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Feed Your Skin: How Chinese Medicine Enhances Your Beauty From The Inside Out

We recently made predictions about the hottest Chinese medicine trends you’ll likely see in 2020 and beyond. One trend that was briefly mentioned that you’re going to see is the explosion of skin care and beauty products that contain Chinese herbs. In this post, we’ll expand on this prediction. 

For most people in the West, skin care, anti-aging and beauty mainly involves the use of topical (external) products. Think: creams, lotions, serums, masks, Botox surgery, etc.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with natural topical beauty products. However, in the west, most skin care products contain isolated compounds such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. In comparison, whole extract Chinese herbs contain hundreds if not thousands of active compounds. 

Chinese herbs are included in everyday skincare products such as acne treatments and beauty masks

And as the influence of traditional Chinese medicine continues to grow, we expect more beauty brands will offer ingestible products that contain Chinese herbs. 

Certainly, the trend has already begun. According to the Singapore-based online magazine, Today Online, Chinese herbs are included in everyday skincare products such as acne treatments and beauty masks.

We decided to explore some of these new products that contain Chinese herbs and see how similar ActiveHerb products compare…

Schisandra: The Anti-Aging Chinese Herb Celebrities Are Hyping

Schisandra chinensis, or simply, schisandra, is a plant with “high potential for beneficial health effects, confirmed by molecular studies,” says a study in the journal, Nutrients. Compounds in schisandra were shown to protect human fibroblasts (cells that produce the skin’s connective tissue matrix) from UV radiation. Other compounds in this plant demonstrate anti-aging effects ostensibly because of their anti-inflammation actions. 

You may never have heard before that schisandra is an anti-aging ingredient. However, celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow praise it as a “beautifying stamina booster,” suggests Today Online. Moon Juice, a trendy, Los Angeles-based company sells a relatively tiny 1.4 oz/41 gram tub of ingestible Schisandra powder for $42 plus shipping (21 servings). 

In comparison, ActiveHerb offers Schisandra extract granules (great for making instant herbal tea) in a 100 gram bottle, which yield up to 200 servings, for only $36.

How does consuming Schisandra work for anti-aging? 

From a TCM theory perspective, Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra’s Chinese name) tonifies Qi, generates fluids and tonifies the Kidneys. What do these actions have to do with enhancing beauty from the inside out? 

The aging process creates weakness in the Kidney organ system. Consequently, the production of Qi (overall energy), Blood and other fluids declines. (From a western perspective, a decline in fluid production can negatively affect the sebaceous oil glands, producing dry, aged-looking skin.)

Schisandra also impacts the Spleen organ system. The Spleen, in TCM theory, is the primary organ for transforming nutrients from food into Qi. If you have deficient Qi, then there isn’t enough blood to nourish skin tissue. In addition, blood stagnation and internal phlegm can accumulate, further leading to visible signs of again.

Herbal Acne Treatment

Today Online also references another popular skin health product that’s comprised of Chinese medicinal herbs: Zilch Acne Formula. Zilch is based in Australia, and its acne-fighting product retails for $139 AUD (roughly $95 USD). 

Compare that to ActiveHerb’s AcnePearl formula, which retails for only $11.99 per bottle. AcnePearl contains a dozen Chinese herbs with little fillers or binding agents. One of the herbs in AcnePearl is Zhen Zhu, also known as “true pearl.” 

Zhen Zhu is one of Chinese medicine’s most popular beauty ingredients. It’s been used for centuries to improve facial complexion. From a TCM perspective, Zhen Zhu clears heat and brightens the skin while improving the skin’s tone and texture. Another way Zhen Zhu benefits the skin: it’s a highly bio-available calcium supplement, which means your body can easily absorb it. The results: it improves the skin at the deepest possible level.

To get the benefits of Zhen Zhu, in addition to AcnePearl formula, you can also drink Zhen Zhu tea to enhance your internal beauty. 

Mushrooms For Skin Health? 

One beauty trend that may surprise you is the use of medicinal mushrooms. Reishi mushrooms have become popular in natural health for its immune-supporting benefits. But Reishi, or Ling Zhi, as it’s known in Chinese medicine, also possesses skin-soothing and skin-stimulating properties. 

A study in Aging and Disease says ancient Chinese viewed reishi as an herbal medicine that could help people to achieve the “elixir of external youth.” Modern research studies support the folk medicine use of reishi. Data suggests consuming reishi mushroom extract regularly offers numerous anti-aging effects, from scavenging free-radicals and inhibiting lipid oxidation, and other ancillary effects that can keep the skin looking younger. 

Yue Sai, the leading brand of cosmetics on the high-end Chinese market (acquired under L’Oréal’s Luxury Division in 2004), formulated a beauty product called Ganoderma Vital Essential, the flagship of the brand. (“Ganoderma” refers to the botanical name of reishi mushrooms.) 

It’s difficult to obtain Yue Sai products online in the USA, but different brands of reishi products for overall wellness can sell for over $100 online. If you want to make reishi part of your daily skin-care routine, you can make an instant tea out of it for pennies on the dollar, in comparison to high-priced reishi powders. 

Chinese Herbs Becoming More Popular in Hair Products

Chinese herbs have also made their way into the natural hair care market. Today Online references Hum brand’s Hair Sweet Hair chewable gummies for hair support. The supplement features the legendary Chinese anti-aging herb, He Shou Wu (also called “Fo-ti”). A 60-count bottle (30-day supply) of the gummies sells online for $25 (plus shipping). 

Contrast that to a one-month supply of FotiHair tablets, an ActiveHerb formula of 13 hair-supporting Chinese herbs, which sells for $10.99 per bottle. If you prefer capsules, HairVive is available for $13.98 per bottle. (A dose of FotiHair is 6 tablets; a dose of HairVive is 2 capsules.)

Chinese Herbs in Skin Care: Conclusion

ActiveHerb formulas were never intended to capitalize on health or beauty trends. Our formulas have been around for several years, long before ingestible skin care ingredients became buzz-worthy. However, we are delighted that more people are becoming aware that beauty is only skin deep, and that in order to prevent premature aging, you need to feed your skin from the inside with time-tested proven Chinese herbs.

References: 

Potential of Schisandra chinensis in Human Health and Nutrition

Emerging Roles of Ganoderma Lucidum in Anti-Aging

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