Health Foods - Nutrition:
An Alternative View to healing Acne - The Traditional Chinese Medicine approach.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine most skin disorders are seen in a great part as result of a faulty fat metabolism. And even though the vitality of the skin is related to the lungs in TCM, acne eruptions surface because of impaired blood cleansing by the liver and kidneys.
When these two organs which are - amongst other functions - responsible for purifying the blood become overburdened with waste, the toxins in the blood start to come out through the skin.
So looking at the skin in this way we see that the method for creating harmony and resolving the acne issue takes place on many levels - not just the skin layer. Therefore:
- It is necessary to treat and support the liver and kidney function
- It is important to cleanse the blood and move the waste out of the body.
- It is necessary to make some dietary changes
- It is important to keep the skin clean and free of debris
Let's look at each step mentioned above.
Treat and Support the liver and kidney function
Besides Acupuncture to help the liver and kidneys find equilibrium and assisting the body in detoxing, one of the most common natural forms of treating the liver and kidneys will come in the form of herbal medicines. These are either in tincture (herbs distilled through alcoholic base), herbal tablets, loose herbs that you simmer on the stove yourself, or in the form of a tea.
Because the acne condition is on the surface of the skin, one of the actions of the herbs used is a diaphoretic (causes sweating) which is used to help encourage the elimination of toxins through the pores. Herbs which do this are:
- Sarsaparilla root (smilax officinalis)
- Burdock seed (Articum lappa)
- Sassafras root bark (Sassafras albidum)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Cleanse the Blood and move waste
Herbs that help cleanse the blood through the liver and kidneys & move waste through the large intestine:
- Chaparral leaves (Larrea divaricata)
- Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis)
- Echinacea Root (Echinacea angustifolia & spp.)
- Golden seal root (Hydrastis canadensis)
- Yellowdock Root (Rumex crispus)
- Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
- Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)
- Horehound leaves (Marrubium vulgare)
- And Poke Root used in small doses.
TCM sees the properties of these herbs as cleansing and cooling to excessive heat (liver under functioning and kidney's not cooling) and to dry damp mucous like accumulations (e.g. pus) throughout the blood and lymphatic system.
Often a combination of these herbs will be used in a tincture from a Herbal health practitioner or a pre-existing tableted formula that you can get from your natural health practitioner or health food store.
Also a very easy way to start with herbs (but sometimes slower to work) is having herbal teas. A classic western herbal tea blend for the Skin would include
- sarsaparilla root
- yellow dock root
- sassafras root
- marshmallow root and
- red clover blossoms all in equal parts.
Part of supporting the function of the liver and filtering and excretion function of the kidneys, is also to get the other elimination organ - the large intestine to be more effective in it's release of toxic waste, so you may find that the herbs will help move the bowel, especially where there is constipation. This is a good thing as you don't want the excess heat and damp that you are moving with the herbs from the liver and kidneys to stagnate in the bowel. You want the toxic waste out!
Article by Shauna Kendall