The number one natural beauty tip I can give you is to take your health seriously. In Chinese medicine, we know that natural external beauty is a reflection of inner health and well being. Often, the solution to external beauty problems is an internal one. That means foods and herbs. In the case of skin problems, herbs can be use to create creams or wraps and applied directly.
In Chinese medicine, we treat problems like acne, blemishes, and other skin problems, hair loss, and premature graying of the hair. Some of this you may need to see a Chinese medicine herbalist for, but some of it you may be able to deal with yourself. I'm going to give you natural beauty tip after natural beauty tip to help you do just that.
Natural Beauty Tip #1 - Eyes Lacking Luster
What does it mean? You can see it in babies and young children - bright, glowing eyes. Our oldest Chinese medicine classic (written between 200-500 B.C.) states that "the essence of the internal organs ascends to the eyes." The Bible says something similar, "Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light." Clear and glittering (shining) eyes indicate vitality of mind and essence. Dull, clouded eyes reflect a disturbed mind, and weakened essence - this often happens in people with long term and deep emotional problems.
How can you fix it? Well, first of all, if you have some emotional problems, work through it with a professional- either a counselor, therapist, or someone within your religion. This is one part of getting to the clear, vibrant personality that shines through in bright eyes. It may take a while to get there. Second, you can take herbs and eat foods that benefit the eyes.
Probably the best Chinese herb for the eyes is lycium fruit (gou qi zi). Other herbs are black sesame seeds (hei zhi ma), and privet fruit (nu zhen zi). Good foods for the eyes include shepherd's purse, undried raspberry (fu pen zi), and animal liver.
Natural Beauty Tip #2 - Bags Under Your Eyes
Bags under the eyes indicate Kidney-system (root energy) deficiency, blood stagnation, or allergies. Respectively, the solutions are to increase energy and minimize overwork; get more movement and circulation; and find the allergy cause, eliminate it, and take anti-allergenic herbs and foods.
The Kidney-system energy is limited. If you overwork, have too much sex, or use more energy than your digestive system can produce, you'll dip into this limited energy fund. This can lead to more than circles under your eyes- you can end up with premature aging and hair loss, impotence and infertility, and ankle, knee, and lower back problems. If that's your problem, try to practice moderation, eat better, and take supplemental herbs and foods like black cohosh, Chinese chive, mutton, walnut, oysters, pork, dried rehmannia (sheng di), Chinese yam (shan yao), and horny goat weed (yin yang huo).
Blood stagnation can mean sharpn stabbing pains; clots and dark blood in the menstruation; irregular menstruation; and hard spots in the abdomen. If you have this, try celery, rose, yellow soybean, seaweed, mung bean, corn, eggplant, cucumber, and hemlock parsley (chuan xiong).
For allergies, get both IgG and IgE done for both external (skin test) and food allergies (blood test). If you find something substantial, avoid it! For food and herbs, try garlic, fresh ginger, royal jelly, chicken, beef, chestnut, astragalus (huang qi), kudzu vine (ge gen), and welsh onion (cong bai).
Natural Beauty Tip #3 - Acne
This is literally too much heat - your face has become a volcano just to let it out! Try mung bea, seagrass, seaweed, Chinese hawthorn (shan zha), Job's tears (yi yi ren), and purple sage (dan shen). Avoid spicy foods, greasy foods, and fried foods. Try some raw vegetables, too.
Natural Beauty Tip #4 - Dry Skin
Moistening herbs and foods are soy, spinach, asparagus, millet, barley, salt, seaweed, apple, tangerine, pinenut, persimmon, peanut, pear, honey, oysters, and clams. A seaweed facial wrap would be nice, too!
Natural Beauty Tip #5 - Eczema
Try guava, clam, irish potato, he shou wu, wild chrysanthemum, mugwort, Job's tears (yi yi ren), and asian dandelion (pu gong ying). Avoid spicy foods, greasy foods, and fried foods.
Natural Beauty Tip #6 - Psoriasis
Try turnip root leaf, vinegar, grapefruit, black plum (wu mei), cloves (ding xian), and dang gui (aka dong quai).
Natural Beauty Tip #7 - Prematurely Graying Hair
This can happen for two reasons- either you have a root energy (Kidney system) deficiency (for more information and solutions, see the Kidney deficiency information up under natural beauty tip #2), or you have what is called 'hot blood.' The second one happens with bleeding, nosebleed, skin ulcers, and urinary difficulties. For hot blood, take black soybean, processed dried persimmons, processed rehmannia (shu di huang), and dried rehmannia (shu di huang).
Natural Beauty Tip #8 - Premature Aging
This is another Kidney-system deficiency.
Try walnut, chicken, duck, he shou wu, Chinese ginseng, deer antler velvet (the deers aren't harmed! Lu rong), astragalus (huang qi), lycium fruit (gou qi zi), horny goat weed (yin yang huo), caterpillar larva fungus (dong chong xia cao), and red date (da zao).
Sionneau & Gang. The Treatment of Disease in TCM: Volume 2.
Lu. Chinese Herbs with Common Foods: Recipes for Health and Healing.
Pitchford. Healing With Whole Foods.
Maciocia. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine.
About the Author
Acupuncturist, herbalist, and medical professor Brian B. Carter founded the alternative health megasite The Pulse of Oriental Medicine (http://www.PulseMed.org/). He is the author of the book "Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure" (November, 2004). Brian speaks on radio across the country, and has been quoted and interviewed by Real Simple, Glamour, and ESPN magazines.
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Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc