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This great post about herbs was written by Herb Affair. Go check out their informative blog on everything herb related, including natural remedies, teas and more.

Herbs have been used medicinally for centuries, even millennia and have been a common treatment for skin conditions among other illnesses that inflict both humans and animals from time to time. There is no one size fits all or one herb to fit all conditions. There are a wide range of herbs that will help alleviate or cure many skin aliments. Some of these herbs will multi-task for different aliments working alone or in combination with other herbs. The skin is the body’s largest organ and often an auto immune response that is visible on the skin will present a clear indication of other problems in the digestive system and a compromised gut.

What Are The Most Common Skin Conditions Out There?

Some common skin conditions that present through gut issues are eczema, boils, acne and psoriasis. Often individuals with similar skin conditions will respond differently to the same herb or combination of herbs. The importance of using a trained professional in guiding one’s choices of herbs and treatment cannot be over emphasized. Some herbal medicines can be damaging if used wrongly or in excess or in combination with conventional medicines.

The Herbs

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A few of the most frequently used herbs for skin conditions are cayenne, nettle, garlic, turmeric, clove, coriander, comfrey, milk thistle seed, burdock, slippery elm and calendula. It is only possible to briefly outline the uses of some of these herbs.  One should be aware that the internal and external uses of these herbs need to be carefully monitored by knowledgeable professionals.

The external use of herbs in the form of lotions and/ or creams and how it is applied will depend on the type of skin condition that the patient presents. One of the most common herbs used in lotions or creams is Calendula is an astringent and both an anti-fungal as well as an anti-inflammatory agent and originates from the Mediterranean area and is common in both Greek and Egyptian herbal lore. It is related to the daisy and marigold family of plants.

Aloe Vera

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Aloe Vera is a plant remedy that can be applied externally to eczema and skin lesions. The thick fleshy leaves have soothing properties that are both healing and gentle, making it ideal for children and those prone to allergies. Slippery Elm powder can also be mixed up in a paste and applied to the skin lesions. It is traditionally considered a very appropriate remedy.

Cayenne

Cayenne is another common herb for skin lesions. One of the active ingredients in cayenne is capsicum and this can be used for a variety of skin issues e.g. shingles and psoriasis.  Cayenne stimulates the blood circulation if it is applied to the skin a topically in a cream or lotion, as well as acting as an anti-bacterial antiseptic. Taken orally it stimulates the stomach juices and breaks down proteins and fats, assisting in the treatment of gas and stomach cramps. It is often added to creams or lotions to enhance skin condition along with herbs such as comfrey and turmeric.

Comfrey

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Comfrey is traditionally only used externally as it is quite a potent herb that can cause problems with liver and kidney function if taken long term internally. Turmeric on the hand has many uses and is often used in tablet form to successfully treat eczema and psoriasis. Some of the actions of turmeric are the following: increases the secretion of bile, detoxifies the liver, and additionally it decreases the histamine levels, thus assisting allergy based skin conditions and improves the overall circulation, as well as increasing the production of natural cortisone by the adrenal glands.

These are some of the herbs that can be taken as a tea and they have a detoxifying effect on the whole body. They are Stinging Nettle or Yellow root tea, Licorice Root and Ginger teas. A combination of Burdock leaf, Yellow root, Red Clover, Heartsease and Cleavers steeped in a tea solution three times a day under the guidance of a professional herbalist can be an excellent remedy for chronic skin problems.

The calming effect of Chamomile tea helps anxiety based skin conditions and this tea can be taken internally or applied externally.

Conclusion

The herbs listed here are commonly used in a variety of ways, and not just for skin conditions. It is best always to seek the guidance of a trained herbalist and to do your own research under competent guidance rather than self-diagnose. While a herb may effectively treat a skin condition, the untrained and uneducated person may inadvertently damage their body if they self-treat and use herbs without competent and educated guidance.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92761/

http://www.everygreenherb.com/cayenne.html

http://www.everygreenherb.com/calendula.html

http://www.everygreenherb.com/turmeric.html

http://www.everygreenherb.com/skinProblems.html

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