Mint is an energy-boosting herb that cleanses the liver to give you clearer skin and brighter eyes and drinking mint tea or chewing mint leaves will calm the body and reduce anxiety.
TIP: For dull blotchy skin simply add mint teabags to your bath and enjoy a relaxing soak.
Using mint leaves in a facial steam will liven and refresh the skin. Mint also makes a great revitalising hair rinse, is also great in mouthwash and also helps to treat tired and aching feet.
Sage is a wonderful herb to relax the nervous system and increase energy. The powerful antioxidants found in sage can protect the skin from free radicals and slow the signs of ageing. If you suffer from acne, use sage leaves in a facial steam to fully engage the herbs antibacterial properties. You can also sage in mouthwash by placing 4-5 leaves in a cup of boiling water, cover and infuse for 5 minutes. Once cooled use this healing mouthwash to swish around your mouth.
TIP: Rub fresh sage leaves over teeth and gums for whiter teeth and healthier gums.
To deep cleanse normal skin try this nourishing face mask weekly:
* A few chopped sage leaves
* 1 chopped apple
* 2 tablespoons honey
Use a blender to mix ingredients and apply to the skin and leave for 15 minutes, then wash off with warm water.
Calendula helps to remove toxins from the liver thus promoting healthy, glowing skin. You can eat the leaves and flowers raw in salads and rice dishes or drink hot infusions to increase blood flow and help the body eliminate toxins through the skin. Infuse the petals to make a simple face wash to help reduce pores and clear acne or add the petals to a facial steam.
To lighten fair hair rinse your locks in an infusion of petals or use the infusion to soothe tired feet in a foot bath.
TIP: Skin creams and face washes containing calendula extracts can help to soothe an inflamed and sensitive complexion.
Natural skincare products often use camomile for its softening, smoothing and healing properties. Camomile tea makes the body sweat which helps in flushing out toxins from the body, leaving you with clearer and brighter skin. Put camomile in a facial steam to treat spots or rinse your face with a camomile infusion to soothe, heal and prevent scarring of acne. Using camomile teabags in the bath will soften and sooth irritated skin. If you have blonde locks, try rinsing your hair with a camomile infusion to lighten and add shine to your hair.
If you have sensitive skin try using this cleansing milk lotion:
* Fresh or dried camomile flowers
Place the flowers and milk in a pan and warm gently over low heat for 15 minutes.
Leave for an hour, then strain through a sieve.
Store in the refrigerator for up tone week
BEAUTY HERBS FOR FACIAL STEAMS
Adding herbs to a facial steam makes it a powerful beauty booster.
Herbal steams are a simple and fragrant way to deep cleanse the skin. They help to open up the pores, remove impurities and boost circulation to leave your complex glowing.
In a bowl, cover fresh or dried herbs in boiling water.
Lean over the bowl for ten minutes, with your head and bowl covered by a towel.
Then pat your face dry and dab on a refreshing toner to close the pores.
Use once a week for oily skin, less often for dry skin – don’t steam your face if you have thread veins.
One of my favourite herbs is rosemary. It is great for clearing and brightening the complexion, boosts a sluggish digestion, speeds up the elimination of waste and improves the absorption of nutrients. Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent the skin from damage and slow the ageing process. Use dried or fresh leaves in a facial steam to boost blood flow or use rosemary infusion for dark hair to make it shine and reduce scalp irritation.
Rosemary Hair Mask
* Fresh rosemary leaves
* Almond oil
Steep the leaves in the oil for two weeks.
Strain then warm the oil gently in a cup of hot water.
Apply to the roots, comb through, wrap your head in a warm towel for 15 minutes, then shampoo as normal.
TIP: Hang a bunch of rosemary under running water for an invigorating bath to rev you up before an evening out
Lavender balances, purifies and soothes the skin, and it eases the spirits. Lavender vinegar balances excessive oily secretions, helping to ward off spots – use as a toner after cleansing. Using lavender in a facial steam will help to heal skin. Lavender water helps to ease sunburn and is a soothing cleanser. Try this face mask below.
* Handful of lavender flowers
* One egg yolk for dry skin or 1 whisked egg white for oily skin
* Cup of cream
Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon.
Apply to the face, leave for 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water.
TIP: Drink hot lavender infusions to eliminate toxins and brighten the complexion.
USING BEAUTY HERBS IN FACE PACKS
Face packs help to cleanse, nourish and refresh the skin for all skin types but you must choose the one that is right for your skins needs. The lavender mask above is suited for dry or oily skin once adapted accordingly. Make sure to cleanse skin first using a soft muslin cloth to gently exfoliate, pat your face dry. Then if your face is very dry, smooth on a little almond oil to protect it. Apply the mask and leave it on to work its magic for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with cool or warm water but never really cold water as it can make the skin contract and feel tight. Finish with your favourite herbs and natural remedies
, let your face rest without makeup fore several hours or overnight.
MAKING INFUSIONS AND DECOCTIONS
Herbal infusions use the soft parts of plants – flowers, leaves and thin stems. Decoctions use the woody parts – stems, bark, roots, berries and seeds, which need more heat to release their healing powers.
Put 25g dried herbs or 50g fresh herbs into a teapot. Pour 600ml of boiling water into the teapot, cover and leave for up to 10 minutes. Strain and drink hot or cold or use in beauty treatments, such as facial toners and hair rinses. Store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Pound, crush and bruise the herbs, then simmer with water in a steel or enamelled pan for 10 minutes. You will need 600ml of water to 25g of herb. Strain and use for infusions.