicine for treatment of dry skin. In TCM the goji berries nourish and restore the liver, kidneys and blood. The Goji berry plant contains powerful anti-oxidants including: Vitamin C, linoleic acid, thiamine, beta-carotene, and riboflavin. Good for tightening the skin, adding colour and shine and in general giving you a youthful/healthy glow.
Calendula and Goji Berry Salve- ‘The Wound Healer’
1 Ounce calendula infused oil (fresh calendula flower heads, 16 ounces safflower oil, 32 ounce glass jar. Let sit for 2-3 weeks)
1 Tablespoon goji berry liquid
1 Tablespoon grated bees wax
6 Drops German chamomile essential oil
2-4 Drops Lavender essential oil
1/2 Ounce glass ointment jars. Place in jars and refrigerate to set, apply as needed Excellent for general dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, acute dermatitis.