6 herbs for your skincare apothecary

6 herbs for your skincare apothecary

A humans we have been using medicinal herbs to care for our health for as long as we've walked this earth. The knowledge of herbs that we've built up over these thousands of years is fascinating and a treasure trove to caring for yourself in the most natural way possible. One of my favourite things about medicinal herbs is how they empower you to take some control over your health and wellbeing. They are easily accessible, affordable, gentle and effective.

However, in recent years we have lost touch with the knowledge that our ancestors had about plants, of course it is still available to us, to us that generational pass down of knowledge has dwindled to almost non existent in many cultures.

Building a a little herbal apothecary to care for you and your family can seem daunting at first, so here are our top 6  herbs for you to start your skincare apothecary.

1. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

An amazing herb for fighting inflammation and healing tissue. We include calendula in many topical applications. It is also wonderful for healing inflammation internally. 

2. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile is wonderful for soothing and calming the skin. It's rich in a compound called bisabolol which is valued for it soothing properties and goes a long way to making chamomile a valued topical herb. 

3. Chickweed (Stellaria media)

A personal favourite, due to its cooling properties, chickweed is perfect for any topical inflammation that is also hot and irritating. It's a prolific garden weed, look out for its delicate creeping leaves and dainty white flowers in the garden next spring. 

4. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

We find people are often divided over lavender - you either love it or you hate it. At Neve we are firmly in the love group! It is a powerful anti-bacterial herb and has lovely calming properties for both skin and mind.

5. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow grows abundantly in the British Isles and is easily identifiable by its jagged edged leaves and fragrant flat topped flowers. If you like to forage, you’ll find it everywhere from sand dunes, to meadows, to wasteland. It is traditionally used as a stypic to staunch blood flow and legend has it that it was used by Achilles to heal the wounds of his soldiers. It is astringent and anti-inflammatory, making it useful for oily skin. 

6. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

The root of the Marshmallow plant is rich in mucilage which provides a softening and protective layer to tissues while they repair. It’s very gentle and well tolerated and makes a beautiful infused oil. 

How to use:

When using these herbs at home you can stick to simple, fail safe methods such as teas, compresses, oils and bath soaks.

Soothing eye tea:

This is my go to for bathing hot, irritated skin around the eyes. Anti-inflammatory, cooling, soothing and as simple as it gets! Simply add a teaspoon of calendula, chamomile and chickweed to a tea strainer, pour over some just boiled water and leave to infused until it is at room temperature. Soak a cleansing pad or some cotton wool in the liquid and bathe around your eyes.

You could also try adding the soaked herbs into a muslin cloth and wrapping into a dumpling shaped compress to apply to the skin.

A calming bath soak:

This is lovely for itchy skin, particularly when you're feeling tired and worn out. Add a handful of dried lavender and chamomile, and two handfuls of oats to a straining bag or old sock and place under the running water as you fill the bath. Enjoy your deliciously fragrant milky bath while it soothes your skin.

Anti-inflammatory ice cubes:

Make a strong tea with half calendula and half chickweed and leave to infuse. If you would like a stronger remedy you can gently simmer the herbs in a pan of water for 10 minutes. Leave to cool before pouring into ice cube trays. Now you have soothing and cooling anti-inflammatory ice cubes to hand anytime you need to calm the skin. This is lovely for any hot condition or sunburn.

A herbal steam:

Take a handful of lavender and a handful of yarrow and sprinkle into a large bowl suitable for steaming. Pour just boiled water over the herbs and leave to infuse for five minutes.

Cover your head with a towel and position your face over the bowl, using the towel as a tent. Keep your face around 5 inches away from the water, close you eyes and deeply inhale the fragrance. 

This is a beautiful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory facial steam, it's lovely for easing breakouts of congested skin. We wouldn't recommend this for any hot skin conditions however. You could try adding some thyme, rosemary or peppermint to ease any nasal congestion. 

Always make sure skin is clean before enjoying a facial steam.

An Infused oil:

Infused oils are simple and effect remedies to make, imparting the plant constituents into your chosen oil. Try olive, almond, sunflower, or sesame oils for your infusion. We recommend you try a marshmallow infused sesame oil for a protective and softening oil to used of body or face when skin is raw and dry. Take a look at our Instagram live where we walked through the steps of creating an infused oil.

You can use many of these herbs fresh or dried, but we recommend that you go for dried herbs, then you can store them and have them to hand throughout the year when you need them. 

So there we have it, 6 wonderful skincare herbs and simple ways to enjoy them at home. We hope you feel inspired and empowered to begin caring for your skin and building your skincare apothecary. You can find reels and extra content on our Instagram account to learn more about making these beautiful remedies.

We would love to know if you try any of these applications and encourage you to start your own little skincare apothecary at home. 

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