Adding fresh-cut herbs are a great way to instantly enliven any meal. Not only do they add flavour, fragrance and zest to your dishes but many possess therapeutic properties. Herbs have long-since been used medicinally and have health-enhancing as well as natural beautifying benefits. Popular herbs such as mint, basil, sage and rosemary are commonly found this season at your local grocer, farmers’ market or even snipped from your own backyard. More than tasty garnishes, here are four ways you can use fresh herbs for holistic field-to-face grooming.
One of the most refreshing, cooling herbs available, mint can be used for treating skin inflammation inside and out. It is wonderful as a digestive tonic that helps to soothe conditions like rosacea, eczema and acne, which are often linked to poor digestion and inflammation in the G.I tract. But mint can also be made into a calming toner by infusing one handful of mint in two cups of hot water and refrigerating. Transfer this into a spray bottle and mist sensitive skin types day and night after cleansing.
An excellent herb for anti-aging, basil regenerates dull complexions and repairs skin damage. While sweet basil is most commonly found in North American gardens and grocery stores other types of basil are also fantastic for holistic beautycare. In particular, holy basil, also known as tulsi, is a basil family member that is prized for its complexion-healing properties. According to Ayurveda, tulsi is a rasayana – a natural rejuvenator that helps to restore skin tissue as well as is a powerful anti-oxidant. Either type of basil can be added to meals or used as a facemask. Simply finely chop one teaspoon of conventional basil or tulsi and combine this with one tablespoon of plain yoghurt to make a treatment mask. Let this mixture sit for ten minutes so that the basil leaf essence can meld into the yoghurt base before applying it to clean skin. Rinse with tepid water after twenty minutes for a newly hydrated, nourished complexion.
A strong anti-bacterial, sage is known to treat acne-prone, problem skin. This herb helps clarify broken-out complexions and regulate surface sebum. Add fresh sage to warm water and use this as a facial compress or put sage leaves into boiled water to make a clarifying steam bath. To further use sage’s blemish-fighting action, drink as a tea. Sage tea has been used in herbal medicine to rebalance the hormonal system and normalize the output of sweat glands.
A stimulating herb, rosemary. Eating rosemary helps to stimulate blood flow, which is important for feeding and detoxifying the skin. Poor circulation in the scalp and around hair follicles has also been linked to hair loss making rosemary a therapeutic hair oil additive. Press rosemary with a spoon before letting it soak in one cup of olive, jojoba or coconut oil overnight. Apply this oil to the roots of the hair while doing an invigorating scalp massage.