With spring upon us, people prone to inflammation of the skin may be experiencing the discomfort of more frequent flare-ups and break-outs. From an Ayurvedic perspective, problems such as rashes, acne, hives, boils, psoriasis and eczema occur when too much heat accumulates in the body. This can happen at any time of the year, but the seasonal increase in temperature make heat related imbalances of the skin more prevalent in the summertime. Fortunately, the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia offers some wonderful herbs that cool the system and help restore our natural state of balance. Following a daily herbal regimen, along with a few simple diet and lifestyle suggestions, is the Ayurvedic recipe for beautiful, healthy skin.
Excess heat is normally eliminated through the GI tract. However, when the body becomes overloaded with toxins this heat becomes trapped and is absorbed into the blood. The body, naturally seeking to remove these toxins, resorts to using the skin as an organ of elimination. This will usually manifest as some type of skin inflammation.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Healthy Skin
Ayurvedic herbs have been used effectively for generations to restore the normal elimination process while promoting healthy lustrous skin. The traditional Ayurvedic formula Triphala is used to remove excess heat from the system by facilitating healthy elimination. A daily dose of Triphala will:
- Eliminate excess heat from the body
- Remove toxins from the GI tract
- Support healthy elimination
- Promote the skin’s natural healing process
A combination of cooling herbs like turmeric and neem that pull toxins from the blood and minimize the body’s need to use the skin as a route of elimination. These herbs can:
- Detoxify the blood
- Remove excess heat from the system
- Restore the skin’s natural beauty
Ayurvedic herbs may also be used externally to support the skin’s healing process. Neem is an extremely cooling herb that is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. It is available in the following forms:
- Neem soap is great for cleaning and cooling irritated skin.
- Neem oil can be applied to dry inflamed skin.
- Neem powder can be applied as a paste to weepy, oily or oozy skin inflammations.
The use of herbs is an excellent way to restore and maintain healthy skin. Making adjustments to your diet and lifestyle will also help to address the underlying causes of the imbalance. Trying any or all of the following suggestions will accelerate and amplify the results you experience from taking your herbs.
Diet Tips for Healthy Skin
- Avoid consumption of spicy foods
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Minimize alcohol and coffee consumption
- Drink plenty of fresh water
- Favor intrinsically cooling foods like vegetable greens, basmati rice, sweet juicy fruits, coconut, cucumber and cilantro
Lifestyle tips for Healthy Skin
- Avoid getting sunburned
- Wear protective clothing in cooling colors like green, blue and purple
- Avoid strenuous activity during the hotter times of the day
- Exercise in the morning or evening
- Take an evening stroll in the moonlight
- Minimize anger, criticism and hate
- Cultivate peace, patience and tolerance
Yoga for Healthy Skin
A simple seated forward bend is cooling to the system and good for releasing heat from the body. For the more advanced yogi, incorporate moon salutation into your daily practice.
Cooling Breath for Healthy Skin
Shitali Pranayama, the cooling breath, is excellent for eliminating heat from the body. The practice is as follows:
- Curl or roll the sides of your tongue upward into a tube or straw.
- Inhale slowly through the rolled tongue, and then close the mouth and exhale normally through the nose.
- If you are unable to roll your tongue into a tube, lightly clench your teeth together with the tongue pressed against the teeth. The air is then inhaled through the teeth and sides of the mouth.
- Notice the instantly cooler temperature of the inhalation.
- Practice for 10-26 rounds of breath.
Ayurvedic Recipe: Fresh Dilled Zucchini
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 2 T. sunflower oil
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- 1/8 t. hing
- 1 T. barley malt or brown rice syrup
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 t. coriander powder
Wash dill and chop finely. Wash zucchini and slice an inch thin. Heat oil in medium sized skillet. Add turmeric, hing, zucchini and water. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 5 minutes more.