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For centuries, herbs and spices have been revered for their medicinal, culinary and aromatic properties. They add flavor to your favorite dish, garnish chic cocktails and are essential ingredients in many over-the-counter medications.
When it comes to skin care, these healing herbs and spices also serve a powerful purpose – adding scent, function and restorative elements to many beauty products you use daily.
Since herbs and spices are such an important part of day-to-day life in both health and beauty, we’ve picked a few varieties to explore in greater detail.
Yellow Sweet Clover | Lavender | Chamomile | Echinacea | Comfrey | Thyme | Peppermint | Rosemary | Turmeric | Cinnamon | Paprika | Ginger
Yellow Sweet Clover
Yellow sweet clover was used by Henry VIII, which led to the common name “King’s Clover.” The Tudor farmers hated this herb because it overran pasturelands and ruined crops. However, there’s a reason the king was so attached to this fragrant herb; it has been used topically to relieve inflammation, ulcers, wounds and rheumatism throughout history.
Yellow sweet clover is the star ingredient in our Yellow Sweet Clover Anti-Redness Masque. Along with stone crop, this herb reduces the appearance of red, dry skin, leaving your complexion radiant, youthful-looking and even in skin tone. Thanks to jojoba oil and calendula, the mask also reduces the appearance of fine lines.
There’s a reason you can find lavender in various teas and night care products. According to Elisa Kosonen, Best Health Magazine, “the oil in its pretty flowers gives the herb a fragrant scent that provides a calming, soothing and sedative effect.” In addition to its relaxing, sleep-inducing characteristics, lavender also has natural antiseptic properties, plus it assists in stimulating circulation to support your body’s natural healing functions.
Add this aromatic herb to your nightly ritual with our Lavender Age Corrective Night Concentrate and our Lavender Night Eye Cream. The lavender in both of these products softens the look of the skin by replenishing moisture.
Lavender isn’t the only popular herb that will help you ease into a comfortable state of calm — chamomile is another go-to if you want to relax. In addition to its calming properties, chamomile has regenerative and soothing qualities, making this daisy-like herb an extremely effective skin care ingredient.
Featured chamomile products include Herbal Eye Makeup Remover, our Soothing Chamomile Tonique and our Calm Skin products.
One reviewer, Tracie K., said this about the Soothing Chamomile Tonique: “A lovely soothing toner! I bought this Chamomile [Tonique] to use after the Yam & Pumpkin Enzyme Peel. I also often spray it over the top of the Sun Defense Minerals. Its lovely soothing scent is a welcome little spritz any time of day!”
Most commonly known as a favorite cold and flu remedy, echinacea has several other benefits that are worth taking advantage of. According to Best Health, “many studies support echinacea as an aid to enhance the immune system, reduce inflammation and provide antiviral benefits. It’s also particularly useful for lessening the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats and congestion.”
This floral healing herb also protects against drying environmental stressors and works as a powerful ingredient in skin care. We recommend our Echinacea Recovery Cream with certified Biodynamic® ingredients, from our Beyond Organic collection. A smooth cream containing echinacea, yarrow and evening primrose oil, it helps prevent the appearance of problem skin, along with fine lines and wrinkles.
The root and leaves of the comfrey plant have been used in traditional medicine in many parts of the world. In Japan, the plant has been harvested and used as a traditional treatment for over 2,000 years. If you have dry, ravaged skin on your lips, our Rosehip & Lemongrass Lip Balm SPF 15 contains comfrey and was named “Winner of Best Organic Lip Balm with SPF” thanks to Women’s Health Editor’s Choice Awards in 2019. This lip balm is also infused with organic ingredients like rosehip oil, extra virgin olive oil and lavender to moisturize and protect dry lips from harsh climates.
Thyme is more than a delicious food seasoning. This herb has antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is commonly used as a preservative in foods, cosmetics and toiletries. According to Healthline, thyme fights pimples better than many popular anti-acne products, as supported by a U.K. study.
Thanks to its cooling and refreshing scent, peppermint is an antioxidant that relaxes the mind, body and skin. The mint family, including peppermint, is one of the oldest medicinal herbs in European, Chinese and Japanese folk medicine. If you’re after a stress-relieving aromatic product, the Vanilla Mint Hand Cream and Tea Tree & Mint Hand Cleanser contain peppermint and aloe to improve the skin. Along with tea tree oil and calming chamomile, the ingredients in these moisturizing products help balance the appearance of your skin.
