Is putting something in your body all that different than putting it on your body? The skin is the body’s largest organ, so perhaps it is worth considering the ingredients in our beauty products as much as we consider those in our food. Some of the most attainable (and common) plants around have a wonderful way of making our skin and hair look their best. So enjoy the purity of nature, and start foraging for your beauty.
– by Rochelle Greayer
The high levels of Vitamin C, E, and antioxidants in blueberries make an excellent exfoliating and nourishing facial mask. Combine ¼ cup of just-picked blueberries, 1 Tbsp. raw organic honey, and 1 Tbsp. organic olive oil in a blender. Mix and apply to face for 5 minutes. Wash with warm water.
Bonus: If you’re looking to get rid of dead skin, just add about a tsp. of sugar to the ingredients for extra exfoliation qualities.
This prolific plant can be harvested while in bloom (look for fields of yellow in late summer and autumn). Infuse the flowers with water for use as a facial tonic to control oily skin, or add them to a bath to firm skin and muscles.
The antiseptic, slightly anesthetic and anti-bacterial properties of eucalyptus make it useful for a variety of ailments. The tincture can be used as a gargle for a sore throat and the oils can also be handy in treating burns and scrapes. Bugs don’t like the scent, so it is also an effective natural repellant.
Peppermint oil is touted to help increase blood flow and make dull skin glow. You have to be careful and test it on your arm first to make sure you aren’t allergic. To make peppermint oil: 1) Fill a jar with peppermint 2) cover with vodka 3) store in a warm place for 3-4 weeks. 4) Strain using cheesecloth and place the liquid in a freezer-proof container and freeze. The oil will rise to the top and be easy to skim off. Place in a bottle and store away from the sun. Peppermint is also good for sore muscles and good foot hygiene.
Soothe skin, particularly from bee stings and other insect bites, with plantain. These strappy-leafed weeds grow everywhere, and the tannins from a macerated leaf will take the sting away and calm the skin.
Yarrow oil is useful for hair and skincare. It is an astringent that is helpful in balancing oily skin and scalps, and it stimulates new hair growth. Add yarrow to shampoo to promote a healthy scalp, strengthen your hair shaft, and treat split ends.
7Rose + Lavender
Rose, with its ability to improve blood and lymph circulation, and lavender with its ability to provide relief from anxiety and stress by soothing the nerves, are even more wonderful when used together. Use lavender and rose to get more sleep so that you can wake up happier.
8St. John’s Wort
The use of St. John’s Wort for the treatment of depression dates back to the ancient Greeks. It can also be applied as oil to the skin to treat bruises and scrapes, inflammation and muscle pain, first degree burns, wounds, bug bites, hemorrhoids, and nerve pain. It should be used with care because it will also cause sensitivity to sunlight.
The cooling gel of the aloe plant is a long-used treatment for burns of all sorts. Some evidence shows that Aloe can also be useful as a treatment for gingivitis, prevention of melanoma, and diabetes control and all of these uses are actively being studied.
Evening primrose seed oil contains significant amounts of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). GLA is used to treat a wide variety of topical and internal illnesses, and specifically to treat eczema and psoriasis.
Try more foraged beauty recipes.
Read the September 2012 issue of Leaf Magazine