By 55-Alive! Featured Contributor
Adapted from Healthy Beauty by Letha Hadady (published by iUniverse.com)
Flushed or irritated skin and rosacea (broken or enlarged capillaries near the surface of the skin) can result from exposure to sun, time, hormone changes, irritating skin products and acne medicines, overly hot spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. In a word--life can be irritating to delicate skin. Here are easy ways to protect your dewy appearance. An overly acidic diet and hyper life-style, including insomnia and jet lag, can also lead to these temporary signs of inflammation: Red dry tongue, inflamed blemishes, dry skin, bloodshot eyes, flaky scalp, dull hair with split ends and bad breath. Excess acid exacerbates chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, allergies, certain cancers, chronic bad temper and hot flashes.
Cooling, moistening and highly nourishing foods and herbal potions valued for generations improve our internal reservoir of beauty and promote the rejuvenation of new skin, hair and fingernails, the outward signs of healthy blood. The following foods allow oxygen to rejuvenate skin cells. The diet can be made part of your overall health and wellness routine or used as a remedy after dietary excesses. I've included several skin and scalp treatments you can make in your kitchen.
This practical diet reduces indigestion, constipation, cramps and irritability. Blemishes, ruddy complexion or broken capillaries are signs of chronic inflammation, poor elimination and stress caused by liver congestion, spicy or fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, hormone irregularities associated with menopause, chronic fever conditions, exposure to pollution and harmful chemicals, emotional upheaval or other factors.
If dry, itchy or blotchy skin and scalp, liver spots, bruises, bloodshot eyes, thinning hair, bad breath, and fragile fingernails are long term problems for you, make sure to add some cooling foods to your daily menu.
Cleansing herbal teas that are slightly bitter, laxative and diuretic purify the liver and blood while they help repair jangled nerves. Drink as many cups of the following teas as you wish per day: green tea, catnip, mint, cilantro (diuretic--increases urination), burdock, nettle, dandelion or gotu kola tea. All but gotu kola are slightly laxative. Important note: Avoid laxative herbs during pregnancy.
Nettle has been found to be particularly helpful for pollen and pet fur allergies. You can make a strong tea, using one tablespoon per tea pot or take six to ten capsules daily. If you like the taste of coffee but suffer from its enervating effects, try brewing a substitute made from roasted chicory or dandelion root. Simmer one teaspoon to one tablespoon dried herb per cup water.
Sweeteners and Sweet Tooth
Herba Oldenlandia Diffusa Beverage (Sheshecao Instant Beverage) is a Chinese herbal product available in Chinese stores or by mail-order from sources listed in the back of this book, which looks and tastes like raw sugar crystals but contains valuable cleansing herbs that clear the skin. Superior Sheshecao Beverage, made from the same beautifying herbs, adds powdered pearl. A substitute for this might be sugar cane juice or maple syrup to which you have added ten drops of skullcap liquid extract.
Fennel seeds are also a sweetener that can be brewed as tea or chewed dried all day. They are digestive and slightly laxative.
It is best to avoid sugar and honey because they are irritating. Honey is congesting when heated. That means it turns into an indigestible glue. Remember if you have diabetes or have a vicious sweet tooth, use stevia extract as a sweetener. It rejuvenates the pancreas. Gymnenma sylvestre is an herbal pill known to reduce sweet cravings and support a healthy pancreas. It will not lower blood sugar beyond the normal range and is therefore safe and effective for anyone.
Bitter and Cleansing Herbal Teas
Bitter is better for cleansing acidic impurities--leading to red, inflamed blemishes, irritated and swollen skin or dry and bloodshot eyes.
Aloe is a solace for rough, irritated body and mind. It is given by angels to the desert so that you can smear it on external burns and scars and drink it to heal ulcers, menstrual cramps, constipation, and angry blemished skin. The aloe plant is extremely healing and alkaline, containing high amounts of vitamin E. Its laxative and diuretic action reduces excess acid. Aloe is the best plant to treat temporary bad breath from acid indigestion or nervousness. You can drink the jel straight from the bottle you buy in a healthfood store. Many people like the fresh, clean taste. Or you can add it to apple juice.
If you don't mind drinking a tea that makes your mouth pucker, add up to one quarter cup of aloe vera juice or jel per cup of tea, also taking one capsule myrrh or one half teaspoon of turmeric powder, a natural antibiotic.
You might also add the following cleansing herbs to green teas--catnip, mint, dandelion, burdock, cilantro or gotu kola. Catnip and green tea are especially soothing for ulcers or colic. This can show up on the skin as redness and irritation near the mouth. Dandelion or burdock are especially useful for reducing red blemishes that appear during PMS. Cilantro, the leaf of the coriander plant, is useful for puffy face and body during PMS or other times. Gotu kola is a nerve tonic useful for anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, poor memory and concentration and also nervous skin rashes, especially those increased by sugar and excess acid. Use it daily if you are under stress.
Cooling Grains and Cooking Herbs
The best cooling cleansing grains are those that help the body retain important moisture while they cleanse excess acid. They include oats and white rice. Have them cooked along with your hot cleansing tea from the above list. Season cooked grains with cooling herbs like parsley, mint, tarragon, celery seed, cumin, dill, coriander or fennel seed.