Rosemary is another must-have herb for your health and well-being. From easing digestive issues to lowering blood pressure, this nettle-like herb is a powerful restorer. It also holds anti-inflammatory and natural astringent properties that help keep skin looking youthful by eliminating free radical damage thanks to antioxidants.
Our Chamomile Cleanser gently remove impurities with the help of chamomile, arnica and rosemary. This calming and rejuvenating cream cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin that is prone to redness.
In recent years, turmeric has grown in popularity in health and beauty. From delicious dishes to buzzy golden milk and even moisturizers, turmeric is added to a number of items to enhance the benefits for both health and skin.
Coming from the ginger family, turmeric has been used in Asian and Indian cultures for centuries, specifically in medicine and Ayurvedic practices. A spice with a golden-orange hue, turmeric is featured in a number of dishes ranging from curry to stews and beverages. The compound responsible for its health-enhancing benefits is known as curcumin, which contains ample levels of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Curcumin is also rich in phytonutrients and provides added protection to cells by neutralizing damage caused by environmental stressors and free radicals. Applying turmeric topically has been shown to reduce the appearance of dark circles and undereye bags, thanks in part to its brightening properties.
Eminence Organics International Educator Brian Goodwin tells us “these properties lead to an inhibition of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for hyperpigmentation, thus brightening any discoloration caused by exposure to the sun and pollution and fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation left behind by acne.”
Incorporate turmeric into your skin care routine with Turmeric Energizing Treatment. Starting as a gentle exfoliating powder, a few drops of water transform the treatment into a warming and mousse-like turmeric face mask, leaving skin soft and brightened after each use.
Spicy and warming cinnamon is another ingredient used for thousands of years in medicine and cooking practices. Sourced from the Cinnamomum genus of tree species, the inner bark is primarily used to create the spice, but fruit, leaves and tree roots are also used.
While cinnamon is found in a number of regions, the two most traditional forms are the Ceylon cinnamon (which is considered the “true” cinnamon and hails from Sri Lanka), with Cassia cinnamon (grown in southeast Asia) being the most prominently available in North America.
Aside from use as a cooking spice, cinnamon is often ingested in supplement form to manage blood sugar levels and gastrointestinal issues. As for skin care, there are plenty of benefits too.
Brian shares: “When cinnamon-containing products are applied to the skin, a warming, stimulating sensation occurs and is attributed to a naturally occurring chemical in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde and another chemical called cinnamic acid also provide potent antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making cinnamon a phenomenal ingredient to resolve acne and breakouts.”
A skin care product containing the cinnamon ingredient can make your skin feel warm and rejuvenated. Use the Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment weekly to revitalize your skin’s appearance.
Much like cinnamon, paprika is another spice used in health and skin care. Though it might sound like a novel idea to some, applying paprika to the skin has actually been done for hundreds of years.
Made using ground, dried red peppers (Capsicum annuum), paprika is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For centuries, paprika has been a staple in dishes worldwide thanks partly to its nutrient-rich profile: high in vitamin A, beta carotene and lutein. These antioxidants work to fight against free radicals and are thought to promote eye health, reduce inflammation and protect against cancer with the help of carotenoids and capsaicin.
Brian shares: “Paprika is also a great source of carotenoid beta carotene, which can help prevent and treat common signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.”
Similar to cinnamon, paprika is recommended for those trying to manage problem skin. With the properties of both cinnamon and paprika, Hungarian Herbal Mud helps reduce excess sebum, clears pores and revitalizes the look of the skin.
Ginger, known as the root of the ginger tree, benefits both skin health and overall well-being. Native to countries such as India, Japan and China, the use of ginger in medicine can be traced back thousands of years. Used to treat various digestive ailments (nausea, most commonly), ginger is also packed with antioxidants to fight against free radicals. With over 400 compounds in ginger, this ingredient provides anti-inflammatory properties both internally and externally.
For skin care, ginger is a rejuvenating ingredient. Goodwin says, “ginger-based skin care can truly benefit all skin types. For clients looking to target dry and aging skin, ginger can improve elasticity and tone to reveal brighter and more luminous skin. In contrast, those struggling with acne or oily skin can benefit from ginger’s toning and tightening properties. Incorporating this ingredient into a daily routine is a surefire way to experience glowing, healthy and radiant skin.”
Healthy skin is a reflection of what you feed your body from the inside. Healing herbs and spices are just a few of the many natural ingredients that you can incorporate into your diet (and skin care routine) for a healthy body and beautiful skin.
Would you like to try adding some of these natural ingredients into your skin care? Book a treatment with your nearest Eminence Organics Spa Partner and see which products they suggest for you.
This article was originally published in March 2015.