July 30, 2010
Look to the following herbs in the ingredient list of your topical cosmetic products. Most contain antioxidants that facilitate free-radical scavenging—the first line of defense for aging cells.
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) may protect the skin against ultraviolet light–induced damage. It is also an excellent healer for wounded skin.
German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has anti-inflammatory properties useful for skin creams. Its broad content of flavonoid constituents supports elasticity in small capillaries, for couperose skin (tiny broken blood vessels in the face). Topical applications are generally safe, with few reports of allergic reactions.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a circulatory stimulant and free-radical scavenger applied preventively to reduce cellular and tissue damage provoked by UV radiation. It increases microcirculation to the skin for the management of aging skin and is added to many products for treating cellulite and varicose veins. It also inhibits the formation of scar tissue.
Aloe (Aloe vera) has been used to soothe burns and irritated skin for centuries. This ancient desert plant’s emollient effects are useful for all skin types.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an effective topical anti-inflammatory for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Some studies show it’s more effective when used in conjunction with hydrocortisone than cortisone alone.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an anti-inflammatory for bruising, nerve damage and pain.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an antiseptic burn and wound healer.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) increases skin’s elasticity and is an effective moisturizer.
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