Chinese herbs are an exceptional source of modern drugs and therapy cosmetics, provided one knows where and how to look. To those that aren’t familiar with it, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is mysterious and full of”mumbo jumbo,” because its practice and theory are steeped in esoteric terminology.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Terms such as qu feng (wind dispelling), qing re (heat removing or dispersing), xie (evil), and yi qi (replenishing vital energy) are certainly tough to comprehend, though others such as jie du (removing toxins), sheng ji (growing muscles/flesh),ming mu(brightening vision), and an shen (calming the soul ) are more evident.

The terminology might seem archaic and at times downright superstitious, however, the TCM system has developed over several centuries in a logical manner. One just hasto see it form another perspective. Then it’ll make sense.

Although I never had formal training in TCM, my research previously 20 years has allowed me to determine a couple of things, particularly in the correlation between conventional properties and contemporary scientific findings, in addition to in calling an herb’s pharmacological actions by assessing its traditional properties. Thus, an herb with qu feng properties probably has anti inflammatory action, such as Job’s tear, wu jia pi (bark of many Eleutherococcus spp.) , ginger, du huo (Angelica pubescens root), and a lot of other less commonly known ones. Herbs with qing re jie du (heat dispersing and detoxifying) properties generally possess antimicrobial and febrifuge consequences. Examples contain honeysuckle (flower and blossom ), forsythia fruit, purslane herb, chuan xin lian (Andrographis paniculata herb), yu xing cao(Houttuynia cordata herb), etc.

Herbs Beneficial to Skin

Many herbs are beneficial to the skin and are used both internally and externally for this function. They normally have at least one of the following traditional properties: benefits/improves complexion, eliminates heat, eliminates toxins, eliminates swelling, invigorates/nourishes blood, lightens skin, moistens the skin/removes dryness, prevents scar formation, promotes flesh development, etc..

The following are a few common ones: lycium fruit, ligustrum, astragalus, licorice, Chinese hawthorn, sanqi (Panax notoginseng), reishi (ganoderma), common jujube, red and white peony root, luffa, safflower flower, Sichaun lovage (Ligusticum chuanxiong rhizome), gaoben (Ligusticum sinense root/rhizome), etc.

Astragalus, licorice, and sanqi are famous for their curative properties. Either alone, or in combination, they can be utilised in a variety of forms (powder, extracts, etc.) for treating wounds, chapped skin, bruises, dry skin, skin peeling, and other minor skin irritations. You could also increase the formula one or two of the anti inflammatory and antimicrobial herbs, such as xinyi (magnolia flower bud), purslane herb, honeysuckle flower, or forsythia fruit.

In TCM, Sichuan lovage, gaoben, ligustrum, and Chines hawthorn are used topically to treat brown patches on the skin. The former two have been proven to possess tyrosinase inhibitory activity, scientific evidence suggesting that these herbs may block excessive pigmentation of the skin.

Herbs for the Skin

The after are derived from two brief reports from my document describing consequences of using Chinese hawthorn and sanqi for curing brown patches and chapped skin, respectively.

Sanqi

Sanqi (Panax notoginseng) powder for treating badly chapped skin. In addition to other effects (immunomodulating, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, etc), sanqi is recognized for its hemostatic and wound-healing properties.

Method: Mix 30g of sanqi powder well with an adequate number of sesame oil to form a uniform paste, put it in a sealed clean container, and reserve for later use. Soak the affected areas with hot but tolerable water for 10-20 minutes before implementing the oily paste. Do that 3-4 times per day for 30 days. Results: After treatment, with no recurrence after more than one year; or revealed improvements, with longer intervals between recurrences, which responded to the identical treatment.

The speediest response was 3 months and the maximum 7 weeks, with a mean of 3.7 weeks. It is advised that the paste be also used as a preventative by applying it to affected areas once every 1 to 2 days.

Sanqi or tienchi ginseng is easily available in almost any Chinese herb shop. It comes in spindle-shaped whole roots, 2-4 cm long and 1-3 cm in diameter, and is quite hard. Unless you’ve got a Chinese bronze mortar and pestle with a lid, it’s hard to powder this herb. You may have to break it up witha hammer initially and then grind it into a sturdy coffee mill.

You can purchase shanzha from any Chinese herb shop and likely many food markets in Chinatown. But make sure to find the dried raw type (usually in twisted pieces of 1-2 cm in diameter and approximately 0.5 cm thick), rather than the shanzha candy that comes in thin wafers stacked 3-4 cm high and wrapped in paper. If the raw shanzha isn’t dry enough for grinding, you can dry it in the oven at low heat until it’s brittle.

Chinese hawthorn

Chinese hawthorn (sanzha) for treating facial brownish patches (melasma). With melasma, afflicting mainly the forehead and cheeks, and less so the nose and upper lip.

Shortest length of illness was 5 months and maximum 12 years. Method: Grind 300gram of dried raw shanzha to fine powder and reserve for later use. Wash face with warm water and wipe dry with towel. Mix 5g of shanzha powder having an adequate number of fresh egg white to form a paste and apply it to your face to form a thin film. Let it sit for 1 hour, during which time the face could be massaged to help the herb’s absorption. Do this once in the morning and once at night.

Results: After treatment, pigmentation vanished, whose skin colour had returned to normal; it turned lighter. A case example was described for a 23-year-old single woman with melasma on her cheeks, which had been unsuccessfully treated for 6 weeks and had begun to spread to her forehead and bridge of the nose. After 2 classes of shanzha therapy (120 applications; two months), the patient’s melasma was completely solved.

In western medical practice, melasma is usually treated with bleaching agents such as hydroquinone, which is quite harsh. Chinese hawthorn fruit hasn’t been proven to be toxic and is a frequent food and medicine. If it does not work, it certainly will not hurt.