There are crèmes, special soaps, chemical formulas, natural formulas, lotions and gels for the hair, the skin and even the feet. If a person exhibits skin or hair problems that are severe enough they may even get a prescription lotion from their doctor.
However, the mass marketing of these cover-up tools may be damaging to the health and may just be masking larger problems. Despite the popular phrases “beauty is only skin deep” or “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, the outside of the body is, in many ways, a reflection of the inside of the body.
Hair problems that occur in the body are often a reflection of kidney and/or adrenal stress or hormonal imbalance. Hair loss results from adrenal stress either through taking steroids, birth control pills, suffering stress, or being pregnant. Too much hair in the face area or other parts of the body can also be a result of imbalanced hormones or adrenal stress.
Poor peripheral circulation can also cause hair to grow slowly or thin. Lack of sleep, lack of proper nutrients and toxicity levels also can hamper head health. Many herbs, however, can help the body to internally deal with these problems.
Borage can help strengthen the adrenal glands and nettles and alfalfa can boost nutrition and circulation. Red clover, Echinacea, ginkgo or blessed thistle can help remove toxins from the body and vitex berry can help regulate hormonal levels. Catnip can assist with sleep problems (Castleman).
Fenugreek and black seed are also good herbs for the hair as they contain Essential Fatty Acids to make the hair shine as well as hormone balancing elements (Harris). Usually the nails suffer by many of the same things as hair, so any herb that can assist in hair growth or health is usually helpful to the nails as well.
Skin problems are also a reflection of internal health and are often a reflection of overall body and blood toxicity and/or stomach problems. Almost anything that cleanses the blood or intestines will also show a result on the skin.
The skin is also a reflection of the health of the stomach. People who suffer from allergies, acid reflux, poor digestion, ulcers, absorption problems or other digestive ailments will often have skin problems as well.
Usually, once the digestive disorder is taken care of, the skin problem will soon vanish as well. Alfalfa contains eight digestive enzymes as well as numerous minerals and vitamins so it is a perfect herb to assist with poor assimilation in the stomach (Castleman).
Herbs such as nettles, red clover, damiana, pau d’arco, licorice, Echinacea, or elecampane cleanse the blood. To detoxify the body in general cleavers, chickweed, blackberry leaf or dandelion work well. Root herbs like burdock or yellow dock also cleanse the blood, the internal organs and thus, the skin.
Skin problems can also be as a result of allergies, hormone imbalances, nutrition or dehydration (Batmanghelidji). Vitex berries, blessed thistle, nettles and dandelion can all help to balance hormonal levels.
Nettles can relieve airborne allergies and Pau d’arco can relieve food allergies. Alfalfa, peppermint, nettles, red raspberry leaf, yellow dock and many other herbs are high in nutrition and can be taken daily as nutritional support in much the same way one would take a multi-vitamin (Heinerman).
Drinking water also enables the skin to better shed toxins and thus keeps it cleaner. When the skin is dehydrated it cannot shed toxins from the body and skin rashes or breakouts can occur (Batmanghelidji). Flax seeds (Essential Fatty Acids), black seed (EFAs) and sesame seeds (Vitamin E) are also wonderful tonics for the skin and help prevent wrinkles.
Taking two tablespoons (combined) of the seeds mentioned above, every day, is an inexpensive replacement for vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil capsules. However, one must keep in mind that allergic reactions can occur even with natural herbs and products.
People with allergic tendencies should always test an herb or supplement before considering its long-term use. To test an herb, use it for one day to one week. If there is a reaction, stop taking the herb for three days. If the reaction disappears you know you are allergic to that herb.
Healthy teeth and fresh breath can also make a person more attractive. However, toothpastes and mouthwashes are only there to assist with good nutritional habits. One cannot hide bad nutritional habits with mouthwash or a miswak. Bad breath, for instance, often comes from the stomach cavity and not the mouth itself (Yeager).
Proper digestion is then essential for good breath. Chewing fresh parsley or mint can assist in digestion as well as freshen the mouth. Teas like sage, clove or thyme can cleanse the mouth of any infections, which may cause pain or bad breath.
Taking herbs like comfrey or boneset help to strengthen the root & bone structure of the teeth. On the other hand, drinking tea and coffee can stain the teeth and all sodas corrode the teeth (Yeager).
Sugar is probably one of the most harmful elements to teeth. Stevia can be used instead (an herbal leaf that tastes sweet). For people that have sugar problems they can try gymnema tea, which reduces cravings for sweets up to three hours and renders all foods with sugar tasteless.
Bright eyes make one look more beautiful. Tired eyes or eyes with black circles under them can make people look older and less attractive. Blood cleansing or digestive herbs can help get rid of dark circles and herbs like agrimony or calendula can provide a powerful but gentle wash for tired, stressed or infected eyes.
One’s outlook on life and energy levels contribute to how attractive a person looks as well. A person who is depressed or tired may appear very unattractive. Herbs that help to boost energy levels are nettles, eluthero ginseng, damiana, alfalfa, nettles, gingko, or chickweed. Herbs that help alleviate depression are St. Johns Wort, borage, wood betony and/or gingko. Damina, licorice root and eluthero ginseng are aphrodisiacs.
- Batmanghelidji, F. “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water.” VA: Global Health Cures. 1992.
- Castleman, Michael. “The Healing Herbs.” Rodale Press: Emmaus. 1991.
- Harris, Jessica B. “The World Beauty Book.” San Fransicso: Harper. 1995
- Heinerman, John, Ph.d “Nature’s Vitamins and Minerals.” New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 1998.
- Purchon, Nerys. “Health and Beauty the Natural Way.” Chicago: Metro Books. 1997.
- Yeager, Selene. “New Foods for Healing.” Pennsylvania: Rodale Press Inc. 1997.