Herbs for the Skin – Benefits of Plant Extracts
Plant extracts & herbs have been used for skin care since the dawn of man. We now have the scientific knowledge to understand what makes these plant extracts so effective, and they remain some of the most proven and safest ingredients in skin care. We are also finding out more and more about the dangers of harmful petrochemicals and synthetic ingredients that have found their way into our personal care products and this is creating a shift as more people make the commitment to only using natural products.
Some effective plant extracts to look for in natural skin care products are clary sage, which acts as a natural toner, chamomile extract, which protects and calms the skin, and aloe vera, a skin protectant which aids the healing process.
Clary sage was used by ancient Europeans in salves and ointments to cleanse and treat skin infections and calm the skin, as well as other medicinal uses. Modern science has taught us that the phytochemicals in clary sage such as myrcene, flavonoids and linalool offer a variety of benefits. The astringent and antiseptic qualities of clary sage make it a wonderful ingredient for skin care as it soothes the skin and balances the amount of sebum produced.
Chamomile has been used historically the world over, from ancient Rome to Costa Rica for a variety of ailments from calming the digestive system to healing wounds. In terms of skin care, it has long been used as an anti-inflammatory. In Germany, herbalists favored this flower for soothing skin inflammations and burns. It turns out that this plant is rich in flavonoids which contribute to its anti-inflammatory qualities. Additionally, chamomile contains bisabolol, a component of chamomile that is high in panthenol which effectively stimulates the body’s healing process.
Aloe vera was used by ancient Chinese and Egyptians to treat burns and wounds and is still used today in a variety of skin care products. It is particularly effective at healing damaged skin and is rich in polysaccharides which offer anti-inflammatory properties as well as a host of other benefits including improving the health of the digestive and immune system. Aloe vera is a wonderful moisturizer which heals damaged skin as it locks in moisture and increases the availability of oxygen to the skin.
Plant extracts are not to be discredited in the days of modern science; modern science is merely rediscovering what humans have known for centuries. Fortunately, we now have the ability to know what it is in each of these plants that makes it so beneficial.