Topical Herbs for Skin Problems

From cuts and bruises to arthritis and varicose veins, you can use topical herbs for skin problems to benefit a variety of ailments.

| July/August 2006

Learn how you can heal your skin naturally using these topical herbs for skin problems.

Herbal Remedies

Calendula Salve Recipe
Calendula Athlete’s Foot Recipe
Cayenne Oil Topical Application Recipe
Comfrey Sitz Bath Recipe
Cooling Witch Hazel Spray Recipe

Topical Herbs for Skin Problems

Peruse the aisles of any drugstore and it’s clear that athlete’s foot, hemorrhoids and aching backs are big business. Throughout the centuries, people have experimented with a variety of remedies to soothe these kinds of irritating health problems. As it turns out, numerous plants contain healing compounds that provide exactly the relief needed. In fact, many of these remedies work so well that a significant number of over-the-counter topical drugs rely on medicinal herbs for their pain-relieving, healing and soothing effects. For example, some sunburn lotions contain aloe to cool and heal the skin; creams to relieve arthritis pain often depend on capsaicin from cayenne peppers; and salves for healing and preventing diaper rash commonly include allantoin, the active compound found in comfrey.

You’ll find here some of the most effective herbs for topical use. All have a long history of use for healing—some dating back to the dawn of civilization. In addition, many of these herbs are gaining the support of science because of research studies that support the herbs’ traditional uses.

Aloe (Aloe vera)

The succulent aloe plant has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, burns, eczema and psoriasis. Some researchers believe that the polysaccharides (large complex sugar molecules) in aloe are responsible for the plant’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Easy to grow indoors, an aloe plant is a valuable herbal ally.

Burns, wounds, eczema, psoriasis: Remove an outer leaf from the plant, slice it lengthwise, and apply the clear thick gel inside the leaf to the skin two to three times daily.

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