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The general herbal approach to maladies of the skin, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne,  is to detoxify the other primary organs of detoxification – the liver, kidneys, and colon – along with the lymphatic system, so that the skin can function better.  The idea is that the skin manifests imbalances from within the body and is not acting on its own but rather as part of a system.  Other herbs are used to help reduce inflammation, since many skin disorders are inflammation-based.
The herbs in the Healthy Skin Tea are herbs that detoxify, reduce inflammation, and also help support healthy skin in general by adding minerals and other nutrients that help support the function of the skin and the body in general, while promoting repair and regeneration.
The primary liver herbs in this formula are burdock root, yellow dock root, and Oregon grape root.  These herbs all help detoxify the liver, while the Oregon grape root also helps reduce inflammation and has some antibacterial actions.  Yellow dock also is a mild laxative and can help support healthy colon function.  Detoxifying the liver can also help balance hormones, as the liver metabolizes many of the hormones in our body.
Red clover blossoms act as an alterative, or blood purifier, helping to “open the channels of elimination” and clear the skin through doing so.  They act as a mild lymphagogue (lymph mover) as well as adding minerals and nutrients that nourish skin.
Calendula flowers act as an anti-inflammatory and lymphagogue, making them very beneficial for skin health.
Nettle leaf is mineral-rich, a mild kidney tonic and detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine.
Horsetail adds minerals, such as silica, that nourish skin, hair, and nails.
Gotu kola is very mineral-rich as well, while adding anti-inflammatory properties and supporting collagen synthesis and skin repair.
Contains: red clover blossoms, Oregon grape root, burdock root, yellow dock root, nettle leaf, calendula flowers, horsetail, and gotu kola.

Oh, allergy season – for allergy sufferers, the herald of spring is not one of joy.  There are many tools for relief, however, especially when one can prepare ahead of time and start taking anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory herbs or other nutrients (quercetin, local honey/bee pollen, vitamin C, etc.) that support the body and hopefully help reduce or avoid the hyper-immune reaction that leads to pollen and other allergies.  This tea is a combination of some of the most useful herbs for this purpose.  Nettle leaf and dandelion leaf are classic spring tonics, full of minerals and nutrition, while helping move fluid through the kidneys.  Nettle leaf also has anti-histamine effects, meaning it helps stabilize the mast cells that release histamine that in turn causes the runny nose, itchy eyes, etc. that are the hallmarks of this condition.  Yerba santa is a decongestant, that lessens secretions from the sinuses and lungs and has some anti-histamine effects as well.  Green tea is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and the caffeine can help open the airways.  Hawthorn leaf and flower are known to have anti-histamine effects, while also having a calming effect on the nervous system and a strengthening effect on the heart and the circulatory system.  Goldenrod is a great anti-inflammatory and a diuretic.
The best approach is to drink several cups of this tea a day, at 1 Tbsp/cup hot water for 15 – 30 minutes.  Drink for a couple of weeks leading up to when allergies generally start, and/or once allergy symptoms begin.
Other options are to take freeze-dried nettle capsules or a combination of nettle & quercetin (a anti-histamine flavonoid).  Adrenal tonics can also be helpful, such as devil’s club or eleuthero.  Local honey and bee pollen can also be really helpful, sort of inoculating the person against the pollens in the area.
Contains: nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, yerba santa, green tea, hawthorn leaf & flower, goldenrod, and sassafras.

 

Nettle (Urtica dioica) may well be my favorite herb, and is certainly one of my best and most consistent sellers are Herban Wellness.  An herb high in chlorophyll, minerals and vitamins, the leaf also acts as a diuretic, helping to move fluid through the kidneys, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine, helping to relieve the symptoms of allergies.  I have combined this nutritious and tonifying (overall strengthening) herb with lemon balm, a fantastic calming mint-family plant, spearmint, and peppermint, all of which are also high in minerals and vitamins, and have the added benefit of cooling and refreshing.  Steep this mixture overnight in hot or cold water, strain or press out the plant material, and store in the fridge or pour over ice for a hydrating, electrolyte-replenishing, and refreshing beverage.
Contains Nettle leaf, Lemon balm, Spearmint, and Peppermint

A plant that grows abundantly and well in the Pacific Northwest, many people are familiar with it only because of its sting (its other name is Stinging Nettle).  This “sting” comes from little hairs that cover the stem and much of the leaves of this plant and when brushed against or grabbed will impart formic acid to the skin, which causes a mild burning/stinging sensation that can last for hours.  When dried, it loses much or all of this property, and when cooked or made into a tea or extract, it loses this effect entirely, which is why we can use it in food and medicine.
I like to describe nettle as a “dark, leafy green.”  It can be added to soups, stir fries, baked into lasagna, made into pesto, etc. when collected (carefully) fresh.  It is very high in minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium, which when consumed in food or as a “long infusion”, which means soaked in either hot or cold water overnight or at least 4 hours, strained, and drank, the many minerals are in the liquid and can be readily absorbed and utilized by the body in this form.
Traditionally, the leaf has been used as a kidney tonic and diuretic, helping to move fluid, lessen edema, to break up stones, and ease discomfort in the kidneys or bladder.  It has also been used as an anti-inflammatory, by inhibiting prostaglandin formation , for helping with the pains of arthritis and other joint inflammation or injuries to tendons, ligaments, or muscle.  Nettle leaf also has an antihistamine effect, particularly when it is freeze-dried, so can help with the effects of seasonal and other air-born allergies, helping with hives and other allergic skin reactions.
Nettle leaf is considered a “tonic” herb in herbal medicine, meaning that it is strengthening and beneficial for the body over time.  It is a nutritionally-rich herb and a useful medicine.
The nettle root also has an affinity for the urinary tract, and is particularly used for its positive effect on prostate health.  It helps reduce inflammation, inhibits the growth of prostate cells, and can help with urine flow and comfort.   Nettle root appears to interfere with the formation of the stronger-acting testosterone, which is linked to prostate inflammation, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia.

A tea designed with the fresh green growth of Spring in mind.  Nettle, Cleavers, and Dandelion leaf are all experiencing fresh new growth in the woods and fields around us.  These herbs are mineral rich and gently detoxifying, particularly to the kidneys, helping move the stagnation from winter. Add the green antioxidant, metabolism-boosting properties of Green Tea, and the herbs Yerba Santa, Nettle, and Goldenrod which help reduce the histamine reaction and the inflammatory response of seasonal allergies.  Yerba santa can help break up congestion and mucus and tone/tighten the sinus membranes, a beneficial effect for allergies.
Contains: Nettle leaf, Dandelion leaf, Green tea, Yerba Santa, Sassafras, Cleavers, Goldenrod, and Hawthorne leaf & flower.