Several controlled scientific studies have shown statistically significant antibacterial benefits of aloe vera. Other studies have shown statistically significant improvement in skin symptoms when aloe vera has been used in the treatment of radiation ulcers, burns, and frostbite injuries in animals.
In 1953, Drs. C.C. Lushbaugh and D.S. Hale found that treatment with aloe vera sped up the repair of skin ulcers caused by radiation in rabbits. It took less than half the time for the aloe-treated ulcers to heal as compared with the untreated group. Drs. S. Goff and I. Levenstein in 1964 found that aloe vera helps surgical wounds in mice to heal more quickly for the first two weeks after surgery. In a related study in 1994, Dr. EM. Strickland and colleagues at the Department of Immunology of the University of Texas and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, found that aloe vera gel extract spread on the skin of mice exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation lessened the degree of UV-induced immune suppression.
In 1964, Dr. L.J. Lorenzetti and others found that aloe juice significantly inhibited the growth of four strains of virulent bacteria in the lab. Similarly, in 1982, Dr. M.C. Robson and others found that aloe vera extract killed two strains of clinically important bacteria.
In 1982, Dr. Robson and Dr. J.P. Heggers found that aloe vera increases the blood supply to the second layer of skin, the dermis. This speeds healing by bringing in vital nutrients and removing dangerous toxins. The researchers also found that aloe vera decreases tissue destruction after a burn, and that it can increase survival in white rabbits with frostbite injuries by a statistically significant amount. In seven independent studies done from 1968 to 1982, four pharmacologically active ingredients were identified in aloe vera that together reduce the pain, itching, and inflammation of a rash.
Thus, aloe vera has been proven to be an important antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that speeds the healing of all kinds of wounds, burns, and ulcers. Aloe vera gel is one of the most common botanical additions to first-aid creams, moisturizers, and shampoos.
Calaguala Fern and Pine Tar Products
Calaguala fern, known to the Mayan people since 350 BC for its use in dry, itchy skin and scalp problems, has been combined with pine tar, a European remedy with similar uses. Skin creams, bath products, soaps, shampoos, and conditioners have been made from this combination and are very helpful for dry, itchy skin and scalp problems.
Calendula (or pot marigold), with its deep yellow and orange flowers, is one of the best all-around skin remedies, good for minor cuts and burns, insect bites, dry skin, and acne. Calendula blossoms have antibacterial and antiviral properties, soothe inflammation, and speed wound healing. Therefore, it is simultaneously potent and gentle, which makes it very useful for all skin types. Calendula tea can be used as an astringent facial rinse two or three times a day for acne. More convenient preparations are available over the counter as salves, creams, oils, and lotions.
Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory agent that soothes the skin when used topically and soothes the bowels when taken internally. It also has a gentle tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system, and soothes nervous tension and irritability. It is often used for eczema and psoriasis. Generally, it is best taken three times a day as a great-tasting apple-scented herbal tea made from its flowers. Or a clean cloth can be soaked in the chamomile tea and applied to the areas of inflamed skin for fifteen minutes four to six times a day. Chamomile also forms the base for many moisturizers, under-eye therapies for puffiness and dark circles, and many soap and shampoo combinations.
The leaves and roots of comfrey have been used for centuries to treat cuts, burns, and other wounds. Comfrey contains allantoin, a compound that is quickly absorbed through the skin to stimulate healthy cell growth. It also has astringent and soothing actions. Comfrey is a very common ingredient in over-the-counter and prescription skin-healing salves and ointments. Comfrey poultices, made from powdered comfrey root and hot water mixed to make a thin paste that is spread on a cloth, can be applied on a surface wound. If left on overnight, there is very fast healing by morning. However, since some of the alkaloid compounds comfrey contains can cause serious liver damage if the plant is ingested, comfrey should never be taken by mouth. Also, you should not use comfrey on deep wounds, as an abscess may form if surface healing occurs faster than the deep tissue healing.
Advertisers are using the Internet to sing the praises of emu oil. Not only do they say that it's great for cuts, bites, burns, and the itch of poison ivy, but they also claim that it promotes hair growth by rejuvenating skin and hair cells. It has been combined with other ingredients to make cleansers, masques, shampoos, conditioners, shaving creams, body lotions, and lip balms.
Flaxseed comes from the herb flax and contains those omega-3 essential fatty acids necessary for the proper synthesis of immune and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is useful in the management of skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, which are associated with inflammatory processes. One to two tablespoons of cold-pressed flaxseed oil should be taken daily, preferably with other foods.
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