Everyone knows how powerful herbs can be their in their diet, but just how savvy are we when it comes to using them in skin care? I never really thought about using herb-based skin care ingredients until I was pregnant. But it got me yearning for more intel about natural remedies and how they can benefit your complexion.

 

Who better to chat to about which herbs are good for your skin, then one of the biggest herb aficionados I know, Liezel Barnard, Weleda’s naturopath and trainer.

Check out the list of herbs, for beautiful skin, Liezel recommends.

1.Calendula or pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)

What is it: For centuries, the luminous yellow petalled Calendula flower has been treasured for its ability to heal irritated skin. The flowering heads of the blooming plants are used to create calendula extracts in lotions, oils, creams and many other body products. It’s the valuable carotenoids and flavonoids (powerful anti-oxidants) that give the calendula its bright yellow colour. The carotenoids speed up the healing rate of skin and flavonoids reduce cellular aging and strengthen the integrity of cell walls. Plus, triterpenoid saponins and mucilage in calendula have anti-inflammatory properties and help to soothe inflamed skin.

What it’s good for:

Anti-inflammatory – for any inflammatory skin conditions such as redness, sensitivity, skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis and pruritus.
Anti-bacterial – for wound healing and for bacterial infection on the skin such as acne, leg ulcers and boils.
Anti-fungal – for fungal infections on the skin and vagina such as thrush.
beautyheaven loves: Weleda Aknedoron Cleansing Lotion ($25.95, www.weleda.com.au), Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist

2.Chamomile or German chamomile (Chamomilla recutita.

What is it: Chamomile is one of the oldest, most widely used and well-documented medicinal plants in the world. Containing flavonoids (especially apigenin) and essential oil compounds such as alpha-bisabolol and chamazulene, it has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe inflammation in the skin.

What it’s good for:

Anti-inflammatory – for any inflammatory skin conditions such as redness, sensitivity, skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis and pruritus
beautyheaven loves: Weleda Rash Relief Cream ($24.95, www.weleda.com.au), Burt’s Bees Soapbark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

3.Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

What is it: Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University* tested the effect of thyme, calendula and myrrh tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes – the bacterium that causes acne by infecting skin pores and forming spots, which range from white heads through to puss-filled cysts. The group found that while all the preparations were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes exposure, thyme was the most effective of the three. What’s more, they discovered that thyme tincture had a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide – the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes. Thymol, a natural monoterpene phenol contained in thyme oil is responsible for the strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal actions of the plant.

*Society for General Microbiology’s spring conference in Dublin, March 2012

What it’s good for:

Anti-bacterial – Strongly anti-bacterial to treat acne.
beautyheaven loves: Weleda Aknedoron Purifying Lotion, Lush Grease Lightning Spot Treatment

4.Marshmallow or white mallow (Althaea officinalis)

What is it: Marshmallow has been used as a food and medicine since ancient Egyptian times. The botanical name for marshmallow is Althaea officinalis. “Althaea” means “to heal” in Greek, which gives us an indication of how important this medicinal plant was in ancient times. The high concentration of mucilaginous substances (plant gel) in the roots gives marshmallow its calming, soothing, emollient, protective and moisturising properties.

What it’s good for:

Anti-inflammatory – for any inflammatory skin conditions such as redness, sensitivity, skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis and pruritus.
Anti-pruritic – skin itchiness.
Emollient – for dry and sensitive skin.
beautyheavenloves: Weleda White Mallow Face Cream ($18.95, www.weleda.com.au), Sisley Gentle Cleansing Gel with Tropical Resins

5.Pansy (Viola tricolor)

What is it: Commonly referred to as pansy, this European wildflower is made up of large, deep blue or purple flowers. It is thought that the bioactive cyclotides in pansy are responsible for its anti-inflammatory action on the skin.

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