All greens are laxative and nourishing. They contain valuable vitamins and minerals that will help prevent serious problems related to poor calcium absorption. Greens improve your eyesight, muscle strength and flexibility as they clear your skin. The chlorophyll contained in green vegetables is basic to our radiant good health. Greens build blood and bones.
Steam spinach and whip it in a blender with water, adding protein powder or soaked, peeled almonds for a quick lift.
Green squash is cooling and laxative. Watercress, raw or cooked, makes beautiful skin. Try a meal of greens before bed to build blood and clear the skin overnight.
The following fruits can be eaten raw or whipped into spring water to make a refreshing drink: berries, cherries, dark grapes, lemon, mango, melons, and apples. Do not mix fruits with grains or with vegetables.
An Almond Milk Bedtime Beauty Drink
This recipe can be adapted to suit individual needs. If you need more calcium because of arthritis or constipation due to weak muscle tone, add a supplement.
1/4 cup peeled almonds
1 1/2 to 2 cups rice or soy milk
1 pinch turmeric powder
Soak one quarter cup peeled almonds all day in spring water. Discard the water. Whip the soaked almonds in rice or soy milk until blended. Add a big pinch of turmeric and (optional) sweeten with Herba Oldenlandia Diffusa Beverage. Drink this warm at bedtime.
Almonds are an excellent source of protein and calcium. The soy or rice beverage makes a smooth pleasant drink. Neither of them are congesting like cow's milk. This almond milk clears the skin because soy and rice reduce phlegm more than cow's milk and turmeric is antibiotic.
Cooling Diet: A Sample Menu
Hot green tea with aloe
Cooked oatmeal with raisons and optional Herba Oldenlandia Diffusa (Sheshecao) sweetener and oat, rice or soy milk
Green salad with fresh herbs
Vegetable crepes with lemon or cranberry sauce
or Sushi with Hijiki seaweed
Whole grain pasta with pesto or fresh vegetables and olive oil (avoid garlic and onions)
Mixed raw vegetable salad
Steamed bitter vegetables (squash, celery or endive)
Red wine or green tea
Between meals: Aloe, dandelion and cleansing herbs as needed.
Supplements: Calcium, mixed trace minerals with 50 mgs. zinc, 50 mgs. vitamin B6, vegetarian formula vitamins A and D
Before bed: Almond milk or a piece of sweet fruit
A Cooling Beauty Complexion Diet:
Teas: green tea, catnip, mint, cilantro, burdock, nettle, dandelion, gotu kola, fennel seed tea, up to 1/4 aloe vera jel added to teas as a soothing laxative, and natural, non-irritating sweeteners, including stevia extract for diabetes and Herba Oldenlandia Diffusa Beverage available from Chinese herb shops and online.
For skin bruising, simple chest pains, to reduce cholesterol, and enhance circulation and the health of the cardio-vascular system 1/4 tsp. of Raw Tienchi ginseng powder added to water as a tea 1 - 3 times daily.
Cooked Grains: oats, quinoa, amaranth, and rice are cooling and cleansing. Cooked oats are the best for physical and emotional exhaustion and one of the most cooling, moistening grains.
Herbs used in salads and cooking: fresh parsley, mint, tarragon, celery seed, cumin, dill, coriander, or fennel seeds.
Raw and Steamed Vegetables: spinach, squash, watercress, cucumber, and asparagus.
Fruits: berries, cherries, dark grapes, lemon, mango, melons, and peeled apples. Try this breakfast: sliced apple, celery, and walnut salad made with one of the following oils rich in Omega 6 oils: canola, flax seed, hemp oil, or olive oil and lemon juice.
Healthfood Store Supplements:
Homeopathic remedies: Bioplasma a combination of 12 essential minerals in homeopathic form and, as needed, homeopathic arnica 6x to enhance circulation and resolve bruising and pain. Add a dose of Bioplasma to a glass of water and sip it throughout the day.
For External Application
Dermatologists may recommend an acid-based exfolient for troubled, irritated skin and rosacea. The cream usually has antibiotic effects and may give a temporary burning sensation. Here are cooling, healing remedies that you can easily find and use with confidence.
A Natural Fruit Exfolient
Papaya enzyme digests food when taken internally. Applied externally, it refines rough skin. Crush 8 - 10 pills of papaya enzyme with a little water and apply the paste to clean dry skin for up to 10 minutes. Tender skin may feel a slight burning sensation. When you wash off the papaya pack with cool water and pat your skin dry, you will notice pinkness. That is the fresh layer of skin left after dead skin cells have been removed by the natural exfolient papaya. You might give yourself a papaya treatment once weekly unless you have very sensitive skin.
A Soothing Complexion Cream
Vicco turmeric skin cream is made in India but sold in Asian markets and online. It contains cooling, antibiotic turmeric and sandalwood oil. It is a smooth, light cream that can be applied under or instead of makeup for a matte finish. A top beauty stylist I know reports that popular media personalities, including Paula Zahn, use this cream to cool sensitive skin irritated by television's bright, skin-drying lights. It is mild, greaseless, and has a pleasantly light fragrance.
For natural health and beauty articles, recipes, and restaruant reviews: see www.asianhealthsecrets.comand the Amazon Short "Feed Your Tiger: Lose Weight and Love It!" by Letha Hadady found at www.amazon.com