Herbs and spices may play an essential role in your favourite recipes, but they could also be secret ingredients in your skincare routine. Many spices contain high levels of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and nutrients your skin and hair need to look healthy.
Learn how herbs and spices can fight wrinkles, soothe redness, and keep your skin glowing.
Chamomile to Calm Beard Burn
Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory with the power to reduce redness, itchiness, and swelling, and it's a great alternative to cortisone.
To treat beard burn, steep a chamomile tea bag in boiling water for two to three minutes to release the anti-inflammatory enzymes, then place the tea bag in a small container in your fridge. Once the tea bag is cold, apply it directly to red, irritated patches on your face for instant relief.
Cinnamon for a Glowing Complexion
Cinnamon adds a kick to biscuits and hot drinks, but it's also packed with antioxidants — substances that fight skin damage. Cinnamon has more antioxidant value than half a cup of blueberries. For an easy antioxidant boost, sprinkle half a teaspoon of cinnamon on your coffee grounds before brewing.
To ensure you're using the most potent spices, discard containers over two years old. Store spices in a dark cupboard because heat from the stove and sunlight will decrease their potency.
Garlic for Healthy Hair
As far as home hair remedies go, garlic is about as old as they come. While garlic may not be great on your breath, it's a lifesaver for thin hair.
Your hair follicle needs nutrients to produce thick, healthy hair. When you aren't eating the right ones, your hair pays the price. Foods such as garlic that are high in cysteine, the amino acid that gives hair its strength, can fortify your strands when ingested and have topical benefits.
To make your own garlic hair mask, combine 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder with 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Heat the mixture for 30 seconds in the microwave, massage it to your scalp, and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Green Tea for Sun Protection
Here's yet another reason to go green: Green tea has a high concentration of catechins, which have strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-ageing effects on the skin. Topical green tea can also help thicken the epidermis, speed the healing of wounds, and inhibit an enzyme in your skin that causes uneven pigmentation, which means fewer sunspots.
Studies have shown that using a lotion or serum containing green tea 30 minutes before sun exposure can reduce DNA damage and the risk of sunburn.
Aloe Vera for Sunburn Relief plus more
Aloe vera is typically used when you get a little too much sun and need some relief. However, it is maybe one of the most widely used herbal remedies for face and body skin conditions.
Aloe vera helps to keep your skin balanced, treat scars and marks, cleanse dead cells, and even combat acne. This is all because the gel-like components of the plant are known for their anti-inflammatory properties that can literally heal our skin.
Aloe vera is called the "plant of immortality" and is used widely for anti-ageing purposes. It can deeply moisturise the skin and act as a defensive barrier saving the skin from environmental damage.
The bottom line, its beneficial enzymes make it one of the finest herbs for face and body skin.
Hot Peppers to Fight Wrinkles
Hot peppers like chilli, paprika, cayenne, and jalapeño do more than putting your taste buds on alert — they also defend your skin.
"Vitamins A and C in peppers help combat free radicals, preventing the breakdown of collagen to maintain the integrity of our skin. The colourful peppers also contain capsaicin, which acts like a sunscreen to shield skin from damage caused by UV rays.
The capsaicin that works wonders for skin internally will burn if applied topically. You must ingest peppers to enjoy their regenerative powers. Hot peppers are easy to add to any dish: Try jalapeño or cayenne in guacamole and chilli peppers in curry sauce. You can also make a rub for fish or chicken with paprika.
Red Clover to Ease Eczema
Medicinal herbalists have long used red clover to help soothe the red, scaly, and maddeningly itchy patches of skin that plague eczema sufferers. Herbs like red clover help eliminate toxins in the bloodstream that appear to trigger inflammation.
Red clover can be ingested as a tea or applied topically. If you're going to drink the tea, steep one to two teaspoons of dried flowers in hot water for half an hour, and sip two to three cups daily to reap the benefits. If you want to take red clover as a supplement, 40 to 160 mg per day is recommended. Ointments are also available that contain 10 to 15 per cent red clover flowers.
Turmeric to Repair damaged skin and Reduce Inflammation
Turmeric is one of nature's most powerful and revered spices. It is known for its powerful antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
One of the primary causes of ageing and damaged skin is oxidative stress. Oxidative changes occur due to genetics, smoking, poor dietary choices, stress, sun damage, and illness. Luckily, eating antioxidant-rich foods like turmeric can help fight oxidative stress and improve skin appearance, speed up wound healing and slow down the ageing process.
Additionally, the volatile oils in turmeric possess powerful anti-inflammatory activity, helping to calm inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne.
An anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial face paste can be made to treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Mix 1 teaspoon of good-quality turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and apply to the face for 10–20 minutes before washing off. Your face may turn yellow, so it is best to do this before bed. If there is still a yellow tinge, use an oil cleanser to remove any excess.
Fennel Seed for Inflammation and Hair Care
Another excellent anti-inflammatory ingredient is fennel seed. Great for reducing skin sensitivity, Weiser recommends getting one to four grams per day into your diet.
These spicy seeds pull double duty as a hair care treatment, too. Crush fennel seeds and combine with boiling water to make a rinse that will help reduce dandruff and strengthen strands.
Disclaimer: For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or sell any product. Speak to your doctor before applying home remedies to your skin and hair.